Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hedge Row at the Lowe's

See Craig Smith's Blog for a story on Robe Lowe and his wife taking their neighbor to court over trimming a hedge...a Craig points out, the News-Press didn't have anybody in the court room and I didn't see anything about it in the paper...did I miss something? It's very consistent with her "we don't cover our friends" policy....there's only one thing to say to that....banish the bias.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, jail the neighbor.

12/07/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Well -- if you do, at least write about it in the paper, that's the point.

12/07/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

What problems these poor people in Montecito have; fighting in court with your neighbor over a privacy hedge.

Us common poor folk have to settle disputes the old fashioned way: by being man (or woman) enough to confront our opponents face to face. We can not hide behind a hedge row of slimeball lawyers.

Even if I had the money to drag someone else to court over a bush, I wouldn't. I can think of at least a thousand positive things I'd rather do with the cash. I think all decent people would agree.

Of course, Rob Lowe can't be in my Decent People Club. The Club has a clause that shuts out people who videotape themselves having sex with minors. Did he ever do time for that? Probably lawyered his way out of that too. What a dirt bag.

As for the Newspress...*sigh*.

12/07/2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celebrities and the rich move here for things like privacy. If they can afford it, they can buy "bias" and fight for their rights. Common people have their own bias. The Lowe's are just one small matter, not worth a blog topic. There are much deeper local issues.

12/07/2006 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't need to hear about the dirt of the rich.

And the neighbor should do time.

12/07/2006 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News-Press is what it is. A plaything for the rich... Why is everyone trying to change it?

12/07/2006 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lowes and the lack of news coverage about them in the News-Press is very much a blog topic.

Said Travis Armstrong in an editorial in September: "Banishing the bias from the news reporting is a top priority for the present newsroom management."

Said Wendy McCaw in a commentary in July: "I completely support the rights of a free press."

A free press without bias would be reporting on the Lowes.

12/07/2006 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hedge activity is not typically high priority for a newspaper. Quit being ridiculous.

You would probably be overwhelmed with righteous anger if that hedge was located on De La Guerra Plaza.

Banish your bias.

12/07/2006 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Blogabarbara has virtually stopped prentending to be something other than an attack base for hassling the News Press. Some substantial things have happened in SB politics in recent days. Some are:

1. Goleta Valley Visioning Document is complete, loved by many, and has been accepted by the County Sups.

2. St. Francis has had it's housing project approved over the preferences of the taxpayers that will have to live with the impacts.

3. Solar panels on the new St. Francis project? Shot down. Marty and friends approve it anyway. Except Das.

4. The Santa Barbara School Board is bumbling it's way toward a land-use decision while effectively shutting out the public.

and yet, this blog is focusing on a hedge next to Rob Lowe's house??????

12/07/2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

3:12 and 3:30 pm -- As always, you are welcome to do a write up and encourage me to use it as a post. Either do so in the comments section and be clear about it or email it to me. I'm surprised those of you who complain don't do that more often...

The post in question is about bias...sure, big deal about the hedge. On the other hand, the News-Press covers similar items for people that aren't celebrities and puts stories of even less significance on the front page. We've discussed all of the above 4 points in the past and you are welcome to comment there....

12/07/2006 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the blah-gabarbara fixation continues. there are other things going on around town.

12/07/2006 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A trial? What happened to mediation? I believe ficus hedge is bigger than basil. No one has mentioned the invasive root system of ficus trees. There are big problems ahead for that property. The ficus are not trivial and can impact the Neuman property in a very costly manner. Wasn't it upper State that had a story on ficus? I had a neighbor who had a big problem when one little ficus was planted in the middle of a front yard. After being educated, the tree was removed. Morons plant ficus or eugenia for a fast fix.The Lowe's should pay the Neuman's. Anyone who plants ficus deserves jail time and publicity. What's wrong with pointing out these ficus monkeys and educating the public? What's this about bias? There is plenty of public celebrity "news" that neither Independent or N-P covers. "...did I miss something?" yes, not just N-P bias. Banish more bias, cover it all. Craig Smith, Monday, Dec. 4, 2006 dared to mention columnists. Anyone recall a 5 day a week daily column that included the community? Did we outgrow that era? Is it worth a discussion? As well, the blog replacements and new columnist.

12/07/2006 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Sara's point, it has NOTHING to do with the hedge and EVERYTHING to do with the suspicious lack of coverage.
I don't know, suing your neighbor over a hedge IS newsworthy, if for anything being put in some sort of Offbeat News column as CNN does. It's also ridiculously funny enough to be worthy of a Monty Python episode. But then again, the whole McFlaw's News-Suppress debacle is worthy of that.

Also, a side note to all you commentors intolerant of the on-going New-Press coverage by BlogaBarbara: NEWSFLASH, the News-Press story IS THE story that should be given priority over other local stories because ALL OTHER LOCAL STORIES are compromised when there is BIAS and SUPPRESSION OF NEWS COVERAGE in the paper. Understand? And if you don't like it, get your own blog. Sorry to vent, but please, let's get real here.

12/07/2006 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:12 and 3:30, if not the same person, probably works for the same Wendy. The former, in particular, has a nasty snideness you'd find in a TKA editorial. But then, he's on vacation, no?

Anyway, the hedge fight is news, even here, where you can't help but trip over celebs doing a bad job of going incognito. The second-rate actor is clearly being a jerk just because he's a celeb with money.

As for being an instrument for "hassling the News Press," that's a joke. The destruction of the N-P as a respectable, professional newspaper by the Wendynator is BIG news, and will continue to be. The good folks of Santa Barbara have been reading the N-P (or its antecedents) since the Civil War; it occupies a place in the community of immense social significance. Its descent into something that would make Rupert Murdoch blush demands attention.

12/07/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cares about a has been pornstar like Mr. Lowe? Move one.

12/07/2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

blah-gabarbara -- that's a good one! Ten points for creativity...

12/07/2006 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's why the hedge story is important:
1) Rob Lowe dragged his neighbor into court over a frivolous item to teach the neighbor a lesson, and that costs all of us taxpayers money.
2) The hedge is a red herring. Rob, just like in his fight with his Montecito neighbor over a too big house, wants something “more than the rest of us.” When his neighbors tried to block him, he hired pal-McCaw ‘s atty. Barry Capello to stir up fear (not to mention huge costs for the neighbor, who by the way is an 85-year-old woman—read the court docs!)
3) KEYT, Indy and others covered this story, but no "we’re bringing back the local news" News Press?

So we have frivolous court action flagrantly abusing the taxpayer and court system, the possible attempt of a star to manipulate a building restrictions (as he bullies an old lady), and an interesting local news story missed by our diligent daily paper.

In my mind that all weaves together some pretty darn interesting things to ponder, so keep up the good work Sara—you are right on target, as usual!

12/07/2006 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my mind that all weaves together some pretty darn interesting things to ponder, so keep up the good work Sara—you are right on target, as usual!


12/07/2006 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:12 and 3:30, if not the same person, probably works for the same Wendy. The former, in particular, has a nasty snideness you'd find in a TKA editorial. But then, he's on vacation, no?

Nope, wrong. I'm just a person who finds you people just a sad bunch of hens in a coop, and Sarah being the most bitter one of the bunch.

The second-rate actor is clearly being a jerk just because he's a celeb with money.

Nasty, snide and bitter. Way to take the high ground.

12/07/2006 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the flying fickle finger of ficus to be a frivolous fixation for foes of feisty fine free speakers like the Travster.

12/07/2006 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TV news reported on the Lowe court hearing.

Other print media like the Sound and the Independent reported on the hearing.

Why not the News-Press?

Was independent news judgment used to determine that the Rob Lowe hearing didn't merit ANY mention?

Or, as most people suspect, did the co-publishers pressure the newsroom to kill the story?

Unethical pressure seems likely because:

--Wiesenberger called the reporter from the yacht in France, bypassing editors, to reprimand her for publishing Lowe's address in the 700 Picacho Lane planning story last summer; and

--Craig Smith reported that co-publishers Wiesenberger and McCaw celebrated Thanksgiving with the Lowes.

Having the owner of any daily newspaper unethically interfere with the day-to-day news judgment of the professionals who edit the newspaper is a sufficient blog subject.

How do we know recent News-Press stories about subjects mentioned in the posts above (Goleta Valley Visioning, St. Francis, solar panels and the school land use) have not been tainted to reflect the whims, star gazing, economic interests and numerous strong editorials of the owner.

Given her self-destructive behavior – at once mercurial, inexperienced and lacking in basic judgment and respect for humans – unethical slanting appears to have become the rule, but it’s something that just shouldn’t be accepted and forgotten.

12/07/2006 10:13 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

Independent is BIASED. There's no doubt, but that fact seems to be readily accepted. Why? Let's start a thread on that.

Shall we Sara?

And NP does still have reporters that are biased with the same slant as the Indy. That slant is to hold up the confusion regarding housing, land-use and unbridled growth. The "smart growth" mentality is turning us down a path of high traffic, tall buildings, crowding parking lots and stores, increased tension and crime.

And yet, we squabble about hedge clippings and celebs (that are people too).


12/08/2006 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hundreds of millions of local property values depend on maintaining ocean views, not to mention our subjective enjoyment of our beautiful coast. How the local courts protect those views --or don't – is of widespread interest.

12/08/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like our local media, Vanity Fair covered the Lowe’s ocean view dispute in detail. The News-Press is basically the only local media outlet that didn’t even mention the hearing. The “Associate Editor” knows it will cost him his job if he reports on Lowe’s local activities.

Remember back in the summer when McCaw and Wiesenberger said they would fix bias and improve local news coverage … what happened? Were they telling us the truth or just spinning wildly through a Los Angeles “crisis prevention” flack?

12/08/2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

8:25 AM -- show me the bias! As always, you are welcome to write up something for me to post but you will have to provide an example that will lead to discussion. "Independent is biased" isn't good enough here -- provide some examples and I'll put them up.

Also, it's not about the's about fair coverage and whether there are different rules for different people.

12/08/2006 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This stuff happens all the time. Just because it's Rob Lowe doesn't mean it deserves coverage.

12/08/2006 9:23 AM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

OK, Sara, rest assured, this might be the last time I waste any of my time on your blog. But if you want examples of Indy/NP bias, here goes:

1. The Goleta Valley Visioning Document has been praised by many residents of the Goleta Valley as an excellent representation of the desires of the community regarding the future. Speakers from the community during the months of deliberation spoke, in vast majority, in favor of the values promoted in that document. During the last month of the committee meetings, two members showed upset that the housing/growth section of the document was not shaping up the way they had hoped -- which was to advocate for higher densities in the area (a thinly supported viewpoint, at best). These two members were given an opportunity to have their specific views expressed in the document, and special attention was given to how to get their views included. Eventually, the two decided to not to have their viewpoints included, and instead decided to abstain from signing the document. End of story. BUT the papers focused on this minor conflict, and minimized the coverage of positive public comment. The Goleta Valley has residents that have fought long and hard to get their voices heard. Many have felt that they have lacked representation with Susan Rose, but now Janet Wolf has spoken in strong support of the visioning document. That's GREAT NEWS! Yet, I have yet to have read that in either paper. What I did read about in both papers, was the minor upset at the end of the process.

2. Independent, last weeks edition. An article on a development company's recommendations to the SB School District emphasized that the school board has to make a tough decision. But this is not true. The school board's job is to put the community first, and even at that they still have options to develop at current zoning AND make money. Neighbors of parcels owned by the school district have stated that they will support current zonings. The analysis presented at the meetings included lower densities WITH 50% teacher housing that would yield as much $$$ as the high density option. The school board's decision should be an easy one. But the Indy chose to leave out part of the analysis and play up the "need" for high densities. Biased, indeed!!!

Is anyone on this blog interested in hearing about these facts that are left out? Until the local reporting changes, you'll have to start attending these meetings yourself or get connected to other connected people who you know you can trust to fill you in. (Opinion blogs can't do that for you, either.)

12/08/2006 9:51 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Worker Bee -- great comment but I really try to stay away from comments that identify other commenters or myself -- whether right or wrong in their identification. People need to know that their anonymity is assured. I've slipped a few times related to Nelville and shouldn't have to be fair to all. Thanks for understanding.

12/08/2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Worker Bee wants to reveal his/her identity, I'll glady reveal mine.

12/08/2006 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Worker Bee is Wendy's alter-ego...

12/09/2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many layers to the Rob Lowe hedge debacle. The hedge is for leverage to force the old lady into not opposing a structure that the County has already told Lowe several times to remove. Anyone can stroll the beach and take a look at the illegal party tent structure and the ridiculous one sided privacy hedge. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, coming into a small beach community pushing their weight around and thumbing their noses at the County on top of it all. By the way, according to sources, when asked by his wife to set the BBQ up, he commentned, "Movie Stars don't BBQ". He needs to return to Malibu where all of the meals are, no doubt, catered.

12/10/2006 9:47 PM  

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