Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Indy Posts 'Mess' Correspondence

The Santa Barbara Independent posted letters of reprimand from News-Press owner Wendy McCaw to editor Michael Todd in an online version of The Angry Poodle. It also lists the whole text of Colin Power's resignation letter.

In her "memo" to Todd, Wendy says that including Rob Lowe's address was an unecessary detail of the story and that it could "potentially damage relations with other high profile readers".

In a response to Todd's letter back questioning the decision, McCaw accuses him of attempting to "cloak the publishing of a celebrity's home address in the garb of free speech, journalistic ethics and egalitarianism is specious. Nowhere in your resonse does one see the slightest regard for the Lowe's and their safety. The values of fairness for which you espouse in your tirade apparently do not extend to the Lowe's".

I guess celebritys have more of a right to fairness than the rest of us in Wendy's World. Rock on, Wendy. I'm not worthy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy "off with their heads" McCaw should read up on the rules of the possessive case in writing, or at the very least learn to use spellcheck. (I bet she probably had one of those signs over her door that said "The McCaw's").

7/15/2006 8:02 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

Yeow on the NP letters! But does anyone else find Mr. Egar's letters interesting too?

Seems there's a distinct smell of elitism in the air with "upper" management all over this county.......dd

7/15/2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger theaverageman said...

It hardly endangers the Lowes' safety to publish the address of a vacant property where they might build a house someday.

7/15/2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might actually agree with the pearl witch in this case.

I think that celebrities should be lent a degree of privacy because of legitimate security and privacy concerns that don't apply to the non -celebrity citizen.

While the crazed stalker would have retrived Rob-o's address from city data--publishing it in the sbnp for the average reader to see lends a whole new crop of people that knowledge...kind of like "public knowledge" versus public knowledge (the non in quotes kind).

Hold on Mike Pinto's of the world :) --I'm not submitting to a caste system, simply acknowledging the difficulty to live a private life, irrespective of an actor signing up for such by trade.

And if a publication can take a step to secure that, fine. It wasn't crucial to the story nor did it effect its news content.

The problem is that the witch went about bringing that point up in a sinister way and oh happened to ax half her staff in the process...yikes.

I think the real issue here is not the lowe aspect, but the topic taking up 25 successive posts--the crumbling of the wall.

7/15/2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Glowegal said...

theaverageman said...
It hardly endangers the Lowes' safety to publish the address of a vacant property where they might build a house someday.

This isn't a matter of if, but when. They've already purchased the lot, sold their previous residence and are currently in a 'temporary home' until the new house is built.

I do agree that it doesn't endanger their safety, since, unlike us regular schlubs, they can afford security systems and guards. Also, since the address and the MPC meeting minutes are part of the public record, it would only be a matter of time until someone tracked down the address. However, you can't blame them for wanting to keep their kids safe.

7/15/2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No-one forced Rob Lowe to be a celebrity. Yes he deserves to be safe and his children do too... absolutely. But when you make mega-millions out of mega-publicity, you have to plan to take precautions against the wackos that your mega-publicity lights up. You do get paid for it, and Rob Lowe could have chosen another profession, where mega-publicity and the attraction of dangerous kooks is not much of a problem.

By making a big deal out of this, Rob Lowe has insured that his address is now broadcast widely throughout the world.

7/15/2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/15/2006 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heavens.. Rob Lowe, Smobe Lowe... he set his boat asail on the public waters, seeking approval of a public body, that broadcasts on public T.V., that records such events on public documents... this is really Hollywood hype gone mad - anyone who brings their business to the public should expect even-handed treatment by public officials - no more, no less. The same rules for all comers, no matter how important they think they might be. There are no special provisions in any of our City or County codes to allow anything other than the equitable treatment of anyone who avails themselves of government services. You want to build a house - you go before a public agency, and part of that burden and privilege is that your address and what you intend to construct becomes the public's business. It is the American, out-in-the-sunshine, no favors for the notorious way. Imperiousness is best left played out in the movies, and not in real life - otherwise, move on and find yourself a fiefdom where your wishes will be everyone's commands.

7/15/2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sara,

Here's a tip off on another little piece of information you missed and forgot to post:
Read the Newspress front page article about the employee rally. (Guess people can't criticize them for not reporting it.)
Also, note the presence of pro-dense-development stooges at the rally. (Coincidence? Hmmm, probably NOT!!!)

Kinda reminds me of the time that you missed and forgot to post the NP endorsement of slow-growth Guzzardi (Coincidence?).

7/15/2006 6:30 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Tell me about the pro-development stooges -- sounds like a matter of opinion.

The News-Press article did show up about the rally -- agreed, from a writer we have never heard from before. AND, spun Travis' message by saying:

"It's unfortunate that some of the leaders behind the rally are politicians trying to silence an independent media voice because the paper has worked to hold them accountable," Mr. Armstrong said. "Others are high-density development interests criticized by our editorial pages on environmental grounds. They've latched onto the resignations as part of a political power play to chill dissent from a locally owned newspaper."

Mr. Armstrong is on leave from his role of editorial page editor while serving as acting publisher on a temporary basis."

You think he didn't have a hand in that? And, by the way, there hasn't been an editorial printed since this mess began -- of course he's on leave. Now it's a positive?

Independent media voice -- John Stossel would say "Give me a break!"

It has no relationship to Joe Guzzardi....

7/15/2006 7:21 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Bethany Hopkins, the author of that News-Press article on the staff news conference noted above, is an intern, who so far has written only 4 expanded calendar listings and has worked for SBCC Channels (the SBCC student newspaper) for only 8 months. The "staff writer" title is a courtesy so interns can build a portfolio.

And, that news article was not on the schedule or story list for the day, even though the event was widely known for a full day. Travisty Factswrong, looking from his very lonely office above, figured out he would have a hard time ignoring those 300 screaming and earnest people down on the lawn, along with 5 TV news crews and numerous other news media.

The photos also were by an intern. This is the quality and experience to expect, for the same subscription price, under the Brave New World where Opinion and News are all smooshed together.

Coordination between the content of that article and the editorial positions of the Publisher is way obvious, per the quotes above.

The gagged staff are starting the process for a LABOR UNION with the TEAMSTERS. Spin that one some more, Sam Singer. At least try to throw around some fecal matter from sources other than the Company Line from Factswrong.

Dismissing the intentions and participants of the Tuesday mega-rally might be a tad more difficult.

7/15/2006 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the replies to my earlier comments on seeing the point in hiding the address....

I again state the heart of the argument, that while that data is indeed public-- it is wholly differant to list it in a major newspaper...The level of availability and exposure to the public is wildly higher when information is published in a newspaper as opposed to buried in county data and agendas. What do you think?

I would say that the amount of people proactively searching planning commission documents is smaller than the 41k circulation of the sbnp, and putting the information in a newspaper greatly enhances its availability ; while it may have no effect on the mega stalkers who would search and find by any means it may indeed encourage the casual observer to stroll on by.

As I said, it is kind of an odd situation. Nobody likes the idea of special treatment for anyone, and in choosing his profession the dude asked for the publicity .

But I would think if I were in a highly public situation (and not some shmoe UCSB pol sci kid), that I would appreciate some discretion. I don't like the arguments of 'he's got money he should pay for security' ... it sounds to 'i hate wealthy people just based off them being wealthy' .... that to me is a form is discrimination.

I must emphasize the real issue here: the way this was handled was less than professional to say the least.

Thats what we should be talking about. I was proud to be at the press conf. friday, and am happy that the news room staff decided to stay and fight rather than duck and run...the mark of true journalistic integrity

7/15/2006 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more thing:

re-reading the replies, can we not throw around the 'your ignorant' tone of post?

My goal was to submit for discussion the concept of
"public knowledge" (whereas the information is at the county, but outside of bloggers and media nerds such as ourselves the general public has no inclination to pick it up nor would they know the channels to do so)

and public knowledge (where it is put in big neon lights)

And a third time, for the record--this is independent of my feelings on wendy's disproprotional response . I had just mentioned how I feel like there was a mini classwar ignited by this topic, I would add to that that it seems she is guilty of the same thing in making a storm about the piece instead of politiley installing a new policy to ensure it wouldn't happen in the future.

7/15/2006 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you google back you may find a page one story about Ty Warner's new home including address and photo - this was in the Wendy era - but Ty was not a Nipper friend - our construction company was building the home and hundreds of people came by from around the world over the next six months looking for Ty - hummm

7/15/2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...


Resignation by the Presentations (graphic arts) Editor, the ninth top staffer to leave in disgust.

copy and paste this URL

7/15/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Rob Lowe-ball and his privacy, what we see here is the blinding light of star power in action and the toll it can take on a community. At the now infamous Planning Commission Hearing, the case was called the Berkoff Trust and the ONLY way it became publicly known that Loweball was the owner of 700 Picaccio was HIS voluntary appearance at the podium where he flashed his charming grin and tilted that cute little patrician nose of his toward the camera and toward the Comish. His good looks worked their charm, as the PC voted 3-2 to allow his over sized manse. The case has been appealed to the Board of Supervisor. That should be an interesting hearing—Loweball and his pals at work again. Don’t miss it-- Loweball dazzles away, Highball (Travis) fiddles and Wreckingball (Wendy) chalks up more and more and unwanted and unwarranted destruction. And please note, all the stars of this sad sit-come are newcomers to our little galaxy—except, of course, for Hairball von Sleazeburger, who’s been the brunt of local yuks for years.

7/15/2006 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Sara at 7:21pm

A matter of opinion? These are some of the pro-development usual suspects who were at the "employee" rally:

Susan Rose = sitting county supervisor that has alienated a large portion of her own constituency because of her pro high-density agenda in Noleta. Don't believe it? She showed interest in Noletan's concernes when threatened with a recall, and then changed tack back to pro-density when the recall threat subsided. Later, she chose not to run for re-election.

Bud Laurent = Coastal Housing Partnership = Michael Towbes (land hungry developer making plays for various Noleta properties, business as usual for him)

M. Flacks = Mrs. Dick Flacks, co-founder of the Independent which makes no attempt to hide it's anti-NewsPress stance AND Flackses = into freaky socialist agenda that resorts to name-calling and contaminating soil when people want to preserve the character of their own neighborhoods.


Furthermore, Travis's statement is not a's called a quote. Thank goodness this side of the story gets out ONCE IN A WHILE!!!


Sara, you can call this unworthy and choose to edit it out, BUT the only harsh embellishment I've added is the word "freaky" and it's as mild as I could come up with in hopes that you would allow it, being that you've encouraged such harsh criticism of others on this blog. I hope you can find it in you to actually let this one go to post. Thanks in advance if you do!

7/15/2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I don't see this as not publishable -- I just didn't know to whom you were referring before. Thanks for explaining.

7/15/2006 11:50 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Keep up those anonymous comments bashing the messenger. The crowd of nearly 300 in the Friday rally featured plenty of people who would build five floors high, and a huge load of NIMBYs too.

If you came down from the parapet, you would know. Keep bashing on Towbes; you really will win a lot of friends that way.

Sam and Travis, come on down.
I really like the observation that Independentn is "anti-News-Press" because the Indy publishes the truth, the same truth that The Wendy and The Travisty want to censor from employees who resigned out of disgust. Sometimes, it really IS about you!

7/16/2006 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:44PM ANON,

So let me get this straight. Because a few people were in the audience who support development, that is the agenda behind the rally?

Well, I spotted enviros in the crowd such as Cameron Benson from EDC, Robert Bernstein and more who support preventing development of the Gaviota Coast.

There were republicans, democrats, journalists, businessmen, elected officials, green party activists, and just regular community people at the rally.

They were there because they are concerned about the future of our community news paper.

Trying to turn the rally into a pro-developer pep rally is an exercise in denial.

And just because a few of Travis' targets were on hand to gloat does not mean that the whole rally is nullified by their feelings.

7/16/2006 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody cares where Rob Lowe lives! When he cried to Wendy she should have told him to go to hell. Instead, she reprimanded her employees... she was more worried about her credibility with high profile Santa Barbarans ie, her standing at the country club! At the PUBLIC Planning Comm hearing, his address was mentioned MANy times..BY HIS LAWYERS!!
Wendy has no business running a newspaper..AND she's running the Newspress into the ground

7/16/2006 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep bashing on Towbes; you really will win a lot of friends that way.

That's exactly the problem.

7/16/2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger snugspout said...

Lowe's money comes from the mega-publicity industry that hypes stars and their drama endeavors, from movies and TV to their relationship issues.

It is that mega-publicity that lights up wackos who stalk them, *not* the publication of an address in a newspaper. And it was Lowe who made the choice to be a mega-publicity money maker; with that free choice comes the unfortunate reality that weirdos start looking for you. If he chooses not to get security, that is again, his choice; he walked into the situation with complete foreknowledge and made big money from the upside.

None of which justifies any action of any weirdo who attempts to harm him; such people deserve full prosecution under the law.

But the publication of his address is an irrelevant aspect of his situation.

7/16/2006 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Randy Campbell said...

I must correct the off-hand certitude by "Anonymous" that Mickey Flacks is "co-founder of The Independent."

As one of two "co-founders" of The Independent, I assure you Ms. M or Mr. M. Flacks are NOT co-founders, nor in any way involved in The Santa Barbara Independent. Never have been, and never will be.

--Randy Campbell

7/16/2006 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes--the crowd at the Press Conference on Friday was filled with hundreds of people of varying political persuasions. i ran into as many people that I have DiSagreed with as those I agree with. So what.

The real point is that the PRESS CONFERENCE WAS ORGANIZED BY THE CURRENT NEWS PRESS STAFFERS--- that's how and from who we learned about it.

So, put that in your bottle and sip it, Travis!

7/16/2006 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get one thing straight: the 2nd District race is over. Joe Guzzardi came in not 2nd, not 3rd but 4th. Please get over it. The News Press even with Travis minding all facets of the store cannot change that. Please, just stop it.

7/16/2006 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Azalea said...

As an "outsider" in SB, I've only lived here for 12 years, I would like to remind folks that Rob Lowe has lots of notarity in his past. Remember when during the Democratic convention in Atlanta, his bed exploits were aired via videotape. And it continues from there...

7/16/2006 11:31 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Further smearing or jabs at Rob Lowe is demeaning the issue and does not help anything. Lowe thinks he is too important and should get special treatment, and his address has now been published 1000-times more than would be known from any straight news article about his spat with his neighbors. Besides, that Montecito Planning Commission decision is now appealed to the County Board of Supervisors, so we will see the address in public yet again. But I am sure this time Lowe will not show up for the public battle of the hedgerows.

And BTW, Randy Campbell (comment above) is the majority owner of Santa Barbara Independent. He has full authority to hire the outsted reporters and editors and build up the Indy to become the dominant news outlet with a clear separation between opinion content and actual news.

7/16/2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving away a little from the N-P, there was an article in today's Santa Maria Times that Michael Brown, the county czar (read former PD Egar's pdf in the Indy on how Brown treats County staff!) is slated to get a raise on Tuesday. I think it said an additional $23,000 (just to put him in line with other CEOs).

Wow! Who would believe that bureaucrats could make that kind of money? I think Brown will make over $220 K and that doesn't count benefits. A nice job to have: all that money and all those employees to boss around.

7/16/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Randy Campbell,

Thanks for the correction. I had remembered reading about Dick Flacks in the Independent, and a connection was made between him and the founding of the Independent. As you point out, I did not correctly recall the details. But my point remains the same. According to your magazine 5/11/06, the connection is that Mr. Flacks was a "trustee and adviser" for a previous incarnation of the paper. The article is quoted below:

Though many of the original organizations have disappeared, they have been replaced by newer versions, with similar progressive values. The Santa Barbara Independent, for example, is a direct descendant of the News&Review, the worker cooperative weekly newspaper for which Flacks served as trustee and adviser. (One of The Independent’s four owners — Richard Parker — was an original founder of the News&Review.)

My point is that the pro-high-density crowd and the progressive crowd have, sadly, somewhat merged, leaving no room for true environmentalism. The Flackses, have played a heavy hand in promoting high-density in the Noleta area, even though they do not live in the area, or the district for that matter. I have been to community meetings in Goleta Valley, and seen correspondence between Ms. Flacks and neighborhood activists. Her fervor for high-density growth at the expense of greenspace and quality of life is on the verge of fanatical. Her advocacy for building up dense housing and traffic along Hollister is deeply resented by those of who are invested out here--financially, physically and spiritually.

Since you are a founder of The Independent, do you think that in the name of fair reporting, that you could start giving the slow-growth advocates the same amount of coverage and opinion pieces that you give to the pro-growthers such as the Flackses and the developer-backed types like Bud Laurent? We need that kind of consideration, and it's one of the reasons that we recognize Travis Armstrong as a hero of the people. We have no money or power to offer you, just the sense of giving the people a voice.

7/16/2006 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get one thing straight: the 2nd District race is over. Joe Guzzardi came in not 2nd, not 3rd but 4th. Please get over it. The News Press even with Travis minding all facets of the store cannot change that. Please, just stop it.

No. Make me, Towbes.

7/16/2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to come to the Flack's defense here -- someone who advocates for housing is not necessarily pro-growth. One of the problems with environmentalists today is that we have gotten too black and white without seeing the shades of gray.

Housing is important and in many ways is as important as open space -- this is part of what SBCAN was founded on and I can see the reasoning. There are plenty of areas where housing can be created and not threaten the environment -- good environmentalists need to see this and not say NO to everything. What's wrong with higher denisty along Hollister -- within reason.

Goleta Council's current insistence of a 55% inclusionary rate is only going to mean that a new, not necessarilly rich city is going to be paying through the nose for attorney's against the State of California and maybe even a developer or two. Will this come at the expesne of cervices? Let's pick our battles.

7/16/2006 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooops. That would be "s" in service not "c" -- funny typo.

7/16/2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous creative thinking said...

whew, I'm glad you cleared that up, anon! I was seriously sitting here trying to figure out whether you meant cervixes or cervezas, making either work in some context......

7/16/2006 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with higher denisty along Hollister -- within reason.

Increased traffic. Loss of open space. Decreased quality of life. Everything that is making Santa Barbara worse than it was ten years ago, or ten years before that. The problem is that the only reason is greed.

There are plenty of areas where housing can be created and not threaten the environment

That's impossible.

Goleta Council's current insistence of a 55% inclusionary rate is only going to mean that a new, not necessarilly rich city is going to be paying through the nose for attorney's against the State of California and maybe even a developer or two.

You're right. Let's give in. Can we call it Towbesburgh. I'm bending over now.

7/16/2006 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True environmentalists minimize their car use to reduce pollution, global warming, and environmental degradations of the world production of oil. Consequently true environmentalists hardly notice traffic because their in buses and on bikes.

People who complain about traffic are not environmentalists at all.

What has made Santa Barbara worse is all the people who don't ride their bikes and who don't take the bus.

7/17/2006 9:49 PM  

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