Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Money Trail

The News-Repress announced the financial statements for council and mayor today. The good Rev. Horton Heat has raised the most money with an impressive $48, 955 -- his largest contribution was from SEIU, the subject of yesterday's post. The all important cash on hand means Horton has $37,700 in the bank for the next month. This practically makes him a shoe-in for first place. Iya Falcone has $19,200 in the bank and was the subject of today's meet the candidate in the paper. It was interesting how her feud with the Mayor wasn't mentioned until the end of the article but every article about the Slugger has it right up front...

House did well with $33,700 raised and Redd and Channing close out the main contenders. Terry Tyler is still in France and not walking precincts....why does her man at De la Guerra think he's a serious candidate? He has only $1,300 in contributions but is loaning himself $10,000 -- that money might come into play if he knows how to spend it.

In the Mayor's race - the big news is that the self-described fiscal watchdog, Lanny Ebenstein, couldn't get his paperwork in by the 5 pm deadline. He says he has $15,000 in loans and $30,00 total. The Slugger, mayor Blum, has raised about the same amount....she shouldn't have much to worry about here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

SEIU's Union of Secrecy???

I can't imagine why her man at De la Guerra, Travis Armstrong, is insisting that candidates share their responses to the SEIU candidate questionnaire. Since when is this public information? Why doesn't he just give them a chance to publish their views in his paper -- send out a reporter! Ask the tough questions! Print them in full!

While he's asking -- let's get Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Police Officer's Association and Pueblo to share their answers to....for that matter, let's read any memos between him and Wendy McCaw about their plans for 1290 AM. Hey -- like SEIU, the News-Press is a private organization with members as employees so it's fair game...

Good for Marty, Grant and Dianne for not caving for Roger...I'm a little dissapointed but I think it fits in with his campaign strategy. It's not a disclosure issue because a union is not a public organization, it is not a government organization either. You can't Public Information Act your way out of this one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Elevator Speeches with the Mayor

In case you missed it, come had a funny piece the other day -- asking their readers what they would say to the Mayor if they ran into her in an elevator. My favorite was:

Do you now or have you ever had links to Japanese organized crime? Talk, damn you!! We have your phone records. WE KNOW THE TRUTH!! Confess and it will go easier for you. You are a Yakuza, aren't you!?

Oh, wait. Sorry, thought you were someone else.

Here's the full story:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail - Slugger Style

I haven't posted in days and I've been mercilessly calling Cannon to see if he will come out of his deep funk and write even just a few paragraphs to save me from those who will not get a Blogger ID. I'm even thinking of getting Yo! El Rey off his god awful perch at the Presidio -- if he'd only lay off the sangria, he might write a bit more often too.

I got a letter in the mail last week from our Mayor "The Slugger" Marty Blum asking me to give money to Grant House and Dianne Channing -- two very good candidates for council. She also said Roger Horton was a man of integrity -- which I happen to think he is -- but there wasn't an envelope in the letter for him. Besides the obvious fact that Iya Falcone was left out of her endorsement list -- the letter was interesting in that it hit while the Police Officers Association (POA) was finishing their interviews of the council candidates. Word on the street was that Grant House hit the ball out of the park -- if I were a Boston fan I'd say past the Monster, but we've used that nickname before in the same context...

So, former Air Force Officer Loretta Redd gets the POA nod even though Ulysses Grant got the Firefighters endorsement. This is unprecedented that the POA and the Firefighters split endorsements.....what happened? I would bet Monster McGrew made it be known that the POA wasn't going to endorse any newcomer that was endorsed by the Slugger -- not on my watch! The truth is that McGrew is better behind the scenes than challenging the Mayor during public comment (see above reference). It's a safe endorsement, too, because Redd is likely a good supporter as she is former military.

The connection between the letter and the endorsement may or may not hold merit -- but it is an interesting one. Her man at De la Guerra, Travis Armstrong, mentioned the letter in his column this week calling it "another oddball fundraising letter". Councilmember Falcone called it "unprecedented" earlier this week and it is. Josh Molina of the News-Depress questioned today whether she can win without the POA endorsement -- saying that if she does, she will "smash" that perception.

What does all this do for Dianne? Armstrong doesn't mention Channing's name in the article, calling her a long shot -- but then pushes Terry Tyler as if he is a contender. In the very next paragraph he points out that Tyler has been on vacation -- I've got news for you, viable candidates don't go on vacation in late September because they are walking precincts. At least Channing is walking, talking and showing up at candidate forums. Dianne has a much better shot than he.

What's my bet? The Slugger will win despite the News-Press and a few questionable campaign decisions on her part. Horton, Falcone and House will win if the election were held today. This might change as we have more than a month to go....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bill and Bonnie Sacked from KRUZ

I also wanted to acknowledge that Santa Barbara has lost KRUZ's morning show hosts Bill Pesso and Bonnie Campbell (as well as Mandye Thomas). They were class acts and will be missed. Most surprising is that they were told they could stay if they sold advertising -- that's kind of an allegory for the world of radio today, isn't it?

It seems like every three years or so, Santa Barbara has a shift in radio -- we are in one right now with Bill and Bonnie sacked and 1290 AM's News-Press Radio "leasing"-based alliance with our daily newspaper.

Upcoming Candidates Forums

Sarah got a big "helloooo!" from an anonymous reader -- I suppose to get me out of my complacency since Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast a few weeks ago. Their man at De la Guerra, Travis Armstrong, has been on vacation for more than a week as well -- I must admit, he is a huge source of inspiration to me.

We haven't posted much about the upcoming City Council election on November 8th. In recent weeks, the race has gotten a bit more interesting as PUEBLO endorsed anyone who is even mildly supportive of the living wage. Two interesting things have surfaced from their enmdorsements -- one is that Councilwoman Iya Falcone was not endorsed. This wouldn't be so different if she hadn't been endorsed by the Women's Political Committee as well. Even with the lack of endorsements that most people think she might have gotten, I wouldn't count her out -- she's a scrappy fighter in the ring and she does have the mighty law enforcement support. Second is that Diane Channing did get their endorsment -- breathing at least a breath of life into an uphill campaign. The battle between her and Grant House for that third spot is the one to watch.

If you want to see the candidates themselves, here are some upcoming candidates forums: Monday, October 3rd, starting at 6:00 pm at Valle Verde (900 Calle de los Amigos) and on Monday, October 10th at 6:30 pm at the Faulkner Gallery. Wednesday, October 5th at 6:30 pm is the Mayoral forum (thanks to the keen eye of our readers -- see the comments). Both of these last two are sponsored by Citizens Planning Association and the League of Women Voters and have simultaneous Spanish translation available.

Monday, September 05, 2005

AM 1290's Apology -- Sign of the Future?

Scott Singleton's piece this morning about whether Dr. Laura pulled a publicity stunt several weeks ago around the $30,000 for harbor fees was surprising for several reasons. The timing of the donation was a bit suspect but more problematic was the way the Navy League handled it.

In the article, using words like "veracity", "therefrom", "defamatory" and "morally reprehensible" -- Dr. Laura threatened legal action towards News-Press Radio's Bob Egenolf for starting the rumor that the publicity stunt would help sales to her one-woman show. Clearly, she was allowed to prepare her statements for this article. Mr. Egeolf's apology and retraction was included in the article. Would this story have gotten so much space if Wendy McCaw didn't own the radio station in question?

The bigger picture issue is this: what relationship will 1290's News-Press Radio have with its' sister media outlet the News-Press? 1290 moved into new digs last week and is rebuilding their news/talk format. Their man at De la Guerra, Travis Armstrong, is a permanent guest on one of the shows....he can't actually be an announcer as he is editor of the newspaper side of the business.

How did this pass muster at the FCC? A seperate company owns the actual radio station and Ampersand Holdings (owns the News-Press) actually leases all of the air time on the station. Yes, KEYT owned it before -- but their primary business wasn't news and they did not have activist editorialistas like Travis FactsWrong.

It's certainly something worth watching. I actually wish them the best as local news radio is important. What I'd really like to see is a return of former radio host and Indie Reporter Jerry Cornfield...but that will not be...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Vague and Mysterious Lunches at the PC

Today's editorial questioned why City of Santa Barbara Planning Commission lunches and site visits aren't televised. Due to News-Press policy, I can't give you the link -- but here's a bit of what was written.

The city of Santa Barbara's Planning Commission for years hasn't televised its lunch meetings, known for their vague wording of agendas and commissioners veering into questionable topics. The commission also has met in city vans while touring project sites, while keeping the public out.

Do we really want to watch planning commissioners talk with their mouth full? What Travis forgot to tell us is that there is always a City Attorney present both at these lunches and in the van when the commission is going to site visits. The City Attorney's job is to make sure conversation doesn't turn to a subject which would violate the Brown Act. I also have to question his point about vague agendas and questionable topics. If they are being so secretive, how would he know what they talk about? As usual, Travis would rather make an accusation than give us an example.

He also forgot to tell you that several months ago he dropped by the site visit van unannounced and demanded to be seated. From what I hear, he was graciously accepted and had a good time doing what the commissioners usually do in the van -- talk about current events, the latest editorials and the weather. Any member of the public can come to these lunches or sit in the van -- why didn't he point that out?