Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Building Therapy

The way the article about the possible new police building was written today -- you would think it would solve all our problems. The city gets to own 98% of the block and the police officers get new digs....they probably would rather have a bigger pay check.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Guzz and Eastern Goleta Valley

I got a request to start a thread as to why Guzzardi won in the eastern part of the 2nd DIstrict. Part of me is ready to move on but I haven't seen the numbers -- maybe someone can share?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tammany Hall Hegemony?

Travis Armstrong's editorial today on "machine politcs" confuses me as it uses the same illogical reasoning as those that support term limits and fails to mention, yet again, the money and influence of groups like the Police Officer's Association. It's facinating to me how much power he gives SEIU when the POA spends a substantial amount of money itself.

He uses Terry Tyler as an example of a citizen candidate. His love affair with Terry Tyler's campaign forgets several things.

  • Tyler didn't walk precincts and was absent in Europe for much of the beginning of the campaign -- this tells me he wasn't that serious about being a council member and had more important things to do.
  • Tyler didn't raise much money. No matter what Armstrong says -- good candidates have little trouble raising money, whether they are liberal, moderate or conservative.
  • His own support of Tyler was worth reporting on Tyler's campaign disclosure as it easily represented over $10,000 in advertising on any given day in the News-Press. Why didn't that have an effect?

Finally, the relationship to term limits is that in the final analysis voters vote for the candidates they prefer. I can't stand this argument that money is all there is as it presumes a level of stupidity on the part of voters -- like they can't make up their own minds. Saying that voting is a formality cheapens the process and does not add up. If you don't like Wolf or Williams -- vote for Secord!

In the last election, we saw a record turnout -- they couldn't have all been liberal. Democracy is great as it does have that check and balance. If we don't like who is the incumbent -- we can vote for someone else. That, my friends, is the beauty of the system -- no matter how much money is involved.

Police Audit

Penny pinching bureaucrats not withstanding -- I think Barnwell and Blum's proposal to do an audit makes sense. It takes the politics out of the equation -- or does it? McGrew shouldn't be resorting to calling Armstrong a penny pincher at this point in the process -- where does that get the POA?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Guzzardi Responds

In case you missed it -- Joe Guzzardi responded to accusations that he used County email for campaign purposes on the last post -- it's a bit long but I think worth reading considering the anon. allegations leveled against him -- here's what he wrote:

An interesting sideline to the whole Blog issue is how anonymous posters can submit false and misleading statements in the hope that they’re taken as gospel.

I did not use the County email “several times during the campaign to solicit support.” During the protracted endorsement process I made a few attempts to lobby the Local 2046 Executive Board, stewards and representatives. In an effort to make contact, I accessed the Local 2046 firefighters union web site for the various email addresses. My intent was to educate the board members as to my qualifications (assuming they cared) and hopefully gain their support. Many of the union representatives listed their County email addresses on the contact page of the union web site. It is not a violation of any law or policy for a candidate to send an email from a personal email account to a public email address. At no time did I use the County email system to generate campaign messages to other County employees.

If “plenty of people have them in their mailboxes” anyone can also confirm that the box is a County email box, and the originating message is from my own personal account.

Also, I did not go “ballistic during the whole campaign sign fiasco”. For the record, an email was sent from County Fire Station 13 to almost the entire County Fire Department in an effort to communicate that County Fire Station 13 would be used as a staging area for the Janet Wolf campaign. The email stated, “Station 13 will be the hub for the Janet Wolf campaign.” When this email came to my attention, I brought a copy to a high-ranking member of County Fire management and asked that something be done to stop what was obviously an illegal activity. At no time did I go “ballistic” or “protest too much”.

Lastly…for Travis Armstrong to “pretend to be a Wolf supporter” to get his story is no more misleading than for Local 2046 executive board members to pretend to endorse candidates based on a knowledge of and/or commitment to public safety. In shunning a candidate with extensive emergency management experience during their recent endorsement process, some of the 2046 board members shattered their own credibility and brought into question the real meaning of the Local 2046 endorsement. Were they looking to endorse a seasoned champion of public safety issues, or a novice who was simply willing to protect “wages and benefits”?

The good news about this Blog is that folks can engage in interesting and sometimes amusing dialogue. The bad news is that some folks can hide behind their anonymity and spread false and misleading information. I have attached my name to this post because I am proud of the fact that I ran a fair, open and honest campaign. Will my detractors (within or without county government) come out from the shadows, or will they continue to hide and lie? If the 9:08am post is any indication....

P.S. In two separate interviews about this subject, the newspaper failed to report my quote that I did not want to see any firefighters punished for their on-the-job campaigning activities. I simply wanted them to stop. Despite some recent and completely misguided animosity on the part of a few bad apples, I continue to support the mission of our local fire and law enforcement agencies.

Accountability or Bias?

Leave it to Mr. Armstrong to insert the following on an editorial piece that is ostensibly on housing:

  1. The 6,453rd bash on Mayor Blum for using city email for campaign purposes. If you can't see that Armstrong has some kind of vendetta going here --- you aren't paying attention. His mentions are old and tired and this has nothing to do with the subject matter.
  2. Yet another bash on Janet Wolf -- what do campaign signs have to do with the rather radical notion of dismantling Community Development? This is the new old and tired mention that we will likely see a few hundred times before election day in November.
  3. What's up with the direct, press release-like quotes from Secord doing in an editorial? Will Wolf be able to have direct quotes in future editorials? Wouldn't that be fair and not show bias? I'm not sure I've seen many candidates for public office get free space like that in the past...

Armstrong would be better served to stick to the one issue he seemed to want to write about but couldn't quite get to in the editorial -- dismantling Community Development and starting over with a new department run by other department heads. It's not old and tired and it is worth talking about. Or is it?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogabarbara's Status

In the last post I started questioning whether to continue BlogaBarbara and the general consensus seems to be for it to continue as this last election stretched me to my limits in terms of time and being patient with some of the rancor -- you can put your two cents in here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Election Night Wrap Up

Sheriff: The Biggest Surprise: Chief Bill Brown will likely make the run off. KEYT says he is 900 votes ahead of Thomas with 10,000 votes left to be counted. They both say they will support each other against Anderson come November. As a commenter lamented tonight -- "will there be a site"? Me? I'll miss UgoPeterButch tellin' it like it is...

2nd District: Not too much of a surpise -- other than maybe how close it is looking between Secord and Wolf. It will be interesting to see what the secondary results bring in over the next few days. Secord 30%/Wolf 29%/ Williams 20%/Guzzardi 19%.

District Attorney: 70% is an impressive victory for Christie Stanley. Hayes had 16%/Dunlap 14%.

County Split: Down in flames as it should.

The Crystal Ball

A Few Predictions for Today -- Sara de la Guerra says:

Governor: Steve Westly
The Angelides ad this weekend showing Westly hugging the Governator and saying they were one and the same made me sick to my stomach -- Westly can beat Arnold in the fall.

2nd District Supervisor: Janet Wolf and Dan Secord
No matter what Mike Pinto says -- it would be really hard for Das to overcome the largesse of the Capps campaign and the endorsements Janet has picked up along the way.

District Attorney: Christie Stanley
Christie Stanley will win this one outright despite Hayes' effort to paint himself as the "Democratic" candidate. The Independent endorsement puts her over the top.

Sheriff-Coroner: Jim Anderson
Really bold prediction here -- no runoff in this race. As much as we might relish a mano a mano with Thomas -- Anderson squeeks by with 50% plus 1.

County Split: No
The Yes Camp never made their case once Brooks became a Supervisor.

Happy Election Day!

It will finally be over -- for now -- tonight at 8 pm when the polls close.

If you or others have an absentee ballot in your posession -- bring the ballot to a polling place. Here's a polling place locator. It even has a nifty link to Yahoo maps...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lazy Way Out

Anybody find today's editorial just a bit ironic? Here's a bit of it for your enjoyment:

These programs appear structured to create controversy and cater to a narrow mind-set -- and nothing more. It seems the people who have pounded their chests the loudest are declared the winners, regardless of whether they had their facts straight or warped them to try to prove their case. The truth too often is missing.

This type of knee-jerk approach also too often creeps into news reporting, with the offending journalists not being held accountable as they dumb down the debate or interject their own spin into stories by selective reporting. It recalls the days of yellow journalism before the press supposedly matured.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Former Sheriff Thomas Responds

I guess one good publishing of a post by me deserves another by the former sheriff:

Sorry, but I can't let it go by. According to a "former campaign staffer", I committed a number of sins.

#1 – That I changed from Republican to Democrat. True, but not at the time and for the reasons "staffer" suggests. I was running in 1986 against Sheriff John Carpenter. As we were both Republican's, we were invited to Barney Klinger's home in Hope Ranch for a campaign function. We were being introduced and Ken Petit was there as a guest of Howard Menzel. Petit was running for Clerk-Recorder. When Howard ( a republican) asked them to introduce Ken, they refused . . . because Ken was a democrat.

Being new to politics, my wife and I decided at that point that we did not want to be in a political party that refused to recognize the existence of another human being. We re-registered as democrats. Ken and I are not the best of friends any longer but I believe he will confirm the story. After a number of years, I found that hard-core democrats were much the same as hard-core republicans, and I changed back. Believe it or not - that's the truth.

#2 - On the issue of the law suit by Dale and Lia Schade. Of course I know about the investigation of the Schade's - I ordered it. Lia recently testified that that I started that investigation because her husband, former Lieutenant Dale Schade, said in 1999 that he might run for sheriff. Trouble is, the narcotics and money laundering investigation against them started in 1997 - two years earlier.

There is an inference that a Federal Court found guilt in a law suit against me, the Sheriff's Department, and the County. Again - not true. The county had filed a motion for summary judgment against the 8 claims made by the Schade's in a civil rights violation law suit. All but 2 were dismissed - one, a claim against one of the investigators and another against me and an investigator. That meant that they could go forward with a civil suit had they chosen to do so. Rather than go to Federal Court in LA with all the costs and the POTENTIAL of a loss, the county decided to settle the case for $2.35 million in 2005 . . . 3 years after I retired.

I would have opposed the settlement and gone to court. The claim against me was that I should have know the affidavit for a search warrant lacked probable cause- I did not. A search warrant is written by law enforcement, scrutinized by the DA, and again scrutinized and signed by a Superior Court Judge before being served. As Sheriff, after that level of review, it is normally believed that probable cause was present, or the DA and Judge would not have approved it.

An interesting side note - during the case, Lia Schade served as Jim Anderson's campaign treasurer during his 2002 campaign for Sheriff. After he won, the case settled.

My e-mail is and my personal cell # is 680-2345. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I will be happy to set the record straight. Jim Thomas, signed in as another anonymous.