Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Neighborhood Impact Update

The Santa Barbara Independent's Barney Brantingham has reported that Jimmy's Oriental Gardens will be made into a museum by the Trust for Historic Preservation to celebrate the heritage of the Canon Perdido neighborhood. It was sold for $3.1 million. They plan on using bridge financing from the city and several foundations to make it part of the El Presidio de Santa Barbara Historical Park.

Montecitans found out this week that Ty Warner plans to sell the Miramar Hotel and is described in the same article. In a bit of Beanie Baby irony, Bob Collector is quoted as saying that Warner's finger pointing at the Montecito Association is "a bit absurd".

West Beach residents might be interested in knowing that I've received an unconfirmed report that Bill Levy has filed Chapter 11 on the La Entrada project. Does anyone have something to back this up? I'll be interested to know what happens next with the controversial development we spent so much of our energy on several years ago....[Update: here's a link to the SB Sound article].

Monday, November 27, 2006

SBNP Drops Community TV Listings

A faithful reader of ours pointed out to me that the News-Press has dropped community television (Channels 17 and 21) from their TV Listings Magazine.

The News-Press apparently says they do not have room to make the listings they dropped coverage of the channels, even though they fit fine on the page a week ago.

Could it be that News-Press management is angry at SB Channels TV for showing locally produced shows that document the News-Press Mess? Could it be that they didn't want to give their readers access to coverage of the unionization rally and the non-violent, quiet demonstration in front of the Biltmore?

I ask who is showing bias in the newsroom now? Who is interfering with content which truly belongs to the community? You can't just delete news or content that you don't like and then blame former employees for bias....eventually, your hypocrisy will catch up to you. Where is the tipping point? I hope it's right around the corner....

Of course, you can get listings for for Channel 17 and Channel 21 on the web. Another good source for all listings is Yahoo! TV.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Far Beyond These Castle Walls

A prior report by an Anon and the following by Bob Frost about a new fence at the News-Press parking lot:

It's true. There's a chain link fence about six feet high covered in green mesh lining the property line along Anacapa Street. Looks like it's up to block views into both SBNP parking lots from the street.

A response to the plans for DLG Plaza, an attempt to keep the workers in or the unwashed hordes out? There's likely a better explanation but I would be interested to hear if the City of Santa Barbara has anything to say about it...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

News-Press Mess Makes Business Week

The News-Press Mess made Business Week with an article on how private ownership can create its own set of problems for newspapers. Although they got their facts slightly wrong in mentioning yours truly and BlogaBarbara (we aren't running the reinstate Burns petition -- that's at, they do a nice run down with quotes from Dawn Hobbs and the formerly organized Scott Hadley.

In other news, Craig Smith today writes about how Wendy has hired Barry Capello to go after Teamster lawyer Ira Gottlieb who they contend was "lurking" at the Biltmore during the Lifetime Achievement Awards -- even as a paid guest at the hotel.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Updated Election Results

County Elections has released the latest election update. Aceves is now 32 votes ahead of Brock in Goleta and with 1% of the absentees and 3,000 provisionals in the County left to count -- why hasn't Anderson conceded?

DLG Plaza Conspiracy?

So Travis Armstrong thinks that Mayor Marty Blum's "bias" against the News-Press is leading to proposals to remodel De la Guerra Plaza...the DLG Plaza proposals date far before the News-Press Mess. Is this another example of how th News-Press management would rather go to war with it's "enemies" than use diplomacy and tact to achieve their goals? In and of itself -- opposing plans for DLG Plaza is their right -- but yet again the tone and approach leave much to be desired. Revenge, I guess, is a dish best served cold....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

American Journalism Review Article

Worthy of it's own post, the American Jorunalism of Review article underscores much of what we have been writing about here at BlogaBarbara. Here's my favorite quote from the article that sums up The Mess nicely:

"Mrs. McCaw never fully understood that she didn't just buy a mouthpiece for her own views," says Linda Strean, News-Press managing editor from 2003 to 2005, now managing editor for Great "It really comes down to a tragic misunderstanding of what the mission of a newspaper should be."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Remembering Pearl Chase

An avid reader of BlogaBarbara reminded me that today would have been Pearl Chase's 118th birthday -- the woman who fought for everything that is great about Santa Barbara had a few things to say that are interesting in the context of what is happening today.

“History brought tradition,
Tradition brought with it a sense of pride.
Pride led to responsibility,
Responsibility led to concern,
Concern led to action
Action led to justice in achievement.”

Also, considering the several f$@# you's I got today for my post on the SBNP and free speech from whom I can only assume live in their ivory tower, I can't help but imagine standing at Butterfly Beach and saying this Pearl Chase quote to myself and perhaps changing the focus just a slight little bit:

“Get the message across and make politicians feel they must pay attention to the people.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Point/SBNP Counterpoint

This provided by Kim Jong-il? I'm not sure what the federal offense is if the Biltmore wasn't kept from doing business and the News Press Achievement Awards were not kept from being held or their free specch was wasn't chilled in any way...but here is the other side of the story.
Media contact:
Agnes Huff

November 15, 2006 01:47 PM Eastern Time

Santa Barbara News-Press Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge
against Teamsters Union for Picketing

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Barbara
News-Press has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Teamsters Union for engaging
in illegal picketing which was threatening and coercive secondary activity
in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The charge states that the union, through its representatives, engaged in,
or encouraged others to engage in, illegal secondary activities for the
purpose of forcing or requiring the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel to cease
doing business with Ampersand Publishing, LLC, or pressuring
Ampersand to recognize or bargain with the Teamsters. The charge also
states that the conduct of the Teamsters included picketing at the Santa
Barbara Biltmore Hotel with the intended purpose of forcing Ampersand
Publishing to bargain with the Teamsters.

According to the Santa Barbara News-Press, the Teamsters continue
to wage a deliberate and hostile campaign against the newspaper and
others that do business with the paper. The Teamsters use former
employees, community members and public attacks against their intended
targets, including threats, intimidation, harassment and secondary
activities that harm third-parties. This type of campaign was waged by lead
Teamster organizer Marty Keegan against the San Diego Union Tribune
when that paper refused to meet union demands.

The Teamsters have admitted publicly that they intend to allocate
whatever resources are required and do everything they can to win this
campaign so they can use the News-Press as a stepping stone to unionize
all mid-size newspapers across the country.

SBNP Against Free Speech?

A reader sent this in this seems the SBNP management thinks that The Organized don't have the right to peacefully protest outside charity functions. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning here....perhaps TKA decided he couldn't take on or report Sarah Miler McCune's comments inside the Biltmore which perhaps weren't entirely appropriate for the event (although well received by many) and more worthy of the "not the place for this" argument.

You would think Tony Soprano was trying to crash their quinceañera with TKA's continued "rude" references to the mafia when talking about The Organized. His insistence that only some people can attend the party as they are a privately-owned business adds to the elitist approach News-Press management has continued to take in relation to their employees and our community. With most businesses and non-profit events, when you buy a ticket -- you can attend the event. Most businesses wouldn't be in business for very long if they continually turned people away at the door. Isn't this, however, an apt metaphor for how the News-Press interacts with the community? You are outside, we are inside and you can't come in because we don't agree with what you stand for....

Newspress editorial
Opinion: Debasing Santa Barbara

November 15, 2006

It's the season for charity events and fund-raisers in Santa Barbara. It's a time for recognizing and supporting the accomplishments of nonprofit organizations, volunteers and civic leaders.

This is all part of the Santa Barbara tradition.

But at least one group would like to upend this, and turn such events into circuses or forums to promote their own self-interests.

There's a baseness to it all, and that baseness was on display this weekend when people carrying signs tried to mar a longtime event honoring people in our community for their good works.

Those picketing outside the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Montecito apparently attempted to humiliate the recipients of the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Awards, the 200-plus attendees, and the two charities that will receive the proceeds of the event.

Why people would choose to picket an event honoring philanthropy and volunteerism is, to most people, beyond comprehension. Yet the picketers outside the Biltmore and their organizers apparently had no qualms about resorting to the tactics of the lowest common denominator.

It should be troubling to all Santa Barbarans that an outside entity, the Teamsters labor organization, is bringing this kind of behavior to our community. Civility, reasoned discussions and good manners are the qualities that separate and distinguish our community from so many other places in California and the rest of the country.

Picketing establishments that are sites of charitable events, and trying to crash or sneak into them, have no place in Santa Barbara. But groups such as the Teamsters appear little concerned about trying to drag down our community with such tactics imported from union playbooks.

One union organizer even attempted to gain entrance to the private event held on private property. A local attorney reportedly also came to the hotel. It's a sad day when any local attorneys on their own try to interject themselves into matters of a privately owned business to seek attention and free advertising.

There's little doubt if the Teamsters gain a foothold in Santa Barbara that other employers too will soon be targeted by a union that, according to the Center for Union Facts, is "best known for its historical relationship with the mafia."

Those picketing at the Biltmore appear to have put their own interests above those of local charities, but in the end they only served to bring embarrassment and shame to themselves for their poor judgment and bad taste.

Picketing establishments that are sites of charitable events, or trying to crash or sneak into them, have no place in Santa Barbara. But groups such as the Teamsters appear little concerned about trying to drag down our community with such tactics imported from union playbooks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NLRB to Prosecute SBNP

Here's a press release from The Organized:
TO: All media
FROM: The organized at SBNP
DATE: Nov. 13, 2006

Today the National Labor Relations Board informed the Teamsters Union
and the Santa Barbara News-Press that it has decided to prosecute the
News-Press for several violations of federal labor law, in response to
charges filed by the Teamsters.

After an investigation by the NLRB's General Counsel, the prosecuting
arm of the NLRB validated the Union's charges that News-Press management
violated the National Labor Relations Act by cancelling Starshine
Roshell's weekly column in the paper, and by obstructing and threatening
to suspend a group of newsroom employees in retaliation for their
legally protected conduct of delivering a letter to SBNP owner Wendy
McCaw. That letter demanded improved working conditions and an end to
the SBNP's obstructionist tactics in its dealings with the federal labor

The NLRB's decision to prosecute is further vindication of the Union's
and employees' position that the News-Press has not been honoring the
basic tenets of fairness in labor relations, resorting instead to
coercion and intimidation tactics as its modus operandi. Moreover,
since the NLRB has now decided to prosecute the News-Press concerning
management's role in the very incident that the SBNP spuriously claims
as a basis for trying to overturn the Union's overwhelming September 27
33-6 election victory, this is further indication of the frivolous
character of the News-Press' objections, which are interposed solely for
the purpose of delay of the day when Wendy McCaw will have to sit down
at the bargaining table with duly elected representatives of the SBNP's
employees. In short, this latest favorable decision by the NLRB
reaffirms the SBNP as a labor outlaw.

The Union expects that the NLRB will be continuing its investigation
into other of the News-Press' unfair labor practices * including its
most recent, the retaliatory discharge of veteran award-winning reporter
Melinda Burns * and has urged the Board to seek a court injunction to
reverse and eradicate the deleterious effects of the SBNP's unfair labor
practices, including an order of reinstatement of Ms. Burns.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sara Miller McCune Shakes Up SBNP Awards

I wouldn't mind a second source on this but Craig Smith's blog today covers the behind-the-scenes story from the Biltmore last night where Nipper couldn't pronounce Léni Fé Bland's name correctly and Sara Miller McCune announced that she'd like to own the News-Press and then was confronted by Travis Armstrong following her speech. Here's a quote from Craig's post but the whole story is worth reading at the link above.

Here's how McCune's acceptance speech went.

McCune was honoree number two, after Morris Jurkowitz and before Tom Thomas. She was introduced by Baroness Leni Fe Bland, whose name was mangled by von Wiesenberger who pronounced Bland as in "hand", whereas it shoud appropriately be as in the French pronounciation.

I'm humbled. Everybody told me to be brief. I have some notes here. I don't know if I can be brief. Let me say this. Next year, I hope to own the News Press.

Wow. Knowing Sara's desire to own the daily, I thought she couldn't let an opportunity like this go. Smith goes on to say that TKA confronted her saying her comments were "rude". Interesting comment considering the many public officials who he's name-called over the last few years in his editorials.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reinstate Melinda Burns...

Got this from a reader -- will it be effective? I signed it just in case....

I have just read and signed the petition: "Reinstate Melinda Burns"

If you are concerned about the direction of the News-Press and its continuing practices of firing its best writers, please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition.

It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 1,000 signatures - please sign here:

Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.

Thank you!

Prop 87 Rants

I don't usually touch state issues but here you go Worker Bee -- have had it!

Aceves Jumps to Third in Goleta Race

Here are the almost final results for the Goleta Council race. Roger Aceves, who was actually in third place among polling place voters on Election Day, erased the 71 vote deficit and passed Cynthia Brock by 21 votes to likely gain the third spot on council.

There are 5,000 absentee and 3,000 provisionals in the county still left to count. If Aceves' election day and late absentee trend holds, we will likely see another new council member in Goleta. The country voted for change and I guess we got it in Goleta as well.

MICHAEL T. BENNETT 4460 18.82%
ERIC ONNEN 4410 18.61%
ROGER S. ACEVES 3938 16.62%
CYNTHIA BROCK 3917 16.53%
JACK HAWXHURST 3108 13.12%

Word has it on the street that The Team (read Connell, Brock and sometimes Hawxhurst) didn't have a get-out-the-vote program or even bother to ID supporters throughout the race....clearly the die-hard early absentees supported them, but they could have used a bit more shoe leather to get the job done. Is Goleta as no-growth as they think? Probably not -- but Wallis will need to now forge alliances with Aceves and one of the three others to get anything done on that end.

Goleta Observer Gives Up!

As Valerio just pointed out the "Goleta Observor has killed itself; the blog is gone now". Interesting that it died just after the election and just after the last incumbent looks as though they are defeated -- more on that in the next post. Although I didn't like their lack of any moderation -- the Observer served a purpose and should have held on.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Vladster Salsipuedes

We've had a little fun at his expense but to his credit I'd hate to be a new reporter in the current News-Press environment. Vlad Kogan talks about why he left the News-Press in today's post by Craig Smith.

Students to Blame?

An article from the Santa Maria Times, posted by DD in the recent sheriff post, has a quote from Anderson campaign manager Richard Cochrane:
The mostly north-south split in voting for Anderson and Brown “was anticipated,” Anderson's campaign manager, Richard Cochrane, said late Wednesday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that many South Coast voters were denied critical information” about Anderson's endorsements by liberal politicians including Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and county supervisors Salud Carbajal and Susan Rose, Cochrane added, though he declined to elaborate.

He suggested that Anderson's poor showing in Isla Vista and at UCSB may stem from Halloween weekend arrests by sheriff's deputies of hundreds of partyers in Isla Vista.

“I would imagine that would affect student attitudes” about which sheriff's candidate to vote for, Cochrane said.

Considering Anderson won few precincts in the South County -- that must have been one huge party Halloween weekend. Maybe he could elaborate on the consipracy as well....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

KEYT Coverage Weak

Did anyone else think KEYT's election coverage was weak? Why were candidates listed in alphabetical order rather than whether they were first, second or third? How confusing was that? In just showing percentages (which they failed to update for several hours throughout the night) -- they also missed out on the close third place race in Goleta. How could they not report on that?

Noel Holds On...

Bob Noel held on to his seat, Parker takes Rodriguez's place on school board. Maddox who dropped out of the race months ago -- still got 1805 votes, what does that say?

BOB NOEL 20716 31.19%
KATE PARKER 18873 28.41%
SUZY CAWTHON 12650 19.04%

Big Change in Goleta

Onnen, Bennet and who knows who else -- Goleta has a virtual dead heat for third place. Was Goleta not so no growth as "the team" thought? Hawxhurst pays the price for not playing well with others. Brock, Aceves and Connell will be waiting for the provisional absentees -- this one will be finalized tomorrow.

MICHAEL T. BENNETT 3658 18.67%
ERIC ONNEN 3620 18.47%
CYNTHIA BROCK 3262 16.65%
ROGER S. ACEVES 3191 16.28%
JACK HAWXHURST 2645 13.50%

Bill Brown is Sheriff

Sheriff's Council Backlash? Brown beats one-term Sheriff Jim Anderson by a good margin...when was the last time we had a one-term Sheriff?

BILL BROWN 45699 53.16%
JIM ANDERSON 40036 46.57%

Wolf Wins

Perhaps closer than most thought -- Janet Wolf held on to win this very close race for 2nd District Supervisor...

JANET WOLF 12886 51.69%
DAN B. SECORD 11981 48.06%

Friday, November 03, 2006

2nd District Predictions

Dan or Janet? Are they really being "too nice" as the Indie cover implies? I've seen a pretty hard hitting "Help Wanted" piece from Secord...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

School Board Predictions

There are several school board elections -- SB School District being the biggest? Can Noel fend off a challenge from Parker and Cawthon?

Goleta Council Predictions

WIll Margaret hold the challengers off? Can Brock and Hawxhurst do the same? Maybe it is time for a change in Goleta but will it be every incumbent that is ousted?

Sheriff Predictions

Brown or Anderson?

Measure D Predictions

Place your Measure D predictions here....did the Melinda Burns article help or hinder consider the News-Press lack of endorsement?