Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I've been sitting on the Travis Armstrong DUI story for a couple of days after getting an anonymous comment...the truth is, even with the lapse of judgement on his part, it could happen to any of us. It will be interesting to see how his radio interview with Joe Armenderiz goes tomorrow. The article in today's paper, although seemingly spinned heavily, hopefully represents his true intentions about the matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It COULD happen to any of us. And Armstrong handled it well.

5/09/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

Obviously, that was a huge mistake and severe lapse of judgment by Travis Armstrong. The lingering issue is about how people judge someone arrested, charged, and eventually convicted of drunk driving. Fortunately, he did not hit anything nor injure anyone, according to the news report.

Before the rivals and detractors of Travis Armstrong think this is some kind of Karmic retribution or something like that to get back at him for his editorial writings that cause so much heartburn if not offense, everyone should remember that he has not --as far as I know or can recall-- written anything to criticize drunk drivers, alcoholics, drug abusers, or whatever. If he has written such criticisms, that would be more than hypocritical on his part as the editorial writer, and indeed way over the top far his continued tenure at the News-Press.

Travis was not too swift, to put it mildly, for drunk driving; however, he has not pulled a Rush Limbaugh or the like, where the commenter (or editorialist) opines on his show (or in his column) about the evils of drug addicts and criminals while being one himself with Oxycontin pain pills.

I am no apologist for drunk driving, but before people go ape-sh*t over this news of the infamous editorialist getting busted for DUI, everyone should keep it in perspective about what actually has happened.

Travis obviously will not be driving his car too much for a long time, so maybe he will gain an appreciation for public transport, commuter trains, and the needs for an efficient bus system... AND the need to pay for all of it with a sales tax as the daughter of Measure D??
--David Pritchett

5/09/2006 4:51 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

waaaayyt a minute here!!
"could happen to any of us"!!!

Not all of us drink booze and even fewer of us drink and drive. Armstrong and Armendariz can drink all they want, as long as they do not drive on the public roads and endanger me and others. Sara, understand the difference.

Should Armstrong stay on the job? MAYBE.

Should Armendariz not seek re-election to Carpinteria city council or even resign early? Definitely YES.

Check out the interviews with the other councilmembers as in Carp. Coastal View last Wednesday:

5/09/2006 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was the article "spinned heavily"? Dawn Hobbs, Marty's favorite reporter, seemed to have a pretty fact based article. Enlighten me.

5/09/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I really doubt Dawn is Marty's favorite reporter....anyway, don't you think the article took great pains to have Armstrong sound contrite? Would most articles about this subject include a rather personal reflection on whether or not to seek counseling? I don't think so -- and I don't blame them for spinning it that way, I would too.

5/09/2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah Sara, I know Dawn isn't Marty's favorite reporter since she tried to get her fired. But was this reporting any different than the reporting on Armenderiz? As far as FDS and his teetotaling, what else do you expect from that Easter Bunny hating sourpuss?

5/09/2006 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh, Sara--no, it could NOT and in fact DOES not "happen to any of us" "happens" to those who choose to get drunk, leave the comfort of their homes, get in and drive off in a vehicle, drive the WRONG WAY on a one way street and [almost] into the loving arms of a police officer. And, contrite or not, humble or not, this man has just succeeded in violating the cardinal rule of good journalism----he has BECOME the news ---and put lots of people at risk doing so.

SHould he stay or go? I dunno....guess it depends on how journalistically savvy the News-Press owner is....hmmmmm

5/09/2006 7:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Of course, you are right -- not all of us would make the same choice. My point is that many have taken the risk and not gotten caught -- having had friends die from drunk drivers, people like myself and probably you won't take the chance.

5/09/2006 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, get over your grassy knoll theories of News-Press reporting. Most of the time a misdemeanor DUI by anyone would not be a big article in the newspaper. Short of rolling one's car and spending the night (like Armendarez) or hitting someone, normally, if reported at all, it would be just one of those tiny paragraphs on the back pages, rather than in big headlines on the third page. The News-Press went above and beyond to make sure it would't be accused of hiding the ball. And I've never heard of anyone pushing a pro like Hobbs around. Sara, you're entirely too cynical. Maybe Armstrong IS contrite. Most people would be in that situation. Maybe everything is not spin.

5/09/2006 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta love the idea of Travis interviewing Armendariz on his radio program tomorrow. My prediction is they will apologize and readily accept responsibility and vow to seek help--but then they will move quickly onto other issues like bashing Measure D. They want to show that they are still engaged and its back to life as normal--what personal crisis.

Somebody needs to call in to the radio program and ask them if their attitudes about Measure D have shifted at all. The renewal of Measure D will provide significant new funding for public transportation. Many of us are dependent on transit because we're too old, too young, disabled, too poor or can't get a driver's license.

5/10/2006 12:31 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Or, cannot get a drivers license becaue it was rescinded because of a drunk driving conviction?

And yes, Joe and Travis will have an interesting show indeed. Armendariz is doing well at spin control and deflection. Drunk driving by elected officials is not forgotten, and his rivals on Carpinteria City Council will not forget.

5/10/2006 12:48 AM  
Anonymous 101 said...

hey, JOE! need a ride to the interview??

5/10/2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly does one look for in downtown SB in the wee hours of a Saturday night?

5/10/2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just sickening listening to Trav and Joe on the radio this morning, slapping each other on the back, talking about how much support they are getting, then quickly moving onto Measure D and the politics of the day. It's all been swept under the rug I guess.

5/10/2006 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Travis and Joe, DUI is often, though not always, associated with alcoholism.

On the one hand, we know that alcoholism is a disease, not a vice, and that evokes a certain empathy.

On the other hand, it appears that neither Joe nor Travis sought treatment for what they should have recognized as a disease, one not just harmful to themselves but also rather obviously dangerous to others.

Failure to get treatment for a disease is not one of the 7 deadly sins, nor necessarily a sign of hubris or arrogance.

However, failure to get treatment for alcoholism, which is a threat to others as well as oneself, is a sign of monumentally bad judgment.

And one has to say that Travis has repeatedly exhibited bad judgment is wielding the enormous power of editor of the editorial page for the only daily newspaper in SB.

This latest incident is not just an isolated incident but another example of his consistently bad judgment.

And just as Travis is always trying to hold other accountable and responsible, it remains to be seen whether he merely acceptes responsibility, or whether he also accepts any real consequences for his actions and inaction, which it in this case, really were a matter of life and death.

5/10/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:16:

This was not a DUI by "anyone". Armstrong is a public figure and his actions merit coverage at the same level as other public figures. It's entirely possible that he's contrite. but I was surprised that the News-Press article spent a lot of time with his explanations. Maybe that's valid since he is a public figure, like Armendariz.

If I read the article correctly, an officer tried to stop him on the wrong-way street by waving his flashlight, Armstrong turned down another street, and then was stopped by a second officer.

Do you think this would have been page 3 article or a page 1 article if Mayor Blum or Susan Rose was arrested for DUI after not stopping for a policeman?

5/10/2006 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of self-righteous BS from all you paragons of morality. He made a mistake, he will pay for it and after the arrest and resolution of his case it becomes a private matter. You will make sure his humiliation stays front and center. His opinions will remain fodder for discussion but throttle back on the Dr. Phil okay? By way, did you think this would change his mind about Marty and the rest? He was drunk, not on acid!

5/10/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous 101 said...

"self-righteous"?? hey, let's not sweep this stupid behavior under the rug..when you hit your 40's, you should have learned something about being an adult...Joe and Travis deserve everything..good and bad..that comes from this.. but I,for one, am getting sick of drunks on the freakin' road!That's my tax money to process them.Humiliation for the offenders? sure! It's now a small part of his therapy..self-inflicted

5/10/2006 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Travis and Joe got drunk at home, then decided to grab the keys and go for a drive. Where were they going? No one has explored this. Joe left a wife and kids at home late at night to go where? Travis was driving around downtown SB much later...looking for what?

5/11/2006 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joe was headed down a closed road with big signs saying "road closed" - not the route taken by someone "just out for a drive" i wonder whom he was going to see?

5/11/2006 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thing that we are supposed to live in a Country where nobody gets to ask that question except the people closest to them and certainly not the Moral giants striding across this blog.

5/12/2006 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea 718 except that when you're driving the wrong way drunk on a one way street!

5/16/2006 9:26 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Joe A. had a blood alcohol count of 0.19
(as reported as a news brief in Carpinteria Coastal View on Wed., May 24th.)

Travis A. had an alcohol count of... wait for it... 0.23 or nearly triple the legal limit of 0.08%

The latter is going around the political wonk world and no doubt will be reported on the Saturday of a 3-day holiday weekend.

This would make a good separate posting for Blogabarbara, but I am putting it here for now, considering the moderator Sarah does not seem to check her email with the address, as a way to send such tips for Blogabarbara postings.

5/26/2006 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Lew Marklin said...

I am researching this issue for an episode of my show, and I am very surprised that so many people are here to tar and feather Travis Armstrong for a simple DUI. Was he wrong? Sure. Did he learn his lesson...I certainly think so. It sounds to me, like many of you on here were just laying in wait for Armstrong to make any sort of mistake. I myself have a DUI, and it is what it is. I learned a painful lesson, that I plan to not repeat, after 5 thousand dollars, a night in jail, a year of classes, no driving priviledges and AA (I have decided not to drink at all...sober a year now). I have been around this town for 10 years and seen a lot of well known Santa Barbarans drink at parties and jump in their cars to drive home. I have watched News Casters at KEYT, almost every reporter fron the news press, including the one who wrote the article, judges, lawyers, police officers, college professors, government officials, and just about everything in between, drive around santa barbara under the influence of alcohol and/or pot.
It would be retarded to fire him for a DUI that he committed on his own time. This is still a country where you can make mistakes on your free time. I am not owned by my employer, nor should you or anybody else. It is atrocious to asssume that someones employer should excercise that kind of power over a free person. I am angered by the mere thought of it. I think some of you have the kind of control issues that are making this country a very uncomfortable place to live in, at least in a small town, where you enslave those who are caught in your evil web of judgement and imposed will. Get a life. I am sure that Travis became nervous at the realization that an officer was flashing him, and he wanted to get out of the area quickly and made the wrong turn. I know people who become so nervous at the presence of a police officer that they would make this mistake whether drinking or not.

10/10/2007 3:33 AM  

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