Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Noleta is Happy Where They Are

Thank you for the mostly relevant and civil debate on the living wage -- far from withering, these are issues that should be discussed. I'm not sure anyone here wants Santa Barbara to be so "have and have not" -- it's whether the living wage is the answer.

To the point, today's article on planning was interesting and Planning Commissioner Joe Valenncia from North County says "If Noleta is happy where they are, I'm going to support that". I hope so. Here's a quote from the article:

New projects could bring up to 20 housing units per acre, as officials attempt to satisfy a call by Sacramento for 17,532 new homesites across the county -- including 6,042 in unincorporated areas and 1,235 for families making less than $48,525 per year.

Where is the infrastructure for such a build out -- especially water? Ever been on Hollister towards Upper State during rush hour? Noleta should not be used in this way for lack of city representation -- whether it be Goleta or Santa Barbara. We also clearly need more affordable housing -- but density has it's price.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Harley, it's over. You're done!

Amid the good news about better than expected reserves -- something that her man at De la Guerra waited until the day after the election to say something about, was an exchange between Dr. Dan, Dassy and Harley "I live the living wage" Augustino. I'll put the ful text of the exchange in the comments section.

Harley's obviously been working hard to get the living wage passed -- but this kind of attendance at the budget meeting seems a little forced which is probably what Dr. Dan was responding to. I'm sure a lot of you would rather blame Das and say so in your comments. Can we keep it to a minimum? and civil?

How about discussion on whether or not a living wage ordinance would be priority with budget surplus -- I'm not sure it is. I also don't think the City of SB should be responsible for more than their own workers -- the majority of which, save the tennis ball pickeruppers and the garage attendants, make a living waqe and more.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Two-Buck Chuck Diplomacy

Hilarious article today about the Yaltan sister city committee that got a taste of turkey and two buck chuck.....why visit Santa Barbara they were asked?

"We want to learn from you how to get money from tourists".

I don't blame them for breaking out the vodka...are sister cities useful? Maybe they are but do we need so many?

Other News:
All of a sudden, I feel like Blogabarbara has become a "blogfather" -- a new blog has come up specifically to talk about the second district race. No relation to us here at Blogabarabara -- but here it is in case you want to cross post:

Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Giving the Public A Seat at the Table

Transparency is a management guru kind of word that seems to have made the crossover into daily life. It came up this morning in the NP article about the planning rule changes the Supes approved yesterday which allow public release of early draft EIRs. They say it will speed up the process.

Cameron at the EDC doesn't seem to think so -- he's right, there are few developers that go through the whole EIR process every year. And although I'm surprised he hasn't come up on BlogaBarbara before, COLAB spokepiece Andy Caldwell disagreed. Big surprise. Love his quote:"This is a restoration of balance and common sense to the decision-making process," said Mr. Caldwell, noting that planners and builders once communicated more freely".

Ah yes, harking back to the days of yore....when buildings went up without much regulation at all!

Does anybody know a little more about this? Can the public look at the early-draft EIRs as well?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Log Cabin Retreat

Mayor Marty "The Slugger" Blum took out her bat this morning and plans to reassign council seats and parking spaces saying in the News-Press:

"...all of the council members need to go to a log cabin and learn how to work together."

This quote reminds of the movie "Deliverance"...I don't blame the "old Das" for being upset as I think he was just looking at the political reality of getting an ordinance through committees where Falcone sits -- but where does that end? Does The Slugger need to change committee assignments too? Can we take a look at civility, procedure and where they go from here?

Taj Mahal or Business Booster?

Today's editorial looks at the Granada Garage -- I've never heard anyone but her man at De la Guerra call it the Taj Mahal -- and whether it will encourage congestion downtown. It was originally proposed by a prior council and Mayor to help the "above Carrillo" businesses. Will it be worthwhile in the end?

He's right about not widening 101 and expanding commuter rail as future solutions to transportation -- two reasons to support Council Member Horton's efforts to bring rail options to the south coast.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cannon Presidio on KCSB's Ceasefire

Here's a link to Cannon's call in on KCSB's Ceasefire. Host Blake Beltram calls for editorial equinimity between right and left on the NP editorial pages of the News-Press and talks to Cannon about it. Travis Armstrong was asked to call in to the show or go on next week but chose not to saying that Beltram was just trying to get listeners on his show. Hear it all on the link above.

Full Disclosure by Elections Division Would Help

After reading The Angry Poodle today, I checked some web sources on reform in Ventura.

The County of Ventura does a much better job at providing candidate info on the web then the County of SB and has a spending limit of $150,000 for Supe races. Their finance reform ordinance is available in PDF form on the link above.

Like the County, the City of Ventura actually shows disclosure statements!

Why can't the County and City of SB do this? Transparency would be a good start to a campaign finance reform that could work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Howdy & KCSB Tonight

Hey BlogaBarbarians, sorry I haven't been around much -- busy, busy, busy. What an election eh? I have been here in spirit, and will be posting more now that the election is all wrapped up, and congrats to all the winners!

QUICK ITEM: Blake Beltram from KCSB will be hosting a discussion this evening on his non-partisan political broadcast Ceasefire (7 p.m. - 8 p.m.) on the perception of editorial bias from the SB News-Press in the recent election. You can tune in to 91.9 FM Radio or listen on the KCSB Webcast at -- and by the way, there may even be a featured phone interview from yours truly Cannon Presidio. The call in number for the show is 805.893.2424.

I'll do a post tomorrow with a follow-up! - CP

Supervisor Rose Says "No Mas"

Supervisor Susan Rose announced this morning thhat she won't run for reelection electing to "spend more time with her husband and family". Possible candidates? Williams, Falcone, Wolfe and Landecker -- any others? Let the games begin...

Possible topics? Can David Landecker overcome a ten-year old indiscretion at Home Improvement Center? Can Williams or Falcone get the Noleta vote and what does this mean for annexation?

Otters and the Council Resolution

As requested, here's a thread on otters -- we've come a long way since the News-Press put meercats above the fold and above the banner -- and it seems clear that the translocation of otters hasn't worked. Do we really need more study as Falcone suggests?

Council Member Barnwell and Falcone's alliance seems based more on procedural grounds. Is Council Member Williams a "young turk" in their eyes that should be punished when he doesn't follow procedure like on Prop 75 and the Otters?

RV Rules in SB

It was reported this morning that the Court of Appeals stopped the City of SB from enforcing rules meant to keep people from parking and sleeping over night. This is a contentious issue for some -- especially in the El Escorial area on East Beach and some West Beach neighborhoods near Santa Barbara Winery. Glenn Mowrer thinks we should rebuild residence hotels -- is this the answer? If so, where?

Parking Lot Fees

I suppose it was inevitable -- Marshall Rose and the Rev. Horton Heat are correct, this should have been done five years ago. $1 to $1.50 with the first 75 mins. free -- still inexpensive by SoCal coastal city standards. It's not surprising that the meeting was held post-election, hunh?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Clean Money Campaign

Beginning in 2007, council and mayoral candidates in Albuquerque, NM will have the option of accepting public financing for their campaigns if they gather a required amount of low dollar qualifying contributions. The Open and Ethical Elections Code will limit campaign spending and level the playing field so that qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds can run for office. The vote passed 68% to 31%.

This is the referendum the Mayor has been mentioning in the press. Here's some more info from Democracy Matters.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Where's the Rest of the Story?

Yet again, her man at De la Guerra continues to conveniently leave Council Member Falcone's significant campaign funds and spending out of his discussion of campaign finances. As a recent comment stated, the NP editorial pages are like FOX News -- say it enough and it is true, whether it is or not. Perhaps the corollary is if you don't say it enough, it must be true.

And this was a clear indication of his contempt for the Mayor:

TODAY'S CHUCKLE: Last week, Mayor Marty Blum reportedly said she's not going to read the editorial section of this newspaper, but instead use it for kitty litter. Reminds one of statements by George W. Bush, doesn't it?

Mrs. Blum will miss a lot from our contributors, her constituents. Or maybe not. Check out the letters on Page G2 for one from Mrs. Blum. She's responding to a Nov. 9 reader's letter.

A broken vow already from the mayor?

So will Mrs. Blum read her own submission to the editorial section before she puts it in the cat box?

Ironic statements after months of Blum supporters not getting any play in the letters section.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day to all and thanks to all of those that have kept our nation free and able to have free speech as we do here at blogabarbara. Whether we agree or not with specific wars -- especially our current one -- I, for one, honor those who serve our country. Thank you.

Also, good luck to Laurie Zalk and everyone at Our Daily Bread -- the fire this morning will require some heavy clean up.

Finally, I noticed that Travis has taken on a more appropriate tone in his editorials of late -- what's going on? Is it just that the campaign is over? I look forward to more of that -- whether I agree with him or not.

It might be useful for us to do some research into what finance reform packages have been used at the local level -- anybody have info on this already they would like to share? Otherwise, I'll do some this weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Power of Reconciliation

Today's editorial in the News-Press was FactsWrong's valiant attempt at the fact that 2 out of the 3 candidates he endorsed did not win last Tuesday. His point about day of election turnout was good but lower turnout always helps the incumbent -- you go with what you know. Scary to some but true.

Travis' suggestion that the Mayor be the subject of the next Police and Fire roast is an interesting one an should be considered. It also points to the fact that, despite Travis' attempt to hold this election in a vacuum, the differences between The Slugger and Council Member Falcone date back a little further than Labor Day. Last year's roast -- was in part a roast of the Mayor and the press orchestrated around it was not done in a vacuum either. The timing was unfortunately around the time that many potential candidates for Mayor realized that The Slugger was not as easy of a target as they thought.

Our comments in the last post have been interesting and have included an interesting letter to the Mayor from an old friend and a post from Council Member Williams offering to speak with anyone about the campaign and his involvement. This kind of access, no matter what one thinks of his politics, is refreshing and appreciated.

Finally, today's article in the News-Press about campaign finance reform deserves consideration. John Davies' attempt to democratize political contributions doesn't completely fly with me. Yes, the better candidates will raise more money -- but does that mean there should be no limits? Council Member Schneider has a good point in that any attempt to control candidate contributions gives more power to the special interests like the unions (of which POA and Firefighter for Better Government are two) and local media.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hindsight is Always 20/20

Image hosted by
News-Press Photo!
Nobody called it...Falcone did better than most of us thought -- was it the $30,000 she poured into TV? or the power of incumbency? or maybe the help of the local paper? Inquiring minds want to know.

I personally think it's hard to beat a $70,000 campaign. $30,000 on TV (forget the fact that you are also converting Goletans to your cause), maybe $20,000 on mail and $20,000 on radio --- plus whatever the POA could do with robo-calls, precinct walking and their own television commercials with Detective 'Am I Wearing Sargeant McGrew's Uniform' Arroyo. This campaign really went over $100,000 for one candidate.

Travis helped in the last couple of days. So did Naomi Schwartz (did she and Travis keep The Slugger under 60%?) and seeing Rep. Lois Capps on TV incessantly....congrats to Falcone for figuring out how to pull it all together. I may not agree with the tactics but can appreciate the strategy.

Election Night Blogging

Okay, let's give a little more space for the armchair quarterbacks...looks like low turnout, which would help Falcone as an incumbent no? Are we expecting too much that this might last into the morning for the third place spot? Maybe...

Update:Most of you know that Blum won by close to 60% to Ebenstein's 34%. Horton, Falcone and House have won the council seats.

Congratulations to all tonight after a hard fought campaign. See today's earlier post on campaign finance to read what Council Member Das Williams says about his race. Kudos to Das for contributing to as himself.

$70,000 for a Council Seat?

The News-Oppress -- as mentioned in posts herein -- reported that Council Member Falcone' committee received $10,000 (including $2,000 from developer Bill Levy) in just the last few days, bringing the grand total to $70,000 for a council race. For a council race! I don't remember this happening before -- and what does FactsWrong do? Harp on SEIU contributions to other candidates and fail to mention this insane amount of money for a less than living wage job (if you were to count all of the hours council members put in). There's something wrong about spending twice as much on a campaign for a job that pays so little and isn't even the Mayor's seat...

Meanwhile, Terry Tyler says he paid $18 to Labor Ready for people to hold up signs on street corners -- this is prudent fiscal management? Wow -- I want that job. Good to see he supports a living least he's supporting a few homeless people with his grass roots campaign.

Monday, November 07, 2005

What happened on the POA TV commercial?

Got an interesting email from a reader that claims that a Detective Arroyo is wearing a Sargeant's uniform in the latest Police Association television commercial -- I haven't seen it so I cannot confirm this. As a Detective, she would be at a rank lower than Sargeant...officers cannot wear their badge in commercials by law -- I'm not sure about corresponding uniforms and their rank. I wonder what happened here -- there is probably a logical explanation. Anyone know what happened?

Update: Just saw the commercial on KEY News. Det. Arroyo definitely has Sargeant stripes on -- not sure I understand what the change in rank is about.


Here's the requested prediction thread -- let's keep it to just predictions, shall we?

Girl Scout Thievery

A major case of foot in mouth today in the News-Press for Supervisor Joni Gray -- saying that Girls Scout leaders skim off the top on cookie sales.

If you have a subscription, see the News-Press web site. If not, you'll have to wait for the paper tomorrow -- but can read her comment in today's article about the Sheriff's Council.

When will the News-Press come into the 21st Century and allow non-subscribers to see their stories -- even some of them, or even one's that are yesterday's news?

Under the Mud?

Wow -- I've never seen so many people taken to task in one editorial for the woes of the world. Travis names more than a handful of people as the reason for negative campaigning but takes no responsibility for throwing buckets of water over the dirt.

Blum and Williams supporting other candidates is not negative campaigning in and of itself. Backstabbing? They may have felt backstabbed by the candidate in question! -- despite Travis' protestations, she is not without some responsibility here.

I'm personally not a fan of all the consultants mentioned in the editorial. Lindaman for instance should have known better than to email The Slugger at City Hall and seems to take a Machiavellian view towards campaigning. Kyriacos, however, doesn't deserve the hit by Armstrong this morning. The Rev. Horton Heat received endorsements from just about everyone and it is a tough tightrope to walk in a campaign like this.

We also need to remember that they take candidates in a certain direction and it is the candidate themselves that are responsible for pulling them back or keeping them in line. I also don't know if it serves anything for Armstrong to act as if this is a presidential campaign and analyze who is consulting for whom -- isn't that very Sacramento-like of his reporting?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

No, Our CIty is NOT Sacramento!

Do whatever the newspaper wants or we'll try to destroy you -- her man at De la Guerra should just admit his quest for power rather than accusing working men and women and elected officials of manipulating media coverage. He wants to be the only one manipulating media coverage, doesn't he?

Today's "editorial news" is so full of anger and resentment, it's amazing that this guy gets to keep his job. For someone who hasn't lived in Santa Barbara very long -- you think he'd work a little harder at getting along with everyone and give his opinion in a less divisive, accusatory way....Mayor Blum is resentful of Falcone's intellect? Council Member Williams is trying to knock her out now? What's his connection to Falcone?

In a related front page article, Josh Molina reported on a press conference held by PUEBLO and SEIU supporters which expressed their concern with Falcone's lack of support for Das WIlliam's Prop 75 resolution at council the other day. She has been on record -- and even got space on the editorial page today -- as being opposed to the Proposition but voted against it last Tuesday because of the way WIlliams brought the issue to council.

Reality check. Several issue related resolutions including one that opposed the war in Iraq have bypassed the council's legislative committee -- these have also been resolutions she has supported. Tabling resolutions like this until after the election is really more political than actually bringing it before the council without going through the committee. The public has a right to know where council members stand.

It was interesting how the police association president was a pure Falcone supporter the other day who didn't want to comment on Prop 75 -- and was a blue-collar union president today.

PUEBLO et al shouldn't go after a candidate's contributors unless there is something more substantive than "they held a town hall for Arnold" -- so what? Falcone is right -- they do business with the city and their support of her isn't about partisan politics.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Campaign Against Unions

In Day 45 of the pro-Blum, House, Horton and Channing letter to the editor hostage crisis, her man at De la Guerra continues his campaign against unions with an editorial about apparent union control of candidates for council. Does he forget that the Police Officers Association is a union, too -- how about their $12,000 influence over Council Member Falcone? Is it just the progressive unions you are against Travis?

As some of our readers pointed out, it is interesting that during the debate on Prop 75 at council the other day -- Sgt. McGrew didn't express opposition on Prop 75 even though PORAC is very much against it. Was it really about supporting Falcone? More interesting was the editorials saying she was into "civil discourse" on the same day she was reported telling Council Member Williams that he "thought a great deal of himself".

As for his attacks on Council Member Horton -- Armstrong should take into account that maybe the pictures in question were used without his knowledge -- happens all the time in politics. The Rev. Horton heat certainly does benefit from the positions that everyone else has taken -- that doesn't mean that he can manage what other interests do with those endorsements all the time.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blum Letter in The Independent

Just a note to check out Mayor Marty 'The Slugger' Blum's letter in The Independent today where she calmy defends much of what has been thrown at her by the media -- specifically some of what was written about her in the endorsement The Independent gave her a week ago. Kudos to The Independent for publishing the letter when if one didn't know better -- the News-Repress has never gotten a letter of support for Mayor Blum. Hopefully, the letter will be online soon as one can link to the The Independent without a subscription (unlike the old-school economics business being run at De la Guerra Plaza).

We Called It: Ebenstein Gets the Nod

Sorry for the lack of posting today -- busy day at work! I called it with the Ebenstein endorsement today -- but the editorial deserves some review.

In Ebenstein's endorsement today in the News-Press, Travis 'Factswrong' Armstrong paints a not so bright picture of the city budget but doesn't really describe how a great many budget items are federally mandated programs for which you can't just take a knife to and cut away. Others are federally mandated but not federally funded -- like the COPS program which President Bush has kept from being funded since 9/11. Salaries make up a lot of the city budget -- but they are not, on the average, exorbitant. City workers are often underpaid for what they do as well. Perhaps after the election, blogabarbara should take on some issues like this and see if we can educate our editors about budget processes and the like...

He goes on to say that Ebenstein has done a good job on the campaign trail. Excuse me? I've been to a few forums where he hasn't had literature to give to potential supporters -- and there was one last week that he didn't even go to. He usually complains and doesn't seem to have a clue about how government works. Ebenstein was not a great school board member and would often push for school closings one year and then several years later complain that we shoudln't have let those schools go. In our multi-cultural society -- he dismantled bilingual education where everyone else in the world has to take English as well as their native language.

Armsrong makes much of Ebenstein's apparent opposition to tall buildings downtown as if Blum wants a Manhattan in the downtown corridor. The truth is she helped craft the height limitation ordinance as a planning commission member -- if Armstrong had done his homework, he would have known that. Advertisements in The Independent does not an issue make.

Finally, he tells us that Ebenstein has a great business background but doesn't elaborate. As far as anyone who has been in town for a awhile can tell -- he is an economist, not a business man, who still believes in the bell curve in a u-curve world.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tippecanoe and Falcone Too

With what is often the death knell of local politics, Council Member Iya Falcone was endorsed by the News-Opress today saying she brings "civil discourse" to City Hall....Most candidates endorsed by the SBNP have lost their bids for election in recent years...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mis-Coordinated Campaigns

Didn't have time to review the editorials this morning until now -- disturbing news if the following is true as quoted in the SBNP:

Three campaign brochures showing up in the mail appear to be an effort by Mayor Marty Blum, Councilman Das Williams and the Service Employees International Union to oust Democratic Councilwoman Iya Falcone from office.

You only have to take a look at the photos in the Williams and SEIU brochures -- with Mrs. Blum and candidates Roger Horton, Grant House and Dianne Channing in the same clothes -- to know this was a coordinated undertaking.

There are some clear cut, well-defined rules about "coordinated" campaigns. This could spell trouble for The Slugger, Willimas and SEIU -- and more likely, any operatives involved. It's the October Surprise.

Armstrong goes on to point out that former-Supervisor Naomi Schwartz' name is still on Blum literature even though she requested to be taken off....I wonder when the request was made and if mail was in the bag or not. Still, that doesn't look good for the Slugger.

Panhandling for Votes

While Loretta Redd hands out red M&Ms and Diane Channing marches through the Westside, their candidate at De la Guerra Terry Tyler tells us he doesn't believe in walking door-to-door? Here's his quote from the News-Depress this morning:

"Knocking on doors and trick-or-treating for votes is not something I am going to do," Mr. Tyler said. "It is an intrusion on people's privacy. I don't like going up and knocking on doors. I consider that to be panhandling for votes."

The obligatory money article came out this morning with few surprises other than the fact that Carlos Quintero has been raising money without a committee. Shouldn't he know better?

In perhaps a subtle outing, the article mentioned Redd's contribution from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund -- I think the press has been struggling with whether a candidate's sexuality is an issue and how to report it-- but did not mention names of all contributors for other candidates. The truth is that without candidate self-identification, they shouldn't say anything. Who cares anyway? Santa Barbara has had several gay and lesbian leaders and the public doesn't seem to care -- unlike the Democratic Central Committee in Ventura County (according to Congressional Candidate Brett Wagner). Finally, Falcone has reportedly received $5,000 from the Sunset Kidd Sailing Center -- located in the Harbor, an area which benefitted greatly from Falcone's lobbying for funds in the area.

Is it surpising that Mayor Marty "The Slugger" Blum has only $3,000 in the bank versus Ebenstein's $17,000? No, as he can't seem to spend his campaign dollars wisely -- Mayor Blum is a shoe-in.