Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, December 29, 2006

BlogaBarbara Person of the Year Nominations

Time Magazine really dropped the ball with naming "YOU" the person of the year. How about some nominations for BlogaBarbara's 2006 Person of the Year?

The criteria should be for better or worse, who had the most impact on our community in the last year? Clearly, Travis Armstrong, Wendy McCaw and Arthur Von Wiesenberger should be considered -- but who else?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Easy one, Sara. The most important local story of 2006, despite every other issue that's surfaced over the past 12 months, is the News-Press debacle, because its effects are far reaching and will no doubt ripple for years, not just in Santa Barbara, but in the larger scope of national journalism.

And so I nominate Jerry Roberts, for elevating the standards of journalistic ethics and quality in Santa Barbara to a lofty level rarely seen in the News-Press' entire history, before his sudden petty and wholly uncalled-for (and likely illegal) firing by Travis, acting as proxy for his apparently evil masters. And to Roberts' able staff, most of whom are now sadly gone, leaving only a sad little carcass to be picked at until its ashes are finally and completely scattered to the winds, leaving no trace behind but bitter memories. which unfortunately too shall pass in time.

But besides "person of the year", you'd also need to include a "villain of the year", if you're going to consider both sides of the story. Trouble is, I'm not sure I'd place Wendy, Nipper and Travis (and their cast of cohorts) on the "person of the year" side. But maybe that's just me.

12/29/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I'm going to stay away from that one :)

Thanks for saying why Jerry should be Person of the Year....I hope others will follow suit.

12/29/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Roberts, absolutely. Without his courage, the shroud might not have been lifted on the evildoers at DLG plaza

12/29/2006 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike the woman, Wendy is the obvious choice, and it's not even close. Who else has almost single-handedly destroyed a 151-year-old institution? Who else has made so many enemies so quickly? Has there ever been anyone so hated in town? It's like "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman."

You could be nice and give it Roberts and the Departed, but they're just unfortunate victims of Wendy's stomping around the city, noble collateral damage.

Wendy's the one, for sure.

12/29/2006 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Roberts left in July, but Wendy McCaw is the gift that keeps on giving, this year and undoubtedly next, when she opens with the NLRB show.

If the impact is for better or for WORSE, it's Wendy.

12/29/2006 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta be Roberts or Roberts + those who fought and fight. It would be/have been too easy for Roberts et al to put up with things and/or keep quiet. It took/takes a helluva lot of guts to stand and fight... which made the SBNP story what it was/is.

12/29/2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry is the sentimental favorite, but it's Wendy. She caused the blogs to explode and really hurried the future of alternative media in Santa Barbara. She is driving, however crazily, the story. And the story is ongoing. Besides when she reads you gave it Jerry, she will find a new reason to sue him.

Sal Si Puedes

12/29/2006 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Are we sure that BlogaBarbara want's to join the "cult of personality" that unfortunately characterized the politics and popular culture of the 20th century and seems to be going strong so far in the 21st. Ultimately, none of us matter a whit except to those who love us. To them we are, of course, always "person of the year." To the rest of the teeming masses and hoi polloi we are either useful or in the way, depending on one's perspective. Seeking heros, we more often find despots. Let's give every person a voice, let the wisdom rise out of the dialectic; and let us creep into the future pluralistically as a community the best we can.

12/29/2006 9:11 PM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

TRAVIS !!!!!
for having the courage to stand his ground and stay real under all the pressure from the anti-NewsPressers.

12/29/2006 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has to be both Roberts and McCaw maybe they can stand on the same podium to accept the award, but then Roberts might get hit by one of the tomatoes.

12/29/2006 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has to be both Roberts and McCaw maybe they can stand on the same podium to accept the award, but then Roberts might get hit by one of the tomatoes.

12/29/2006 10:22 PM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

I'd vote for you. Without your blog, many if not most of us would have no idea at all what's going on. Thank you, Sara, for all your efforts!

Second choice would be Melinda Burns who hung in there, doing her job under difficult circumstances - and then got fired. Tie vote: Burns-Roberts. Or maybe it should be a group award such as Time and have it all the mess-departed News-Press employees.

12/30/2006 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/30/2006 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the News Press Mess is undoubtedly the story of the year, I'd like to nominate Das Williams for person of the year, because it's quite possible, had he not run for 2nd District Supervisor, Dan Secord may have won outright, instead of splitting the vote during the primary and forcing a runoff and an eventual win by Janet Wolf. The longterm implications may have been quite serious for this part of county. I also have great admiration for his moral center and willingness to examine all sides of an issue, many times voting alone. That takes courage, especially in this small town atmosphere and campaign fund-raising realities.

12/30/2006 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks are nominating with their hearts and not with your criteria:

"The criteria should be for better or worse, who had the most impact on our community in the last year?"

Under your criteria, Sara, it has to be:

Wendy McCaw

12/30/2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

11:27 AM -- you correct, I deleted it. Folks, let's be nicer!

12/30/2006 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 0900 you're dreamin.....had Das not run, it's quite likely Janet would have won outright because of a unified left, and definitely likely that the progressives/left would not have been divided and left with all the negativity--lots of it will not disappear.

no matter what "might have been" let's let it rest.

12/30/2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 900, you are dreaming for sure! Your spin whiffs of a polish and wax job for das's reputation. Das will recover without the slimy inference that he did it all for the democrats. No. He ran for himself. Leave it at that.

Nobody that would have voted for Secord switched to Das. No way Jose.

12/30/2006 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know he's a long shot but I nominate Jim Anderson. He was willing to sacrifice his job so Helen Jepsen could keep hers.

12/31/2006 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure whether Wendy deserves the person of the year award, but I'm certain that Jerry Roberts does not. While he has played the victim card well, he took the editor's job knowing full well the newsroom meddling of McCaw/Cole that bedeviled previous editors. So give me a break about his nobility. As for great journalism under his term, all I remember is over-coverage of meerkats and Michael Jackson.

12/31/2006 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy, Jerry Roberts, Melinda Burns... all good choices.

But also, there is The Independent, which reported well on the NP meltdown, and scooped up a couple terrific ex-NPers. The Independent is not a person, but neither have been some of Time's choices.

There is also Bill Brown, who displaced an incumbent in the most important County-wide elected position.

Then there are the 3 new Goleta City Council members, who defeated three incumbents and city founders. Of course I can't remember who defeated Winston Churcill at the end of WWII, but perhaps I would if the guy had been a person of the year.

12/31/2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous I'm just sayin..... said...

Hmmm this is getting interesting-- I propose this---

a "journalism" person of the year--Jerry Roberts

a political person of the year-- Bill Brown-- for beating all the odds and achieving something rarely done---defeating an incumbent Sheriff, FROM THE OUTSIDE! and doing it with grace and class

a community activist person of the year== Marisela Marquez, Casa de la Raza--- for coordinating a phenomenal Immigrants Rights day, week and movement

12/31/2006 9:59 AM  
Anonymous harping said...

I agree with anon. 12/31 7:42 am, anon 12/30 9:31 am, & Sal Si Puedes 12/29 8:32 pm. McCaw deserves the title (she deserves other titles too, but most aren't printable). The canonization of Jerry Roberts needs to stop. I've never met him, he sounds like a nice man, I have nothing against him; but IMHO the N-P was not a great nor even a very good paper while he was editor, despite any awards it may have received. Of course it's gone downhill since the exodus & ongoing mess, but let's not allow sentimentality to cloud the view of the way it was before. It's always been a fairly provincial, mediocre paper considering how relatively sophisticated our little town is in other respects.

12/31/2006 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Jerry Roberts and his supporters -- including unionists, disgruntled current and former News-Press employees and the developers and corrupt politicians with whom he assiduously curried favor -- have waged a clever public-relations campaign to deify him.

The record will show that this is absurd.

Mr. Roberts landed at the News-Press after being fired from the San Francisco Chronicle for incompetence, whereupon his continued lackluster performance led to his demotion from publisher to editor. He allowed bias to run rampant throughout the news columns and his journalistic achievements were few. Local news coverage suffered, even as Mr. Roberts overstaffed his newsroom and looked the other way as reporters claimed undeserved overtime.

Mr. Roberts failed to respond adequately to a survey that documented the bias under his regime. He failed to take action to root out documented instances of bias on the part of reporters such as Melinda Burns.

Rather than resign gracefully in the face of his own failings, Mr. Roberts chose to instigate a confrontation with News-Press executives. He then prattled on self-indulgently about journalistic "ethics" as lapdogs like Susan Paterno uncritically bought into his version of events.

There is another version, but no one seems to want to hear it.

12/31/2006 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why copy Time's criteria?

Why not do something more Santa Barbara -- like who was at the forefront in helping our community move forward in a positive way?

12/31/2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

11:46, Nelville Flynn,
SOMETIME I'd like to see documented these so-frequently mentioned charges of bias by Melinda Burns. You wrote, "...documented instances of bias on the part of reporters such as Melinda Burns."

As a longterm subscriber to the News-Press I liked her articles and appreciated her feature articles, as, for instance, among many, that marvelous exhibit at the County admin. building on the Mixtec workers.

I suppose since it is part of the before the court questions on her firing it will come out, but fairless alone says that you or other N-P spokespeople/defenders should document the truth of what are otherwise libelous comments.

Dictionary definitions: libel: " a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation. • the action or crime of publishing such a statement ... . • a false and malicious statement about a person. • a thing or circumstance that brings undeserved discredit on a person by misrepresentation." Note, please, that publishing such false and damaging statements is also libelous. Bias: " prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair"

Please explain, Mr/Ms Flynn!

12/31/2006 2:08 PM  
Anonymous das williams said...

I vote for Roberts or Melinda Burns as well. No person is perfect but you have to give respect where it is due.

I appreciate an0n 900's confidence and I should back up his claim. The polling we did before I announced indicated the worst I would do is ensure a runoff between Secord and either Janet or myself, and that Janet had a much better chance if it went to November. A couple weeks ago Mickey Flacks, who initially told me I shouldn't run, graciously came up to me and told me she was glad I did...exactly because the June electorate is more conservative than the November electorate and she felt like it made a difference. That meant alot to me, because sometimes there are people who think I do it for me...and I'd challenge any of them to meet with me face to face and look me in the eye when I tell them that I do it to make a difference...not because I want to be some damn celebrity.

Very little anyone does is 100% selfless, and I won't tell you that there isn't ego involved in thinking you can make the world a better place, but I am content if I have made a difference. Whether its me or Janet Wolf, the important thing is that the people of SB County are better served. I think they will be by Janet!

12/31/2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Worker Bee -- I'm sorry but your most recent post is one of those ones that I struggle with every day and I think our readers need to see this process. It has interesting content but dogs one of our readers so much that I have a hard time thinking it's fair. Here's your post edited out a bit -- sorry to make an example but I think this could be worthwhile for everyone. I put what I would want to delete in parens -- and some of them I might not have but considered them a close call) Also, this requires me to cut and paste and create a new post -- not something I want to be doing all the time...I hope you understand but I also think the info is valuable as it is best if all of us begin to set standards together.

=======From Worker Bee==========


Happy New Year to All (deleted). The person of the year is clearly the News-Press reporting staff that had the conviction to stick around and wrestle back public information from the hands of (deleted) Wendy McCaw

I thought perhaps (deleted) should get it, but then I came across the following link, which takes you to video of a segment from the Penn and Teller show "BullSh*t" that questions the legitimacy of bottled water. In a nutshell, the duo bottles water from a garden hose and sells it to unknowing restaurant patrons, who then rave about its exquisite taste. (The bottom of the two videos is the whole 12 minute piece)

Bottled Water Sham

Considering how (deleted) prides himself on his water expertise, and how worthless such a purported skill is, I withdrew his nomination. I mean, come on! That montebank prides himself on "water bottle knowledge". If you need help understanding why such a purported skill is completely and utterly vacuus and worthless, watch the video.

Bottled Water - the perfect industry for the modern (deleted).

12/31/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

I thought that I was done with string, not being one to be impressed by celebrity and hating all the end of the year respective wallowing. However, every time that you claim that there was biased reporting under Robert's watch and then fail to provide even a single example to support your claim, I have to protest. I agree with Sara's decision to post your comments. Too much Hegel in college has made me always seek to try to fully understand both sides to any debate or dispute in order to tease out the truth. However, your argument fails miserably because you continue to refuse to offer supporting evidence for your assertions. And no, some supervisor's evaluation is not supporting evidence. Supporting evidence is a published article with commentary that shows where and how the article is biased. All the articles are in the archive. With all due respect, please either put up or shut up.

12/31/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous worker bee said...


I'm absolutely not offended and I thank you for your very wisely moderated blog.

12/31/2006 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I honestly could not vote for Roberts alone for person of the year. I respect the fact that in the end he regained his perspective and integrity, but he was a part of the problem for quite a while and there are those who bear the scars. He is not the first editor to fall under Wendy's spell of empty promises, but the difference is that he did not leave alone like the others. It was the sudden mass exodus that gave this story life, but the bleeding had been going on for quite a while. The "Alumni List" is quite a long one. My vote is for the whole group of editors and columnist who had the courage of their convictions to take a stand, at great personal sacrifice, and walk out. If they had not walked, Jerry Robert's leaving would have been a blip on the radar, just like when Will Fleet left and we would not be even having this vote!

12/31/2006 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading Das's summary, one could completely forget that the June race actually had four candidates. The fourth, of course, was Joe Guzzardi, who was the highly favored by the nieghborhoods for his slow-growth, anti-cronyism beliefs.

Das, your friend Mickey Flacks has worked for years advocating for dense growth in Goleta Valley. She wouldn't have wanted Guzzardi to win. Das, you split the dem vote, not the republican one. She's either playing you, or you are playing us.

Get real. This is why people have trouble trusting you.

1/01/2007 9:51 AM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Melinda Burns

as singularly representative of everything to do with The Mess

1/01/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is disheartening Nelville ignores so many of his once bottled water fans and never answers questions about Dr. Laura. Because of his unworthiness we're voting for another BlogaBarbara Person of the Year Nomination (worse). This says much of why Dr. Laura gets a vote..................................... "Waste of space: 12/31/06 Wendy Mc Caw's Santa Barbara News-Press "dr laura" column. Civility is keeping a local column local. Civility is stating where these so-called letter writers are located. Civility is stating when you have any type of connection, like with charities, political correctness doctor's bs and so on to ALL the MANY promos that Schlessinger slips in a local column. Who is R. Scott Leonard and tell us where he's from, PLEASE? What's with him promoting her book like a pro? Just another truck driver? It is difficult to read these columns. She could skip ALL the letters and have her workers write something local. And her people are not Oprah w/ books, change bandwagons........................ Schlessinger will only print similar repetitive themes, book promos & "letters" from mostly unlocated "people" ( NON EXISTING ) Or doctors with her spin. Remember Dr. Ursula? They prove ZERO (GWB school of math & science). The local column is used to promote & sell. She has numerous other outlets for that. She also uses the News-Press for hachet jobs..................... We can only read subtext in her nothingness bs.................... What's the switch on homosexuals actually about? Does she need to prepare for coming revelations? If she wants grandchildren, she can reach out to her step children. She can have her opinion & learn tolerance. I've known professionals who believe single siblings are "bad". A "good" parent would have at least two children. So what if some homosexuals agree with Schlessinger & others with Cheney's daughter? Schlessinger, leave the local column out of your personal agenda and think of others, THE COMMUNITY. I don't know what kind of people she knows in Santa Barbara, but not all local teens are out of control and STD uneducated. Prehaps Schlessinger has been taken in by inferior data & research again. She can continue her personal, political, national and global spin, we are only asking her to write a local column in the Santa Barbara News-Press, one of her many venues. Not opinion or phobia. Just the (local)FACTS, mam." K

1/01/2007 2:55 PM  
Anonymous news guy said...

I read my share of Hegel in college, too, Eckermann, but I'm not sure his dialectic is in play here. Frankly, I see more antichrist than antithesis, and I must disagree with the decision to post Nelville's bald-faced lies. His post is strictly libel, as malicious as it is false. It adds nothing to civil debate, and does nothing but debase reasonable discourse.

Perhaps Sara posts Nelville's as a counterbalance to all the abuse (well-deserved, in my opinion) heaped on Wendy and N-P, but I frankly think it has the odor of a double standard.

1/01/2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Anon 9:51 is right. Das, your high profile and consistently awkward (borderline wierd) campaign for county supe demonstrated more negatives about you than positives. When you first ran for city council you were able to convinced enough SB voters that you might be a young "breath of fresh air". After your failed attempt at county supe (where you barley beat an underfunded, citizen politician -- The Guzz), most of us now see you as just another overly ambitious politician who really does appear to care more about polls than people. Your continuing efforts at damage control are completely transparent.

1/02/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Jerry Roberts could have resigned with class and dignity, and his departure would have elicited little comment.

Instead, he has chosen -- both directly and through proxies such as Linda Strean -- to snipe at the News-Press and defame its executives.

It is therefore appropriate that, before his supporters erect statues of Jerry Roberts in De la Guerra Plaza, his tenure and legacy be properly considered.

1/02/2007 8:37 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

So, Nelville, in your opinion it's better for someone to resign quietly and retain a measure of so-called "dignity" in the face of an inept and degrading management that is also abusing colleagues, not to mention dismantling the entire professional premise and ethics of the organization and institution in question?

Pull the ripcord and hope everybody else finds his/her own escape hatch while things sputter along dysfunctionally? That sounds really noble and "dignified."

An interesting insight into your twisted psychology.

You really have some nerve talking about "properly" considering Jerry Roberts's legacy. Yes, as others pointed out, even in the best of times, SBNP was no Pulitzer mill (though Burns was probably the best hope of that among the writers), but Roberts and the other SBNP carnage victims will retain a much more admirable reputation than you and your lot ever will.

How about considering your ultimate legacy? Seriously. You are just pitiable.

1/03/2007 2:09 PM  

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