Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Was Spendy's Blog Pulled?

A blog which truly tested the limits of free speech, Spendy McFlaw's, seems to have been pulled. Whether it was pulled by the creator or by the host,, I do not know.

I wasn't comfortable with this blog in that it did go too far. Some of you may have liked it -- but I'd rather facilitate discussion than be so over the top that your readers feel uncomfortable....

Canyon-ization of Chapala

Sounds like people are interested in this topic from Travis' editorial yesterday -- have at it here. Is the Chapala corridor getting too big? Were his FactsRight?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Has Banmiller Ever Been to DLG Plaza?

Craig Smith's blog reports today that the new News-Press associate business editor Brian Banmiller hasn't even set foot in the building. If this is Wendy and Travis' idea of more local news? Banmiller even has his email responded to by consultants -- what's up with that?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Travis Armstrong: Bias Buster?

So now Travis Armstrong is a bias buster? Perhaps today's opinion reflects a bit of historical revisionism? Yet again (unfortunately after a pretty good week) -- he fails to tell the whole story in pumping his chest about an award for the Voices section and not the awards that went to his departed employees. To top it off, he speaks of influence from the newsroom on letters to the editor? What was his job during that time? Here's what he wrote about a "survey" they conducted:

The results also suggested that in the past readers have been concerned about bias in the pages outside the Voices section. Correcting this and banishing any bias I know are priorities of the News-Press management.

I do worry that, inadvertently or indirectly, these pages over the last years have contributed to the idea the News-Press didn't care to address real or perceived bias in the news pages.

I admit that on too many occasions, at the insistence of some journalists in the newsroom, we haven't published some letters critical of certain news reports that readers thought were biased or incomplete. My promise to you is to try better to get those letters in the paper so you can have your say.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cottage Workforce Project EIR

Travis Armstrong's opinion piece related to the Cottage Workforce Housing Porject at St. Francis made some good points about what might happen in the future if Cottage were to come back and want more units to make more money. Is that two times in one week that I'm agreeing with him? That must be a record...I'm also very happy to see the tone of recent articles have come down quite a few notches. Let's hope this trend holds.

I'm interested in a part of the argument against the EIR that our brave new blogger and neighborhood activist Cheri Rae recently wrote an email to me about. It's based on a quote from the EIR itself:

"The haul trucks are assumed to travel between the Project and Marborg's C&D Recycling Facility located at 119 N. Quarantina Street. The haul route includes Salsipuedes Street, Anapamu Street, Milpas Street, Yanonali Street, and Quarantina Street and is approximately 3.60 miles."

A back-of-the-napkin calculation tells us this equals an estimated 50 trips per day over a year a half. 18,000 trips total down past SB High School, the crowded Milpas corridor and towards the highway-close recycling facility. Rae points out 50-75 percent of these trips could be avoided if the project is redesigned to use some of the existing buildings at the site. I'm not sure if that would be feasible or not to Cottage but it sounds like something that could be looked at.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Goleta Candidate Profiles

There's been such good discussion on the Goleta Council race -- I want to make sure you know about the candidate profiles over at the Goleta Observer as well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Goletans Appear Ready for Change?

Yesterday's opinion piece on the state of Goleta politics was an interesting and actually provocative piece in that TKA actually makes a few good points. That's right -- you don't have to adjust your screen -- he has a good point here.

The incumbents are vulnerable in that -- a planning commission that could have provided citizen input into the general plan that is soon to be finalized -- would have been a better strategy than doing it all themselves. I've wondered whether the present council thinks they know and understand planning better than the average citizen? Probably so, but that doesn't mean you don't create a planning commission before the general plan is completed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Please don't take my Starshine away...

Let's hear it for local news! This in from Mr. Duct Tape -- retribution from Armstrong? He's taking all of his strengths and turning them into weaknesses -- another item has switched SWOT columns. Starshine is one of the best things they still have going.....

Attention: Starshine Roshell continues to be employed by the News-Press, but she has written her last column.

A newsroom edict announced Thursday against news staff penning opinion pieces has ended what, in my opinion, was the best part of the paper.

Strange: This action comes after her column of a few weeks ago saluted the SBNP Nine. Coincidence? Since sports columnists are exempt, Starshine is the only one who is affected.

A handful of people may rejoice in this. For everyone else: (copy to blogabarbara or if you'd like to see your comments in print).

Or, of course, you may leave them right here....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Spin and the Teamsters' Case

FDS submitted this as a comment but I think it's worth a post -- read the articles, they are interesting to say the least.

Another salvo today, Aug. 15th.

copy and paste the URLs (NOTE:I made links below)

Teamsters file grievances:

Huff & Puff, the spin flak, denies it all, and this time obviously wrote up their excuses instead of repeating the paranoid rant of the Editorialist like last time.

This most detailed part in the N-P explanation obviously is about Camie Cohee charged with refusing to work when she really just did not want to insert the unsubstantiated political allegations that Travisty wanted in the never-published article. The more these Huff missives rant about stuff, naturally the more suspect they are for truthiness.

Community Post: Living Wage

Philosophe asked for a post on the following -- happy to oblige:

What about a new subject. The living wage debate always seems to get them going. I just got this week's edition of Time Magazine and on page 51 is an article by Jeremy Caplan on Chigago's adoption of a living wage ordinance. Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot fought it tooth and nail but lost. There is a quote from the mayor of Santa Fe, N.M. about their living wage ordinance: "We were also told the sky was going to fall, but all we've seen is strong growth."

Maybe this blog has beat this one to death in the past (I'm new), but it seems like a good public policy debate; especially since the News-Press editorial pages are vehemently opposed to a living wage ordinance.

Wendy Nabs Competitor's Domain name

A great article at Craig Smith's Blog reported today that Evans, Hardy + Young have nabbed all logical SB Daily Sound domain names -- EH+Y is under contract with the News-Press. This is looking more and more like a tight, partisan Congressional race every day. We'll be seeing attack ads next.

Interestingly enough, I found out last night that has been nabbed as well by one Erik Davis. I have no idea who he is or why he'd buy the BB domain name, but it was bought just a week ago. I never bought the domain as I would be giving up my anonymity -- but it's interesting that someone else has designs upon it.

Update on 8/23: I heard from Erik Davis about the domain and his interest is clearly not malicious -- in fact he seems like a great guy. I wouldn't want anyone to think otherwise considering the post I mentioned him on was about some rather predatory domain grabbing. We are in conversation about it now by email and I'll keep everyone updated about how it goes should anything come of it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

SBNP Salsipuedes Update: 15 Resignations

I got an email from a credible source Sunday night that I just read which said that Woman Magazine editor Ann Peyrat had given her two weeks but was escorted out of the building with a week to go....I didn't have her on a prior's odd that the bleeding at the News-Press may not stop if only to keep a union from forming.

Daily Sound Article on BlogaBarbara

Thanks to the Santa Barbara Daily Sound for their nice above the fold article on BlogaBarbara must have been a slow news day :) FDS and Valerio el Cacique even got a shout!

Thanks to all of you for making this online community what it is today. We may not agree with each other all the time but I will continue to do the best I can in allowing a place where you can discuss the news of the day.

McCaw Blasts SPJ Awards

Thanks to ANON for sending this along:

Santa Barbara Publisher Sought To Derail SPJ Award to Editors
By Joe Strupp

Published: August 14, 2006 11:49 AM ET

NEW YORK Publisher Wendy McCaw of the Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press tried to derail the recent awarding of a journalism ethics prize to nine of her former employees who quit last month in protest, by writing a stinging letter to the Society of Professional Journalists that called their actions "a smokescreen to hide their personal agendas."

The letter, dated Aug. 4 and sent to SPJ ethics committee chair Gary Hill, was apparently sent in response to the group's investigation into the recent mass resignations at the paper that began July 6 with the departure of former editor Jerry Roberts and five others.

"There is more to this than has been reported, and leads one to wonder what personality or other issues are involved. We would urge you to carefully look at all the facts," the letter, a copy of which was obtained by E&P, stated in part. "It is our belief that the SPJ is being used by this group to further their own personal and political agendas, and not as an expression of ethical principals."

McCaw also complained that SPJ had not sought to properly get her side of the story. "To date, no one from SPJ has contacted anyone connected with the paper except for your letter asking for my reaction and rationale. To what?," she wrote. "As journalists, isn't it incumbent upon you to investigate and report both sides? We would be glad to make ourselves available to you to discuss this in detail via phone or in person. Should you require any further documentation, please let me know."

Hill said SPJ had first sought to get information from the paper in late July, and did not get a response until five days after Hill called the paper on July 31.

"We had asked Ms. McCaw to explain or provide any rationale as to why we should not give this award," Hill told E&P. "We asked for a response in a day or two. Then asked again and they sent it five days later."

Hill said the letter did not offer a compelling reason for SPJ to hold back the awards. "We didn't think that most of the response was germane to the ethical issues and went off on tangents and general matters we weren't necessarily concerned with," he said.

Last Friday, SPJ announced it was awarding its ethics in journalism prize to Roberts and eight other journalists who have quit the paper since the paper's first wave of resignations. Those who left have accused McCaw of meddling in newsroom decisions and unfairly reprimanding employees. In the award announcement, SPJ said it had conducted an investigation of the situation prior to the award.

McCaw's letter accused the journalism organization of failing to find out the whole story and criticized the group for seeking to honor her former workers.

"As every journalist knows, there are at least two sides to every story. The recent events at the Santa Barbara News-Press are no exception," the letter stated. "So far, the majority of coverage has only reported the claims and comments of those employees who resigned. ... In order to clarify the situation, we would like you to consider the following facts before deciding to award them for their actions."

McCaw then went on to note that when she bought the paper from The New York Times Co. several years ago "everyone cheered that they were finally getting a hands-on owner involved in the community. Now, the people who quit seem to be upset that I am hands-on."

She added that "No one has been fired. All those who left resigned of their own free will." McCaw then defended the issuing of four cease-and-desist letters, explaining that "one letter went to each of three former employees and the other was sent to the Santa Barbara Independent. The letter to the employees was based on the company's confidentiality policy, something almost all organizations have in place.

"That policy clearly states that proprietary and confidential information concerning the internal operations of the paper and internal matters may not be disclosed to our competitors or publicly, even after resigning. All employees have signed this policy and have respected it to our knowledge, with the exception of those who quit."

McCaw then backed up her decision not to agree to union representation in the newsroom, saying, "While the paper does not believe that this is in the best interests of the paper, employees, or the community, we respect their right to do so. We are now moving strictly along those guidelines set down by the NLRB."

The publisher added that claims by some employees, including Roberts, that the "wall" between editorial and news had been breached, were unfounded. "Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Roberts himself served for over a year as both publisher and editor of the paper before being demoted. It appears that this wall is a wall of convenience to Mr. Roberts.

"In every newsroom in this country the relationships between owner/publisher/editor/editorial/news are complex and dynamic. They are based on human emotions, personalities, policies and politics," the letter added. "Even the SPJ Code takes these dynamics into account in that the Code is a guide, rather than a mandate.

"One of the great dangers that any journalist faces is taking something out of context," McCaw's letter continued. "We believe that the alleged ethical violations the paper has been accused of are inaccurate and out of context. Looked at in context and full detail, they are insignificant and no different than issues raised every day in newsrooms everywhere."

SBNP Salsipuedes: Resignation Toll at 14

Craig Smith has reported that a fourteenth employee has resigned from the News-Press after her beat was switched last Friday. The unfortunate thing is that Smith reports that reporters that are replaces do not get to be part of the unionization process...still, like the Spanish translation of our city street Salsipuedes, Shelly Leachman got out while she could.

News-Press Propaganda Fights Teamsters

EdHat News reported on an Agnes Huff and Puff press release this morning dated the tenth but which came across the wire this would think Jimmy Hoffa was alive and well with the "strong arm", "smokescreen" and "vendetta" adjectives sprinkled throughout. I like how the vast majority of their "employees is (sic) happy". I guess the lack of editors at the NP is done has taken a toll.

Please Note: Upon further reflection -- I think I'm wrong as "majority" would be the noun and the "majority is happy". Sounds a little wierd but is correct -- I guess I could use an editor too.

Santa Barbara News-Press Refutes Union Propaganda

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2006--The management of The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement:

After repeated strong-arm attempts to unionize the Santa Barbara News-Press without going through the NLRB process, union leaders today conceded defeat and filed a petition with the NLRB. These ugly tactics, known as a "corporate campaign," attempted to force the paper into accepting a union without an election. Tactics included personal attacks against management and the owner of the paper, encouraging the public to cancel subscriptions and advertising through the "yellow card" boycott, and continuing to spread lies and misrepresentations about working conditions at the paper.

"As I've stated before, union representation would not be in the best interests of our employees, the paper or this community, but I respect our employees' rights to make their own decisions," said Wendy McCaw, Santa Barbara News-Press owner and co-publisher. "The filing of a petition is simply the initiation of the NLRB process and we will cooperate fully with them," she added.

The employees who resigned have been replaced and won't be a part of this process. Some of those who resigned were under investigation for employee misconduct.

We reject the charges about a breach of journalistic integrity and meddling on the part of management. This is merely a smokescreen and cover-up to hide personal agendas and vendettas.

"The real cover-up is how these people have been hiding behind these issues," said Mrs. McCaw. "Our paper's journalistic standards have been in place for more than 100 years and will continue to be as long as I own this newspaper," she added.

The News-Press also rejects any allegations that the community is not supportive or that there are subscription cancellations. The paper has received hundred of letters, phone calls and e-mails of support. Subscriptions are up and advertising is strong. Clearly, the Teamsters' "yellow card" boycott is a complete failure.

Mrs. McCaw continued, "The only tragedy here is that a number of employees have been misled by a few. The vast majority of our employees is happy and has chosen to remain with the paper. Many of our employees are angry at the Teamsters' attempts to denigrate and injure the paper.

"Further attempts at Teamster extortion will not be tolerated. We are fully committed to protecting the livelihoods of our loyal News-Press employees. The paper will continue to publish daily, long after this campaign is a distant memory."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

One Sided Story Continues

Her man at De la Guerra, Travis Armstrong, continued to tell only one side of the story in his latest editorial on campaign funds in the second district race for Supervisor. Concentrating solely on finance returns for Capps and Wolf, Armstrong tried to paint Wolf as a developer's candidate. As usual, he accidentally forgot to tell us the ither side of the story. How much developer money did Dan Secord raise and what would it look like side-by-side with Wolf's....I am sure some of you have done this research already, let us know what you find.

More problematic in my mind is this wierd conspiracy theory in the News-Press editorial offices that somehow all of our environmentally friendly no to slow-growth public officials are controlled by just doesn't make sense. It does make sense, however, when you see who he may think his enemies are....there's no place for this on the editorial pages.

Sure -- write about the facts around campaign contributions. Each campaign will have to live with the facts -- but giving both sides of the story helps your readers feel that you are credible and know what you are talking about. Otherwise, it's just another agenda driven editorial from Travis Armstrong...has he learned nothing from the last few weeks?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Better Know Your Blogger...Who is Nelville Flynn?

I was watching the Colbert Report and saw the "Better Know Your District" series which profiles members of Congress and wondered what it would be like if I researched the ontology of the anonymous names that are sometimes used on BlogaBarbara.

This week much has been written about "Nelville Flynn" who occurs to many, at best, as an apologist for the News-Press. I even overheard people talking about it in a random conversation I happened upon today at Blenders. "Like, OMG! Who is this Nelville Flynn at BlogaBarbara -- it's got to be ________!". Yes, it was surreal as they did not know who I was. Very surreal.

Although it is not my policy to try to identify who a person is -- I see no reason why we can't identify who their blog identity is....

Samuel Jackson played a character named Nelville Flynn in what's been considered a really bad movie this year called Snakes on a Plane. The character is known for the following quotes (from IMDB)-- which are interesting considering the context of his comments.

Nelville Flynn: It's my job to handle life and death situations on a daily basis. It's what I do, and I'm very good at it. ; and,
Nelville Flynn: [from trailer] You know all those security scenarios we ran? Well I'm smack in the middle of one we didn't think of.

It's interesting how the News-Press owners and management happen to be right smack in the middle of a scenario they hadn't thought of, no? Nelville -- this is probably one big joke as I have already seen someone try to masquerade as Mike Pinto and the erstwhile Valerio el Cacique (where are you Valerio?), for instance, in the past -- so I hope you take this lightly. I also hope you comment on other issues and posts than those related to the SBNP -- it would help with our perception of who you are....

SBNP Nine to Receive Ethics Awards

An anon and John Stodder was nice enough to send us this news -- and he has written about it here.

SPJ honors Santa Barbara journalists with Ethics Awards

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Beth King, Communications Manager
(317) 927-8000, ext. 211,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is presenting an Ethics in Journalism Award to nine California journalists who resigned rather than accept and enforce a series of top-management decisions at the Santa Barbara News-Press that they believed violated provisions of the SPJ Code of Ethics.

When they left the News-Press in July, all nine journalists, including five top editors and a veteran columnist, cited improper ownership and management meddling in the editorial content of the privately owned newspaper. They pointed specifically to sections of the SPJ Code of Ethics that call upon journalists to “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting” and to be “accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.”

SPJ traditionally steers clear of management-employee disputes, and understands the prerogatives that come with newspaper ownership. It does not take a position either way on formal workplace grievances or union activity resulting from internal disputes.

Nevertheless, the Society has concluded that the tumultuous events that led to collective resignations at the Santa Barbara News-Press were precipitated by breaches in the newspaper’s foremost ethical obligation – to its readers – and is proud to support those who have put ethical convictions above professional security.

Selected for the national journalism organization’s highest ethics award are:

• Jerry Roberts, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

• George Foulsham, former managing editor.

• Don Murphy, former deputy managing editor.

• Gerry Spratt, former sports editor.

• Michael Todd, former business editor.

• Jane Hulse, former city editor.

• Colin Powers, former presentation editor.

• Former columnist Barney Brantingham, a
fixture at the newspaper for 46 years.

• Scott Hadly, former reporter.

The Ethics in Journalism Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics. News organizations around the world have long regarded the Society’s Code of Ethics as the defining standard of ethical conduct among professional journalists.

“We pay tribute to the courage and principled sacrifice of these nine journalists, who opted to risk their livelihoods rather than remain in a position where they felt their journalistic ethics and professional credibility were being violated,” said David Carlson, president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Carlson said the Society decided to present the awards after initiating a comprehensive inquiry into the issue. The investigating team, which included several national board and committee members, solicited the views of many of the honorees as well as News-Press owner and Co-Publisher Wendy McCaw before deciding to recognize the nine journalists.

Roberts will accept the award on behalf of the nine Santa Barbara journalists on Saturday, Aug. 26, during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2006 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Indy Best of SB Reader's Poll

Under the category of shameless self and Santa Barbara Blog Community promotion....I didn't see a spot for "best local blog" on The Independent's "best of" list this year but I think it would be a great new category...

If you are interested -- please visit the The Indy's web site and list Best Local Blog and BlogaBarbara under the "Category We Didn't Think Of". You have until Friday the 18th to vote and you have to vote on at least twenty items for your vote to be counted.

Actually, I'm mostly interested in promoting community discussion so I would be remiss if I didn't point out other blogs in our could also vote for The Indy's very own media blog which is a good one or Craig Smith's Blog on media matters. There's also the The Goleta Valley Observer and Bill Carson's The SB Review that are worth reading as well.

I am sure there are others you might like and a few of our reader's blogs I may have missed -- list them here as a resource for all of us, I'd be happy to hear about any and all other blogs you read that have to do with our community.

The Guzz Supports Secord

For someone whose campaign theme was no to slow growth-based, I was a little surprised at Joe Guzzardi's endorsement of Dan Secord for Supervisor at a press conference yesterday. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Secord's announcement to the SBNP that he would retain Susan Rose's planning commissioner:
If elected, Dr. Secord said he planned to reappoint Ms. Rose's planning commissioner, Cecilia Brown. He also called for an independent planning commission for the unincorporated Goleta Valley, an area some call "Noleta."
Perhaps it's not so much of a surprise as Secord really has to make a mad dash to the middle if he has any chane of beating Janet Wolf....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cottage Workforce Housing EIR Fiesta Surprise

The more I think about it, the more I think that Day Hiker John McKinney ( and his partner Cheri Rae, along with the Bungalow Neighborhood Association (BNA), have a very strong argument for the need to extend the EIR review process for Cottage Hospital's Workforce Housing Project plans at the former St. Francis Hospital site.

Publishing an EIR on August 3rd in Santa Barbara during Fiesta is kind of like announcing new taxes on Labor Day Weekend when everyone is out of town and away from their TVs. You minimize the impact of the news.

Scheduling a hearing just two weeks later leaves a very small window for the public to review the 4-inch stack of documents. It's also interesting that, according to an email I received from an interested party, the hearing was scheduled when the planner for the project knew that Cheri was going to be out of town.

If Travis Armstrong is going to get back in the thick of things and maybe gain back a centimeter of street cred for the editorial page -- perhaps he could start with this.

The BNA doesn't have high-priced consultants or even intimidating guys in dark suits and sunglasses behind them -- people need to speak up about this and urge the Planning Commission to reschedule the hearing for at least another month. 81 workforce units and 34 market rate luxury condos for the general public are a lot of units for that neighborhood -- it deserves more review.

Agricultural Board of Review?

I couldn't find this on the city's web site, the phone book or past articles about the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance....the mention of this new citizen committee showed up in an article in the News-Press today aabout the NPO (thanks for the anonymous tip in a previous comment).

Oh...perhaps they meant "Architectural". It can happen to the best of us -- but isn't this why we have editors review articles before they are printed?

It's also interesting to me that the Fiesta Rodeo got more press for alleged and possible animal abuses than ever before. Is there any reason for that?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cottage Hospital EIR

I'm not sure whether I agree with all the comments below from "city watcher" but thought it would be a good post:

How about having another post, for instance, on how the Planning Commission is going to push through the EIR on the Cottage Hospital - St. Francis property.

There were 6 weeks to review the draft EIR last year. Now the final one, responding to comments and issues, was issued during Fiesta, 8/3, with but two weeks before the PC hearing on the 17th.

"Issued" is a sort of a joke since there are few copies and it is buried on the PC web site.

First glance reports indicate that there is NO consideration being given to the neighborhood requested adaptive reuse of the existing building. This, despite architects and builders saying such reuse is indeed feasible.

What's the rush on this? Are they trying to push it through while many folks are on vacation? Why not delay the PC hearing until after Labor Day?

Why won't city administrator J. Armstrong, dev. director P. Casey, and Mayor Marty Blum plus the council members willing to give the public a chance to read this EIR ... and comment? It certainly makes one very curious....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Schultz and Molina Quit SBNP

I hesitate to post anything tonight as Fiesta will have everyone drinking and blogging :)

We've had an unconfirmed report that SBNP reporters Chuck Schulz and Josh Molina quit today. Two very good reporters with a great deal of experience....we wish them luck in the future.

Also, Hap Fruend, Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channels (Public Access TV) had this to say about a comment that suggested Armstrong tried to intimidate Channel 17 from airing the News-Press Forum:

He called and left me a voice mail message with some questions. I replied via e-mail. He asked some more questions (via e-mail) and indicated his intention to look into some old issues. I replied via e-mail. At no time did he link his inquiries to the two hour forum we were airing, but the timing is certainly coincidental or curious.

This morning he devoted one paragraph in his column to our organization.

Draw your own conclusions

Hap Freund
Executive Director, The Santa Barbara Channels.

Thanks for going on the record and being yourself here Hap....

Viva la Fiasco,

Armstrong in Denial on Bias/Ethics

A common theme over the last few weeks in our comments is that the News-Press Mess will, as one comment stated, "get uglier, much uglier". This kind of prediction was not to hard to imagine considering the course of events over the last few years that Travis "Wrong Way" Armstrong has been at the helm.

His first written piece since all of this broke out attacks so many people I had to use more than two sets of hands to count the number of organizations and people that he maligns as biased and disingenuous. Some 21 people, organizations news outlets have it all wrong and have been jumping all over the News-Press while they are down. I say it is just rewards for how Travis has viciously attacked so many respected public officials and members of this community. Karma.

If a county supervisor's actions had led to 10 plus key county employees resigning -- would there not be a call for impeachment? Really the best thing her man at De la Guerra could do is write a 'me culpa', say a few thousand hail marys and start contributing positively to the community dialogue -- if that happened, I'd be one of the first admit it. Have your opinion -- but let others have it too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

RCC Chair Ousted for Tennenbaum Support

One of the main problems with party politics today is that moderates don't often have a voice and there is not much tolerance for different views. In the Democratic or Republican Parties -- especially local party organizations -- you are expected to be to the more left or more right respectively.

It look like this happened with Ventura County Republican Central Committee Chair Leslie Cornejo who was ousted without cause by her fellow committee members 14-1. Cornejo, was a a supporter of Gallegly opponent Michael Tennenbaum, told the News-Press that "politics is a tough business". It sure is.

We probably don't know the whole story -- anyone care to tell?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Anderson in Trouble/Secord's 'Organized Crime' Card

Anderson Shows High Burn Rate
Sheriff Anderson seems to be burning through much of his fundraising reserves with not much to show for it. Recent reports show about $28,500 and $7,800 in hand. Lompoc Chief Bill Brown raised a little over $19,000 and has $6,500 on hand -- pretty good for a challenger in a race where Anderson should be taking a walk in the park.

Keep Your Fiends Close and Your Enemies Closer...
Meanwhile, Supervisorial candidate Dan Secord continues to play the organized crime card in accusing Janet Wolf of "laundering" money through the Capps campaign. This implication of illegal activity and wrongdoing runs counter to the fact that no laws have been broken...perhaps he thinks if he says it enough, the charge will stick.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Need a Job? SBNP has Openings...

I had to laugh looking through the classified today in the News-Press. Maybe a third of the page was dedicated to job listing in classified, legal, and reporting, etc. At least twelve jobs listed in all.

With an unconfirmed report of Camilla Cohee resigning in a recent comment -- perhaps there will be thirteen openings listed tomorrow. I was fantasizing that Carpinteria Mayor Donna Jordan might circle De La Guerra Plaza and pick Cohee up on her way out as a nod to the reporter's integrity. Her boyfriend Council Member Barnwell would certainly let her ride shotgun and they could fly out to Carpinteria and Jordan would treat them to a DIY steak at The Palms over a few martinis.

It would be interesting to hear if there was a good story in how she resigned....

Dr. Laura and 'Biological Errors'

Now that Dr. Laura is a columnist with the News-Press -- one has to wonder what is next and how much more out of touch the News-Press can be with the Santa Barbara demographic.

Here's some archived web pages on an effort to Stop Dr. Laura from a few years ago -- it discusses her calling gay people "deviants" and "biological errors" and equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Another interesting article in an old Salon piece describes the family values versus nude photos of Dr. Laura on the Internet scandal from 1998.

There's also a hilarious urban legend email that went around a few years ago questions Dr. Laura's assertion that the Bible prohibits homosexuality by pointing out other rules, here's a sample:

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

Truth or Consequences?

A very interesting development in the News-Press Mess today with the article on Ampersand, the parent company of the News-Press, seeking an injunction against former business editor Michael Todd. The article also puts one of their workers, Ana Elisa Fuentes, on record as saying that Todd's comments to her were not in the "bad or failed joke category" and that former management ignored the complaint.

Of course, threats of workplace violence should not be tolerated AND I'm not clear we know what really happened as it does not seem that Todd or former editors Jerry Roberts or George Foulsham were asked to comment. I would have thought the article would at least have said that the reporter (where's the by-line by the way? It does not show up online...I'll check later) did not receive return phone calls or that the accussed did not want to comment. Is that the kind of in-depth, selfless reporting we should expect from now on? Was this article necessary?