Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Saint Ropin'

Well, what a week we've had here at BlogaBarbara! Let's rope up some of the cool folks we've met online, the folks who are helping us fulfill our letter to the future.

Hmmm -- where to begin? Nice mention from the Dem crowd at Heeeyah! -- thanks folks! And in solidarity with our coastal bloggers, this...and we rip from them directly:
Count the mistakes in today's News-Press editorial. The News-Press should run this morning's editorial on the back of a children's cereal box, like one of those "count the things that are wrong with this picture" games.

Rather than attack the fundamental premise of the living wage ordinance - that it is wrong to balance the city's budget on the backs of the working poor, especially in a city as wealthy as ours - they instead roll out a series of poorly researched (even by News-Press editorial page standards), elitist and utterly predictable lines of attack on the ordinance and the organizations that are participating in the coalition that's formed behind it.

What's the message here? That they agree with living wage proponents on not balancing the budget this way, unless the money is passed through a nonprofit first? That doesn't seem much like a particularly sharp approach to public policy.

As a backdrop for this conversation, keep in mind that living wage laws have been passed in hundreds and hundreds of communities across the country. Not a single one has experienced the fire and brimstone predicted by the assorted special interests that line up to oppose these efforts. The SB for a Living Wage website has lots of answers, and links to even more information.

But apparently the News-Press can't be bothered to do even a cursory study of the evidence that's out there. Much better to borrow a page from Bill O'Reilly - Who's looking out for you? - and score a few points with their increasingly tiny circle of allies while taking cheap shots at the grassroots groups that want to see this happen. A little research would've shown that great care has been taken by the drafters of the initial ordinance to balance the special needs of non-profits with the realization that non-profit payscales are an issue that our community has the capability of addressing.

Two errors are particularly glaring. The first is the accusation that the [living wage] campaign is unwilling to compromise. I'm not going to speak for the campaign here - I am not a spokesperson, I've just been to a few of the meetings and pitched in on some of the work. The problem is that this is a completely unsubstantiated opinion. The News-Press has no idea whatsoever has transpired so far or what the opinion of the group on compromise is. They haven't even tried to talk to anyone about it!

The other error is saying that this is PUEBLO (huh?) but under another another name. This is perfectly counterfactual. SB4LW (huh? we're dumb) is a currently legally unincorporated group of people and organizations that have come together out of an interest in seeing this little corner of injustice in our town righted.

These are serious problems. My understanding of libel is that [it] is untruths with malicious intent, which certainly seems like a possibility here. A fifteen second conversation with the spokespeople could've cleared this up, but again, the NP would rather run unresearched bullshit than actually ask coherent quesitons.

As for the overall levels of policy knowledge of the SB CAN and PUEBLO (huh? comments please -- we are ignoramusanti) board and general memberships, why exactly is this an issue? Are only those with the leisure time and necessary educational background to study these issues in depth allowed to express their opinion before our elected representatives? How many planning and policy experts do News-Press favored groups like the Coalition for "Sustainable" Planning turn out typically, one might wonder. Perhaps the News-Press would like to suggest that a citizenship knowledge and public policy test should be administered by elected bodies before those who wish to testify before them are permitted to do so.

The issue of non-profits paying living wages is an important and sensitive issue, and maybe the only thing the News-Press gets right in this entire piece is that there should be a community dialog, which makes their ineptitude even more disappointing. If the main venue where this dialog might occur can't resist chiming in with their megaphone before they've done even the slightest amount of research, how can we hope to have a reasonable conversation?
A phrase a friend of mine detests? Fair Enough. However, we pay more to live and (hopefully) love here than LA, and nearly as much as SF, damn near. When do we say ENOUGH -- when do we balance sustainablility with livabilty? In my view, Wendy McCraw (sp. intentional) has no problemo at all-o exisitng here, none at all. Rich is fine : ex-o-problemo. I guess she just wants her employees, coffee slingers, waiters, and other various servants to commute here -- and, without decent rail service, to serve her ass in the cheap. EFF THEM, says the pig-loving parrot. It's hypocrisy of the highest -- and most pathetic -- sort.

So, I guess, if you are on the Board of the SB Symphony and hang out with the Towbes and want your so-called donations to go to -- umm -- fantastic shindigs staffed by nearly invisible bar matrons and undocumented workers, well, that's cool. Really effing cool!!!!!! How dare we critique you're media and social imperiliasm? Egads! That bitch Sara! That bastared Cannon! Ignore them, they shall FADE away.....hrumph.

Hey Wendy -- what if we don't? Even worse, what if we did?

Now that could get really expensive.

As a recent visitor to BlogaBarbara put it, on a similar issue:

[The] most perfect place on earth, my ass. This town has a serious mean streak, and you only have to go as far as the editorial page of the paper to find it....

I wondered when Sara and I started this blog if we were alone. We are not. That is awesome, and it's sad. Really effing sad. Ready to write some letters?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think the city has a mean streak then you're free to leave.

3/28/2005 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Cannon said...

heck, I may have to if housing prices stay the way they are now -- thanks for proving my point asshole.


3/29/2005 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Housing problem???? There is NO HOUSING PROBLEM IN SB...that is for those who can afford million dollar condos, homes, and rachs. The housing problem rethoric needs to be reconstructed to be "the housing problem for working people and poor people" the wealthy HAVE NO HOUSING PROBLEM!!!!

4/05/2005 8:46 PM  

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