Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Visioning Committee and Housing

Is Travis right? Is this non-BOS, Brown Act-free committee a sham for tearing up Goleta and Noleta agricultural land in favor of high density housing? Is it "smart growth" gone awry?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, sounds like it is sham! A sham for good land use, a sham for 2nd District Supe - btw, where do the candidates stand on this committee, this issue, on how the committee was appointed, on the issues brought up by the N-P? That would be very worth knowing.

Good for the News-Press for digging into the stated description of the "visoning" comm. by both Rose's office and the County Counsel and then seeing what the reality is.

This is the kind of stuff that should be done by SB County Grand Jury but so rarely is (I am a former grand juror.) There would not be time on this, anyway, the way it is being pushed through.

2/09/2006 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Travis Factswrong is as wrong as ever.

2/09/2006 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:45 AM

His name is "Armstrong," not "Factswrong." Why does this blog insist on not deleting inane name calling? If the editorial has a factual mistake, then have the intellect to say what it is--if there is indeed a factual error...don't just call someone a name, anonymously. In the last month or so this blog has refrained from that kind of thing, and we all have been better for it. To me it seems that the editorial pulled together a remarkable amount of material for comparison. Those documents speak for themselves. Where are the facts wrong, anon?

2/09/2006 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is beyond facts being right or wrong---- Travis Armstrong is obsessed and insanely focused on only one District/Supervisor to the exclusion of equally or vastly more egregious and significant violations of the public process or environmental protections by Firestone, Grey, Centeno, etc. That complete lack of perspective is what distracts and undermines what might otherwise be salient arguments. To use the vernacular, he has gone off the deep end and his editorials are read through satiric lenses by the majority of SB residents.

2/09/2006 6:06 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

Yes, Armstrong and the braintrust at the News-Press have decided in the past few months that Susan Rose is the target du jour. It's not my position to defend her, but to note that she is one in a series of politicians that gets on the News-Press hit list and thereafter never gets any even-handed treatment.

Past members of the hit list are people like Lois Capps, Marty Blum, Pedro Nava, Gail Marshall, and the Goleta City Council. The issue is not whether the News-Press prints something "wrong" or in error. The issue is that the editorial page uses innuendo, sarcasm, exaggeration, and its admitted "ink by the barrel" approach to serially defame individuals it doesn't like. Two years ago, we saw continuous allegations of how the Marshall majority on the on the Board of Supervisors were shams as environmentalists, but the News-Press said nothing at all about the North County Supes who voted for development at every opportunity--and still do without any comment from the self-proclaimed environmentalist News-Press.

A newspaper has a right to take stances on community issues, but the inability of the News-Press to offer any semblance of balance or fair-mindedness reduces the credibility of its positions. And to the earlier writer who wants real examples of editorial page problems, how about the absence of letters to the editor that supported Marty Blum in last year's election--an election she won easily in a town that obviously supports her politics. I guess only people who disliked Blum decided to write in to the News-Press.

2/09/2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't find any wrong facts and thought the editorial made arguments supported by citations. The post above couldn't find any facts that were wrong, either, so just left us with a right wing radio type rant. No one should be called a name like "Factswrong" unless one can actually identify at least one wrong fact. If this blog wants to get better -- raise the level of the entire playing field -- it should delete that kind of petty name calling.

2/09/2006 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

john san roque,

You're right. The newspaper does have the right to take stances on public issues, and often politicians in power don't like it. Witness Watergate. Most of us in the community personally prefer a free press, although we might frequently disagree with the opinions expressed.

As for the Mayor, if letters from her supporters didn't make it into the News-Press, the Independent would have been quick to publish them with a note (in part since the Mayor was buying lots of ads to kick out another dem office holder, in a race where she raised lots of cash even though initially she was running unopposed), and I didn't see any such rejects published anywhere. They could have even been posted here since the Mayor promoted this blog in her fundraising literature--but we didn't see any. Another "fact" I guess.

Let's try something new instead of namecalling and obsessing about an editor--let's address Sarah's question, what did you think of the subject of today's editorial?

2/09/2006 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting connection between "her man at de la guerra" and the independent. I have it on good authority that mr. man at de la guerra doesn't read the indi because he can't stand criticisms of his own rants.

2/09/2006 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For pro-Marty letters one only has to look in the News-Press archive and you'll find several with just simple search, in addition to three commentaries written by Blum in October.The Indy printed none.

2/09/2006 11:06 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

Let me give a serious and honest answer to the writer who thinks I'm obsessing about the editorial page and wants, instead, a reaction to Armstrong's actual editorial. The simple answer is that I don't know enough about the subject to evaluate Armstrong's editorial.

However, since I know that he has been bashing Susan Rose for a couple of months now, I suspect very strongly that the editorial is skewed unfairly to make Rose look bad. The problem is that the public should expect some reasonable balance of information from Armstrong so that we can be informed enough to make a decision on what's going on. In my opinion, that happens rarely.

How many editorials has the News-Press done about killing the pigs on the Channel Isalands? How many pictures of pathetic piglets have you seen on the editorial page and elsewhere in the News-Press. Have you seen an honest attempt by the News-Press to explain the position of the large number of scientific and environmental groups who believe getting rid of the pigs is the right thing to do?

To answer your question on whether Armstrong's points in the editorial are correct or on target, first I need to find out what really happened. Do you think I get a balanced picture of what happened from reading the News-Press? I don't.

2/10/2006 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.... so you know zilch about this issue or the matter at hand but want to use this blog for your own repeated personal attacks. Sounds like u have a personal ax to grind. what gives, john? why not get back to issues instead of a fixation.
also, get your facts right. I remember a long series in December interviewing scientists about the hogs.

2/10/2006 6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm interested in the others here thoughts on the idea of bashing Rose. The supevisor has setup a procedure, her vision meetings, that are being criticized by people and now the meetings are ongoing with proceedings, etc., to report or comment on. In following this government process (and I guess its flaws as set-up and operated by a supervisor), is that just good journalism to follow an issue and continually write about it for the people, or does following it and pointing out problems qualify as bashing? Thoughts? I can't see writing about it once and then letting it go - that would be poor journalism.

2/10/2006 6:27 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

The problem is that when someone gives a reasoned answer, people like anonymous seem unable to answer without resorting to distortion. So let me try again:

1. I didn't say I know "zilch" about the matter at hand. I said that my experience with News-Press editorials was that the reader doesn't get a balanced picture, so commenting on the editorial starts from the wrong place--an acceptance that what Armstrong says is accurate.

2. The point I tried to make is that the News-Press in not balanced in its coverage. It makes no attempt to be balanced. I believe even editorials need balance, but I also believe that the news sections of the News-Press follow the editorial bent of the paper. Yes, I read one or two pieces with supporters of the pig killing, but perhaps 20 or 25 pieces slanted the other way. Yes, I do remember a letter or two in support of Blum, but an overwhelming amount of negative letters, editorials, and articles right up to election day. Then they stopped (why is that, I wonder?).

What's happening now is that people pick their news sources according to their politics. Find the facts that you like in the Independent or Fox News. It's too bad that the one local daily paper can't be more objective in its coverage. If that's my "personal ax to grind", so be it.

2/10/2006 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Visioning Committee - I agree that in the eyes of the NP Editorial page, anything Susan Rose does is awful. I believe the griping of the NP is all about the CSP not having a complete lock on the committee. Why they have all of their officers on the committee? They may believe they represent the neighborhoods, but lots of us neighbors disagree!
The Editorial page beats the same horse over and over again - making it both boring and biased.
It's too bad, because that editorial page demeans the rest of the paper.

2/10/2006 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why no post or blog on the stunning approval by City Council of the Blankenship/Garcia so-called "affordable by design" (NOT) project on Santa Barbara's Westside. Pro-developer Councilman Grant House's inaugral project approval. By the time these condos are done they will approach and exceed 1mill. each. No 'workforce' housing here. This is the obscenity that has resulted from developers being given carte blanche to exploit the left's language and vulnerabilities. Though Das voted 'no' he was confident that his puppet Grant House would see the project through..... wink and a nod

2/10/2006 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea that project definitely opens the door---more cement, more out of town millionaires moving here less open space more traffic....all the dreams of the new left coming true.....

2/10/2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, come on, you know editorials inherently are not "balanced." That's the very definition of an editorial. They're opinions, John. That's your serious and honest answer. Look above the editorial. It says "Our Opinion" right there.

Same for "op-ed." Same for a column. Opinion, not balance.

The news pages are balanced. John, that's where you can get your factual information if you want the basis for forming a reasoned opinion. Try it.

If anything, the news pages lean away from the editorials to show that the news is balanced and independent.

So, John, get up to speed on the facts. Read the balanced news pages; form your own opinion based on the facts, and then maybe you can be able to critique the editorial on the merits rather than just blindly attacking the writer or the paper. But, then, if you think the opinion is based on a factual error, you can speak up and correct the error. Just point out the error, rather than name calling. Then you will have graduated to Media 102.

The best thing about the opinions (not balanced, remember, not supposed to be), is that they provide the intellectual lead for this blog, which would not have much to talk about otherwise.

2/10/2006 3:44 PM  
Anonymous SBR said...

The Santa Barbara Review is calling for the entire membership of the GVC2020 to resign in protest of the manipulation of their “vision.”


2/11/2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

I guess I am unable to get my point across to the individual (or individuals) who all write under the name "anonymous". This is my last comment, so if you want to reply, I'd appreciate it, as I said before, if you'd actually respond to what I write and not distort the words or meaning.

Yes, I know that editorials are opinions. I guess you learned that in Media 101, but I have known it for some time. What is wrong with the News-Press editorials is that they are so unbalanced, one-sided, and repetitive that they lose any ability to convince the reader. I guess your media class also convinced you that it good practice for a newspaper to skew its publication of letters to the editor to support the editor's positions. I believe that subverts the purpose of having letters to the editor. And if you are going to say the News-Press doesn't do that, you are absolutely wrong.

Secondly, despite the recent columns by Jerry Roberts that talk about the separation of the editorial content from the news sections, I don't see that happening in some instances. And I'll offer one example I used above: the "news" coverage of the pig killing on the Channel Islands has not done much to make the case of scientists and environmentalists who support the idea. There are other examples that I sent to Jerry Roberts, but I won't take up the space here. I don't agree at all with you that the news pages "lean away" from the editorial content.

Is it fair to ask the most recent "anonymous" above if he/she is employed by the News-Press?

2/11/2006 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, John, still can't come up with any thoughts as to whether the visioning committee is a sham?

2/11/2006 3:49 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

So, anonymous, I guess each of us chooses to answer only the questions we want. Thanks for answering mine on whether you work for the News-Press.

2/11/2006 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one likes excessive repetition. Sounds like advertising. Many opinions are unbalanced and one sided. Not a crime usually. Whether they convince. Who knows. Like my opinion that while the visioning process isn't really a sham, the packing of a small committee and the limits on public comment will make it in the end have little moral and maybe even legal authority. It might not even serve as much of a fig leaf for supervisor Susan, who seems in the middle of a slow train wreck. If the visioning committee is non-Brown Act, and anyone can talk to anyone at any time, why spend all of the money on Jostes? These seem to be intelligent people. Why not just let the committee self-determine its own processes by majority vote. For instance, letting in more members and more public comment. Nothing wrong with true public outreach, given the future and the current lack of overall planning.

2/11/2006 5:49 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Back to the 11:48am post...Das Williams was instrumental in helping "pro-development" Grant House get elected to the City Council.

How can Das expect anyone to believe that he's a protector of neighborhoods?

Thanks to Das, we are stuck with Grant House for at least four years.

Hey Das, thanks for nothin'!

2/11/2006 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's funny how John S.R complains about repetition of the NP when that's all he does here is - complain about Travis. Fixation ...
Also, he admits he's a pest to the NP by calling Roberts all the time about TA.
John, let it go! You make no sense.
You, va cee it don't you?

2/12/2006 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, funny in how john gripes about the NP editorials being one-sided, but his posts here are too!
Look in the mirror I guess.
What a laugh!

2/12/2006 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We wonder how many of the posters here read the editorial pages in the morning first - hardly making them boring, john.
But more than that, why isn't the indi ever spark a post here. Doesn't the weakly matter? Why doesn't it?

2/12/2006 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Beach said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/12/2006 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, by post 27, does anyone want to give their thoughts to Sara's original question, which is a critical and important lon-range local issue? Or are we just going to attack Travis personally (without showing any incorrect facts) and now Wendy personally?

How can we complain of newspaper opinions when we tolerate far worse from people like "beach" at 6:57 am?

2/12/2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Beach -- part of of me agrees with you, but this is getting out of hand and I am deleting your post. Sorry but we've got to start sticking to the subject -- and that goes for everyone!

2/12/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

P.S. Let's not berate JSR -- he explained his stance, let's be okay about that! You or I may not agree but we don't have to keep on questioning like he is waiting by his browser with bated breath to respond.

2/12/2006 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Beach said...

Geez! Now I know what it feels like to be DAnish catoonist! My point, with a bad attempt at sarcasm, was the NP uses editorials to attack "opponents" almost everyday! I have an obligation to fight back. but ok SAra, I'll go away now...

2/12/2006 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara....good judgment.

Now, everyone, back to the visioning question...

2/12/2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What other noteworthy editorial section publishes a response, but then uses its own bully pulpit on the same day to attempt to take away the validity of that response? just ol' TA, as shown today, continuing to demean the intentions of the citizens giving of their time on the Visioning committee. What trash he spews. Shame on the N-P, shame.

2/12/2006 2:37 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Beach -- not asking you to go away. Just to not go personal...we can fight back with reason and judgement too.

2/12/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What trash he spews"??

It never ends....

Over and out, for good.

2/12/2006 3:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Here's an attempt to stay on topic. Let's go back to the beginning...Susan Rose started this whole thing by attempting to shove high-density housing into open space in Goleta. Citizens from all walks of life objected, responded, were ignored, and then tesponded with a threat of recall. In an effort to sidestep the recall, Susan made some half-hearted efforts at "public oureach". Unfortunately, she then continued to force her agenda, and succeeded in only fueling the fire even more.

Due to so much interest in the story, Travis began to write about the topic. His OPINION is based on the FACT that Rose was deceiving citizens and using her public office to pander to a small section of the community that is brainwashed into thinking that Smart Growth (oxymoron) is a viable planning approach. If anyone is "bashing" her, it's because she made some horrible decisions. She brought this on herself by her own actions, and by her continuing efforts to ignore the citizens of the 2nd District.

Now, several months later, Susan's solution is to create a "Vision Committee" which is charged to do two things that cannot or should not happen:
(1) Create a Community Plan in a couple months, and
(2) Select 62 acres of Goleta open-space to upzone.

The reason Travis and others are "bashing" Susan is for the simple reason that no one can create a Community Plan in a couple months, AND most of the citizens are opposed to upzoning 62 acres of open space...THIS IS WHAT STARTED THE NEIGHBORHOOD UPRISING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

In conclusion, Susan deserves the sharp criticism, whether you like Tavis or not.

In addition, the consultant's resistance to full transparency and adherence to Brown Act rules just adds to the perception that Susan's office is not fully attmpting to be open and honest about her intentions.

2/12/2006 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Carson says it correct.

Susan Rose has made this an issue by her action and her behind the scenes actions - without the majority of the board she can no longer play the behind the scenes game and get away with it.

Please remember before Buttney lost two years ago this same thing was going on in the Santa Ynez Valley - leading to the rise in the POLO and POSY groups.

Sort of funny that CSP, POLO, and POSY all are in responce to the - - - - - - - - - conservative

- - - no - - - - the progressive - - -

Shoving social engeineering down our throats with more and more units.

Hello Das (until recent - a Rose clone on density for social engeneering) - - - no wonder CSP do not like him and are leaning to Joe.

The real out of the box candidate for the neighborhoods is Secord - - not trying to social engineer - look at Santa Ynez today with a property rights advocate (Firestone) vs. with Buttney (a Das key supporter who is anti growth except for affordable high density horrible housing).

Think before you knee jerk - Secord is not anti-growth but he has never nailed a neigborhood like Rose, Wolf and Marshall/Buttney (the team behind Das).

2/12/2006 4:56 PM  
Anonymous beach said...

Beat the dead horse...again..we already know the Susan Rose story..and the NP will continue to editorialize about it the Np readers have ADD? SB has grown too much already thanks to state water, and now Noleta is afraid of "affordable housing"?? Where were they when the McMansions were sprouting up? supporting absolute private property rights, no doubt! We better save ag or we're all goners!

2/12/2006 5:22 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Na,na,na,na,na. Not so fast, anonymous 4:56pm. Thanks for your partial support, BUT...

Secord has been at City Hall for 16-plus years. ALL of the high-density development in the City has happened under his watch. He is a developer's dream; a neighborhood's nightmare. Not to mention that he did the same in his short(thank goodness)tenure on the Coastal Commission.

Dr. Dan needs to just go away. Go retire on your plush, bluff-top property and stop wrecking our community with your rabid, pro-growth mentality.

2/12/2006 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone. Wonderful. Congratulations for staying on topic! If this blog can stay on topic and avoid the constant personal attacks it could have some real influence in the second district, depending on the quality of the original ideas generated here.

2/13/2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous SBR said...


Readers obviously enjoy this site and like to post their comments here.

Can I suggest something?

Bring in some other writers to help you. There are a lot of them out there. I don't accept most of them at my site, but this here is a wonderful site for them.


2/14/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...


Thanks for the feedback and there are actually a couple of writers here already -- although they haven't been too active of late. I've been recruiting a north county writer over the last couple of weeks and we may see their posts soon to specifically look at those issues.

2/15/2006 8:25 AM  

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