Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Anderson Moves to the Right

Sheriff Anderson shimmied to the right of his challengers at a recent forum by bringing up the sceptre of terrorism and immigration -- brave move that may or may not pay off. Why would anyone, however, who has questionable immigration status want to report a crime? Even former-Sheriff Thomas understands that....

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cole Steps Down

News-Press publisher Joe Cole announced his retirement today and will be leaving the newspaper on Wednesday. Arthur "Nipper" von Wiesenberger and Wendy McCaw will be co-publishers while a search for a replacement is made...I'd like to know more about what happened here but have very little information.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sloppy Bookkeeping

The Sheriff COuncil audit is out and surprise! It shows sloppy bookkeeping -- let's see how this plays out in the next couple of days with Sheriff Anderson. See the the KEYT news story for more info.

Oh, Oh, Oh, On the Radio!

"I was so surprised and shocked, and I wondered, too....If by chance you heard it for yourself...I never told a soul just how I've been feeling about you...But they said it really loud...They said it on the air...On the radio"

Good for Josh Molina for reporting on the latest favorite topic has really done it this time with a policy that keeps local leaders from supporting non-profits. What's up with that?

Mayor Blum and Supervisor Rose have an excellent point that we brought up last September -- in questioning the relationship between the News-Press and their sister radio station that really is only a sister station based on a contract to run the place. I think Mayor Blum is right in wondering out loud whether the FCC should look at this.

I wish I hadn't announced a quote of the week so early -- this one from Council Member Falcone was one for the record books. I like how she said a lot but really didn't say anything at all. Does she really not have "firsthand knowledge" of the dispute? Does she and Armstrong never talk about the Mayor and Supervisor Rose? I'd be really surprised if they don''s the quote:

Councilwoman Iya Falcone, who has been strongly supported by the editorial page, said she had "no firsthand knowledge" of the dispute, adding that "it would be wonderful for the community if the parties could work out their differences."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We have met the enemy...

and the enemy is us", says Council Member Brian Barnwell. This quote is a variation on an American Naval Commander's words after a naval battle: “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” This more updated version was first used in the comic strip “Pogo,” by Walt Kelly, in the 1960s and referred to the turmoil caused by the Vietnam War.

Are we in for a protracted land war in Asia over development on upper State? Sound in here about a we really need to pay someone $200,000 to tell us there is a lot of traffic here?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quote of the Week

"I would love for someone to tell me how to get some new information out of them," said League volunteer Ann Lorimer -- as reported in the News-Press. Commenting on 2nd District Supervisorial candidates....

Commingled Funds

I'm having a real hard time believing Judge Hall was ignorant of the law when she "commingled" $20,000 with her partner like grocery money and the electric bill...I guess it could happen but her explanation leaves something to be desired. Who was her treasurer? Who was her campaign manager? There were people she could have asked with a contribution/loan that large....

Update on 4/26/06: Judge Hall was reported as having sent a $15,000 check to settle with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wolf Gets County Firefighter Support

County Firefighters endorsed 2nd District Supervisorial Candidate Janet Wolf saying in a press release BlogaBarbara received that "Janet impressed our Executive Board with her extensive knowledge of the importance of disaster preparedness. As someone who lost her home in the Painted Cave Fire she will have real life experience to rely on when making land use decisions that impact public safety. Her commitment to public safety and disaster planning, combined with her deep roots in the community made her the obvious choice to our diverse membership."

Does one need the majority of endorsements to win? It sure helps...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tenenbaum Takes on Gallegly

Thanks to Anonymous for pointing this out at Brian Dennert's site with the VC Star -- here's the press release Tenenbaum put out:


Total Since Re-Entering Race Is Lowest of Any Republican Incumbent in California Over Same Period

THOUSAND OAKS, CA “ Since reversing his withdrawal from the race for California's 24th Congressional District, retiring 20-year-incumbent Elton Gallegly's fundraising has stalled to a statewide low for Republican congressmen.

Of the 18 Republican incumbents in California, Gallegly ranked dead last in fundraising for the period from March 10 to March 31, taking in a mere $3,284. His next nearest colleague on the list raised nearly four times that amount, and other California incumbents facing primary challenges have raised as much as $200,000 in the same period. (See chart on following page.)

"No thoughtful contributor would support someone whose appeal is effectively, Give to Me So I Can Retire," said Michael Tenenbaum, Republican primary candidate in the 24th District. "The fact that my opponent received only $3,284 since un-retiring shows how little support there is for his candidacy at this point."

Tenenbaum, who surprised the incumbent by announcing his candidacy in the last week of the filing period and then was surprised himself when Gallegly retired days later, is scheduled to file his first financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission by May 25.

A 37-year-old businessman, attorney, and law professor from Thousand Oaks, Tenenbaum will face Gallegly in the primary election on June 6th.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Letters to the Editor Watch

As this has been a heavy topic of discussion in recent months, I decided to keep track of the letters to the editor so that we would have something a little more concrete to discuss when we look at what shows up in the letters section of the News-Press.

Far from scientific, this is a casual study...I made my subjective opinion on the content of the following letters and after Sunday's opinion from Dr. Dan will also track opinion piece publishing in the next month.

These are the stats from 3/18/06 to 4/18/06:

Pro-Candidate for Supervisor Letters:Number

Pro-Candidate for Sheriff Letters:
Anti-Candidate Letters:Number

Clearly, this means little until a few months have passed and we can see whether there is equity in publishing letters...but it's a start.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

DSA Endorsement Questioned

Sheriff's Sgt. Kelly Moore is trying to convince a judge to block $25,000 in contributions to Jim Anderson by the Deputy Sheriffs' Association.

Butch Arnoldi says he has an email that outlines the "simple majority" rule -- he should come forward with that today as it is hard to believe DSA wouldn't be more careful in outlining their endorsement process in such a contested race.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's Law Enforcement Week!

Sheriff's Debate: Sheriff Anderson pulled a Ronald Reagan last night in Solvang for the candidate debate in suggesting that we feel safer than we did four years ago. "Arrests are up and crime is down!", he says. Did anyone go? Let us know what you thought....

SB Police Contract: Meanwhile, Sgt. McGrew kicked it up another notch by beginning a campaign to get a 10% increase in police wages for their upcoming negotiations. Apparently, he hasn't spoken with the Mayor or the City Administrator's office about it yet. This old-school Chicago style politics will backfire on the POA President someday -- but probably not soon, as he probably has the votes for at least another 3-5%. Question is -- what are we willing to live without so that our police officers make more than $80,000 per year? How often does this happen in the business world? Getting 3% one year and at least that much the next? I'm all for parity but let's make this raise on a longer contract....

Deputy Sheriffs Association Endorsement: It was reported this morning that 60 deputy sheriff's have protested the recent endorsement of Sheriff Anderson and that a meeting on the matter will be held tonight -- boy, would I like to be a fly on that wall.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Straight Up Obfuscation!

County Split proponent Jim Diani said this in the newspaper this morning:

Mr. Diani said the organization would file all financial receipts -- as other campaigns and political groups do -- at the county elections office if it decided to raise campaign cash.

"We need to be straight-up with our community," Mr. Diani said after consulting with an attorney. "We're not going to buck the system."

The organization will make a decision on fundraising later this year, he said.

He's not being "straight up"! Excuse me -- I'll talk to my attorney and then give you the information...the truth is that they already have bucked and likely used the system. This was clearly an effort on behalf of a ballot initiative -- which would be campaign related and require a report. What would be a problem is if a 501c4 campaigned on behalf of a candidate and didn't file any reports....hmmmmm, there's no evidence to back this possibility up, but is he hiding something? Time may tell.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Black Eye of an Endorsement

With two dozen sheriff's deputies disputing the results of the recent endorsement of Sheriff Anderson and his campaign consultant accusing Jimmy the T's campaign of collusion, we are in for a story that has legs. This morning's editorial calling for disclosure in the Santa Maria Times means the spotlight's on the DSA. Here's part of what the SMT said:
Without such information, this endorsement really is little more than a political charade.

As in most things, the public interest would be best served by full disclosure. We hope it's forthcoming soon.
We couldn't agree more here at BlogBarbara -- we understand why DSA won't and respect it politically -- but couldn't agree more.

KEY News Story Interviewing Butch | SB Independent Story on Sheriff Campaign Fundraising

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Keep Doree O'Connell in Your Prayers

BlogaBarbara has learned that Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell's wife Doree O'Connell was diagnosed Tuesday with a brain tumor and is at UC San Francisco hospital and will be evaluated for surgery later this week. A press statement says she is awake and alert and that Jack and his daughter Jennifer are at Doree's side. Cards sent to the California Department of Education will be forwarded to the family and the hospital has asked that the public not send flowers.

State Superintendent Jack O'Connell
California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

We wish Doree the best and send her our prayers.

How much is enough? DSA endorses Sheriff

The Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) gave their endorsement to Sheriff Anderson yesterday in a closed vote. With the Lompoc Police Officer's Association voting for Chief Brown, this has to come as a small surprise as usually the city police unions fall in line with the DSA in a show of solidarity.

One has to wonder by how much did Anderson win? As Brown pointed out in the News-Press this morning, a candidate could win with as little 26% of the vote -- especially if deputies did not mark a candidate on their ballot. I'm not clear if there was a "no endorsement" option but it would be interesting to see what the tally was. Hardly a ringing endorsement, the biggest loser is former Sheriff Jim Thomas. With the DSA choosing not to support a replay of his administration -- this hurts his campaign the most. The DSA is right though -- making that public would dilute the endorsement.

Last October, News-Press editor Travis Armstrong asked SEIU to make their candidate questionnaire public in the interest of voter education and inserted this request in dozens of editorials. He did not make the same request of the SB Police Officer's Association or the Sierra Club or the Womens Political Committee or any other political action committee.

Personally, I think it is SEIU, DSA or any other groups' own business how the questionaires are filled out. But fair is fair -- will he ask the DSA to do the same? I'd like to know how Anderson defends his term in office, shouldn't the public know as well? Tell us what you think bout that and who is The Biggest Loser here....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Shoot Now! Ask Questions Later.

Classic letter in the News-Press today! This guy has got too much time on his hands and is certainly an expert as he's watched 50-100 chases on TV! In case you missed it:
The recent vehicle chase through San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties involving speeds of 100 mph, two hours of chase and confusion, three kidnapped people, numerous police cars, gunshots and one person dead could have been averted through a technique I have thought out.

Basically, it involves having police cruisers equipped with a shotgun mounted on the hood directly in front of the driver, who, at the optimum time and distance, remotely fires the gun, blowing out a rear tire; it can be repeated for the other tire. If done early on in the chase, the pursued vehicle's speed can be substantially reduced, minimizing much mayhem.

By lowering the speed to one half or less, kinetic energies involved in collisions are less than one-quarter of original, making it vital to try such a technique.

The initial reaction to this is that it's too dangerous. Not so. I've watched 50-100 chases on TV through the dash-mounted camera, shouting at my telly, "Shoot now!'' Of course in these cases, the sole officer can't do much but stay with the pursued vehicle waiting for a four-car pileup at the next red light or a roll-over on a two-lane country road.

With my system, one officer can take positive action, shooting out tires, slowing down, and in some cases stopping the vehicle. It needn't be dangerous to the heedless driver or other cars if the officer picks the right time and place.

I'd love to discuss this idea with someone in law enforcement as to the feasibility, practicality, etc. I've outlined what I think is a low cost development program, called "Operation Slowdown," which would, in my opinion, perfect equipment and techniques, eliminating many senseless chases.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rose and Blum and Capps. Oh My!

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my.

Travis Armstrong's opinion today took on the letter from Susan Rose to supporters that we reported about here at Blogabarbara a week and a half ago.

If there was any doubt that Armstrong had added Supervisor Rose to his targeted list of politicans, there is none now. As we've talked quite a bit here about editorial letter policy, let's take a look at what he wrote:

We don't look favorably on letters that are blatantly manufactured by politicians or developers or other special interests in attempts to make them appear to be from grass-roots supporters. In the newspaper world, this is called astro-turfing. The Republican right, in particular, began exploiting the Internet a couple of years back to generate such letters to the editor.

But we'll generally consider ones that are civil, aren't factually incorrect, aren't defamatory and don't make personal attacks on private citizens. (You should see the derogatory letters about Ms. Rose we choose not to print because they are too snide, in bad taste or not fitting for a family newspaper.)

This in itself I can understand to an extent -- manufactured letters without one's own touch would make for boring copy and should probably not be considered for publication -- I'll give him that. What I find interesting is to look at how he described his process, that he will "generally consider" -- he clearly holds the power of what letters to publish very seriously. As well he should -- but from what position and philosophy?

Whether he respects his own guidelines of civility is another saying that "it's time we all just forget about Ms. Rose" or that "it's time to let Ms. Rose ride off into the sunset" or accusing her of a "victim mentality" very civil? Is it befitting a "family newspaper"?

Armstrong tries to make a case that because she and others are elected officials -- they have to abide by higher standards than anyone else. Why can't the editor of our largest daily, arguably a public figure, abide by those standards as well? Oh my.