Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Visits to the USS Reagan -- Only for the Connected?

In todays News-Depress, our man at De la Guerra Plaza says that only the connected got to go on board the USS Reagan during the navy ship's recent visit. In the editorial he blames the Waterfront Department for not being more organized on a busy summer weekend to facilitate the thousands of visitors.

Even though it sounds like a logistical nightmare, he may have a point. I want to know why, however, he didn't take the Navy League to task for not admitting they had already raised $30,000 from Dr. Laura to City Council. "Hoodwinked" is what Das Williams and The Slugger called it.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Yo! El Rey! Welcome Carlos...

I wanted to take a moment to welcome El Rey -- Carlos de Borbon -- our newest writer in our loose collective.

How is blogabarbara organized? -- it's kind of like the conversation King Arthur has with one of his subjects outside of the castle in Monty Python's Holy Grail (see the script):

"We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune, we take turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week".

I'm not sure how we are organized now that we have "El Rey" -- but I am glad he joined our blog and we hope you enjoy his satire and wit.

I'm off to read why the liberals have "an identity crisis" in the's interesting that it shows up the same day they do a story on the Jefferson Jackson Day dinner hosted by the BE Change PAC -- seems pretty organzed to me...


Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Statue Speaks

Carlos de Borb�n, a king in exile, views his domain from his pedestal at the former Royal Presidio de Santa B�rbara. He looks out over the coast, and sees wandering from the Santa Ynez Valley through Santa Barbara to the hedgerows of Montecito--especially Montecito--more sacred cows than inhabit all the highways and byways of Hindoostan.

At the moment a new warship of monstrous weaponry has anchored in the roadstead, named after an actor whose most successful role was impersonating a president of the United States. We are told that aboard ship is a shrine to him displaying an inspirational video loop where he portrays a dying football coach exhorting the college team to one last victory. Missing from the exhibit is a diorama of the thousands of Central Americans murdered by his subordinates. Neither is there the more amusing tableau of his ignoring the conspiracy of imbeciles plotting the Iran-Contra hostages ransom.

Adding to the festival of those lightest of weights, the show-business personality, is the radio advice giver whose self-promoting treacle has been slathered over the local print media by our surfboard journalists as if it were actually news. A born-again yacht club member, she offered to pay the shoreboats' tax. Meanwhile, downtown, one could encounter sailors, after three months of shipboard claustrophobia, slaughtering themselves with as many tequila boilermakers as possible before reporting for duty at dawn to monitor the gauges on the nuclear reactors. Anchors aweigh!

Yo el Rey

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Living Wage X-Files

While sipping my coffee this morning, I took some notes on the living wage editorial in the News-Depress this morning....I have some concerns about the living wage too -- but let's take a look at some of their assertions:

Watching the city of Santa Barbara over the last months work to create a "living wage" ordinance has given residents and business owners a front-row seat for the creation of an expensive and Byzantine bureaucracy.

The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and usually refers to the time before the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration? The City of Santa Barbara has a $70 million reserve with income rising at about 3% a year.

From the mayor down, the City Council lacks members who have significant experience owning or running a bigger business where they had to manage a large number of employees. This is a weakness that's all too apparent as the council struggles through writing a living wage law.

Council Member Roger Horton was a Vice-Chancellor at UC Santa Barbara -- doesn't that count?

The council is pushing ahead with such a law because many of its members fear the political repercussions if they don't bend to their union patrons and other activists.

I'm putting a "X" on my window -- remember in the X-Files? -- as there is clearly a conspiracy afoot...the truth is I'm not sure they have the votes!

The ordinance committee is discussing establishing an oversight board or hiring an "ordinance administrator" to decide case by case, based on examining a company's hourly pay, health benefits, vacation policies and child-care services.

I'm not sure I'm interested in living wage administrators either -- I'll give the News-Press that. At the same time, the ordinance is far from complete and I really doubt it will look exactly the way the activists envision it. Then there is the question as to whether it would actually pass....more later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

There you go again...

Travis FactsWrong is at it again this week with a blistering "who cares" editorial about Mayor Blum's use of email at City Hall. Clearly, like most of us -- Mayor Blum occasionally checks her email from work. Considering she must be at work more than she is at home, I'm not surprised.

After using a public information act request to get the emails, one has to wonder why he wasn't more clear about which exact emails he listed and quoted were sent to the Mayor's city hall account and which one's were to her personal account. How public should her campaign consultant's personal communication to her be? Do we really need to know what they were talking about? Better yet -- is it really our right to know? It's not like they are public officials. If she was having trouble in her marriage, would he print that too?

I'm sure the Mayor has learned her lesson and it looks like she now has a Blackberry so the issue is no longer one. The larger issue is why FactsWrong is so intent on destroying the Mayor at all costs