Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

That's Me?

We've already been talking about the "where did Das grow up and is he Latino" issue quite a bit on these pages -- and assuming the quote from the council pay raise which Travis Armstrong wrote about today is correct, this won't be end of the story.

Here's how he addressed the issue here at BlogaBarbara -- and as far as I am concerned, he gets points for addressing this head on:

To set the record straight on the race issue, I informed the Latino Today newspaper that I was not Latino by blood, but they decided to give the award to me because of my service to the Latino community. I am part Native American, Indonesian, Dutch, yankee caucasian, and maybe African (unknown side of the family), but in Isla Vista and Goleta, where I grew up, i was adopted by the Latinos as part of the gente. I am honored by that, and the award and Barney knows all this, but, more drama presenting it like a smoking gun, right?

I understand where Armstrong is coming from but also think that racial identity has a lot to do with self-identity and one's experiences growing up. If I were Das, I might have been more careful about how I described myself but does one's race have to do with genetics only? One could say Das is bicultural because of his background, no?


Anonymous dd said...

It is correct to say that Das has a multicultural upbringing, and it has a valid place in his biography.

What he should not do, or any other politician do, is assign themselves a racial classification that isn't scientifically correct.

If enthnicity is disproven, it tends to backlash on the politico, espeically calling into question the value of honesty.

It's good Das has clarified it. He must now face the fact that this major faux pax will dog his career just about forever.

5/16/2006 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean that when I fill out those bubble charts I can choose whatever race, say, Pacific Islander, that I choose because of my experience? Sara, don't be a apologist on this one. This issue does make a difference on a lot of levels.

5/16/2006 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Armstrong is a tool. He will do anything to try and stop Das. let's get back to the real issues. let's not let the corporate puppet masters dictate what this race is about. This race is about the enviroment, growth, and the hidden hand of party big wigs and corporate bosses trying to sieze control of our county.

5/16/2006 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's that Mike Pinto again saying "look over here" when the light is shined on his candidate (das') biggest albatross---dishonesty; call it lying by omission, creating false perceptions, whatever---Das has on many many many ocassions let the perception that he is Latino linger; naive thing to do, unsophisticated and of course coming back to bite him now;

but really, the issue is more about honesty than it is about race.

5/16/2006 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Mike. Nice misdirection try. Next.

5/16/2006 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please, can we move on with the real issues of this campaign?

If someone identified as gay, but only came out in his adulthood - perhaps he was even married to a woman at some point - are we to deny his identity for part of his life and not others and call him a liar?

Many people claim a Jewish heritage, or at least identify with the Jewish faith, even if they are not fully Jewish. Jewish law requires that your mother be a Jew for you to be a Jew. Are we saying that those who have non-Jewish mothers but identify as Jewish are really liars?

Identity is a personal thing - and yes, if one grew up in a Latino community, why wouldn't they identify with that community on a cultural level?

Truth is with this story is that those who are not supporting Das will want to make this a big issue and those who are supporting Das won't care. What we should really be focusing on are the issues of the 2nd district and the candidates' positions on those issues.

Can June 6th come any sooner!!

5/16/2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to America!!

Newsflash to Das and Sara : by your definitions, we are all Latino! Finally we can admit that we are all part of the gente. Das may think he's some sort of special blend, pointing out that he's part this, a dash of that, etcetera. But get real. We are all a bunch of mixed breeds. Hallelujah!

The issue here is honesty. There is a major lesson to be learned with Das on this one. He will allow people to believe certain things about him, although false, if that gains him favor. BIG BAD WARNING.

5/16/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, by all means, let's throw the whole integrity issue out of the campaign. What a load of baloney. I believe the phrase is "hoisted on his own petard." But you are right, the cultists will believe to the end.

5/16/2006 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an issue. Honesty matters. All of the other issues amount to nothing if we can't trust the people talking about them.

Das Williams: To slick for the Central Coast...

5/16/2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Anon 9:25 is right. This issue here is honesty. Race has nothing to do with this. No matter the topic, it's wrong for anyone to claim anything that is not true. Das has shown that he will make false statements in order to further his political career. This is not the type of person that should be in public office.

5/16/2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger Malcolm said...

Das' message to supporters about the spin Travis Armstrong and others are trying to put on this is posted at DAS Blog at:
~ Malcolm

5/16/2006 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What follows is an excerpt of an email sent by Das Williams to his supporters.

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to send a personal message to my supporters and arm you with
some truth to combat the out-of-context insinuations in the News-Press.

First, though many people assume because of my skin color, and I did grow up
in Latino neighborhoods, I am not Latino by blood. Both Josh Molina (who
grew up with me) and Barney Macmanagal know this, AS DO THE LATINO LEADERS
THAT GAVE ME THE AWARD, though Barney chose to treat it as a smoking gun in
his profile of me.

This morning, Travis Armstrong sought to further question my integrity by
bringing up a hearing in which I was decrying the lack of Latino
representation. He used a partial quote to make me look bad:

"This isn't a diverse council. In a community where we have a population
that is 35 percent
Latino, we now have half a Latino. That's me."

He did not include what I said after that: "I am the closest thing we have
to a Latino councilmember."

So lets look at this. Half a latino is not the same as a whole latino. One surely would get the impression from the full quote that he was 50% latino. So how does this explanation jive with the truth? And when you consider that he accepted an award given to the "50 most influential latinos" it further clouds the issue.

I don't think this is going to go away...

5/16/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

The reason some are upset is this: Das made a small mistake. Then he admitted it and corrected it. He moved on. The reason some hang onto this is because they have nothing else to attack Das on. I can see Janet's next commercial " This is Congresswoman Lois Capps, Das Williams is not a Latino" Das is addressing the issues the voters care about. That is the reason for his success!

5/16/2006 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Pinto--

There is plenty to call Das out on, not just his posing to gain Latino votes. He says he is against rezoning ag land, but then favors develpment on the MTD property. He raises money and gathers support to win a seat on the City Council, but seeks to leave the position before he has finished the term. He says he will only run if there is a "need", but runs anyway with very similar positions to other candidates. He says that Joe Guzzardi would be a better representative, but doesn't know how to "win" an election. He supports taxes for transportation, but claims it won't work for open space acquisition. He supports density along Hollister Avenue, but tells the neighborhoods he will defend them from development. None of it adds up, and people like me are sick of trying to sift out the little white lies.

5/16/2006 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes by all means read Das's reaction to the "hit piece". The explanation or justification just makes it worse. "Yankee Caucasion" has thankfully been dropped as a descriptor. It must be inoperative. One of the more revealing tidbits is the disclosure that he and Joshua Molina, the reporter covering him at City Hall for the News Press "grew up together". The makes a lot of things much more clear. Too bad Joshua doesn't have the County beat. It isn't ever the burglary or the sex or the money or even the lying, it is the bungling afterword that sinks political careers.

5/16/2006 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

news flash Mike Pinto: voters care about and vote for public officials who do not engage in deception. this is only the tip of the iceberg that is Das's mountain of half-truths about himself and his background. it will melt of its own accord, needs no help from anycampaign.

By the way, Joe is the real deal.

5/16/2006 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Deniable Truthiness in heritage said...

all sounds like a page from another playbook:
how John Kerry played off his Irish-sounding name for decades until finally his real [NON irish] roots were discovered; kerry always claimed "deniability" but it was clear the average Massachusetts voter, many of whom happen to be of Irish ancestry or birth, held much stock in the "Kerry as Irish" falsehood and the Kerry camp did little or nothing to dissuade such beliefs. Das, of mixed ancestry in a region filled with immigrants from another land, has perhaps fallen into the same seductive trap;


"Whopper of the Week: John Kerry
Did he pretend to be Irish?
By Timothy Noah
Posted Friday, March 7, 2003, at 6:34 PM ET

"[John] Kerry acknowledged that some voters in Massachusetts, the nation's most Irish-American state, may have had the impression that he had Irish roots. He said that he knew of no Irish ancestry and that he had always tried to correct misstatements whenever he learned about them.

"Numerous publications, including the Globe, have stated that Kerry is Irish-American."

5/17/2006 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get how Das can complain about unfair treatment from a paper who has assigned someone he "grew up with" to cover him at City Hall. I wonder how Joshua Molina feels about that revelation?

5/17/2006 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All in all, I'd rather have a DUI.

5/17/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

i was curious about the term "yankee caucasian" that Das used in his ethnicity summarization. So I put it in google, with quotes, and do you know that there are no other uses of that phrase or those two words in that order anywhere except for Das using it? so it looks like Das is the only member of that particular categorization. Interesting.

5/17/2006 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the gender and race card have both been played in this election so far. Is religion next? Janet is jewish, Das christian, Joe claims exemption from union dues "for religious reasons" and dan delivers babies. Or maybe we should now discuss sexual preference? Janet raised three daughters with her husband Harvey. Dan has a wife Mary, 5 children,6 grandchildren and the family’s golden retriever, Chloe and delivers babie. Das walks on the beach in his brochure with Jenifer. And what about Joe? no mention anywhere...

5/17/2006 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Yankee Caucasian said...

Is Karl Rove running the Secord campaign? He seems to be, with all the fighting going on among the candidates who will take on Secord in the November election, thus very nicely deflecting the discussion away from Secord and all his problems. John Davies definitely is earning his fee on this one.

If we are playing the ethnic and gender cards, Joe Guzz is wrapping himself too much in the American flag. Just look at his TV ad with the droopy flag in the bacground. That backdrop also saves money on TV production costs, in addition to the absense of graphic mattes on the TV image that idendify who all those glowing endorsers are. Those glowing endorsements could be by paid D-list actors, as far as most viewers know.

Has this critical election for supervisor now devolved into a debate on who is more ethnic or religious or reproductive or patriotic, instead of who can uphold the values of Second District voters in the face of a hostile majority of other Supervisors?

Karl Rove seems to be working his architecture here in south Santa Barbara County, with only Dan Secord and his land developer friends to benefit.

As for the note by Das Williams about Josh Molina, whom "he grew up with", what Das likely meant in his note to supporters (but wrote poorly) is that Molina knows the spirit and actual ethnicity of Das because they both are from the 'hood in Isla Vista. Now, much of the distraction has become that Molina somehow is biased.

There goes Karl Rove again: making the rivals to the Republican frontrunner spat among themselves, while bashing the credible news media at the same time. What is next... attacking the spouses of the candidates?

The actual News-Press article cited in the Travis selective-Factstrong editorial is dated May 26, 2004, and is about the City council deliberation over salaries for sitting council members. It was not an analysis of the ethnicity of the Council. The full quote in that article, by Molina, is:

"This isn't a diverse council," said Das Williams. "In a community where we have a population that is 35 percent Latino, we now have half a Latino. That's me."

Further review of the city council meeting video tape indeed will reveal that Das further remarked about how he is not genetically Latino, but culturally and socially he feels like one, or half of one.

Some of us rely on more of a record of history that what could fit in a News-Press article from two years ago.

And we Yankee Caucasians are the actual ethnic minority here in the County, so where is our special treatment?

5/18/2006 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's curious folks blaming Davies and likening this to Rove tactics. I mean, I'm sure Davies is celebrating the current situation, but Das did this to himself with his own actions and words. He needs to be more careful in the future.

And the fact that three Dems are running against one another is the fault of the Dems collectively, and not Davies. We seem to consistently do this to ourselves - shoot ourselves in the foot and then blame some mythical all-powerful republican-corporate power.

5/18/2006 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:24

Has this critical election for supervisor now devolved into a debate on who is more ethnic or religious or reproductive or patriotic, instead of who can uphold the values of Second District voters in the face of a hostile majority of other Supervisors?

Hostile majority? Oh my, when are they attacking? Should I build a moat around my home?

If we are playing the ethnic and gender cards, Joe Guzz is wrapping himself too much in the American flag.

Why is having the American flag in a commerical playing the ethnic or gender card? He's not and you know it. You're just trying the throw around the ethnic card in the hopes that it will stick somewhere.

Your entire post is gibberish, at best. You sound try to remain more focused in your attacks, it would be more effective.

5/18/2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

I agree with the above. For the greater good both Janet and Joe should drop out of the race. Only progressives unified behind Das can defeat Secord.

5/18/2006 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Davies doesn't have to lift a finger. Stop blaming him or Karl Rove, for god sakes! The damage in this race is self inflicted. Can't you admit your golden boy made a mistake? Or does the blame always have to fall from an unseen, sinister hand. If this is any indication how he will act as my supervisor, no thanks. Ridiculous!

5/18/2006 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says..

I don't think Das is blaming Davies or anyone else. He is running his campaign on his terms. It sounds like Joe and Janet are the one pointing fingers. It has been others who have attacked Das for a mistake a newspaper made. Everything is blamed on Das. Too much rain, blame Das, too little rain, blame Das, didnt get a pay raise, blame Das and on and on. Since when does somebody have to be over 40 to run for public office. Das said he saw a need and stepped forward. Why not take him at his word. It's not like he doesnt have plenty of support. Just because the power brokers want a seat filler like Janet doesn't preclude Das from running. Das has laid it all on the line. If he wins the sky is the limit. If he loses then maybe his political career is over. I don't think so but maybe he does. He stepped into the arena when others didnt. He should be applauded for his courage! I am still waiting for an answer to how has Janet Wolf ever made a differance?

5/18/2006 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why not take him at his word"? " A mistake the newspaper made"? Pinto, baby, you crack me up! Now Das is the victim? Bringing people together and going where he is needed. Train wreck at the junction. How is it working out for ya'all?

5/18/2006 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Heinz 57 in Second District said...

Is there not one grown up on Das' campaign team telling him to stop this train---just take responsibility for any 'unintentional' misleading statements or omissions, and move on. Stop blaming the media, stop explaining your ethnicity---just STOP.....his comments are increasingly offensive to Latinos ["adopted by the gente"??] and Das---just stop blaming and 'splaining

5/18/2006 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pinto--the problem is which "word" do we take him at....depends on the day, time, etc......

5/19/2006 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Das Loyalists,

If you read the op-ed Das co-wrote with Marcos Vargas for the Ventura Star, he identifies himself at the end of the article as a "Ventura Native".

But on television and at forums Das always says that he "grew up here" meaning in Santa Barbara.

Will the lies ever end?

Please visit to see for yourself!

5/19/2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that the link to the above article is down on that website; however, the Ventura Star offers more insight into Das's willingness to spread himself thin when it comes to which constituency he represents [City of Santa Barbara? unions?], who signs his paychecks and how many conflicts of interests he can possibly juggle at this what Second District Voters want???? Living Wage is a good thing...but having an elected representative who is PAID to pursue it in jurisdictions all over the Central Coast is a joke

Ventura's leaders to draft living-wage law

Council votes 6-0 to consider compromise deal raising pay

By Kevin Clerici,
March 21, 2006

"The goal here is self-sufficiency," said Das Williams, a Santa Barbara councilman and coalition member who was part of weeks of negotiations with city staff to craft the current proposal. "It's not perfect from our standpoint, but we think it's a good compromise."

5/19/2006 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Pissed off in the Second District said...

are there any grownups in Das' team who are sharing the harsh reality with the starry-eyed that:
a) Secord is more than likely to be in a runoff for november and

b) Das cannot beat Secord in the 2nd District in the year 2006. Maybe the 2nd will look different in 2012 but we are talking NOW.

c) Das has never won an election in the Goleta Valley or the parts of SB CITY that are voting in the 2nd District; his blunders and revelations of past misdeeds are building on a daily if not hourly basis making his chances of winning ANY election ANYWHERE dismal

are his ego and his non-second district-living supporters delusions so powerful that they would not wake up to these facts?

5/19/2006 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can be born in one place, making one a native, and grow up in another!

I don't know where he was born, grew up - but it is even less important than Janet Wolf declaring herself knowledgeable about fire prevention/safety because her house burned down in 1990.

Or,in that context, as valid as pointing out that her close neighbors' houses or at least some did not in that same fire and that shows... what, that she/they were unlucky/careless/ or, as I think, of no significance at all?

Reading this blog one would think there are no issues in this campaign. No wonder the N-P supported Secord and Guzzardi today; at least they are not mired in the trivia of the Williams/Wolf camps.

5/19/2006 11:27 PM  
Anonymous In search of Truthiness said...

Hey, at least Das isn't claiming to have been a football star...........

Report: Delgadillo backtracking on football exploits

May 20, 2006 3:33 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who is running for state attorney general, has stopped claiming he won a football scholarship to Harvard University and an Academic All-American award while there.

However, he still claims ''a brief stint'' as a professional football player even though a Canadian team has no record of him, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

now, one of Rocky's minions will no doubt claim "well it depends on what your definition of 'brief' is......or "stint"........

5/20/2006 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

There should be an investigation into who is paying for the private eyes to dig through Das's past. This has all the marking of a corporate/developer smear campaign. Between the attacks from Lois Capps, the News Press and their willing stooges Joey and Janet, it is amazing Das is still the leading candidate. Why do they fear Das so much. Because he is a progressive who can change the political dynamic in Santa barbara and the entire central coast. Only Das will stand up for those who cant speak for themselves. the beaches, trees, wildlife, clean air, the watershed, the creeks, the ocean.

5/21/2006 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mike"---you can't really be wondering who has done the digging into Das's life----Davies/Secord have been at this for a while......just waiting for the time to spring it all on us.......yes Das has changed the political dynamic in SB----and it is sad; Secord will be Das's legacy.

5/21/2006 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How is Lois "attacking" Das by supporting Janet. Does that mean that Das was "attacking" Iya Falcone by supporting Dianne Channing instead? He claims not....

5/22/2006 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Das says he wasn't attacking Falcone, so Lois can't be attacking Das. Or is Lois attacking Das. Or is Das just attacking himself through his self-destruction. Prediction: Das gets a distance 4th place and his career is over. The forces will line up to deny him a second term on the town council. He's already doing alot of get more people and more media against him and next time around he'll start at a bigger disadvantage. He's toast. Bye bye Bye DGH.

5/23/2006 4:52 PM  

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