Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rose and Blum and Capps. Oh My!

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my.

Travis Armstrong's opinion today took on the letter from Susan Rose to supporters that we reported about here at Blogabarbara a week and a half ago.

If there was any doubt that Armstrong had added Supervisor Rose to his targeted list of politicans, there is none now. As we've talked quite a bit here about editorial letter policy, let's take a look at what he wrote:

We don't look favorably on letters that are blatantly manufactured by politicians or developers or other special interests in attempts to make them appear to be from grass-roots supporters. In the newspaper world, this is called astro-turfing. The Republican right, in particular, began exploiting the Internet a couple of years back to generate such letters to the editor.

But we'll generally consider ones that are civil, aren't factually incorrect, aren't defamatory and don't make personal attacks on private citizens. (You should see the derogatory letters about Ms. Rose we choose not to print because they are too snide, in bad taste or not fitting for a family newspaper.)

This in itself I can understand to an extent -- manufactured letters without one's own touch would make for boring copy and should probably not be considered for publication -- I'll give him that. What I find interesting is to look at how he described his process, that he will "generally consider" -- he clearly holds the power of what letters to publish very seriously. As well he should -- but from what position and philosophy?

Whether he respects his own guidelines of civility is another saying that "it's time we all just forget about Ms. Rose" or that "it's time to let Ms. Rose ride off into the sunset" or accusing her of a "victim mentality" very civil? Is it befitting a "family newspaper"?

Armstrong tries to make a case that because she and others are elected officials -- they have to abide by higher standards than anyone else. Why can't the editor of our largest daily, arguably a public figure, abide by those standards as well? Oh my.


Anonymous Pot said...

The Kettle is black, and in a Glass House.

4/02/2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger Midtown Mercenary said...

"Because of the control they have over our lives, any lawmaker must be held to a higher standard than you or me."

Oh My! already out of touch, the man is now clearly out of control. Sara picked up on this complete hipocracy already. So now the editor presumably holds himself to a lower standard? Indeed. "We only like civil letters" -- like the personal call out and personal name-caling of the city transpo dude in the very next letter editor?

Clearly there are some self-inflictd wounds among the recent targets of The Editor, but what a crappy, boring, predictable and distasteful pile of garbage to greet the day with. Ouch. Can't we just have one day of decent community affairs opinion? How about just one day without Rose people getting slimed and rats & pigs getting idolized?

4/02/2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...


I hope you've noticed over the last few months a change in the tone of our posts here at BlogaBarbara -- yes, I call Mr. Armstrong "FactsWrong" occasionally but only when it fits. Notice I didn't today -- this is opinion, he's entitled to it but what about the standards he holds to everyone else?

4/02/2006 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News-Press Editorial Board has clearly learned from its previous mistake in dealing with letters officials mail to their consitutents criticizing the NP.

When Mayor Marty did her letter taking on the NP, the NP reaction was to give her lots of free publicity by not just making it the subject of news stories but also re-printing her letter.

That backfired because Marty's letter spoke the truth and the truth hurt the NP.

So when Supervisor Susan Rose sent a letter to her constituents, the NP turned tail. There have been no news stories and no reprinting of Rose's allegations. Instead the NP resorted to its usual techniques, using hearsay and unsupported characterizations, such as calling Rose's tactics uncivil, without offering an ounce of facts or support.

Whether she intended to or not, Rose has backed the NP into the darkest corners of journalism, retreating to unsupported opinions, smears, and false allegations when the facts and real news are not on their side.

Bravo Rose!

4/02/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Pot said...

The Kettle needs to understand this from the editorial:

"we'll generally consider ones that are civil, aren't factually incorrect, aren't defamatory and don't make personal attacks on private citizens."

Nice one about "generally consider" as an escape clause for why so many published letters and commentaries actually are NOT civil and factually correct, and actually are defamatory with personal attacks. And apparently, personal attacks on PUBLIC citizens are okay, but are not civil if the target is a "private citizen".

The FACTSWRONG moniker and hypocrisy reached its zenith today with this editorial.

Who is the Kettle, and who is the Pot?

4/02/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo, Travis, for being an alternative voice on the essentially one-party south coast. It's what newspapers need to do more of-show courage in the face of power. Unlike elected officials, newspapers don't make laws. So much for Susan's "campaign mode."

4/02/2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marty's "bad smell over de la Guerra Plaza" letter? Huh? Terrible judgment. Even Sara, usually an unabashed Marty supporter, thinks so. Nothing but. Susan's letter is in the same category. The difference is - unlike Our Mayor --Susan wasn't trying to raise money in an unopposed race to keep her campaign manager compensated. She just couldn't control her temper over being out of power. Armstrong's only mistake is that his column gives Rose's lifeless letter some false legs for a few extra feet.

4/02/2006 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Affordable Housing Advocate said...

I am thankful to have Travis defending the character and livability of Santa Barbara. We need our ONLY representative, Susan Rose to defend Goleta Valley's right to have comprehensive planning BEFORE any rezoning without public input can take place.

Susan Rose will be representing her constituents ONLY IF she supports the GVC's recommendation to put no Goleta Valley sites into the 2003-2008 Housing Element. There's still time for Susan to do the right thing!

Here's the answer:
1. No sites from Noleta are put up for density in the current Housing Element.
2. The Visioning Committee finishes its work by the end of 2006.
3. Susan Rose gets the board to approve the rest of the funding for the updated Community Plan.
4. Susan Rose leaves office with everyone happy -- development is delayed, but proper planning is underway.
5. The new sup comes into office under good circumstances, as the Community Planning process continues with a lot of public outreach and input.
6. Meanwhile, another Housing Element deadline will enter the fray.
7. After the GV Community Plan is complete, Noleta will be able to contribute to the RHNA allocation accordingly.

Voila!! It really IS that easy.


4/02/2006 4:31 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Time for the NIMBY bazooka again?

nice corruption of an anonymous blogger name

4/02/2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

No she can't. It's NOT in her DNA.

It's why she's embattled. It's why she's leaving.

She will disappoint all the way to the bitter end.

4/02/2006 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Affordable Housing Advocate said...

Everyone needs to realize that affordable housing and comprehensive planning are not mutually exclusive. Not only do people need help with housing, but giving them sidewalks and infrastructure and clean air and adequate resources would be the way to go as well -- don't you think?

For FDS, I repeat the request on the IMBY policy:
I have a request for anyone who is using the term NIMBY, to identify themselves as an IMBY and tell us the block you live on, and which high-density rezones you are supporting in your immediate neighborhood. Otherwise, please don't call anyone else a NIMBY.

FDS, does your favorite backyard project have sidewalks and height restrictions? Let us know.

4/03/2006 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lois Capps is a pawn of Janet Wolfs. Only by electing Das will our party go back to it's roots. Rose is tired and broken down and should be left alone. Let Das take up our fight!

4/03/2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Let Das finish his FIRST term on City Council. Let him show us that he can keep his first promise before he makes new ones.

4/03/2006 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the random Das commercials in these blogs. So much, that I made my own:

Das is the next great American leader!
Das is good friends with Aquaman!
Das only sleeps once a week, in a chair!

4/03/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous YIMBY said...

Most of the urban (or suburban, or [barf] "subrural") areas of the South Coast region are far denser with people than the current conditions in Noleta are, and even with the overall density after some of these potential housing projects are built in Noleta.

The bubble is bursting in Noleta, with density still less than nearly everyone else. You Noleta NIMBYs need to feel the pain too, like the rest of us.

I will trade you some of the illegal aliens in my neighborhood for twice the number of new residents in any new housing that may be built in Noleta.

4/03/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

I’m not a fan of the News-Press editorial pages, but I think I can be objective. Last week, I wrote that I did not believe that the editor got his facts wrong because he had the resources behind him to avoid those situations. Some fans of Armstrong cited my admission to bolster their support of the editor. Those people disregarded the point of my letter--that he trashes people politically and personally through a barrage of one-sided, unbalanced, and unfair columns. There is no attempt at presenting a fair picture. In this recent column, he says that Rose tries to “deflect attention from her record by going after this newspaper through a mass-mailed letter.” That’s not true at all. Her letter is an attempt to defend her record. Armstrong’s column said nothing that contradicted anything in Rose’s letter. And since the News-Press injected its own opinions into Rose’s previous column in the News-Press, is there something wrong with an elected politician communicating directly with her constituents and supporters?

Those of you who agree with Armstrong’s positions use that agreement to overlook his unfair treatment of individuals. In this latest column, he says that the NP policy is to consider letters that “are civil, aren't factually incorrect, aren't defamatory and don't make personal attacks on private citizens.” But this is the person who decided to print the letter just before the 2004 election that accused Pedro Nava (a News Press target) of causing the suicide of his wife, devastating the children, and stealing their inheritance. The timing was intentional, the content was undignified, and the decision to print it was a shabby attempt by the News-Press to achieve a political end through the proxy of a letter writer.

Before Rose, it was Blum, and Capps, and Marshall. I don’t expect you Armstrong supporters to change your minds until the next recipient of ten or twenty unbalanced, negative columns and editorials happens to be someone who has a position you agree with. That day will come.

In the meantime, I hope you didn’t have a decent opinion of the Nature Conservancy. Since they don’t seem to want to bow to the News-Press position on the Santa Cruz Island feral pig issues, it looks like you’re going to reading a stream of one-sided negativity that will question the organization’s founders, environmentalists, scientists, programs, finances, tax-exempt status, and morals.

4/03/2006 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Affordable Housing Advocate said...

Dear YIMBY--

You forgot to tell us what block you live on and what high-density projects you are supporting there. Instead, you say that others "need to feel the pain" -- is that what this is all about in your mind? Since you are unhappy with your neighborhood, you think that others should be unhappy, too?

As for illegal aliens, I can't tell you who's "legal" and who's not, but I will tell you that there are A LOT of second-unit garage conversions out here in unincorporated land which are providing affordable living space to lots of people. Those numbers are not on the county books, not accounted for when they run their RHNA numbers. I was aware of those second units when I moved into this neighborhood, and I am fine with them.

4/03/2006 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I disagree with some of the N-P editorials, I think even they are hugely preferable to those of state water promoter John Lankford. I am disappointed in the continuing attacks on Marty Blum, so many of which seem as though generated by personal spite. Was Mr. Armstrong even in Santa Barbara during the (to-him) sainted reign of Harriet Miller? The love affair with her seems perfect hindsight.

But as for The Nature Conservancy, the Wsahington Post ran an intensive series on TNC in May 2003. They dug deeply and found a large amount of corporate ties and highly questionable management. TNC has said it has done a major house-cleaning. For a brief discussion, see the Foundation Center's report:

They're fair game, in my opinion, although it would have been pleasant had there been more balance in today's, as usual....

4/03/2006 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with john san roque. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with Rose or anyone else, the NP practices are not to be admired or encouraged.

Travis and the NP are violating journalistic ethics and we all know it. It is indisputable that they write editorials that introduce "facts" that have never been reported or verified. They repeat hearsay and accusations as facts.

Then they spin this into a kind of story ascribing motives or creating characterizations that have no real foundation.

The final part of their " editorial recipe" is that they choose to print mostly letters and columns that agree with the NP version, filtering out most that disagree. Trust me, the most civil responses of me and many friends, all fewer than 250 words, have been suppressed by the NP.

As john san roque said, when you too are the butt of such unfair treatment, you will know what we're talking about.

Hiding behind behind the freedom of the press, when you have a monopoly as the only daily in town, while perfectly legal, violates the American tradition of fair play. Not everything that is legal is laudable or commendable.

The NP practices should be condemned, even when they are used to support a cause you believe in. The ends do not justify the means.

4/03/2006 10:53 PM  
Anonymous cityboy said...

standards are in the eye of the beholder..right Sara? Travis can say what he wants..some of it is nonsense. However, the Nature Conservancy and NPS deserve investigation,CHIAPA and others pointed this out long before the NP. The "restoration" is nothing more than species cleansing!

4/04/2006 6:56 AM  
Anonymous YIMBY said...

Yes, I will post a comment with my address when the NIMBYs post comments with their social security numbers, charge card numbers, and access PIN codes.

Yes, Noletans should be unhappy with their neighborhoods too, on par with the rest of the urban and suburban south coast region. When every third home is is full of 4 "undocumented workers" per bedroom, then you will have experienced enough pain.

Newspress editorials seem to have run out of issues, so they run editorials from more than a year ago.

Yes, exotic pig eradication is species cleansing; that is the whole point!!!
It is blatent species-ism infavor of numerous plant species that grow nowhere else on Earth, plus a fox species as well. It is all about favoring the rare native species over pigs originating from EurAsia that are turning the islands into a giant mudhole. Cityboy seems to be getting it at last.

But please, let's have a series of comments here about the merits of feral pigs. Perhaps they should be tranquilized, then transported to a giant pen on those agro housing sites in Noleta?

4/04/2006 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as Travis "censuring" the news, it is only fair that Sara now give us a running daily count of how many he/she is now deleting via the new "comment moderation." I've already had one civil on-topic comment not make the cut. Maybe because it disagreed with Sara's position. I'll add here, "let's see if this makes it through" to give it a better chance of not being censured.

4/04/2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nature Conservancy" Oxymoron. Check the Washington Post series. Check out what they are doing on Santa Cruz.

4/04/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

I agree with cityboy and anonymous 8:20. The Nature Conservancy is fair game and they deserve to be criticized for past actions. Anyone is fair game, but don't forget the "fair" component.

The Nature Conservancy is a long-established environmentalist organization with over a million members who support efforts to preserve open space. When they screw up, that merits criticism, but it doesn't mean that it is an organization that has not accomplished good works in the past or will continue in the future.

Their decision about Santa Cruz Island has been supported several times by the courts and by many academic, scientific, and environmental groups. Because you may disagree with the actions of persons or groups, that doesn't mean that they are completely corrupt, insensitive, or mean-spirited.

4/04/2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

9:48 -- there have been a couple a day that have either been mean-spirited, off topic or gratuitous support/commercials for a candidate. The issue I have with Mr. Armstrong isn't censure -- he's entitled to his opinion and what letters he prints -- but shouldn't a community newspaper print various opinions? Sometimes this happens, sometimes this doesn't.

BlogaBarbara shows a greater range of opinion than the News-Press letter pages....and like Armstrong, yes I can choose not to print a letter here and there. So, accuse me a censureship all you want -- we show a greater range of diversity here.

Our guidelines are much simpler -- be civil and truly add to the conversation no matter what the opinion is. If you do that, your comment will be posted.

4/04/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Affordable Housing Advocate said...


Of course, you don't want to give out your address. But if you are going to criticize others for their ideals regarding their own neighborhoods, then you should offer up which neighborhood is truthfully yours and the types of land-use decisions you have supported there.

But if you do decide to offer your address, I will go online and use my very own credit card to buy you a nice get-well present and have it shipped directly to your house, or condo, or garage.

4/04/2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, you're starting to sound like Travis Armstrong. Without knowing what either of you delete, we have to go by what we read; and so far there's nothing to back up your claim of a "greater range of diversity" here as compared to the News-Press editorial page. I guess "selection" comes with the territory now that you too are an editor.

4/05/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Believe me -- I don't delete much. Selection does come with the territory but the fact that I print any number of opinions of the issues here should give you a good clue about diversity.

Like Armstrong, I don't have to show what I don't publish -- but unlike Armstrong, the proof is in the pudding. Especially when it comes to criticism of me!

4/05/2006 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das, got the endorsement of Democratic Women so much for the A-listers.

4/05/2006 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does that mean, "so much for the A-listers"?

genuinely puzzled

4/06/2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted in SB said...

oh, the A-listers whose support Das will come begging for some day? not soon, however....all people have to do is look at the names on the boards of his endorsers to get the picture....his fan club notwithstanding, Das will not make it over the hump

4/06/2006 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Das has the official endorsement of the Democratic Party. A-listers where are you: iya, naomi, susan, salud come on this is too easy.

4/06/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Yes, the names on the boards represent a small group of characters who change hats from one interview to the next. Quite childish actually...and yet somehow fitting...considering who they endorse. The second district voters won't be fooled.

4/06/2006 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Not worried in Second District said...

Yes---even the Dem Central Committee lists vacancies in the 2nd district; and Das' best friends are filling the South coast seats--Daraka, Nancy, etc.

Their influence is meaningless to voters in the 2nd. If anything their endorsement of someone willing to abandon his first elected office midterm diminish not only the endorsements, but the credibility of the groups doing the endorsing.

4/07/2006 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the Democratic Central Committee?

4/07/2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger First District Truthteller said...

On Janet Wolf's website she is listing the Sierra Club as an endorser. That will certainly shake things up...

4/07/2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

The Democratic Central Committee is the official arm of the Democratic Party in the county...their endorsement is the party's endorsement.

4/07/2006 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sierra club endorsed both Janet and Das.

4/07/2006 11:54 AM  
Anonymous NO Cabal, please said...

well, Sara, the DCC in Santa Barbara is no longer representative of local Democrats. Especially in the second district, where there are two vacancies, and one of the reps is Stephanie Langsdorf, Das' campaign manager!!!!!

This is not just "spin"----this is fact. Take a look at the members of the Dem Women Board, Dem Service Club----it's the same few people who have formed a cabal with das as the centerpiece. It won't play with second district voters.

4/07/2006 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das, if you are listening, please tell us again, why are you running anyway? You're aligning yourself with Joe's positions, and you should feel obligated to see the city council job through anyway. So, Das, if it's not personal gain for you or help for Dan Secord, then what is the reason?

4/07/2006 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah the death throws of a campaign that once thought itself to be the A-listers and unassailable. For the record James Kyriako (janet wolf's campaign manager) was sitting on and cast a vote on the Dem Central Committee Board - along with stephanie langsendorf (das's campaign manager).

4/08/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kyriaco is not on the central committee. he was there just delivering Bob Handy's vote for him.

4/08/2006 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Waiting for sanity to return said...

It appears to some of us that the acronyms "DCC" and "DSC" now refer to "Das Central Committee" and "Das Service Club"; like it always does, hero worship will fade and hopefully soon we'll return to a community and party that focuses on values and principles and not kingmaking. in the meantime we hope that some of these groups survive the divisiveness that has been wrought.

4/10/2006 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democratic Service Club does not endorse candidates. We provide tabling for all democratic candidates in non-partisan races and list volunteer opportunities for any democratic candidates that send us their notices. We also get-out-the-vote for candidates officially endorsed by the Democratic party.

If you have further questions or concerns about the Democratic Service Club, please contact us at We welcome your interest and involvement!

Mary Anne Weiss
Vice President, DSC

4/11/2006 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks, Mary Anne
but your comments contain some inherent contradictions; you assert that the DSC "does not endorse" yet you also claim the DSC will "get out the vote for candidates...endorsed by the Dem Party"...

In a non-partisan race for supervisor, in which 3 candidates happen to be Democrata, it's appalling that local DCC 'insiders' colluded to endorse one candidate prior to the primary, instead of getting out the vote for the Democrats. In the end, this will do more to hurt the local DCC and DSC than the candidates who were shunned. Especially when two of the 2nd District seats in the DCC are vacant,.

So unnecessary, and so ugly.

4/12/2006 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all,

My understanding is that the DSC made a statement that they wouldn't be doing anything in June for the supervisors race because of how divisive the city council race was, and the number of democrats exceeded the number of spots. Has something changed since then?

4/13/2006 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the council election was so divisive because people were strong armed into supporting a candidate they had major reservations about. you heard the phrase "lois wants this, naomi wants that, salud wants this - oh its for the good of the party" so many times it made you throw up.

4/13/2006 10:15 PM  

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