Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

CPA Files Suit on Veronica Meadows

A citizen stringer sent along some breaking news to me from Citizens Planning Association (CPA) who has announced that they will be suing the City of Santa Barbara over the Veronica Meadows project. Here is some of the reasoning from the release:

At the heart of the challenge is the City’s recent approval of the creekside proposal to develop 23 luxury and two Affordable (upper middle income) homes in one of the City’s last open spaces in the Las Positas Valley. CEQA requires that no public agency shall approve a project that will cause one or more significant environmental impacts unless there is specific evidence demonstrating that alternatives with less impact are infeasible. In the case of Veronica Meadows, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) identified alternatives to the project that would avoid or lessen significant (Class I) biological impacts to the Arroyo Burro Creek and significant (Class I) traffic impacts. However, contrary to the EIR and without evidence, the City Council made a Statement of Overriding Consideration dismissing these alternatives as infeasible.

Also, CPA says that the two $400,000 homes being offered is not enough mitigation for the loss of open space and the biological effects on Arroyo Burro Creek -- and I tend to agree. According to the release -- this isn't just about saying "no":
The purpose of the lawsuit is not to obstruct all potential development on the project site, but rather to ensure that if the site is to be developed, alternatives are chosen that mitigate significant impacts. “We need development to be the process of growing better, not just growing haphazardly because particular developers so desire,” concluded Ms. Kovacs. “We have a finite supply of land to build on and limited infrastructure to support development, so we must choose the right projects for the remaining places to build, and make sure those projects meet true needs of our community, with the least negative impacts possible.”

SBIFF Update Includes New SBNP Documentary Plans

Lisa Snider, writer and producer of the documentary on critical housing in SB -- Price of Paradise -- did a write up on today about the film festival. One of the things she points out is that Sam Tyler, who produced Good to Great about Jim Collins, is currently working on a documentary on the News-Press Mess.

Dr. Suess-like Ablitt's Home

Remember the Dr. Suess-like home that theAblitt's got through the planning commission? One of our citizen stringers pointed out that we commented quite a bit about it over a year ago and now the home is the link above for the LA Times story about it. It is interesting to read how they fit their home across the various levels of the building...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Roundabout Contest

I hear that the Bungalow Haven neighborhood has an email circulating about what to install on the new roundabouts as apparently the Architectural Board of Review can't decide. Like King Carlos, who originally served as an entryway to DLG Plaza -- what could be the entryway to this distinctive neighborhood?

Of course nice plantings and a sign would be the obvious choice -- but some have suggested a bulldozer, a statue of St. Francis and even a big dollar sign. Sounds like most people do not like the new roundabout -- have any good ideas?

Consequences of Measure D - 2/3rds Vote

Since the voters did not pass Measure D last November, local transporation advocates are concerned about how to keep our roads and busses going. This Daily Nexus article covers the issue well -- this is a good example of the consequences of the two-thirds vote now needed for items such as Measure D.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Another NP Employee Fired?

Craig Smith and The Independent both reported on Anna Davison's firing from the News-Press yesterday -- it turns out she wasn't the only one. Although no reason was given, it seems Bob Guiliano attended a going-away party for Davison -- are News-Press private investigators spying on union members and management that fraternize with them on their own time? Joe McCarthy would be proud....

As dd asked in yesterday's post, how many are left of the original staff?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anna Davison Fired

Another casualty of the News-Press Mess -- Craig Smith reports that reporter Anna Davison has been fired.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State Street Salsipuedes: DayDreams

Like so many reporters, businesses on State Street are "getting out while they can". EdHat reported today that Day Dreams will be closing its doors at 1021 State Street after 24 years of business due to tripled rent. What concerns me is that the number of businesses leaving for higher rents seems to be increasing at an abnormal rate -- do these landlords know something we don't?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Redemption for Vlad?

A slightly edited version of a topic suggestion from worker bee -- thanks for the idea!

Reading the excerpts of Craig Smith's conversation with Vlad Kogan, in which Kogan expresses remorse for his role in feeding the anti-Jerry Roberts and anti-union machine, changed my view of the guy completely. I was all up for bashing on him on the blogs. He deserved it. But look what happens when you own up to mistakes. Look what happens when you offer apologies and express that you've at least learned from your mistakes. People are willing to forgive and move on to better things.

Ultimately McCaw, Nipper, Armstrong, Steepleton, etc., have a valueable lesson to learn from this young man - it takes courage to admit when you're wrong - especially in a public forum. The upside is the public will accept you back into the fold quickly for such action.

Funny how the key ingredient missing from the News-Press management's tactical buffet is the expression of apology and remorse. You'd think a skilled and wise sage such as Dr. Laura would have mentioned this base honorable principal to them. I wonder how she missed it?

Anyways, I'm curious to know if McCaw has gone past the point of redemption. What if she just gave Melinda Burns her job back? What if she owned up to all of this - all the lawyering and the fighting just to fight. What if she admitted defeat, apologized for everything, dropped all lawsuits, and truly took a turn. How far do think apology and remorse goes in a situation like this?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Where's Craig?

If any of you are wondering -- Big Fat Fan of Craig let us know that his server has been down today but should be back up by 10 pm tonight.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

TKA's 5-Year Anniversary

I saw a pass along copy of the News-Press today at my friend's house and see that it's been five years since Travis Armstrong came to the Santa Barbara News-Press. I could ask you, like Ronald Reagan, if the newspaper is better off than it was five years ago -- but I think that would be a bit too obvious and mean that I have in his words "no other life".

Opinion is opinion -- but do the great editors of our time call politicians they dislike hypocrites and malcontents as he did in his column today? Do the great editors of our time really think that a complaint to them is the same thing as returning a call to a reporter in a newsroom? That is exactly what "the wall" is all about. And, how would you like working for someone who thinks you are an "eeyore" -- especially if you constitute a majority of the newsroom and this is your boss? No, the great editors of our time would not say things like that to their employees, their local public officials or the public.

I wish Travis Armstrong a happy anniversary with the newspaper but hope that he will take on rebuilding the wall between opinion and the newsroom, patching up his relationship with the leaders in the community (whether he agrees with them or not) and trying both fairness and telling the whole story on for size. There is a way to have a different opinion and have people still respect you for it -- it even happens here where there are plenty of comments I disagree with but respect the fact that they are well written and come from a civil, community-minded place.

I would love to look back a year from now and say -- things are better at the SBNP than they were a year ago -- and promise I will if the circumstances warrant.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How far should radio go?

This KSBY story about the woman that died in the Sacramento area from water intoxication during a morning show stunt for a Nintendo Wii saddens me....the whole radio crew was deservedly fired last Tuesday. Matt McAllister from KTYD sees how it could happen anywhere -- but also questions why the "red flag" didn't go up. Is the onslaught of satellite and internet radio competition making DJs go too far?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Electronic Frontier Foundation Helps BlogaBarbara

It is likely just a matter of time before you will be seeing this issue in the news as it is now part of the public record. Although I am partial to not saying anything about this as to not affect the outcome in any way, I'd rather you hear it from me than Google Alerts. I didn't mention it before or during the recent hearing for the same reason.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has assisted me in responding to a subpoena made by Ampersand to Google related to my identity and anyone who made comments on BlogaBarbara on September 11, 2006. I don't plan on saying anything more about this at this time -- other than I didn't make the comment, have no idea who did and have a right to anonymity. You can see what the EFF says about it in their Deep Links blog.

Miramar Sold Again?

A citizens stringer sent me this from the Montecito Journal:

Miramar Hotel About To Change Hands Again
Reports are that the Miramar has a buyer; a sale price was agreed to on January 11th or 12th with a local group and, we are told, a deal is "ninety-nine-point-nine-percent done." Reliable sources tell us that an announcement could come as early as Friday, January 19, as to who the buyers are. Our information is that – contrary to earlier reports – the buyers are not the Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe, although that could certainly turn out to be inaccurate. Whoever the buyers are, however, we hope Montecito residents of all persuasions will support their efforts to renovate and re-open the resort post haste, as the sooner the Miramar becomes an operating beachfront hotel/resort again, the easier we will all sleep.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's Editorial on Bias

I've been asked to start a thread on today's News-Press editorial about "Agenda Driven Reporting" -- presumably in response to the NY Times article yesterday that has been run in various papers throughout the country. Here are some key quotes from the piece:

A newspaper to the south, for instance, failed to mention that two of the people featured prominently in one story had long-running gripes with these pages. One has been an attorney for a politician as well as being connected to developers. To preserve the quality of life here, we've criticized those interests who want to build high-density projects that are out of whack with our neighborhoods.

Some former employees, unfortunately, also have become either unwitting or tacit tools of those who'd like to silence our independent editorial voice.

...To the contrary, they'd like to squelch this voice. For them, free speech and free expression are fine, as long as what's said fits their own agenda.

And that isn't free speech? I've said all along that I have no problem with opinion that is expressed at the News-Press -- there is responsibility, however, to tell the whole story in both reporting and in editorials. This is not a 'high-density conspiracy' -- I guess we've moved on from the 'union conspiracy', which one is it? We are a community that wants the most out of our daily used to be that politicians and newspapers felt like they had a pact with the community they serve. Why are politicians looking so much better these days?

State Street Update

A citizen stringer passed along a story from The Pacific Coast Business Times which is saying that the owners of 636 State Street (Italian/Greek Deli et al.) are now asking $25,000/month triple net to lease out to a single tenant. Who knows if the deli will remain?

They are also reporting that Cost Plus will be leaving it's location in June (although signs in the store say otherwise). The building was listed for lease on Dec. 20, 2006 and offered at a monthly lease rate of close to $100,000/month.

At these prices, who can afford to do business in the downtown area?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Cease-And-Desist World View

“A cease-and-desist letter is a form of dialogue.” -- News-Press General Counsel David Millstein in the New York Times today.

Sharon Waxman of The New York Times wrote today that the "chasm between Mrs. McCaw's world view and that of a great many others in Santa Barbara has caused distress that is rippling through the community. To visit Santa Barbara six months after the first News-Press crisis is to observe the fracturing of a community, a process that has been heartbreaking for many".

McCaw, Von Wiesenberger and Steepleton did not return calls seeking comment for the article. Millstein pointed out, however, that McCaw was feeling victimized by the negative things said about her. Well, if she could find a way to start a dialogue with our community about what has happened at the News-Press and their relationship to their readers and their staff -- things could change. I, for one, would be the first to congratulate her and hope for the best.

With a cease-and-desist world view, however, more and more readers will follow the route of reporters and editors and "get out while they can".

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Capello Settles in Simi for 2/3rds of $30 Mill

Yesterday, I wondered whether Bill Levy was a bit Enron-ish in his $60,000 a month 'management fees' that he charged for La Entrada -- one of our citizen stringers points out that News-Press attorney Barry Capello actually gets the Ken Lay Award for ridiculous fees.

The Simi Valley Acorn has reported that Boeing agreed last September to pay $30 million to settle an eight-year class action lawsuit -- one of the plaintiffs got so little of that money that she has recently spilled the beans on the settlement awards despite a privacy clause to the settlement. It turns out Capello has received $20 million of the $30 million given to 133 plaintiffs in the pollution-related case.

From the article:
A key argument in the case against Boeing was an earlier U.S. District Court finding that a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor core in 1959 on the field lab may have released 260 times more radiation than the 1979 meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island.

It's Cold! A List of Homeless Shelters...

One of our readers suggested I post a list of shelters in PDF format as it has been so cold at night. It's accessible off the County of Santa Barbara's home page.

Case Closed on Entrada?

With all that has been happening with the NLRB, I forgot about Bill Levy going to Bankruptcy Court this week with what Nick Welsh at The Independent called an "intricately crafted house of cards (which) came crashing quietly down". Mountain Funding, whom Levy owed $42 million, left Bankruptcy Court with the project and its permits.

So, why does Levy get to spend $11 million of his investor's funds without permission and get $60,000 per month in "management fees" when he couldn't produce a revenue producing property?. Because they are "management fees", it is not "stealing"? Sounds so Enron-ish to me...

While lives have been greatly affected by his inability to produce La Entrada, the community is also at a loss. It may not have a black hole -- but it sure feels like it did for several years at the corner of Carrillo and Chapala. The waterfront's own Carrillo Hotel now will likely need an even more dense project to make up for lost time -- City Hall will hopefully realize that they don't owe anyone anything for bad business decisions -- even if one of them might have been their own.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Indy Article from Jerry Roberts

Some of you might be interested in the article Jerry wrote for The Independent...and may want to wish him well in his fight against cancer. Live strong!

AJR Response in the Paterno Case

The American Journalism Review has posted their response to the Paterno case in PDF format -- interesting reading.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Indy Coverage of NLRB Hearing Continues...

The Indy coverage of today's NLRB hearing continued today -- replete with what everyone was wearing and FDS saying that he/she was Sara de la Guerra in the Comments Section at the end of the article. Reminds me of that movie where everyone takes responsibility so that no one gets blamed -- "no, I am SDLG!". In any event, I believe strongly that I have a right to anonymity, free speech and to express my opinion (and to give you a venue to share yours too). It coming in the form of a blog does not change the intent of the Constitution. Blogs can also be likened to freedom of assembly -- another important part of that document.

It sounds like everyone on the News-Press team knows about BlogaBarbara from other people and have not participated on the blog -- Nipper even said that he's never read a post here. Hard to believe but that's fine with me as whether he reads it or not is his business. Tom Schultz sounds like he did a good job at explaining how blogs work and I am glad he pointed out that Nelville and Big Fat Fan of Travis get plenty of play herein. Please do not offer posts about Nelville's or anyone else's blogging identity if it names someone -- it's really something I do not want to have on the blog.

Thanks to Matt Kettman for providing the article tonight!

Update: Craig Smith's account can be found here -- why was Scott Steepleton covering a story that he was involved in? Where's the bias being uncovered in the newsroom?!?

Clear Channel SB SOLD!

This just in.....



January 10, 2007

(Santa Barbara, California) – Rincon Broadcasting LLC today announced that it has signed an agreement to
purchase Santa Barbara County FM Radio Stations KTYD, KSBL, KIST, and KSPE, and AM Radio Stations
KTMS, KIST, and KBKO from Clear Channel Communications, Inc of San Antonio, Texas. One of the AM
Stations is expected by Rincon to be transferred to Santa Barbara Community Broadcasting Company (SBCBC).

On January 16, 2007, under Local Management Agreements with Clear Channel pending FCC approval of the
sale and transfer, Rincon will assume interim conduct of many of the day-to-day operations of the Stations other
than KIST-AM, and SBCBC will assume interim conduct of many of the day-to-day operations of KIST-AM.

Rincon Broadcasting LLC is principally owned by Point Broadcasting Company and by Roy Laughlin. Point is
based in Ventura and is owned by John Hearne and his family, who reside in Malibu. Mr. Hearne and Mr.
Laughlin are veteran California broadcasters, and Mr. Laughlin is married to well known radio personality Ellen
K. Point is the principal owner of Gold Coast Broadcasting LLC, which operates six radio stations serving
Ventura County. Point has additional radio station interests in Fresno County, Kern County, and the Mojave
Desert. Point’s principals are also engaged through its affiliates in other media, and in entertainment,
telecommunications, and the manufacture of environmentally friendly advanced composite materials for
automobiles, office interiors and construction applications.

“This acquisition represents a wonderful opportunity for us to expand into new markets along the Central Coast
of California. We are committed to providing the best in local news, entertainment and public service to Santa
Barbara County, and we are excited to be in a position to serve its wonderful communities,” said Mr. Hearne,
who is President of Point Broadcasting Company. He continued, “On a personal note, I have surfed the Central
Coast for 45 years, and have a great love for Santa Barbara County and its magnificent coastline. Our stations
will be a friendly voice for the ocean and coastal environment.”

“Clear Channel has done a terrific job of building this radio station group and attracting a talented staff of
broadcasters. We look forward to working with the staff to continue to grow the stations and their services for
the people of Santa Barbara County,” added Miles Sexton, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business
Development for Point Broadcasting Company.

“We are going to do our best to do a great job for Santa Barbara County. This will be fun for us and fun for our
audience” added Lisa Felix, Chief Operating Officer for Point Broadcasting Company.

The Santa Barbara station group includes KTYD 99.9 FM (Rock Music), KSBL 101.7 FM (Adult Contemporary
Music), KSPE 94.5 FM (Regional Spanish Music), KIST FM 107.7 FM (Alternative Rock), KTMS AM 990
(News and Talk), KBKO AM 1490 (Spanish Traditional Music) and KIST AM 1340 (Progressive Talk).

Lists of many of Point’s broadcast stations can be found at and

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Indy Coverage of NLRB

Matt Kettman from The Independent did some fairly live blogging on the NLRB hearing today...waiting for the second installment which should be up soon. He did a great job.

Update: The second story has been posted and includes a bit about Travis Armstrong supposedly being stalked by a union organizer -- is that what is behind the editorials which invoke Jimmy Hoffa? I wish he would have said so...we might have understood where he was coming from. For Marty Keegan's part -- he denies doing so and why would we have any reason to not believe him?

The part about the unfortunate comment on BlogaBarbara should be part of the continuance of the hearing tomorrow. I hope the judge can ascertain some understanding about first -- the difference between a post and a comment; and second, how blogs work; and finally, the huge difference between sending a press release out to thousands of media outlets and a small comment on a blog that was up for a couple of hours only during the day. Why would any of the potentially organized have viewed this at work unless it was their job? News-Press management has never contacted me directly about this issue and I wish they had in the sense that I could have explained that I believe very much that what that person did was wrong. I, however, have no way of knowing who it could have been friend or foe for all I know.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Whole Foods Proposal

Cookie Jill's Blog sent the following in about Whole Foods' plan to include a mixed use affordable housing element in their plans to come to SB. In addition, their plan looks sustainable and pedestrian friendly --- well as much as you can get for an urban area without razing buildings....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

NLRB Hearing on Tuesday

What reads below the line is from The Organized....I concur with the last paragraph!

The threat in question was only on BlogaBarbara for perhaps a few hours during the middle of the day -- it was a mistake that I acknowledged, apologized for and did delete quickly. I will never allow anything like that again. I'm not clear how it could have threatened the election unless potential union members were visiting BlogaBarbara from work that day -- which I doubt as they are likely not wanting their browser histories scrutinized by their bosses. The News-Press publishing the threat in a press release reached a far greater audience than I could have ever dreamed of! It also would have been more likely to hit a reporter's "in" box as it was on Business Wire -- something that reporters see every day (far more than my little blog).



To: All Media
From: The organized SBNP newsroom staff
Re: NLRB hearing Tuesday, Jan. 9, in Santa Barbara

The National Labor Relations Board will hear objections to the Union's September 27 election victory filed by the Santa Barbara News-Press in the Bankruptcy Court Building, 1415 State Street, Courtroom 202, at 9 a.m.

We anticipate victory in connection with these baseless objections which were clearly filed by the company with the sole intent of delaying SBNP co-publisher and owner Wendy McCaw’s obligation to sit down at the table and negotiate a fair contract with her employees, which will restore integrity to the newsroom.

On Sept. 27, the newsroom employees voted 85 percent in favor of the union. Since then, McCaw has refused to acknowledge her federal responsibility to recognize the union and begin negotiations with the staff. Instead, she has continued her campaign of intimidation, harassment and threats, as spotlighted by the NLRB's recent issuance of a complaint against the News-Press charging it with violating federal labor law in its discharge of senior writer Melinda Burns, its cancellation of Starshine Roshell's column, its adoption of a repressive "conflicts of interest" policy, and its attempt to prevent and exact punishment for the employees' concerted effort to deliver a demand and protest letter to McCaw.

The hearing and its anticipated results will pave the way for the negotiation process to begin.

The employer bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that its spurious objections suffice to taint the fairness of the election. An administrative law judge will hear the following frivolous company election objections:

1. Alleged supervisor involvement in the election campaign.

2. Accusations that the website and Teamster bumper stickers somehow led someone to believe the company backed the employees' desire to join a union.

3. Allegations that an anonymous threat against the company on somehow influenced the election.

4. Accusations of threatening behavior when employees delivered a letter to McCaw -- even though the NLRB has already decided to prosecute the company for illegally suspending those who participated in the delivery.

Three of the four frivolous News-Press objections to be heard Tuesday (#'s 1, 2 and 4) were filed by the News-Press and investigated by the NLRB as unfair labor practices and were dismissed by the agency, and the News-Press' appeal of that dismissal was denied. With respect to the objection relating to blogabarbara, the News-Press itself re-published the anonymous threat in a press release it issued just a few days before the election, guaranteeing a wider circulation for that alleged threat than it originally received.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Suggestions for the News-Press

We had a great suggestion from a reader to have a place "where the community can offer McCaw constructive suggestions about how she can turn around her continuing Mess? She probably won't listen, but let's see what we can come up with. Not initiating meritless new litigation -- and dropping the old -- might be an opening suggestion".

I agree and the meritless litigation ending would be a great first step -- second might be bringing the News-Press web site into the new century as a recent reader suggested as well. The subscription-based model will not actually get them more subscriptions of actual newspaper -- will it? Formatting, as Doc Searles has pointed out on his blog, for mobile phone use would also be a great addition. Finally, huge ads that are not relevant to the content in the middle of a thoughtful article just doesn't work. Anything else?

The SDLG Center for Union Busting Studies

In a post a few months ago, I suggested we start a "Center for Union Busting Studies" in response to Travis Armstrong's continued invocation of Jimmy Hoffa and some Center for Union Studies which clearly has a pro-management agenda. As the sole benefactor or this organization, I am naming this virtual space after myself.

Kidding aside, here's a relevant article from the Associated Press about a sharp upturn in the firing of union activists as a way to bust union organizing attempts -- sounds like some people we know:

NEW YORK (AP) - A decline in union membership may be due to a sharp rise in firing of pro-union activists during union organizing campaigns, according to a study released Thursday.

The study, by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a nonprofit think tank, analyzed published data from the National Labor Relations Board.

"Starting at the end of the 1970s, but especially by the early 1980s, American employers began to engage in the systematic and widespread use of illegal firings as a strategy to undermine the success of campaigns for union representation," the study's authors, John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer.

The authors say their paper "provides significant support" that "aggressive, even illegal, employer behavior has undermined the ability of U.S. workers to create unions at their work places.

The NLRB data used in the study comes from the agency's work reinstating workers who it finds have been illegally fired for being involved in union organizing campaigns. If the NLRB finds a worker has been illegally fired, that worker must be reinstated. The study used data on the number of NLRB-ordered reinstatements each year to calculate the probability a worker involved in union-organizing would be fired.

Using those calculations, as well as previous studies using the same series of NLRB data, the authors wrote that the probability of a pro-union worker being fired during an organizing campaign increased from .5 percent in 1970 to 1974 to 1 percent from 1996 to 2000, then rose to 1.4 percent in 2001 to 2005.

The peak probability of union activist firings came in the 1980s, when the probability that a worker involved in an organizing drive would be fired was as great as 2.7 percent.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

SBIFF Schedule Set

The Indy A&E Blog has the skinny on the Film Festival.

Last year, we had a lot of complaints like we don't need the film fest -- I say we do. If you think you don't like it -- go to a few movies! It's improved dramtically under Roger Durling's tutelage....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Employee Free Choice Act

One of our faithful readers an across an interesting post at The Daily Kos about the Employee Free Choice Act that could have had local implications:

The EFCA has three main parts. First, it requires certification of a union once a majority of employees in a workplace have signed up for the union. Currently, after a majority of employees have requested a union, employers can force an election. This may sound democratic enough, but in fact it allows employers to use their power over workers to campaign against the union, often harassing and firing union supporters in the process.

Second, the EFCA prevents employers from dragging out negotiations on a first union contract by creating provisions for mediation and arbitration. Third, it strengthens penalties on employers who fire union supporters during union drives - such firings are illegal, but the current penalties are too small to serve as effective deterrents.

Likely, it will be filibustered in the Senate -- but this could have had interesting implications in the News-Press Mess, no?

Monday, January 01, 2007

The 2006 BlogaBarbara Person(s) of the Year

I've been thinking about who to choose as BlogaBarbara's Person of the Year for a couple of days and studying the nominations given by readers very carefully. My conclusion is that we need to put an "s" on Person because there are so many people we could choose for their individual efforts but they mean little unless taken in context of the whole picture.

When I think about how BlogaBarbara became popular over the summer as it was one of the few places where the community could find out what was going on - I think it was the continual efforts of many people involved in the News Press Mess that has brought us together. There was no one event or "tipping point" as Malcolm Gladwell would seek. I see this one "unit" that was the tipping point that caused the local and then national attention as a plural unit of many.

Jerry Roberts deserves it but so does Melinda Burns. The countless reporters, columnists, photographers and editors that were part of the Mass Exodus, like Josh Molina who had just gotten married and reporters like Scott Hadly who have children, deserve recognition as well. There's Starshine Roshell who held out for the union vote and The Duct-Tape Gang that brought public attention to the Mess. So, those that remain and are The Organized deserve the award too. It takes courage to make a stand and leave but it also takes courage to take a stand and stay.

The 2006 BlogaBarbara Person(s) of the Year are all those who were courageous enough to leave and say something about their principles, but also those who stayed and are doing something about them as well.

Addendum at 12:30 pm on 1/2/07: Here's a list -- if there are any missing, please let me know:

Jerry Roberts, executive editor
George Foulsham, managing editor
Don Murphy, deputy managing editor
Jane Hulse, city editor
Michael Todd, 'Business' section editor
Barney Brantingham, columnist
Gerry Spratt, 'Sports' section editor
Colin Powers, presentation editor
Scott Hadly, senior writer
Camilla Cohee, staff writer
Lindsay Foster, copy editor
Joshua Molina, staff writer
Chuck Schultz, staff writer
Shelly Leachman, staff writer
Hildy Medina, staff writer
Mike Traphagen, staff writer
Kim Burnell, assistant sports editor
George Hutti, copy editor
Paula Pisani, copy editor
Andrea Huebner, 'Life' section editor
Len Wood, photo editor
Colby Frazier, staff writer
Leah Etling, staff writer
Al Bonowitz, 'Travel' section editor
Starshine Roshell, staff writer
Dale Myers, assistant city editor
Frank Nelson, staff writer
Melinda Burns, staff writer
Edmond Jacoby, 'Business' section editor

1/3/07 Addendum: Readers have suggested the following inclusions...
Dianne Elliott
Melissa Olson
Michael Seabaugh
Michael Kew
Martha Smilgis