Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Salsipuedes, The Sequel

Craig Smith did it again and got the scoop on the latest News-Press Salsipuedes! They took our Starshine away....

Starshine Roshell and travel editor Al Bonowitz resigned today from the newsroom staff. In a letter to the NP Personnel Director and Scott Steepleton, Starshine said she was grateful "That when I look in the mirror, I won't see what you do". For the full text of the letter, visit Craig's blog through the first link above.


Blogger Lauren said...

She spoke with dignity and honesty for all the departed employees.

10/03/2006 4:31 PM  
Blogger theaverageman said...

The letter is also on Starshine's homepage, along with her first column for SBParent.

10/03/2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boy... that letter made it's rounds. I read it first on Santa Barbara's Blog:

The new media is electronic, who needs to wait until the morning anymore for the News-Press.

10/03/2006 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her column has been sorely missed.

10/03/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you continue to kiss Craig Smith's butt? I had a woman's group lunch with Starshine three + weeks ago and that was common knowledge. I guess Craig Smith has two blogs.

10/03/2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Starshine's column will be sorely missed. Her style often tasted of a wine spritzer; refreshing with a touch of naughtiness.

Elle va nous manquer.

10/03/2006 7:31 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

She should get an award for that last paragraph. Priceless!!! dd

10/03/2006 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starshine's column was sometimes not properly sourced and slightly overblown, but she did have style, as she shows in her going away gift.

10/03/2006 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Bonzz said...

Don't worry Starshine

10/04/2006 4:58 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Critics of the News-Press such as Starshine Roshell are consumed with equal parts self-importance and pure hate.

What would lead a supposedly intelligent group of individuals to collectively commit career suicide?

Not Scott Steepleton. Not Yolanda Apodaca. And certainly not Wendy McCaw.

The critics need to look in the mirror. Except that they are blinded by a cult of martyrdom and forced to dance, marionette-style, to a tune blared by manipulative politicians and would-be politicians such as Marty Blum, Susan Rose and Steve Amerikaner.

Their criticisms are not to be trusted. Their negativity was not welcomed in the News-Press newsroom, which has continued to produce great journalism despite obstacles and petty sniping.

Frankly, we're better off without whiners like Brantingham and Roshell, who would rather nurse imaginary grievances than do their jobs.

10/04/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Wow. I won't say anything more as I wouldn't want to have a chilling effect on your free speech. Can't accuse me of not publishing both sides of an issue -- but still, the News-Press lost some excellent writers yesterday and in the last month. It's truly their loss if they can't calue what they have...

10/04/2006 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...


Your missive is unconvincing. The writing is on the wall - we are not fools. The cowards are those going to bat for McCaw and her pocket book. It's patently obvious.

If anyone running the paper actually cared to know the employees behind the creation of the union, they would see they are extremely saddened by the whole deal and are reacting in self defense. Defenders of McCaw make me sick - her foolishness is costing good friends of mine their jobs. It's not something to take lightly. And Neville, if you want to whine at us for being pissed our friends are under the thumb of a rich space cadet with the mind of child, go ahead.

Just remember, Travis: You can't take it with you.

10/04/2006 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where's the career suicide? These people are being lauded in their industry. Most have new jobs already and praise from the journalism world appears endless.

EXCEPT for Steepleton. He'll be remembered for taking a job Jerry Roberts quit in good concious. Can't speak for Yolanda (not sure if there's such a thing as an ethics award for HR). And as for Wendy she has no career. Owning and publishing a paper for 4 years in the late stages of middle age, simply because you've got enough pennies to outbid the next guy, does not a career make.

As for Steepleton, I'd like to second the post I read today over at the Independent's media blog.

Who is this guy? Let's see some coverage or a provile in the Indy or on the TV news. He's running our town's daily newspaper now and we all deserve a peak into his philosophies about what is news. Maybe somebody can invite him to a public forum to learn his goals for the News-Press now that he's in charge. His predecessor Roberts certainly spoke publicly about that stuff.

Why did Steepleton move to Santa Barbara? Or is it true like I read over there he's from Ventura? Why does he choose to cover this community?

10/04/2006 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

typical santa barbara attitude

10/04/2006 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Nelville, how about giving ONE specific example of the "agenda" or "bias" or "slanted reporting" by Roberts and his staff, cited in the broadest generalities and "declines to elaborate" by Wendy McCaw over and over as her reason for committing self-mutilation? One. Story, date and the exact specific concern. Three months since the first walkout and have not seen or heard of one specific example yet from McCaw, despite requests by national news organizations. Let's hear it. Otherwise, stfu.

10/04/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous slanted and enchanted said...

There are no specific examples of "agenda" or "bias" because there was no agenda nor bias. There is now, however, under Steepleton. Having worked with him for years, I can tell you Scott seems to envy his more talented and respected former colleagues. Any chance to feel like he's somehow beaten them at something is one he would jump at. And now he apparently has.
As for Neville, I can't understand why you continue to post on these blogs. You have zero credibility, just like the editorials and pathetic opinion pieces you write in the News-Press.

10/04/2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Friend of Truth said...

True then, and true now:

Jane Hulse said it best.

10/04/2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not fool ourselves here. Scott is not really in charge of the newsroom. Travis is not truly head of editorial. Yolanda is not really sitting firmly at the helm of HR. They are just the talking heads of the Wendy. None of them, despite their titles and the lofty airs they've displayed throughout this mess. are sitting at the true throne of the News-Press. Only Wendy, the Nipper, and a bunch of lawyers are, and they'd best not forget their place. Scott, Travis and Yolanda are totally expendable; they just don't seem to realize it yet. Once they stop the madness for just a moment and realize what they're doing to themselves, their newspaper, and their community, and even hint at not supporting Wendy in her crazed mission to auger the News-Press into the ground, they're history, and not just at the News-Press, but at any respected newspaper in the nation. Unlike the others who have gone respectably and responsibly before them.

10/04/2006 4:59 PM  
Anonymous hi neville said...

William Etling's column in the SYV News: Fear and Loathing, Hatred and Discontent

Every so often, when he tires of destroying his own paper, Travis K. Armstrong, flame-thrower-in-chief for the national joke once known as the Santa Barbara News-Press, lobs a missile over the hill at our peaceful little Shangri-La.

The latest salvo came on Sunday, October 1, in a TKA commentary entitled "Chumash in Valley of Double Standards."

"The double standards applied to the Chumash tribal government continue unabated. The latest example comes out of the process to write a community plan for the Santa Ynez Valley...Chumash haters aren't attacking the city of Solvang and others for taking little or no real role in the plan's development," wrote Armstrong.

If I ever need someone to start a civil war, I'll call Travis. With the possible exception of Al-Queda, he spreads fear, loathing, hatred and discontent faster than anybody I know. With friends like that, the Tribe's recent, effective, public relations campaign doesn't stand a chance.

Let's set aside for a moment the question of whether or not it is appropriate for the editorial voice of a once esteemed metropolitan daily to spew venom like an erupting Vesuvius or an amateur blogger, and focus on the facts. Did Solvang take part in constructing the plan?

Former Valley Plan Advisory Committee Chairman Bob Field says, "I met with the city managers and planning directors of both Buellton and Solvang, Steve Thompson and Marlene Demery, on multiple occasions, to discuss the Community Plan."

I personally saw former Solvang mayor (now Planning Commissioner) David Smyser at every VPAC meeting I attended, and he often contributed his considerable expertise.

As for Armstrong's racist taunts, I don't know ANY "Chumash haters," and I've lived here since 1966. There are legitimate differences of opinion over environmental safeguards in potential new Chumash developments that have raised a ruckus in recent years, to be sure. These are political squabbles, not personal ones. Overall, the people of the Santa Ynez Valley are as live-and-let-live a bunch as you will ever meet.

CJ Jackson, the head of a citizen's group opposed to the Chumash annexation plans, has repeatedly stated that his group will not condone personal attacks. "We're trying to eliminate a double standard, in favor of the Chumash," he told me. "To compare municipal annexations with tribal annexations is like comparing fish with bicycles."

"When talking about a double standard, have you been following the editorial column's discussion of 'Noleta'?" Jackson asked. "Here, in my opinion, is a textbook double standard. All the Valley wants are the same elements that they articulate for Noleta. Armstrong applies a standard of expectation for Noleta that he will not grant to the residents of Santa Ynez and the Valley as a whole."

I went to SY High with students who lived on the reservation. Some had a miserable existence. But from a valley-wide perspective, we were all in the same basic boat then, and we're still there now.

A rising tide lifts all ships. I'm glad their families are wealthy. The upcoming generation of Chumash have opportunities their parents could only dream about, and they will make good use of them.

The Tribe recently made a great stride away from the unproductive hostility of vile rhetoric, by hiring former New-Press reporter Camilla Cohee Barnwell in a public affairs capacity. She's talented, respected, and congenial, and will go a long way towards smoothing troubled waters.

10/04/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

And when the updated and audited circulation figures come out this month, whose head will roll to take the blame?

10/04/2006 8:40 PM  
Anonymous breadandroses said...

"Neville" said: "Their negativity was not welcomed in the News-Press newsroom, which has continued to produce great journalism despite obstacles and petty sniping."

How the *%#@ would you know what is or isn't welcomed in the newsroom?! The only way you could know that is if you worked closely with the newsroom reporters, copy editors and photographers - that means actually interacting with us on a daily basis, not hiding in your office drinking the Kool-Aid and trying desperately not to listen to the tick-tick-tick sound of your usefulness to Wendy winding down.

Perhaps you're following the example of our oh-so-elusive co-publishers. Every time I read some arrogant, misguided, delusional claptrap from that dysfunctional duo attacking their own staff or pontificating about journalism, I burst out laughing. To repeat a theme: How the *%#@ would they know?! Their collective journalism experience consists of the Water Boy's stint as editor of his high school paper, and the only people they know in the newsroom (besides you and Scott "Mr. Opportunist" Steepleton) are each other. They could walk right past any of us on the street and they'd have no idea who we were. (Remind me when they last had a publisher's meeting with us? Oh, wait - that's right, never.)

Still, it's nice that you recognize that the uncoerced majority of union supporters who make up the newsroom (plus our six misguided colleagues) are continuing to produce great journalism despite (company-created) "obstacles" and (your) "petty sniping."

10/05/2006 3:29 AM  
Blogger budlawman said...


That "negativity" you ostensibly perceive -- which in fact is the dawning of the opposite, if only management would open its tin ear and cooperate -- won an election recently, 33-6. If it had gone the other way (though I don't know how that could have happened without massive fraud), we would have been treated to some of the misplaced incantations you offer, Huff/Travis/gloat style. The ship is foundering, ol' Captain Queeg doesn't realize it and is heading down a self-destructive path, shaking down the entire crew searching for missing strawberries when the fundamental problem lies within. The negativity, dear, is obviously daily spewing from above, not from the courageous souls who have, to quote another wretched captain of a vessel headed for trouble, "won some capital, and they intend to spend it." To improve their lives and the quality and reputation of the newspaper.

10/05/2006 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never miss your rants in the News Press, but if your going to insist on posting under an clever name, you need to make your incredibly unique writing "Style" a little less obvious, eh? (sounds familiar, I know)
Say Hi to Nipper Von Cheeseburger and Witchee-Poo when you see them.
Larry Dickman

10/05/2006 9:21 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

Umm, Nipper is expendable too; don't forget Wendy has a history of disposable spouses and louses. If I were the Nipper I wouldn't be too comfortable right now....dd

10/05/2006 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read updates about the mismanagement at the NewsPress, I find this other article posted on rather fitting.

"Incompetent People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find - They're blind to own failings, others' skills"

10/06/2006 9:38 AM  

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