Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hair Stylist Threatened Over McCaw Sign

Catching up on the news, I ran across this story from KSBY via EdHat. Yikes -- Wendy and Barry are even going after the little guy? It's just plain bad PR that is digging an even deeper hole for the News-Press.

Maybe public officials should start threatening any consituent that put their opponent's lawn sign up for all to see at election time. Can you imagine? The Second District race would have seen a flurry of litigation over Das supporters that voted for Janet or even better -- Guzzardi supporters that didn't end up supporting Dr. Dan.

"Hey -- you voted for me but now you have a Wolf lawn sign on your property?," my fictional Guzzardi would say,"That exposed me to hatred, contempt and ridicule....I'm going to take appropriate action if you don't take it down and put Dr. Dan's sign up right now!".

Joe, of course, would never do such a thing but could you imagine? This is one slippery slope.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


A little R & R done you well. Brilliant analogies.

Speakin' their language!

Orange ribbons for the small business owner.

12/18/2006 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just cross out McCaw and put "WENDY, OBEY THE LAW" then she can't sue!

12/18/2006 8:40 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Yesterday's Daily Sound reported that Att'y Barry Capello send threatening letters to seven local businesses threatening them with legal action if they don't remove their signs. Read it here.

12/18/2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Wendy saw all this coming last July.
She truly is the biggest joke now in Santa Barbara.
Hope have all their "blonde" hair products labeled correctly.
Wonder if the News Press will be reporting on this pictures and all?

12/18/2006 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

The moderator's analogies are inapt. The business owner was asked to remove a sign that strongly implies lawbreaking on the part of Wendy McCaw. This is defamatory and libelous per se, as the National Labor Relations Board has found no illegal acts on the part of Ampersand Publishing; in fact its recent ruling cleared the company of allegations against it. Ampersand is committed to a law-abiding and above-board process; the same cannot be said of critics who have defamed the character of Mrs. McCaw and others, abused the NLRB process with frivolous charges, and issued a solicitation for criminal acts, among other behaviors. Moreover, Mrs. McCaw is a private citizen entitled to protections that do not apply to political candidates, who run for office knowing that their character may be scrutinized and criticized.

The business owner in this case allowed himself to be duped by a union-led smear campaign against Wendy McCaw and Ampersand Publishing. The News-Press and its management take seriously libelous and defamatory actions and/or statements against them and will apply the force of the law where necessary to protect their interests and reputations.

12/18/2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Yes, I can imagine such a slippery slope. See the thought questions posted here with the video of this KSBY story.

Copy and paste the full URL address for the link to work (unless Sara wants to instert a link shortcut into the posting.)

12/18/2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These comments like McCaw obey the law makes it sound like she does not obey the law. There is not a single law she has broken. What she needs to do is investigate the owners of these businesses that post that information, and post in her newspaper their divorces, drunk driving,business disputes and any other information she can find. I doubt anyone would like that. So Wendy, if you are reading this, go get them.

12/18/2006 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difficulty with the cease and desist letters addressing the "McCaw Obey the Law" signs is that the recipients are generally too small and insufficiently funded or motivated to defend the implication of a threatened law suit. Also, such a lawsuit would put them to the proof of showing McCaw indeed does not obey the law. Face it, that task is financially daunting however likely of success one might be. The cure to me seems to be another's suggestion that signs proposing a boycott be substituted. There is no implication of illegal activity for McCaw to then complain of.

What is even more interesting is McCaw's recent suit against the reporter on that recent American Journalism Review article, again asserting defamation. However, this time McCaw invites a fight with someone seemingly motivated and funded to fight her. Also, it begs discovery in that litigation of what has really been happening in her so-called transitionary period directed at eliminating bias. Lastly, she risks financial penalties under a SLAPP motion, to say nothing or losing with findings of fact against her. One can only hope she really pursues this.

12/18/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take another break, Sara. That was a lousy shot at Guzzardi. Shame on you.

12/18/2006 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy and her lawyers have totally lost it. Imagine a newspaper threatening businesses over a free speech issue? Classified ads are moving to the internet, so just who is left to advertise in the newspaper? Why, the very same businesses she is threatening.
To keep the lawyers at bay, instead of spelling out the name on the sign, just substitute a picture of the large, brightly colored bird with the large tail, a Macaw. It appropriately screams aaaawrk, aaaawrk, aaaawrk, much like the namesake. It could become the symbol and mascot of the whole movement.

12/18/2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

McCawCaw and her crew expose our community to hatred, contempt and ridicule on a daily print even.

How much of a tax ride off is McCawCaw looking for when she completely runs the paper into a ground? How much will she get when she sells the News Press building to "The Gap" or somesuch Corporate braindead entity.

She doesn't care about community or the truth.

12/18/2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

4:38 -- That was an example...did you read the last paragraph? Take it easy -- I don't have anything against Joe.

12/18/2006 9:51 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

10:16 AM -- I can't edit your comments but here's the link:

12/18/2006 9:52 PM  
Anonymous orange ribbons said...


Yes, some of the NLRB charges were dismissed. Still others are pending. And the feds are definitely coming on those. You know this, and fail to mention ...

McCaw, Obey the Law!

12/18/2006 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ridicule? how about ridaMcCaw.
She exposed herself to all of this so what she got to complain about.
Oh well it will make great table talk and jokes galore over the holidays... Thanks Wendy we could not have all this fun without you.
Thank God she is a natural "blonde" one would not want to anger a hairdresser.
Soon all eyes will on Santa Barbara as the Film Festival will be coming to town and all those visiting will get to enjoy our towns three ring circus.

12/18/2006 10:26 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...


I posted a sign for Guzzardi in the primary. Hated the slimmy ambiguous co-endorsement for Guzzardi and Seocrd by the sick and twisted News-Press. I voted for Wolf in the general, because she had no record whereas Secord did. I did not post a sign for Wolf (unenthusiastic I guess.) Joe was the best!

12/18/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nipper better watch out for Capello knowing Wendys past weakness for men who practice the art law and lust of money.

12/18/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 10:48,

Excuse me, but the beleaguered News-Press journalists won a clear union victory.

Under the law, Wendy McCaw is required to recognize them. PERIOD.

Since when did an employer's right to explore legal options automatically trump employees' right to work in an environment free of harassment and paranoia?

You might sing a different tune if you had an abusive, malicious and vindictive employer, like some people.

12/18/2006 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The owner of the newspress seems to be so bent on vengance that she is again cutting off her nose to spite her face. The cease and desist letters have been covered by all of the other press in town, which has done nothing to improve her image. And while many lawsuits have been filed or threatened she has no victory to point to in any of this just a further erosion of any credibility she may have kept in town.

As for Nevilles assertation that she is a private citizen, she has also made herself a public person through assumption of editorial duties and pursuing a public agenda through her publication and radio venture and therefore is open to criticism.

One wonders if she would be happier if the signs said McCaw is a Witch or other such thoughts with a boycott the NP slogan as well. That would definately be free speech and would suggest a personal opinion rather than the thought she might flaunt the law.

12/18/2006 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oddly enough, the news press website has a ap story in the national news section describing wendys lawsuit against the author of the AJR article.

its odd because they would never have published it themselves but its in the newsfeed section from the associated press they dont monitor.

kind of funny

12/19/2006 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't there anyone among the legions of lawyers she employs who can enlighten the Red Queen about the difference between a private, public and semi-public figure?

Anyone with an actual journalism background would know the difference, and how it applies to this situation.

BTW, the newsroom is still waiting for that publisher's (er, co-publishers')meeting ... you know, the kind real newspapers have every month or so?

12/19/2006 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should absolutely go to court! Any judge who's not in Wendy's pocket will throw it out in a minute..a public humiliation!! "McCaw Obey the Law" no more implies she's breaking the law than those stupid "click it or ticket" highway signs imply I'm not wearing a seatbelt!

12/19/2006 6:42 AM  
Anonymous news guy said...

Ah, yes, the publisher's meeting. I fondly remember those back in the 90s, when it was still a real newspaper and owned by the NY Times. Steve Ainsley, our very fine publisher, would gather everyone in the newsroom and actually tell us how we were doing financially (without getting too specific) and recognize good performance by employees.

Even outside those meetings Ainsley was approachable and open to conversation. He was extremely well liked in the community, and in fact was the person of honor at more than one fundraiser that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities and other good works.

He's now the publisher at the Boston Globe.

12/19/2006 7:33 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Do these folks (Nelville Flynn, anonymous) really mean to say Ms McCaw has never broken the law? Never jaywalked? Never erected an unpermitted fence? Oops -- busted!

Let's get some signs going that say: "Barry, obey the law".

12/19/2006 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't these people just claim they were reminding McCaw to continue obeying the law? That's not necessarily an implication she's a lawbreaker. I can't sue the state for putting "Buckle Up" signs on the highway because it implies I don't wear my safety belt. I can't sue Smokey the bear because he directly implied that I don't do my darndest to prevent forest fires. Damn it, Woodsy the Owl! I DO NOT POLLUTE!

12/19/2006 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville, it is not true that the NLRB has found "no" violations by McCaw and Ampersand. It has decided to prosecute some of the union's charges against Ampersand (cancelling Starshine Roshell's column, threatening suspensions of half the newsroom because they engaged in protected activity). That means the NLRB believes there is substantial merit to those charges. Other charges are still pending, and there may well be others to be filed, based on ongoing misconduct by management. Moreover, Ampersand violated the law with its fence, and McCaw violated the law with her position with the Cal Coastal Commission. She has interposed frivolous objections to avoid her legal obligation to recognize and bargain with the union and has engaged in tactical delay for the same purpose. "McCaw, Obey the Law" is a slogan, an exhortation to do the right thing delivered in a labor dispute and the sign easily satisfies the heightened legal standard that would be applied in court. In political and labor discourse, rhetorical hyperbole like use of words such as "extortion" (which Wendy has used against the union), "blackmail", "liar" and "thief" are all accepted while not appreciated by the recipient of the epithets. Indeed, this slogan also refers to the moral law McCaw breaks every day. (OTOH, it can be expected that all of the NP's meritless charges against the union will be dismissed). It is simply amazing that a newspaper like the NP, which should be (and ordinarily would be) a champion of the First Amendment, spends so much time and money trying to silence others, and even bridles when a careful, conscientious reporter like Sue Paterno calls the NP on it. Is there no limit to your hubris?

12/19/2006 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's quite obvious that McCaw's a bully, a very rich bully, but a bully nevertheless.

The only issue left is what are the rest of us on the playground going to do about it.

How about you?


12/19/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some enterprising person or group should commission the creation of folding sun shades (the kind you put in your car's front window to protect the dash and steering wheel), with "McCaw Obey the Law" in huge letters on both sides. Then offer them at low cost (or free) to all takers. This would make the sign appear in various places all over town, and really get the message out. Wendy and her demolition crew can't hope to sue every single driver who uses such a sun shade.

12/19/2006 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Norville "Shaggy" Rogers said...

With all due respect to the unionization effort, Nelville's continual invocation of nefarious union organizers and lawyers is really a red herring, a logical fallacy throwing the focus off the real scent--which reeks of putrefication.

Blaming the union enables Nelville to blow-off any act of community protest against the News-Press as part of a labor campaign. It allows him to dismiss internet posts, such as this one, as part of some organized Teamster's effort. By blaming the union, Nelville, The Wendy, and Baron Royale With Cheese can continue to live in a fantasy world where they bear no responsibility for anything that has happened so far in this sad story.

Nelville's "blame the union" conspiracy glosses over the reality that many Santa Barbarans, and others, including people who have never worked at the News-Press, are sickened by Wendy McCaw's treatment of the community and its local businesses. They are aghast at how people have been utterly screwed by a once-respected employer and community institution. They are tired of the arrogance and the antics. After nearly a half year they are ready for the circus to leave town.

McCaw's lawsuit against Susan Paterno at AJR has broadcast The Wendy's nuttiness onto the national stage. While they are but little people in her world, and yet another chorus of bought-and-paid-for liars to Nelville, heavyweight authorities in academia are stating that The Wendy's running aground of the News-Press and her assault on the First Amendment are probably unprecedented in the history of Journalism. I heard the story of the News-Press Mess today on NPR and it is growing legs in the national and international news.

What's she gonna do when 60 Minutes uncovers all of those stuffed heads preserved in that walk-in closet?

12/19/2006 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I like that. Give 60 Minutes or 20/20 the story and let Ms McCaw go after the big boys. Now there's some deep pockets that could really go head to head with her.

12/20/2006 4:57 AM  
Anonymous history buff said...

In my fictional world, a reclusive blog moderator has an inside line to the local weekly rag in town, the paper that is hell bent on destroying the NewsPress. My fictional blog moderator holds a grudge against the NewsPress bosses because they didn't hire her a couple years ago.

Her inside friends sympathized, and she began a blog for all to vent their frustrations against the newspaper that didn't support their agendas.

Fictional. Really. I swear.

12/20/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Dude -- you've got me pegged! What's a girl to do?

I generally don't allow comments that try to identify me but this one was at least a bit creative. Good try.

12/20/2006 6:56 PM  
Anonymous history buff said...

It's okay. I give you good marks for effort, too!

12/20/2006 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one could care less who or what Sara is, I am just thankful to her for providing this blog and the time and effort but into so that people from all sides can post their comments good or bad on the topics provided.
A BIG THANKS to you Sara and I for one wish you the Happiest of Holidays and the New Year.

12/20/2006 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one could care less who or what Sara is, I am just thankful to her for providing this blog and the time and effort but into so that people from all sides can post their comments good or bad on the topics provided.
A BIG THANKS to you Sara and I for one wish you the Happiest of Holidays and the New Year.

Big thanks here too. I only wish that the double standard was not ever present.

Ultimately, it is important who Sara is, because of the bias. But if her identity is never revealed on this blog, so be it.

12/21/2006 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Nipster said...

If Sara De La Guerra does not reveal the real name of this moderator, then how will my hacks Millstein and Cappello be able to sue her?

You just do not play fair!

12/25/2006 9:26 AM  

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