Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Inconvenient Truth at the News-Press

Thanks to snugspout for providing a link to the LA Times article today.

Here's some key points from quotes from Mr. Revisionist -- Travis Armstrong about the incovenient truth:

In his most extensive comments, Armstrong said in an interview Thursday that Cannon had failed a basic journalistic tenet by not calling him for an explanation.

Pot calling the kettle black.I'm pretty sure that any of you that have been in Armstrong's crosshairs have not gotten a call to explain your side before he dispenses his vitriol on the editorial page. Just ask Marty Blum, Susan Rose or even Brian Barnwell.

He said the News-Press had not covered other DUI cases unless they involved traffic accidents or serious injuries. He said his transgression got more attention because of long-standing "hard feelings" between him and Roberts, the former editor.

What's good for the goose...Armstrong continues to not acknowledge that his name on the masthead makes him a public figure. When this happened to Caprinteria Council Member Joe Armenderiz -- there was plenty of coverage on his DUI. What's different about it? He wants so badly to be an everyday Joe but live the life of a power broker.

Armstrong, 41, went on to accuse "a large group of people," including Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, of trying to damage the newspaper's credibility.

"Some of them are connected to high-density development, which we have opposed," Armstrong said.

"And I think people will do as much as they can to keep this story going…. They are manipulating other media to try to silence this independent media voice."

What Happened to Crisis Management? He clearly did not talk to Singer before he let loose this salvo. First, Mayor Blum has a long history of opposing development --- and he should be clear that he has tried to take her down with editorials for at least two years running.

"Silencing an independent media voice"? Excuse me? If the News-Press was an independent voice -- Nipper wouldn't be calling reporters from France to get them to quash a story and Travis wouldn't be silencing stories on the retirement of the Mayor of Carpinteria or his own DUI. What world does he live in?


Anonymous dd said...

ROFLMAO again!

Would Travis PLEASE look in the mirror when using the phrase "silence this independent media".

The reflection staring back at you is beginning to resemble Nero, fiddling while Rome burned..... dd

7/14/2006 8:46 AM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

So far we've got this:

1. Travis and Roberts didn't get along.
I say: People clash in top-level positions all the time. When the owner favors one, the other has to decide how to deal with it. Roberts chose to quit.

2. Travis is quoted making a remark about the strong pro high-denisty crowd being against the paper.
I say: This is making more and more sense everyday! If you don't believe that SB City Council is pro-growth, take a drive through Santa Barbara and look up for a moment. See all those 3 story plus buildings with minimal setbacks being built? Guzzardi was an outspoken slow-growth candidate embraced by the residents, but rejected by the establishment and pro-growth advocates. Yet the NewsPress endorsed him.

3. Travis doesn't want to amp up news about his own DUI.
I say: There was a full article in the NP about it on May 9. Isn't that enough to satisfy the bloodthirsty? It sounds like the newsroom/Roberts wanted to keep the story going just to be a thorn in Travis's side. Favor went to Travis. Roberts is pouting. Let it go.

7/14/2006 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What world does he live in?

Answer: Reality

Sara, getting turned down by the News Press must have really hit you hard. You seem so bitter. Everbody that has left the NewsPress is a brave hero and Travis and Wendy are evil. Yeah, got it.

7/14/2006 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us are wondering how this tragey will unfold. Meanwhile, the NP continues to print only the letters to the editor that support the NP.

Many alternatives for the public voice to be heard are being explored. Some look to the LA Times, some to the Independent.

Congratulations to aptly named Sara de la Guerra for offering this site as a way that we can talk with each other without bending our words to fit the NP's "standards", or lack thereof.

As we turn to the internet, we should be posting other sites where we can post our views. I'll start. Click on

Even before this NP scandal emerged full blow, this site has a place that we can post our ideas, especially letters that the NP refused to publish.

And it also contains links to 2 sites that are intended to shed light on journalistic ethics.

Check it out. And once again, thanks Sara for this forum you haved created. We are grateful

7/14/2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Goleta Observer blog has started a nickname contest.

Von Wiesenberger has been annoited "Kato" or "Kato Von Wienerburger".

7/14/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone heard the rumor that Vanity Fair is doing a piece on her? I wonder if it will be something along the lines of the kind of press Leona Helmsley got. Remember her? Well she got hers! See you today at the noon press conference and Tuesday at the rally!

7/14/2006 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "high density development" slam is a parroting (sorry, parrots!) of Lanny Ebenstein, the N-P endorsee in the last mayoral campaign.

Ebenstein was on the Travis Talks program a week or so ago and said that he is opposed to the regulating of private homes via the NPO, that homeowners should have the right to increased FAR density, whether or not that blocks their neighbors' views, apparently, but downtown there should not be the high rises (of under 60 feet, the present zoning) being considered in several places.

It's not clear what the Council's view on the NPO is - it goes before the Council on August 8 - but the Council has been listening, apparently in agreement, to the suggestions of an "urban village" at the Chapala/Canon Perdido Street MTD area. Nor is it clear what Marty Blum's views are on the issues of Neighborhood Preservation and downtown density.

7/14/2006 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Link to a new story in Editor and Publisher about N-P reporters unionizing...

7/14/2006 1:38 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Back to that little censorship comment by Travis - read both of these articles from the NP and SM Times - and you decide who's reporting is more accurate. dd

Public defender moving on
Chuck Schultz

July 14, 2006 12:00 AM
County Public Defender James Egar is reluctantly leaving his post after more than six years, effective today, and has accepted an offer to supervise the Monterey County Public Defender's Office, he said Thursday.

Mr. Egar, who is married and has five children, said "it was not our desire to leave Santa Barbara. We like it very much." He declined to say why he is leaving, though. "It's an issue that . . . I really don't want to talk about right now."

He has headed up this county's Public Defender's Office since January 2000. Before that, he was public defender for Yolo County for about four years.

He was making $171,912 in his current post but has the potential to earn up to $193,911 as public defender of Monterey County, according to Santa Barbara County Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown.

"I just think he felt like he wanted to move on," Mr. Brown told the News-Press. "It's a mixture of things, basically," he added, but declined to be more specific.

The decision on who will replace Mr. Egar rests with the Board of Supervisors, and the process of picking his replacement could take several months if the board opts to recruit applicants from outside the county, Mr. Brown said.

S.B. County public defender resigns job
By Quintin Cushner/Senior Staff Writer

Santa Barbara County Public Defender James Egar abruptly resigned his position this week, with a letter critical of the Board of Supervisors. He will leave his post today.
Egar, who since 2000 has supervised a staff of 71 people handling more than 30,000 cases per year, recently accepted a position as the Monterey County Public Defender.

Egar, 56, of Santa Barbara resigned Wednesday with a letter to the supervisors that criticized the board's support of him.

“I got a letter from him saying he was unhappy,” said Fourth District Supervisor Joni Gray, who chairs the board. “I was surprised that he was critical of the way the board treated him. Maybe he didn't feel the board treated him with respect.”

The public defender complained in the letter about not receiving much face time with the board, and about staff vacancies, according to Gray.

Gray said the board had already budgeted money this year to fill some vacancies, and that no department heads have regular meetings with supervisors.

Egar declined comment Thursday about his relationship with the supervisors, for whom he worked as an at-will employee.

Gray said that Egar was not fired or asked to leave.

“I think he's a really nice guy,” she said. “I thought he was doing an OK job.”

Gray said that Egar was due for a performance evaluation next week, but that she expected it to be a positive review.

Rumors circulated among attorneys at the Santa Maria Courts Complex that Egar's resignation had come after an argument with Mike Brown, the county's chief executive officer.

Egar did not comment on that meeting.

Brown said the two men had always had civil conversations and that Egar had applied for the Monterey position months ago. He declined to comment on the circumstances of Egar's resignation.

“The public vote on his appointment (in Monterey County) is Tuesday,” Brown said. “I don't want to invade his privacy with any comments here.”

Egar supervised an office of 33 attorneys and 71 total employees with offices in Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.

Attorneys in the office represent juveniles and defendants in criminal cases who cannot afford private counsel. The office's annual budget is about $8 million.

Egar said he plans to move to Monterey County before his two youngest children begin school in the fall.

“We like Santa Barbara very much and we love the community and the criminal-justice system here,” Egar said “We're very sad to be leaving and are very fortunate to have enjoyed the time we've had here.”

Several deputy public defenders contacted declined comment. Gray said she was uncertain when a search for Egar's replacement will begin.

Egar previously worked as the Public Defender of Yolo County.

7/14/2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous miles long said...

Great story! I hope they do a follow up on all the duct-taped staff in black today in front of DLP., anounceing a UNION!

7/14/2006 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from a san fran chronicle column,

-- Local spectators who watched the battle between Wendy McCaw, owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, and its now-fired editor Jerry Roberts (former managing editor of this paper) noted that the PR man representing McCaw is San Francisco's Sam Singer. Last week, when Roberts said the argument was about ethical issues of journalism, Singer told the New York Times that such assessments are "nonsense.''

Roberts was a political reporter here for years; Singer had many political clients. I was sure the two were well acquainted, and I asked Singer about it. He said that Roberts had always treated him fairly and that he has "deep respect'' for him. "My profession -- in many instances -- is to put out fires. ... So, like Red Adair, I fight fires wherever they are ... even if it means being on the other side of someone I respect.''

7/14/2006 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Hattie said...

Edhat has the scoop on today's rally, with photos:

7/14/2006 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey check it out. The sounds got a story about today's protest.

7/14/2006 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News-Press presentation editor Colin Powers resigned today.

Powers designed the front pages and is credited with redesigning the paper.

More expected.

-The Kid

7/14/2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mass exodus of journalists from the NP certainly was dramatic, and those who stood over the last few days for integrity and principle are to be congratulated and admired.
But the sad fact is the exodus of quality journalists has been going on literally from the moment McCaw took ownership.
Those who left — voluntarilty or otherwise — read like a who's who of Santa Barbara journalism over the last 5 years:
Allen Parsons, Tom Bolton, Melinda Johnson, Bill Macfadyen, Dave Bemis, John Lankford and many others.
This has been a slow motion train wreck that shows no signs of abating.

7/14/2006 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re DD @1:46 dd said...

<< Back to that little censorship comment by Travis - read both of these articles from the NP and SM Times - and you decide who's reporting is more accurate. dd>> Reluctantly, I'd have to say the SMT. I've always liked Chuck Schultz's writing, but now?

Take a look at the original Egar letter to the Supes posted on the Indy, Poodle Barks again:

7/15/2006 6:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home