Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, March 31, 2006

Pro-County Split Campaign Above the Law?

Interesting article in The Santa Barbara Independent today related to county-split advocate Jim Diani saying that the pro-Measure H campaign doesn't have to file a campaign finance report because they are a "non-profit educational" organization.

David Landecker, anti-split advocate, couldn't have said it better -- the law "couldn't be clearer"....or is that more clear? Anyway, what makes Diani think they are a 501(c)3 instead of (c)4? What's he hiding? Fact is they don't have a lot of support right now and the campaign will likely be beaten soundly at the ballot box.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Candidate Web Page Update

An update on candidate web sites in alphabetical order:

Joe Guzzardi: The Guzz is at He's brave enough to put his phone number on the first screen in large type.

Dan Secord: Dr. Dan's is located at It describes a "core campaign group" that looks like a club all of us would want to be in...

Das Williams: is now live but does not seem to be complete. Still one can donate through PayPal, view endorsements and volunteer. The blog run by his Dad is also a source of information.

Janet Wolf: does not seem to have a website as of yet and this is surprising for this day and age. Please let us know if you've seen the URL and where it is located.

Update: Three readers have pointed me to and say it's been up for 2 or 3 weeks -- sorry about that, it didn't Google! Thanks for the help!

GVC Tells It Like It Is...

The letter republished in the News-Press today from the Goleta Vision Committee (GVC) majority made me wonder how far Travis Armstrong's fight with Supervisor Rose is going to go....will her letter to supporters reported here last week be printed next? He pulled that one on Mayor Blum last summer....still, the GVC letter brought up some interesting discussion points:

After grappling sincerely and strenuously with this matter, the GVC has come to the decision that it cannot recommend by April 2006, any sites from the Eastern Goleta Valley for inclusion in the 2003-2008 Housing Element Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process.

Why? Here's the best reason:
As we have learned about it, many of us have wondered whether its rigid requirements were in the best interests of its already populous area. Its statewide mandate of upzoning to one uniform high density per acre, with no mechanism to assure affordability, seems to some of us to make it a terribly blunt and ineffective tool.

Maybe we should give the state transfer development rights from Naples and Eastern Goleta Valley and let them use them up in Fresno or Bakersfield -- I know it doesn't work that way and I'm not sounding very "regional", but it would be nice if we could.

Monday, March 27, 2006

State Housing Mandate Done Deal

Is it a good strategy for The Guzz to sound off so forcefully on the state housing mandate? It certainly seperates him from the other candidates but also occurs to me like his stance fails to respect the fact that this is a done deal. Losing $2 million in state grant monies is not a good option. Perhaps this doesn't matter within the context of the election. Let us know what you think...

The article this morning in the News-Press also quotes Supervisor Firestone as being concerned about lawsuits from housing advocates. Why isn't he concerned about lawsuits from neighborhood and open space conservation groups?

Friday, March 24, 2006

3 Straws and a Slurpee

Impressive numbers from former Council Member Dan Secord who had 12 fundraisers raising $106,000 during the last reporting period. Good soundbite too.

Wolfe and Williams, who are in the $45,000 range, rightly tried to make the debate about the number of donors a candidate has -- I hope they aren't surprised to find out Dr. Dan has as many as them. Has anybody checked?

Broken Record on SEIU

Yesterday's editorial on campaign finance reform from Travis Armstrong yet again failed to question police association money and corporate influence on the last city council race in relation to how the council votes on contracts.

Like a broken record, Armstrong continues to act like his readers don't know better and continues to not quite tell you the whole story. Leaving out the facts in favor of an anti-SEIU, anti-Blum agenda is a disservice to our community. When is he going to start telling the whole truth and giving the whole picture?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Susan Rose Fights Back

County Supervisor Susan Rose sent a letter to supporters that hit today defending herself against News-Press editor Travis FactsWrong's campaign against her. First, she makes a good case to turn the switch to the "on" postion for this post from "Armstrong" to "FactsWrong". Many of our visitors want proof for the name switch -- you've got it here.

Rose didn't go as far as The Slugger in her fundraising letter last spring -- but this is what I think the Mayor should have done if she was going to take on those that buy ink by the barrel.

I'm impressed with Susan's approach, tone and how she laid out her side of the story. See it for yourself and comment about it here. The best part is that the site allows you to publish unpublished letters to the News-Press -- something I've been thinking about for awhile. The links to sites on journalistic ethics is a nice touch.

As stated in an earlier post, comment moderation is now in effect. Make a reasoned case for or against Rose or Armstrong's position and your comment will get published -- make ad hominem attacks on anyone or drift off-topic and your comment will not make it.

Exercise in Futility

The quote from Council Member Falcone this morning made me wonder whether she really thought campaign finance reform in the city is really just a "great exercise" in futility. Maybe she meant exercise in democracy...maybe she thinks the committee members are just going to run around the block a few times...

The truth is that she is right -- it does "cost a lot of money to buy the media and put the mail out" and I have to hand it to her for doing an excellent job at raising more than enough money to win reelection last fall. If she is better at it than others, for instance, why shouldn't she win?

If you are a good fundraiser should you be held back from raising as much or more than you need? Why should the playing field be made level when, in terms of campaign and fundraising prowess, it really isn't. Is there an "invisible hand" in campaigns that is like the free market and pushes the best candidates to the top? They raise the money and get the most votes so they should win, right? We will be watching this one closely...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Santa Barbara Daily

The Off Leash Public Affairs Blog, operated by dog lovers David Pritchett and KCSB reporter Cathy Murillo, announced that a new daily newspaper is to begin circulation in the downtown area on Thursday.

The Daily Sound has no web site yet but they have a fax number! Here's their info as reported on OLPA (which is also a public access TV show):

Santa Barbara Daily Sound
1806 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 564-6001 phone
(805) 564-6060 fax

Monday, March 20, 2006

Comment Moderation

After this weekend's series of mean, accusatory and politically-motivated vitriol, we have decided to implement comment moderation at BlogaBarbara. Basically, we've had it with the mean spiritedness and accusatory tone of the some of the comments. We've addressed this issue before and it is clear we cannot rely on everyone in the BlogaBarbara community to be good neighbors.

What does this mean? Your comments will now have to be accepted by BlogaBarbara editors before they show up on the site. It means more work for us but I think the blog will be better for it.

We don't care what your opinion is or what side you are on in the second district race -- it will be accepted if it is civil and on-topic. Two requirements that should not be hard to keep.

You could try to convince us otherwise herein -- but I have a feeling this will be a welcome addition to most.

New Web Site Designs

Local news media have quietly been following KSBY and the News-Press' lead and redesigning their web sites. KEYT now offers video of key news stories -- it's just too bad that the file format is only Windows Media...long overdue, The Santa Barbara Independent did a real good job at their redesign and is even allowing some comments on articles.

The following story by Nick Welsh escaped other media sources last week. It seems Gallegly's opponent in the Republican primary is denying authorship of a press release under his name that refers to "neo-Nazi feminists". Tenenbaum sounds like a real piece of work.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Letters to the Editor Policy

We've had a lot of back and forth here at BlogaBarbara about the News-Press having a letters to the editor policy that seems to promote specific candidates during election time. Some of us agree with this state of affairs, some of us do not.

The very pro-The Guzz letter today in the News-Press made me think about this issue again as I realized I haven't really been checking the letters everyday to see if there is equal treatment to other candidates. This letter of course supported Armstrong's position of it being okay to equate urinating and development cause The Guzz telling it like it is.

What would you do? If you print one positive letter for a specific candidate, should others enjoy space as well in equal parts assuming the letters are coming in? OR, should it be editorial policy to print more letters that support your stated opinions because that backs you up? Does the News-Press have a moral imperative to print an equal amount of letters that are against their stated opinions? Is that what journalism really is?

I've been thinking about this in relation to comments left here at BlogaBarbara -- especially when someone thinks deleting unsavory comments or ones that are seriously off topic is censorship like this is a space where everything goes...I often think we have more diversity of opinion here than I've seen in the letters section of the News-Press. What would you do if you were Travis Armstrong?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Trouble at the Republican HQ

What's going on with the Republican Central Committee? Elton Gallegly's announcement that he won't be running due to health problems several days ago sounds like it might be rescinded -- or is that just speculation? If Gallegly runs and forces a special election -- that would be a sad waste of taxpayer money. It was surprising that he made the announcement just two hours before the filing deadline -- the consipracy theorists in the Grand Ole Party are sounding like Democrats!

Get it together guys! Keep it in the family! I never thought I'd say this but listen to Mike Stoker...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Calm Down Jack!

Despite his defiant tone this morning in the newspaper, rumor has it that Goleta Council Member Jack Hawxhurst will be moving to Florida and not running for reelection next fall. With the possibility of Council Member Margaret Connell retiring from the new council -- there may be a wide open race in the fall. Goleta's "First Mayor" Michael Bennett, former El Presidente Roger Aceves and Santa Barbara Airbus owner Eric Onnen will have a tight race on their hands as challengers for the possible seats -- should they choose to run.

Saying that you had to have a "spine" to face the bogey man of growth and that "It's cheaper to buy elections sometimes than it is to do something better", Haxhurst acted as if he was immediately facing a million dollar media buy targeted directly at him. Chill out, dude! The campaign has hardly started...

His fear tactics won't work here -- the truth is Goleta doesn't have a planning commission because he's all but said that no one else has can be trusted with Goleta growth issues but council. This should have been one of council's main priorities and the City of Goleta won't grow up until it has a commission and a plan in place.

Goleta wants better -- and Goleta also wants more, Jack. Create a planning commission, finish the general plan and put it all on television. The transition from the County hasn't been all that smooth and you know it!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Andrade Enters 5th District Race

Saying "people are more important than potholes", Yvette Andrade entered the supevisorial race for the 5th district against incumbent Joe Centeno yesterday.

Does this mean we will have something else to talk about besides the 2nd district? Somehow I doubt it...even fluvial principles of water runoff seem to mean something about candidates these days....

In Memoriam: Eli Luria

Our deepest sympathy to the family of Eli Luria. The longtime landlord and philantrhopist has passed away from prostate cancer at 86. I'll always remember seeing him the mid 90s going to McDonalds on State Street every day for his coffee -- good man with a big heart. May you rest in peace.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Veronica Meadows

What's next for Mark Lee? His housing development plans for the Las Positas corrdior are laudable for their efforts to clean the creek area but not so laudable for the size and scope of the homes. It seems he could do the following:

1) Come back to council with a scaled down version with the project still dependent on their annexation.

2) Go to the County and spend several more years chasing approval...

What would you do?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Living Wage Woes

With an editorial and a feature article today, the News-Press started what will likely be the story of the week. What will the city council do Tuesday?

We have the story on the front page about a worker who made fifty cents more than minimum wage for being a manager and a business that is working hard to keep its' employees from speaking to the press. On the editorial page, we have an opinion that is more worried about union wages rising because minimum wagers will be making more money should this pass.

I see both sides but don't see how we expect to have plenty of service workers in Santa Barbara without wages rising somewhat. Also, question whether it is the city's business to mandate wage levels. Do people want to live and work here so bad that the "invisible hand" of the market means little? We've talked about the U-Curve here before -- with housing costs, don't low wages mean we will continue driving everyone out of town?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cumulative Impacts

Two different pieces in the Opinion section of today's News-Press approached the subject of piecemeal planning and the cumulative impact of growth. Although our friend Travis Armstrong may be a bit effusive talking about voodoo parking forecasting and who is "dissing" who, there's a point here that makes sense -- a lot of small projects are being approved and having a larger impact.

Because city government is the author, Armstrong isn't going into any great detail about the fact that the update to the city's general plan is now in process and that the update was the subject of a public hearing yesterday. This update has been the subject of a great many hearings and public input -- maybe our new name for him as Facts-Left-Out is appropriate today.

In all seriousness, the update to the Genreal Plan is what will guide growth or not-so-much growth over the next 20 years or so -- I urge and challenge the News-Press to include it in articles and opinion pieces such as this. It's the only way people will find out about it and provide input for it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Marking Territory in the Supe Race

The Guzz's comments about Barry Berkus "urinating" all over town has now found support in our favorite News-Press editor Travis Armstrong. Won't call him FactsWrong here -- Guzzardi said what he said.

Making uncivil comments in public is refeshing? Thank goodness? If this is what a candidate needs to do to to set themselves apart -- we've got problems. Feigned shock? No -- candidates that expect to work with other supervisors need to get along with each other. Comments like that don't facilitate cooperation.

Opposition to the State Street Lofts can stand on its' own merit -- Guzzardi didn't need to say what he said. Travis needs to remember what he said about Blum, Williams and even Nava in past elections...what makes this comment better?