BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Was DLG Rally a Success?

Hindsight is 20/20 -- but was the DLG Rally a Success? It may be too soon to tell...

53 Comments:

Anonymous Teresa said...

Can anyone post a report on the rally? I'm an interested Fresnan (former Santa Barbaran) anxious to know what transpired. Thanks!

7/18/2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous From the rally said...

Gee Sara---you post this at 1224, before the rally was even at full swing?

Yes--success for many reasons:

a) its a demonstration of genuine democratic participation to support the integrity of a community institution

b) the courageous reporters dressed in black, in a line-- no duct tape, but clearly not free to speak- and they were cheered repeatedly by those at the rally

c) hearing from Don Murphy and Jerry Roberts--- just in case anyone out there wants to believe Wendy/Travis' spin that they were 'disgruntled'---making clear why they left

c) the wide spectrum of attendance and views expressed; Cheri Rae--anti-development neighborhood activist-- calling for that "wall" to be built between opinion/news

So yes---a success.

7/18/2006 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great rally, too! Mayors Blum, Stein and Wallis showed up to make speeches against the Newspress 3.. Wendy, Travis and Nipper! The crowd was not as boisterous but just as loud and passionate as Friday. Mayor Blum, Stein and Wallis from SB, Carp and Goleta each spoke out against the Newspress Three..Wendy, Travis and Nipper. Good job to David Pritchett for organizing the rally...now it's Wendy's move

7/18/2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

It'll depend on the media coverage... tough part here is that the most effective way to mount political pressure is through the local newspaper!

7/18/2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were several hundred more people today than last week. probably 600 total attended.

7/18/2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

Yes, a success for many reasons. More details coming later.

Both Matt Cota of KSBY-TV and John Palminteri of KEYT-TV independently estimated the size of the crowd, by walking the entire perimiter.

Their total was an estimate of 900 to 1200 present, or about 1000 minimum.

Go ahead and watch their news stories tonight with their reports.

7/18/2006 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the people there, like me, thought the rally was self-serving and unsubstantial, just like most of the arguments against the News-Press. Please, for the love of god, cite specific examples besides the revealing of Rob Lowe's address and a second article of Travis' DUI where editing and reporting have blurred. Anything? There's so much hot air that there's got to be something more than that.

7/18/2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd say it was a success by the fact it took place at all!

Totally brave N-P employees there, maybe 25 or 30 out of the 60 or so? I didn't hear Jerry Roberts speak (don't think he did) but Scott Hadley was moving. I have no idea how many were there but someone told me that the Plaza was 2/3 full from the N-P building to de la Guerra.

Can anyone give cites to employment law and whether newspaper management has to recognize its own paper's employees' chosen union representation?

7/18/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Edhat took some pics
http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?id=847&event=rally2

And we put a short paragraph about the rally on our new news page
http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?id=1394

That page seems be getting a fair share of hits.
We invite anyone with news (not just about the NP) to contribute.
http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?id=1403

Ed
Edhat Online Magazine
Santa Barbara, CA
http://www.edhat.com

7/18/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall that the News-Press reporting of the housing meetings at the Goleta Valley Community Center was skewed. Two points that were prominent in the discussions, but not reported (and I think have never been allowed into the News-Press due to editorial intervention) are:

1)A vast subsidy is provided to homeowners in the form of the mortgage interest tax deduction... about $70 billion/year in the US, with no cap on how big the loan can be. This subsidy is systematically ignored by all the no-growth types and the News-Press, who nonetheless refer to affordable housing as `subsidized' but not existing homes as subsidized. There is another subsidy never mentioned: the interest-free loan the US government made to build Cachuma.

2)Most South-Coast homeowners, due to Prop. 13, pay less in property taxes than purchasers of affordable homes would pay. A number of people commented on this at the Goleta housing meetings, but the News-Press never included it in their news reporting. The issue also arose during the fights over Westmont faculty housing: because of Prop. 13 many homeowners in the Cold Spring school district pay less in property taxes than do the occupants of Westmont faculty housing. But no-growthers and the News-Press have ranted about affordable housing occupants not paying their fair share of property taxes; the News-Press spikes any reference to the information that Prop. 13 means many homeowners pay less than affordable housing occupants in property taxes.

7/18/2006 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at both rallies and I expected a much bigger turnout at this one, but it seemed to be the same people again.

7/18/2006 4:06 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

A correction or amendment to earlier comments above, as I was there and this is what I saw.

The speakers at the rally who are former N-P staff were Don Murphy and Scott Hadly (not Jerry Roberts noted above).

Further examples are numerous about how opinion content is interfering with news content, but if too many details came out, the source easily could be traced to the particular News-Press employee. The current Independent issue about the News-Press mess also includes examples about why an article about a retiring Carpinteria Council member was cut from publication.

Then the National Public Radio story, which I found at an earlier posting here at Blogabarbara, also highlighted that Carpinteria story, with Travis Armstrong saying in the interview that the quality of the story did not meet the high standards of the newspaper. Maybe the quality of the story just did not dish out enough dirt on retiring Donna Jordan or enough praise on the Libertarian buddy (and fellow drunk driver) of Travis, Joe Armendariz?

But somehow I think the Anonymous commenter above, wondering about self-serving motivations and the love of god, knows plenty of examples of where editorial interference has influenced the content of a news article. He just wants to have details revealed here to justify an attack on those employees still hanging on, or furthering the vendetta on the staff who resigned.

When the remaining News-Press employees can get protection from a labor union, then the truth will rise to the top. All those past publishers and editors have resigned for a reason.

7/18/2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger Dominatrikes said...

The rally was a good show of support. And if that was its only goal, then it was a success. Otherwise, no real tangible thing was accomplished. The only call to action was to come to another event next Wednesday.

7/18/2006 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further examples are numerous about how opinion content is interfering with news content, but if too many details came out, the source easily could be traced to the particular News-Press employee. The current Independent issue about the News-Press mess also includes examples about why an article about a retiring Carpinteria Council member was cut from publication.

Then the National Public Radio story, which I found at an earlier posting here at Blogabarbara, also highlighted that Carpinteria story, with Travis Armstrong saying in the interview that the quality of the story did not meet the high standards of the newspaper. Maybe the quality of the story just did not dish out enough dirt on retiring Donna Jordan or enough praise on the Libertarian buddy (and fellow drunk driver) of Travis, Joe Armendariz?


These may be good points, or they may be one person's opinion or side of the story if you will. But kudos to you for bringing up something with substance.

But somehow I think the Anonymous commenter above, wondering about self-serving motivations and the love of god, knows plenty of examples of where editorial interference has influenced the content of a news article. He just wants to have details revealed here to justify an attack on those employees still hanging on, or furthering the vendetta on the staff who resigned.

Paranoid and wrong.

7/18/2006 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how the speakers were really trying to make an effort to say this is not about the NewsPress's editorial stance on housing. Nor was it about competitive newspapers trying to gain ground on the NewsPress. Nor was it about politicians trying to shoot back at the NewsPress for previous criticisms of their job performance. Very convincing. I loved watching people talk with an air of integrity but then go on to take potshots.

My favorite part was when Wallis warned people to watch out for what Wendy might do to the Goleta Valley Voice, even though she admitted that nothing had been done yet. Nothing like fearmongering to incite a mob.

Get ready everybody for the anti-climax.

7/18/2006 5:17 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

Who has the "boycott the news press" bumper stickers? I think we could use a lot more of them...

7/18/2006 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is more to this story.

The News-Press mess is not only about violating the separation of news and opinion, it is about a terrible social ‘disease’ that The Wendy is trying to introduce to Santa Barbara---elitism.

While actor Rob Lowe gets special treatment for his Montecito mansion, The Wendy and Travis Armstrong are busy bashing any public official or community group that is trying to create housing that local working people can afford. There have been endless editorials emanating from the News-Press railing against ‘high density’ and ‘overbuilding’, but apparently it’s okay for Rob Lowe to build an oversized mansion with a 24-foot wall! Travis Armstrong and the editorial page (that apparently now reaches into the newsroom) have given biased coverage in favor of groups who oppose any new development at all. Some of these groups and individuals have deliberately cited fears in neighborhoods by spreading disinformation about declining property values and the perils of ‘affordable housing’. As for the housing needs of the next generation and our community’s workforce---firefighters, nurses, police, teachers, non-profit and government workers---let them eat cake!

[By the way, has anybody looked into the strategic and financial connections between Rob Lowe, a small cadre of wealthy Montecitans, a certain Coalition for Sensible Planning (CPS) and The Wendy? Could be a juicy story here. I heard a wild rumor once that Rob Lowe considers Gary Earle of CSP to be his ‘attack dog’. Indy are you listening?]

I have lived in Santa Barbara for many years and have rubbed elbows with the poor, the middle-class and the wealthy. While there has always been politics and strong differences of opinion in Santa Barbara (particularly around ‘growth’ and ‘no-growth’), what has always impressed me is our community’s profound and deep respect for social equity and diversity. Underlying our surface differences is a strong recognition that we all belong here, that our opinion as a community member is valued and that our lives and well-being are equally important, whether we own a mansion or live in a small crowded apartment. I have been proud to be part of a community that has fostered and maintained such an exemplary community spirit and humanism.

Now The Wendy, with her ‘A-List’ mentality and her henchman Travis Armstrong is threatening to change this. Santa Barbara can handle opinions. What we can’t handle is our newspaper being taken over as a propaganda machine for elitism. Enough already. Vive la Revolution!

7/18/2006 5:57 PM  
Blogger snugspout said...

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-071806paper,0,975904.story?coll=la-home-headlines

LA Times on today's demo.

7/18/2006 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the rally was used as a platform for speakers to get their 15 minutes of fame rather than help the employees that NEED their jobs and how to make the Newspress better and stronger. Shame on you who do not support them in their time of need.

7/18/2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Friend of Truth said...

looks like the newspapers in the racks include postage-paid cards to start a subscription

people can write their comments on that card and mail them postage free

have heard a few people doing that already

7/18/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

I'm not usually the rally attending type but I figured if Scott Hadly who has a wife and young kids to feed can quit his job as a reporter at the News-Press in protest over owner Wendy McCaw's policies, the least I can do is show up and lend my moral support. More on my own blog.

7/18/2006 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Another desperate journalist said...

I wasn't at the rally. I live far away from Santa Barbara. But I do work at a newspaper with a pushy publishing family that seems to be way beyond what The Wendy (is that what we're calling her now?) has henceforth accomplished. I've also been active in the labor movement.

That being said, I agree with what anonymous said at 7:07 pm: this needs to be a labor rally. Any other superfluous messagas will dilute the main thrust. Tell The Wendy that her employees deserve collective bargaining agreements and union representation. This, I believe, is really the only solution to this problem (and remember, I'm living and working under very similar conditions).

In response to anonymous at 2:52 p.m., yes a company must recognize the employees' chosen union, but no, it's not always easy to make them do what they are required to do. From the Teamsters own FAQ at org.teamsters.org

"How do you organize with the Teamsters?

Employees who want to join the Teamsters sign a “union authorization card.” When a majority of employees sign cards, they are forwarded, in most cases, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [then you wait, sometimes years!!!!]. The NLRB then schedules and conducts a secret ballot election [that will undoubtedly be contested, often drawing out the process for more years and you may not even know the results of that election while waiting]. In some cases, when a majority of workers sign cards the company will recognize the union [dream on] .

When the union is certified, the company is required by law to bargain over wages, benefits and working condition.


With an intense and highly dramatic card process ahead, management will need to know that the subscribers, and ESPECIALLY(!!!) the advertisers, support the union. If you have motivated activists, begin soliciting News-Press advertisers to come to your side. Start a petition they can sign that contains some threats, etc.

7/18/2006 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Activists: lean on the advertisers. Get them to support the union campaign.

Keep the message about action clean. This is about unionizing the employees. No other issues can or will be addressed until proper representation is established. Complaints can be many and varied, but action should be about the union.

Visit org.teamsters.org and educate yourself about the process.

How do you organize with the Teamsters?

Employees who want to join the Teamsters sign a “union authorization card.” When a majority of employees sign cards, they are forwarded, in most cases, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB then schedules and conducts a secret ballot election. In some cases, when a majority of workers sign cards the company will recognize the union.

When the union is certified, the company is required by law to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions.


Keep in mind that the current political climate has hijacked the NLRB and many elections are tied up for years while the organizers have no idea what the results even are/were. This will be a gargantuan battle against some pretty tough management, but by the looks of the pictures of the employees in black, it may be possible.

7/18/2006 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the message about action clean.

The problem is that it hasn't been clean, nor has it been justified.

This is about unionizing the employees.

I thought it was about not being able to print a second article on Travis's DUI.

When the union is certified, the company is required by law to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions.

It doesn't sound like a union is going to solve anything that the current employees have a problem with. I haven't heard anything about wages or benefits. Working conditions maybe, but a union can't tell Travis to stay away from housing issues or whatever else they are bothered by what he brings up.

7/19/2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

The People's Rally to Restore the News-Press is a 58-minute video by Larry Nimmer and will be shown on Channel 17 as follows:

Wednesday, July 19 at 7 pm
Thursday, July 20 at 11 am and 8 pm
Friday, July 21 at 3:00 pm and 7 pm
Saturday, July 22 at 10 am and 8 pm
Sunday, July 23 at 8 am and 9 pm

7/19/2006 2:48 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

If you haven't heard anything about wages, benefits or working conditions then don't know anyone who works at the News Press.

7/19/2006 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"[By the way, has anybody looked into the strategic and financial connections between Rob Lowe, a small cadre of wealthy Montecitans, a certain Coalition for Sensible Planning (CPS) and The Wendy? Could be a juicy story here. I heard a wild rumor once that Rob Lowe considers Gary Earle of CSP to be his ‘attack dog’. Indy are you listening?]"

Funny you should mention that. Gary Earle, head of CSP, is on the board of the Montecito Homeowners Defense Fund (HDF), an anti-affordable housing group, as is Rob Lowe, who is founder of the HDF. Here is the web address of the HDF's page with their board:

http://homeownersdefensefund.org/board.html

Given Travis Armstrong's vitriolic attacks on proponents of affordable housing and his unceasing promotion of Gary Earle, I think you can assume a connection, if not a "conspiracy." (You don't need conspiracies in small towns. Connections, schmoozing and scheming just happen easily.)

Earle, who is independently wealthy from rental real estate investments, has a lot of time to make connections and make mischief, as obviously do Armstrong and McCaw. And of course, the wealthy, well-connected, and famous in this town have an incestous network, so the connections with Lowe complete the circle. The HDF is incorporated as a nonprofit and has offered to help other groups who oppose high density housing (their code for affordable housing) get grants to help their efforts, so I believe HDF has also done so. Amazing what you can do if you can afford good attorneys (or if they join in your cause and give advice pro bono).

CSP's other agenda, besides opposing affordable housing, dovetails with McCaw's and Armstrong's (and causes me to wonder if McCaw wasn't in some way involved in the formation of CSP), that is, to attack and destroy local progressive political figures. So I
sometimes wonder if this cozy group has political interests that go much farther than issues of affordable housing. Watch and see if CSP winds up supporting "developer Dan" in the November election. You can bet McCaw and Armstrong will. This will show that the
"concern for neighborhoods" is just a fig leaf for what is actually manipulation with a political goal.

I'd be interested if anyone has more to add to this developing information about local political machinations.

(note to blog administrator -- this was originally posted on the wrong thread...sorry for the repeat.)

7/19/2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous CSP supporter said...

To 5:57pm, [following your lead of posting this twice....]

What's the problem? In your world of classism, is it not palatable to have "wealthy Montecitans" in support of people in "more affordable" areas like Noleta? It's no wild rumor, but a known fact that Lowe was affliated with a group that supports the same principles as CSP.

I know Gary Earle personally, and he exemplifies integrity in every way. If you disagree, then it goes without saying that you don't know Gary Earle at all.

As for CSP and all of its supporters, their priority is the QUALITY OF LIFE in their neighborhoods and all of South Coast Santa Barbara. It is an ideal that any true fan of Santa Barbara should respect.

7/19/2006 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To CSP Supporter:

Please define "quality of life in their neighborhoods"

7/19/2006 8:18 PM  
Anonymous CSP supporter said...

Quality of life meaning conditions like air quality, low noise pollution, parks and greenspace within walking distance of neighborhoods, reasonable traffic, safe walking and biking conditions, views of natural areas (for example, the views of the mountains from Hollister allow an awareness of the natural region). These are some of the conditions that come to mind.

Thank you for asking and not attacking. CSP is acting in the best interest of all. The qualities mentioned above are not meant just for the wealthy.

7/19/2006 9:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

CSP Supporter, with all due respect, please allow me to respond to the "quality of life" question by Anon 8:18...

Hey 8:18, I suggest you pose your question to Lois, Susan, Naomi, Marty, and Mike we-need-to-build-everywhere Towbes.

Lois enjoys peace and quiet at her stately manor on upper Santa Barbara Street, on the almost Upper Eastside. Susan is on Las Palmas...that's the semi-gated community of Hope Ranch. Naomi is in the bucolic Sycamore Canyon area. Marty is high on the Mesa. Mikey Towbes is (of course) tucked away in his Montecito conclave. And, just for the record, Janet Wolf lives up on Pill Hill, high above the peons of Goleta Valley.

And, oh, I almost forgot...Mr. Attack Dog, Gary Earle, lives in a PUD, right across the street from one the last pieces of Ag land in the Goleta....a piece of land that Mikey and Susan want to transform into a 20 units per acre, high-density housing project.

7/19/2006 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Another Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901790.html?sub=AR

7/19/2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Sorry...

Bill meant to say enclave not conclave.

Still dizzy from Dave Pritchett's speech.

7/19/2006 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSP supporter:
thanks for your response; i do agree these are things most folks--everywhere--want. Impacts of population growth are everywhere--not just in SB County, but especially in desirable regions. I'm a native of this region so I've watched the impacts from people who moved here in the last 10-20 years, into homes built on land that was open space or ag prior to THEIR homes being built.

I guess the question is--who gets to close the door behind him? Who is the last person? Which is the last home?

I'm not saying I have the answers. Just trying to broaden the debate.

7/19/2006 10:22 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Good debate....and good tone. These are important issues you are discussing. Thanks for taking the time to do so...

7/19/2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Friend of Truth said...

"Gary Earle lives in a pud?"

Why not get back onto the point of this subject: Was the "people's rally" a success and why?

That Washington Post article reveals that MCCaw attacked SB Independent with a C&D order, and Independent backed down.

7/19/2006 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Lowe and Montecito's Homeowners Defense Fund: Today's new Montecito Journal reports infighting among Montecito Association board members over the infamous Lowe manse appeal, where the normally vigilant Association was MIA "Land Use Committee Chair Susan Keller expressed dismay that Association President Bob Collector had informed members not to participate in the Lowe hearing, " the Journal reports. According the to HDF website (location posted above), Collector is a member of HDF along with Gary Earle and Rob Lowe-- the three photographed together in a web hug, and posting a newsletter thanking Travis for HDF'srecent local radio appearance

7/19/2006 11:07 PM  
Anonymous CSP supporter said...

To 10:22pm--

Let's keep this conversation going. I appreciate your tone. Since you are a native of SB, then you have a good reference for how it has changed. Your point is well taken: At what point do we stop adding to the growth impacts on the South Coast?

Of course, there are many ways to approach that question. I think, that at the very least, people should acknowledge that every time we up-zone, then we increase the number of potential homes, which in turn increases the potential impact on quality of life. While increasing the number of homes may seem appealling, we must remember that we cannot accordingly increase the resources needed to maintain the quality of life in its current condition. Using Noleta as an example, current zoning still allows for a lot more development. Generally, residents and CSP supporters accept that reality even though they remain concerned about the impacts. But rezoning for increased density only invites more impacts, so is a step in the wrong direction. That's one of the reasons that the upzoning is so strongly opposed.

It is up to the current residents to take care of this land, and responsibly manage the resources. To address the problem of affordability, our elected officals need to consider creative solutions. Building more homes seems to be the ONLY solution considered, and make no doubt about the fact that high-density development is far more profitable for developers than it could ever be for the homebuyers who get those units. So, we need to recognize that when we add density to our neighborhoods, just what it is that we are trading our collective quality of life for? Big developer profits? And minimal gain for new residents? That is not a smart choice. Smarter would involve solutions that help new homeowners directly and do not increase impacts on our environment.

I would love to see this community open up a dialogue regarding what other alternatives might be. Some ideas are pay increases, loan incentives, regulated rentals....these are just a few ideas, and I know there are many more out there. Santa Barbarans like to celebrate the notion that they played a part in starting the environmental monvement. Wouldn't it be amazing if this generation of Santa Barbarans would step up to the forefront of protecting the environment from the current trend of overdevelopment, while addressing affordability at the same time?

7/20/2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Sol Marsh said...

What??? The Independent also received a cease-and-desist letter this week, said its editor, Marianne Partridge, after it published Hadly's story about the demonstrations that the News-Press had killed. Partridge said she complied with the order on the advice of the Independent's lawyers.
Why does a lawsuit threat turn the Independent into a jellyfish?

7/20/2006 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an idea... eliminate Proposition 13. Let people in million dollar homes pay the right property taxes.... $10,000 a year. If they can't pay, they can move away, freeing up their homes and eliminating a need for new homes.

7/20/2006 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the question is--who gets to close the door behind him? Who is the last person? Which is the last home?

I'm not saying I have the answers. Just trying to broaden the debate.


Excellent questions. The answer, I believe, lies in trully examining the situation from a population cap number controlled, as much as we possibly can, by regulating housing. We just need to trully pick a number, and then determine buildout. I fear we have probably surpassed this number, for the quality of life is decreasing every day. We have to look at the environment in Santa Barbara as a finite resource, which it is. It's a narrow strip of land bordered by mountains and ocean, with one highway.

I know this sounds callous, and in sense it is, but you will always find a sympathetic reason to build more housing in a desireable area. As in "What about the teachers?", or "There's no housing for the poor?". The sad thing, I believe, is that this is not about class warfare, but I'm pretty sure that the developers want you to think that. We have to separate the two problems of overpopulation and the high value of the land

To answer your question, we let the whole town decide when to close the door. Not on people, but on new construction. There's a open house sign on every corner of Santa Barbara and a bevy of apartments for rent, so it's not a question of a shortage of housing opportunities for newcomers.

If the town really wanted to solve both problems of providing more affordable housing and maintaining quality of life through alleviating sprawl and high density, it could do it. But the argument is being staged and reframed constantly by those who lust for the tremendous profits of new housing. The debate of "Why do you hate the poor?" vs. "Why do want to rebuild LA?" is a silly debate because the opposing sides are not at direct odds with each other.

7/20/2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

washingtonpost.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901790.html
Calif. Newspaper Battles Ex-Editors
Owner Tries to Quash News of Strife

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 20, 2006; A03

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 19 -- A battle inside the local newspaper in this wealthy seaside town has turned into a citywide controversy, :::snip:::

McCaw also upped the ante when her attorneys sent letters to three former employees -- Executive Editor Jerry Roberts, Business Editor Michael Todd and popular columnist Barney Brantingham -- threatening legal action if they continued to speak publicly about the newspaper, according to reporters who had seen the letters. Brantingham has since joined the Santa Barbara Independent, the city's alternative newspaper, and wrote a long piece about the controversy. The Independent also received a cease-and-desist letter this week, said its editor, Marianne Partridge, after it published Hadly's story about the demonstrations that the News-Press had killed. Partridge said she complied with the order on the advice of the Independent's lawyers.

In an e-mail response to questions, McCaw said that she believes strongly in a free press and that the paper is "absolutely not for sale."

:::snip:::

7/20/2006 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the enormous profits that existing homeowners have made by constraining new housing... $100K a year or more on average for most local homeowners. Existing homeowners have achieved an increase in equity value that makes the developers' profits pale by comparison. Not that I support the developers' profits, but local homeowners are fellow profiteers with developers.

I say eliminate Prop. 13 for anyone with a market value of their house that exceeds $700,000. Prop. 13 was not supposed to be welfare for the rich, which is what has happened.

And the ability to pass on the Prop. 13 assessment to your children and grandchildren is simply obscene... the passage of those amendments to Prop. 13 was real class warfare, and has produced a landed aristocracy.... mansions in Montecito with $200,000 assessments.

If you don't want this to be LA, don't act like it is LA... quit driving your car, and instead take the bus or ride a bike. That will improve the quality of life around here way more than new housing will degrade the quality of life.

All building along the South Coast is unnatural; there is very little water here. 200,000 people on the South Coast is no more or less natural or sustainable than 50,000 or 500,000. The only sustainable human society on the South Coast was the Chumash, who sustained for 5,000 years or so, and only about 15,000 of them lived on the South Coast. In any case, their lifestyle was totally different than ours... the hunter-gatherer life. Our lifestyle can only sustain a few thousand here at most, without massive importation of resources.

The bottom line is more housing could easily be accomodated as well as we do now... as long as everyone adapts their transportation habits away from pure copying of LA.

7/20/2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

So somehow a gargantuan public policy debate about who gets to live here and where housing should be built is the answer to the original question:
"Was the rally a success?"

Or, is the point of all these Noleta housing opponants commenting here that killing news articles about the drunken driving conviction of Travis Armstrong now is connected to housing policies because anything that makes TravisA look bad somehow will lead to more building in Noleta?

Just write it that way if that is what you mean. Otherwise, why not stick to the point of this blog posting topic?

7/20/2006 5:48 PM  
Anonymous CSP supporter said...

Sad thing that the posters at blogabarbara can't keep up an intelligent conversation about the impacts of growth on the Santa Barbara south coast.

Mention of CSP was brought up in an earlier post (citing a "juicy story" and a "wild rumor"), and that's how this thread got started. The post enjoyed a bit of intellignet discussion, then Sara made a topic focusing on Rob Lowe. And now, FDS wants to drop the topic. What is it with you guys? Is it true that you'd rather win the upperhand on the conversation than come up with a real solution for keeping SB livable? Sure seems like it.

The jealousy and resentment that people turn towards others who have something they want, or want to take away, is toxic to everyone. We need to consider realistic solutions that reflects our values. Maybe it would be beneficial to have more bicycles on the roads than cars, but you cannot put limits on how much people drive. You can, however, manage the growth and development of region.

7/21/2006 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee FDR, you're sounding like the "Wendy McCaw" of the Blogosphere......get a life, dude!

7/21/2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon: 3:15pm

Good points of discussion.

Don't forget the enormous profits that existing homeowners have made by constraining new housing... $100K a year or more on average for most local homeowners. Existing homeowners have achieved an increase in equity value that makes the developers' profits pale by comparison. Not that I support the developers' profits, but local homeowners are fellow profiteers with developers.

It's only profit when you sell and when people are afraid to move within a town because the reassessment will drive their property taxes up to at least $10,000 from wherever it is now. And if you look at www.zillow.com and check what people are paying in taxes, you'll see that most people are paying WELL below the market average. The developers profits are liquid however.

I say eliminate Prop. 13 for anyone with a market value of their house that exceeds $700,000. Prop. 13 was not supposed to be welfare for the rich, which is what has happened.

What about some old lady that's been living in a home for thirty years that she bought at $130K that's now worth 1 million. Repealing prop 13 would essentially kick alot of elderly people out of town.

And the ability to pass on the Prop. 13 assessment to your children and grandchildren is simply obscene... the passage of those amendments to Prop. 13 was real class warfare, and has produced a landed aristocracy.... mansions in Montecito with $200,000 assessments.

I agree. You shouldn't be able to pass on Prop 13 to your kids. But I don't think its class warfare. I think it's more like generational warfare. Those that got here first have a tremendous advantage, rich or poor, over the newbies. But, as a relative newbie it's a price I am willigng to pay.

The bottom line is more housing could easily be accomodated as well as we do now... as long as everyone adapts their transportation habits away from pure copying of LA.

I respectfully disagree. I think it's wishful thinking and ultimately more harmful.

7/21/2006 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the problem?? Too many people, not affordable housing. I bought a condo in 1996 for $125,000 near the ocean..it was affordable but at the time I thought it was expensive..you can't keep building to drive the prices down..it'll never happen..people are finally getting hip to this area and that's why the prices are up..sorry! it's all timing!

7/21/2006 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's only profit when you sell and when people are afraid to move within a town because the reassessment will drive their property taxes up to at least $10,000 from wherever it is now. And if you look at www.zillow.com and check what people are paying in taxes, you'll see that most people are paying WELL below the market average. The developers profits are liquid however.

It is equity, and is used in various ways, like equity loans and collateral. Indeed, if we do keep Prop. 13, I think we should make the maximum value that can be used as collateral (without selling) equal to the assessed value. In any case, if you move to an equal or smaller place, you can keep your Prop. 13 assessment... that could be grandfathered.

That people are paying taxes on assessed value way below the market value is important... the same people protest about the `low' taxes that occupants in affordable units would pay. In fact, the occupants in affordable units would pay way more than a typical South Coast homeowner. For example *every* Goleta City Council member has an assessment below $150,000... affordable places would be about double that, $300,000. Yet antigrowthers complain about the insufficient taxes paid by people in affordable units.

What about some old lady that's been living in a home for thirty years that she bought at $130K that's now worth 1 million. Repealing prop 13 would essentially kick alot of elderly people out of town.

That's a rich old lady, and she has economic options. Why should her economic situation be given so much more weight than that of a young family... where it is common for parents to work 3 jobs while living in an apartment in the forlorn hope of saving money for a condo here? Or why should we accept the social disruption of that young family living in Santa Maria, with both parents commuting to the South Coast, leaving their kids alone between 6am and 7pm? Why should only consideration be given to the retiree?

Those that got here first have a tremendous advantage, rich or poor, over the newbies.

But why do we enhance that advantage with the tax code? The advantage is sufficient without government's ham hand tipping the scales even farther in favor of the affluent. To see descendants of the original owner inherit tiny assessments is not something I am willing to put up with... the US was founded in part on the elimination of aristocracy and bills of attainder.

The bottom line is more housing could easily be accomodated as well as we do now... as long as everyone adapts their transportation habits away from pure copying of LA.

I respectfully disagree. I think it's wishful thinking and ultimately more harmful.

Many places in the world are far more dense and are livable. Paris comes to mind.

The density and population on the South Coast was not chosen by God for perfection. The Chumash had about 15,000, and that was sustainable with their habits. Our way of live could sustain only a few thousand without Cachuma and massive importation of resources like water, food, and fuel. We are grossly and laughably over the sustainable limit... arguments about sustainability are just jokes.

So the only real argument is about what population/density is comfortable. Already there is huge variation just on the South Coast... downtown SB has way higher density than Montecito, but everyone seems to think both places are fine.

It seems the limiting problem *is* traffic, according to lots of comments at public meetings. We can absolutely engineer a terrific public transit system... Paris has one, Moscow has one, London has one, Tokyo has one, Amsterdam has one. Indeed, that transit system could also be environmentally way, way less damaging then all the car driving that goes on now.

Sure people can be skeptical... but my experience is that they are not really skeptical about whether we could implement public transit. They simply do not want to do it, because they are happy with the status quo, and don't want to be bothered. And they don't believe there is any real problem right now... they don't think it is a problem that 90 or 95% of working people cannot afford to live here.

That's were I respectfully disagree. I don't want this area to revert to being Mexico or other Latin American places, where the rich barricade themselves and the poor live in squalor, and the middle class is absent.

7/22/2006 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet antigrowthers complain about the insufficient taxes paid by people in affordable units.

You're labeling too much, I am an anti-growther but I don't complain about that. In my opinion, anti-growthers generally focus on the dangers of overdeveloping and not who's paying more than who.

Or why should we accept the social disruption of that young family living in Santa Maria, with both parents commuting to the South Coast, leaving their kids alone between 6am and 7pm?

That, first and foremost, should be treated as a choice. They are not mandated to work on the South Coast.

It seems the limiting problem *is* traffic, according to lots of comments at public meetings. We can absolutely engineer a terrific public transit system... Paris has one, Moscow has one, London has one, Tokyo has one, Amsterdam has one. Indeed, that transit system could also be environmentally way, way less damaging then all the car driving that goes on now.

I am all for improving public transportation in all areas. You'll get no argument from me on that one. If people had more viable options, they would use them. The fact that we can't move the bus station next to the train station underlines however a serious problem in this town with actually improving public transportation. Paris is a good example of excellent public transportation.

Many places in the world are far more dense and are livable. Paris comes to mind.

Paris has its good points, but it is not a good exmaple of a city that is livable, or more livable than Santa Barbara. It's not even close. First of all, there is a lot of poverty in Paris. There is a great separation of wealth. And generally speaking, Paris is more expensive than Santa Barbara. Try to get a hotel for under 100 euros a night. The streets are filthy, everybody smokes, and the place is just jammed with people. Not what I want and not what I want Santa Barbara to be.

BTW: I like arguing with you, because unlike most of the crap on this board, I feel like an actual discussion is going on.

7/22/2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, thanks, I like this discussion too. OK, you are right, you don't complain about the property taxes paid by those in affordable units, but many people who commented at Goleta community housing meetings and the News-Press have made the comment.

That, first and foremost, should be treated as a choice. They are not mandated to work on the South Coast.

But why is an elderly lady with a $1,000,000 house mandated to do so via the Prop. 13 tax assessment? It is her choice to stay on the South Coast too. Why can't we be fair between the elderly lady and a new young family, and let both pay the same portion of the value of their property to live here?

The fact that we can't move the bus station next to the train station underlines however a serious problem in this town with actually improving public transportation.

Here, I disagree... when I take the bus downtown the current location of the bus station is far, far move convenient than the train station would be. It is a much longer walk from the train station to the movie theaters, the live performance theaters, the bookstores, the County admin building, and jury duty from the train station. To me, it seems that the push to move the bus station arises from people who don't take the bus and don't understand that the current location is far better for real people than a location near the train station.

A far more interesting public transit idea here... have a train spur that connects nicely with the airport, to facillitate trips between the tourist area near Carrillo and the airport. Another idea would be good Montecito and Bacara train connections with the airport.

Paris has its good points, but it is not a good exmaple of a city that is livable, or more livable than Santa Barbara. It's not even close. First of all, there is a lot of poverty in Paris. There is a great separation of wealth. And generally speaking, Paris is more expensive than Santa Barbara. Try to get a hotel for under 100 euros a night. The streets are filthy, everybody smokes, and the place is just jammed with people. Not what I want and not what I want Santa Barbara to be.

There is a lot of poverty and separation of wealth on the South Coast. There are single men (usually immigrants) who sleep in shifts in bunks (4 beds to a bedroom + 6 in the living room in homes designed for single families, with 3 guys sharing the same bunk spot, 8 hours apiece) in our area and work 2 jobs to send money home. There are places where 3 families live in 1 bedroom apartments... near me. There are a lot of homeless who live in the fields near me. I don't think our rate of poverty is different than that in Paris.

My experience in Paris is that it is similar in price to Santa Barbara... one can go cheap in either place and I have... it is not unusual to pay $125/night at modest places like the South Coast Inn on Calle Real in Goleta here. Apartments in reasonable areas in Paris can be had for E800,000 The streets are dirtier in Santa Barbara in my experience. I agree the smoke is awful there, although believe it or not they are starting to regulate it.

If you want amazing hygiene and cleanliness (and fantastic food) there is Singapore. A bit hot for me, though.

If it is just people you dislike, I'd simply call that misanthropy.

I am just different than you... I like people, and I think dense places get fantastically interesting. Great food, great stores, great art, great performances... all of them are associated with dense places like New York, London, and Paris. I don't want the South Coast to become as dense as those places, but it is not clear to me that the current density is perfect. Twice as many people could be between the urban limit lines (roughly Winchester to Montecito) and I think we could do just fine, as long as we are careful to get good transit and develop good waste management.

I'm not a developer by the way, and indeed, that developers around here have been grossly negligent at undertaking true good works for the community has put is in our current mess. It was not developers who got Cachuma... it was TM Storke, not a developer at all... read Carol Storke's letter in this week's Indy... that family did not make big money off of Cachuma, even though they had a lot of land. Our local developers (Towbes, Linehan, Bermant, Berkus, etc) never are broadminded, visionary leaders at promoting the civic instructure that would keep the South Coast exceptional while allowing some growth. And they reap the negative karma back when they try to do a project.

Indeed, those developers have let the advocates of biking and public tranportation dangle in the breeze. Not that anyone could (or should) take their bucks directly, but those developers could go a long way by supporting a solid transportation plan (and putting up real money for it).

BTW, I generally detest the Chumash Casino, but it does help that they run buses to their place. I know they probably profit from the gambling of those who take the buses, but still, they pay for free buses to their place. If the local developers would cast their bread upon the water, then it would come back many fold to them.

7/22/2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, you are right, you don't complain about the property taxes paid by those in affordable units, but many people who commented at Goleta community housing meetings and the News-Press have made the comment.

Certainly possible but I think that the overriding concern coming from that group is the concern for overdevelopment. All kinds of words have been said on all sides of the debate that have been shall we say, less than honorable. It's the labeling aspect of the rants that are just unneceesary.

Here, I disagree... when I take the bus downtown the current location of the bus station is far, far move convenient than the train station would be. It is a much longer walk from the train station to the movie theaters, the live performance theaters, the bookstores, the County admin building, and jury duty from the train station. To me, it seems that the push to move the bus station arises from people who don't take the bus and don't understand that the current location is far better for real people than a location near the train station.

A far more interesting public transit idea here... have a train spur that connects nicely with the airport, to facillitate trips between the tourist area near Carrillo and the airport. Another idea would be good Montecito and Bacara train connections with the airport.


Good points. Maybe the train station is in the wrong location then and should be closer to the bus station. Not that I care too much for the train anyways. The thing is so slow, that I could walk faster to San Diego. And I assume that you have taken the TGV in France to know how fast a train can truly go! A train should not take significantly longer to get somewhere than by car. That's not a good sales pitch for taking the train. But I think we can agree that the South Coast non-car options have a lot of room for potential.

If you want amazing hygiene and cleanliness (and fantastic food) there is Singapore.

I'll check it out. Thanks. I have been to the other places you have mentioned.

If it is just people you dislike, I'd simply call that misanthropy.

Mysanthropy is a strong word. I don't hate humankind, but i don't trust humans in certain situations like population management. I think we are terrible at it and some day our finite sized planet is going to make us pay. 6 billion people and climbing fast is just too many large omnivores for this planet to comfortably handle and we are seeing the effects in many ways, and its going to get worse, I'll bet. Pretty hot today.

I am just different than you... I like people, and I think dense places get fantastically interesting. Great food, great stores, great art, great performances... all of them are associated with dense places like New York, London, and Paris.

I think the greatness of those cities are in the past. They feel like big museums to me, albeit interesting ones. But I think that the big cities lose an even stronger connection to nature where I find that the greatness and goodness of people stem from. People talk to you in small towns where people will ignore a person lying in the street in a big city.

BTW, I generally detest the Chumash Casino,

I don't really have a strong opinion on the Casino, other than I hope that the profits are truly going to the sovereign people, whomever they may be. Payback is still in order and is good karma.

Our local developers (Towbes, Linehan, Bermant, Berkus, etc) never are broadminded, visionary leaders at promoting the civic instructure that would keep the South Coast exceptional while allowing some growth.

I think the local developers need to be extracted from the growth decisions of this city as much as possible. I understand that they are an integral part of the formula, but they have gotten too much airtime already and need to be counted for what they are: one vote. It's silly to have a community meeting where everybody gets one minute to speak and then Towbes gets ten minutes to give a powerpoint presentation.

7/22/2006 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good article in today's LA Times on the trend of class polarization in LA (I think SB is worse, but I haven't seen data on the issue):

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-extremes23jul23,0,2317971.story?coll=la-home-local

A few direct responses... a *local* train between Carp and Bacara, with a spur to the airport and UCSB could help a lot... would be slow, but faster than the bus. As for regional transit, yes, the TGV is terrific (and incredibly smooth, much easier to sleep or work on than an airplane). California needs something similar.

I think humans can manage density and growth... generally Europe has done so way better than the US has, although it is certainly not perfect there, they have done way better with their transit system and other infrastructure. Amsterdam is pretty amazing on traffic... at rush hour in their financial district there was only slight congestion when I was there. Way better than LA, SF, or NY. Amsterdam has a subway, great bike infrastructure, buses, and boats.

My prediction for the South Coast: gradually shacks will start sprouting up in the Santa Ynez Mountains, housing the workers who will take the place of our middle class. At places like Flores Flats and generally outside County jurisdiction, but inside Forest Service jurisdiction. The Feds won't have resources to regulate it. Outhouses and terrible degradation of the watershed will result, and eventually we'll become like South America, with a poor working class that lives in squalor while taking low-wage jobs that support the retirees and trust funders on the South Coast. All will seek to avoid it but it will come; we just don't have TM Storkes who can will the future into existence anymore. We avoid the issue and paper over the problems with phony feel good measures.

On the Chumash: I don't like their Casino, but I have respect for them. I wish their Casino would fail because no-one would patronize it. Gambling is a terrible thing which ruins many people's lives each year. Of course many people gamble responsibly, but on the whole I think it is comparable to cocaine. Just because some can use cocaine or gamble responsibly doesn't mean we need those activities to be legal.

7/23/2006 6:01 AM  

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