Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NLRB to Prosecute News-Press Over Firings

The NLRB will be prosecuting the Santa Barbara News-Press for unlawfully firing Melinda Burns, Anna Davison, John Zant, Barney McManigal, Dawn Hobbs, Tom Schultz, Rob Kuznia, and Melissa Evans in retaliation for their support of the Teamsters union. [See more at Craig Smith's Blog]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Teamsters union owes them this one, because I bet it was the union that put them up to that freeway banner stunt, telling them it was all going to be okay.

Otherwise, why would someone as sane as Zant even get involved with something as stupid as that?

And who was the rocket scientist among them who later claimed he was surprised he was fired for disloyalty because he thought he would only get a reprimand?

In that prevailing climate, all he expected was a wrap on the knuckles and a "bad boy"? C'mon.

And the union owing the fired employees this conitnued litigation is to save their own tail not the workers fired.

And filing this case is not the same thing as having adequate grounds to win or ever prosecute the matter. The union will exert just enough efforts to show they tried.

It is just window dressing that gets a strong claim of union incompetence off their backs. But with luck it may end up in another courtroom where a judge does not understand the line between bias and propriety.

This type of case will take a long long time. Evidence is far trickier to present and defend. There will be no expidited resolution of this type of case.

Yet the union reps who egged these NP workers on will still keep their own day jobs. Nice piece of work, Teamsters.

Hey, I am sorry you lost your jobs. But you lost your heads long before you lost your jobs. You need to think about this.

3/13/2007 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Now Paging said...

Mr Millstein and Mr Armstrong...
Please report to HR immediately.

3/13/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pack up the tent, Wendy.

Justice is not blind in Amerika. It loathes Alpha Females and the petty bureaucrats who mobilize the system are infused with class envy. They criminalize the wealthy here in the good ol' USA.

Particularly, the blond and attractive wealthy. Small comfort I know, but that is that.

You don't need further grief. It is not worth it. This town cannot be reformed. Time for a lot of us to leave.

3/13/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

About the first Anonymous comment here, apparently Nelville Flynn forgot how to enter a pseudonym in the commenter box.

And I see the federal judge for NLRB must have got it wrong in the news yesterday, still not "understanding the line between bias and propriety."

Really? Please tell us more, ye Anonymous!

3/13/2007 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you more. There is a bright line between sober judicial temperment and biased salacious pandering when writing legal opinions. That judge crossed the lines into impropriety when writing his decision.

And that is not to say he did not make an accurate ruling. It was his writeup that intentionally smeared legitimate litigants is what crossed the line. He should be reported for breach of judicial ethics.

The language of his ruling is what undermines any concept of judicial neutrality or Fifth Amendment protections.

And you should find the language of his ruling to be as offensive as I do, even if we agree on the propriety of the ruling.

3/13/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh 8:05 what a drama queen. whens the last time anyone saw a blonde billionair go to jail in ammerika

3/13/2007 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Lonnyanony said...


Excellent idea. Santa Barbara will do quite well without your "reform".

3/13/2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Yes my friend, Justice is blind. You'll often find her portrayed as a light haired, beautiful woman wearing a blindfold. She is seated just behind the scales of justice.

3/13/2007 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy's response to ruling, so far: "No McCaw-ment"

3/13/2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous shaggy said...

Congratulations, you all. This has re-affirmed my belief in Karma.

3/13/2007 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Little Stephen said...

"biased salacious pandering" -- sounds more like flynniness to me than Anon #1. Armstrong and Steepleton and maybe even Von W. "embellished" on the stand -- that sounds more salacious considering they did so in a court of law.

3/13/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:01, please review the detailed write-ups of the NLRB proceedings. You will find that reporting of the event did show the testimony of Armstrong and Steepleton to be overly dramatic. By comparison, the remaining testimony of witnesses appear calm and far less dramatic.

I doubt Judge Schmidt and the reporting media got together to align their notes to portray Armstrong and Steepleton in a negative way. The two NP editors appear to have been capable of doing it themselves.

3/13/2007 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey 9:01 PM please read the Appellate Report Parker v McCaw. I would like to know what you think of that decision.

3/13/2007 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Time for a lot of us to leave.
3/13/2007 8:05 PM"

ba bye

3/13/2007 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the NLRB ruling and their decision to prosecute, isn't the door now wide open for a civil $uit against not only the NP, but also Ampersand and Wendy, Baron VW and Travis as individuals?

What say you Mr. Smith?

3/14/2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when the NLRB judge said that Travis' paranoid fantasies were laughable (and I hate to bring this up, but the word of someone who has a proven drinking problem, especially regarding something occurring late at night, is suspect), this is NOT 'biased salacious pandering.' The Wendy-ites are going to have to realize that every time someone finds them and their arguments bordering on insanity it isn't "bias."
Not only are they losing their grip on any reality, which isn't a good quality in a journalist, but they repeatedly show a complete disregard of all journalistic standards and ethics when they can't even report on one of the biggest stories in Santa Barbara in years -- their own. It doesn't matter if the Wendy Group doesn't LIKE the coverage, the undeniable fact is the story is newsworthy by every objective journalistic standard and to ignore it just confirms the contempt and disdain News Press management is held in by any respectable professional journalist in the country.
Sure Wendy can drag this out 'til the cows come home, but to what end? She's going to lose ultimately; the law is pretty clear on that no matter what her lackeys are telling her by the billable hour. And then what?
She owns a newspaper that is a national joke in a town that despises her. How sad.

3/14/2007 1:21 AM  
Anonymous I'm just sayin' said...

The phrase "...biased salacious pandering..." sounds far too libidinous and enjoyable to be properly enacted in a courtroom. Lol

3/14/2007 3:08 AM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

ANON 9:01

So now the attack on the Judge begins.

I'd bet "his writeup" isn't that unusual. The testimony was exactly as described in his ruling. There was embarassing obsurdity in NewsPress litigants testimony , especially in TA's testimony. I did not beleive a word of it either. Tom Shulz's testimony was genuine and credible.

3/14/2007 5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lesson to NP Owners/Management:

If you don't want a labor judge to write a scathing one-sided decision against you DON'T LIE ON THE STAND.

3/14/2007 11:14 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

From a legal layman's POV, I thought the judge's decision refreshingly readable. I wonder if he cried while writing it. We need need more legal eagles like this one.

3/14/2007 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:01 said that the judge "intentionally smeared" litigants and "crossed the line" and should be reported for a breach of judicial ethics when writing his opinion. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of the role of a judge in a non-jury proceeding. It was the judge's job to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses and decide who was more credible. He did that and backed up his decision with specific citations to the evidence. This is exactly what a trier of fact is supposed to do and exactly what he did. It was entirely proper for the judge to find some witnesses credible and some witnesses not credible. Judicial independence is the principal I am defending. In this country we do not fire (smear/attack/belittle) the judge because we don't like the result. If we did the rule of law would mean nothing.

3/14/2007 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judicial ethics requires a sober disposition of the facts; not a set-up for a legal lynching party.

Typically, male judges do this to female litigants who scare them with their power and wealth.

Read a few more cases and the pattern will sadly emerge. Diana Hall got screwed too far in excess of what her benign actions warranted. And particularly in comparison to what standard is set for male judicial behavior.

Of course the other side is going to zealously present their facts. That is the way it is supposed to be.

But the judge, the neutral observor scrapes away the overly zealous presentations by both sides and soberly fact finds and renders legal judgment.

He does not use his ruling as an excuse to make matters worse. Which he did. And that is behavior unbecoming a judicial officer.

3/14/2007 1:49 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Re: 1:49
[Sigh] One can't argue with illogic. Really, don't let's even try.

3/14/2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Typically, male judges do this to female litigants who scare them with their power and wealth."

Name some...We just saw Lbbey get nailed for just about the same thing M. Stewart did. Not sure how a rich and powerful litigant can scare a judge. Unless your trying to say one could "buy" an election result against a judge. That'd just be petty and spiteful.

Of course I could see where power and influence could be used against appointed officers, like, say, federal prosecuters...

I just hope both sides fully understand that collective barginning (for the employees) is just that. A bargin agreed upon by both sides. If they don't agree, it's off to arbitration where both sides tend not to get what they really want. Best to kiss and make up and whistle while you work.

3/14/2007 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:49 (is this the same person as Anonymous 9:01?) Your bias is demonstrated in your criticism of the judge. I have read the decision. It is entirely sober and neutral. There is no gender bias in the decision. Why would you assume that a neutral judge from out of the area would have a bias? Why don't you assume that he was simply evaluating the evidence before him? I guess that would be because you don't like the result. As to making matters worse--why does certifying the election results make matters worse?

3/14/2007 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Al Bacara said...

With a tip of the hat[and/or apologies] to 'KC and the Sunshine [Starshine?] Band, I place it all in a semi-musical context'

Listen to the Judge
Do a little dance,
Make it RIGHT tonight, right tonight.
Later Babe, you'll save face
and Travis will get his due,
Come-on Wendy, Do it Now
What the Judge says to do !
Do a little Dance, make a little love !
Make it [all] RIGHT tonight !!

To quote Townie from a great 1998 movie....
'[Wendy] YOU CAN DO IT !'

you got to know when to fold 'em.
There could be fewer bill-able hours in your future. Bastante!

3/14/2007 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:21 ---you said in effect: "Wendy" owns a newspaper that is a national joke in a town that despises her.

Right on one count - Wendy does own the NewsPress. The ongoing story is of some national interest among media people, but certainly not the entire nation.

And not everyone in this town despises her. Not by a long shot.

Many applaud her efforts to tell a side of the city story that needs to be told. And she is still holding her own in terms of subscriptions and advertising.

I hope you are not one of the fired writers because your bias has just about poisoned you. And it does give an excellent example of how easily bias, poisonous bias, invades what can be written.

I am almost feeling sorry for Wendy and feel compelled to rise to her defense, because of the huge bias against her by many of the alleged pro-NewsPress posters her.

All of which is pointing out how much is at stake in terms of literary neutrality - case in point.

3/14/2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

How can anyone claim, honestly, that Newspress is "holding her own" with subscrptions and advertising.

No independent data area available about subscriptions. All that exists is a report with self-reported information.

Lots of advertisers have quit and/or gone elsewhere, and Newspress is drastically lowering the prices to hold on to the remaining advertisers based on cooked numbers for circulation.

3/14/2007 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:01, 1:49 -- judges have to be impartial, but they don't have to be without flair. Some of our best judges -- Cardozo, Jackson, Brennan, Stevens -- all could write their asses off, which made the law a bit more accessible and less mysterious. While Judge Schmidt did not use the "l" word to describe Armstrong and Steepleton, he had every right to do so, but instead chose a bit more colorful, expressive and legally-accepted vocabulary. Once the evidence starts coming in, the judge did what he was supposed to do: respond to it, evaluate it, and not simply accept it at face value as Wendy would like (at least with respect to her pack of liars).

Seems as if those two reactors above (to which this post is a response) can only be comfortable if their side's version of the facts was credited. But there were plenty of reasons for the judge's discrediting of Travis: his contradictory behavior (claiming to be intimidated while standing up to the cursing July 6), his contradiction of Steepleton's version of the August 24 incident, his voluntary perjured accusation against Keegan that had nothing to do with a question he was asked or the subject matter of the hearing, his florid characterization of what the employees did, and his evident disapproval of any sort of group activity he did not directly control. This judge has been around the block and is not going to be bamboozled by the likes of Travis, Steepleliar -- whose penchant for lying preceded his days with the SBNP -- or McCandless and her "wildly inflated" arguments unsupported by applicable law.

If the News-Press wasn't dead set against reality-based behavior, it would take the hint that is all over this strongly-worded and superbly-supported decision: give it up. That's the message; this decision was thorough, airtight, and not capable of being overturned. Only someone predisposed to delusion and denial could see it as gender discrimination or "bias". But it is typical of the chronic deniers of the world that each successive rejection is never taken to heart, and always treated as simply a manifestation of another person who has gone over to the ever-expanding unfair "conspiracy", in this case against poor billionaire Wendy and her dozen (so far) law firms, none of whom have figured out how to turn coal into gold.

3/14/2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Park Park Park said...

4:04pm... neutrally, the News-Press has less local news now, and no local columnists (used to have 5).

There are way fewer letters of interest on the letters to the editor page, and very few `local voices' pieces on the opinion page.

If the News-Press had become a whole lot better due to Mrs. McCaw's intervention, I'd be very impressed. Doesn't seem that way to me at all.

I can see her viewpoint on growth and her desire to oppose it. But her residency in this place is not that long, after all... what, 10-12 years? Does she really have a feeling for the place? After such a short time where does her standing to be so virulent arise from?

3/14/2007 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 8:47 PM i think the law firms have learned how to make gold from coal... atleast for themselves.

3/14/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it will be till the editors and other management start concocting (all lauditory, of course) letters to fill their shrinking pages? Or has that already begun? They're already out here, desperately trying to do spin control on all the blogs. I fear it's only a matter of time till they start committing all that bull-loney to newsprint as well.

3/15/2007 2:33 AM  
Anonymous jqb said...

He should be reported for breach of judicial ethics

So why haven't you?

And you should find the language of his ruling to be as offensive as I do, even if we agree on the propriety of the ruling.

Sorry, no, I don't share your misconceptions, factually incorrect beliefs, and faulty logic.

3/15/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous jqb said...

I am almost feeling sorry for Wendy and feel compelled to rise to her defense, because of the huge bias against her by many of the alleged pro-NewsPress posters her.

Yeah, I have a "huge bias" against dishonesty, law breaking, and other forms of unethical behavior.

3/15/2007 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the front page today - lots of local news.

Are any city council people still around knowing what has been long going on in this city, or are they just reading Anglo alternative presses these days while they visit out of town confrences patting themselves on the back while the city slides into chaos.

That is the local story you will now get reading the new NewsPress. And it needs to be listened to. And it is about time.

3/15/2007 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:47 - agree the good old jurists did write with flair ...and legal discretion.

If this judge believed someone lied under oath ...your missing "l" word, then why not cite them for perjury rather than getting his jollies writing inflammatory text rather than dispensing justice.

He smeared; he did not uphold the dignity of his office or legal writing with that decision.

And before you wax on ineloquently as above again casting aspersions upon my own motivation, I said from the start it was an accurate decision.

He just went overboard in his less than judicial writing style that only exacerbated the situation rather than help diffuse it. That is legal error.

3/15/2007 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NewsPress got a whole lot better the very instant it dumped that stupid A-List broad and that Smilgas chick who only knew how to fawn over carpet bagger celebrities who have yet to embrace Santa Barbara's former tradition of quiet philanthropy.

Thank goodness they are gone and good old Lorraine Wilson was retained who knows and reports on the good deeds by the good-old old timers.

Tarting up the NewsPress with all that Hollywood fluff was the wrong direction to take and I am glad those days are over. Time to get back to featuring those here that actually do the work of Santa Barbara, in quiet and meaningful ways.

3/15/2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:57 -- So it would have been OK for Judge Schmidt to say Steepleton and Armstrong committed perjury? Actually, he has no right to say so, since they are not charged criminally (yet), and he has no jurisdiction to do that. That would have been improper. It is not "legal error" to conclude, quite accurately, that Armstrong manufactured his testimony, prevaricated, and embellished. That is no more or less of a smear than "liar" would have been (perhaps less), and calling them perjurers (literally) would have been excessive in the context of this legal decision, even though in my book they were (i.e., they knowingly lied about material matters in the proceeding).

I don't give a damn about your motivation, but the fact that you are offended by his language doesn't make the language offensive or inappropriate. The words he used -- again, "prevarication", "embellishment", "manufacture", and for McCandless, "unusual" citations to precedent and use of "incendiary rhetoric" -- that's all standard legal writing fare, accepted euphemisms for LYING. Why use them? Because "lying" is a buzz word. But Judge Schmidt carved 'em up, and made no bones even at the hearing that he wasn't buying the NP's b.s. If you were in the room, or read the reporting of the hearing, you would have gotten the flavor: it was a pathetic NP performance, especially obnoxious because NP reps had been saying for so long, "Wait 'til the facts come out." Judge Schmidt was putting some emphasis on it: there was no there there, the chief witnesses were lying, and his choice of words was appropriate and by no means error.

In fact, while there is every indication that the NP is going to file a delay-inducing frivolous appeal, I have not read or heard Word One from any NP rep or shill about what substantive error Schmidt may have made. That is because he did not err, and all the NP is about in the legal sphere is delay, frustration, intimidation and attrition.

There is a cliche in the law, that when you don't have the law, argue the facts, and when you don't have the facts, argue policy. Well, Wendy has one extra trick up her sleeve: when you don't have anything, flood the place with lawyers willing to argue anything for a price, try to wear out the other side, money, ethics and fairness are no object.

3/15/2007 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old cliche when you don't have the facts is to argue legal procedure and quality of legal evidence. You must have slept through that class?

Arguing "policy" is something left to the juries aka the OJ Defense.

3/15/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to anonymous blogger* @7:52 AM. The News-Press is over the transiton period and A2 local column is right on. too? It could be days until I'll see for myself. I won't hold it against anonymous blogger, if you can be more specific, please. I hope the local daily paper did cover the Sak's tragedy well. The other side to that would be exploitive.

Laura Schlessinger is in a special position. Children are her main concern, in times of crisis columnists will help their community in deep hurt. An unscheduled column is essential at this time, especially that children are her main concern. She's been selling herself as a theraphist, her local public needs to feel it. A human being in her place would be compelled to speak and heal.

I'm thinking she didn't get Wednesday news in Thursday column. I appreciate Barry is open to chat with journalist. The rest of the new press has lost credibility with Armstrong and Steepleton waiting for their words to be tenable again. Who's the voice? Any heart? I'm hopeful she addressed Judge William Schmidt's ruling because it is important to many, not just workers, MANY CITIZENS. She already flaked the way the whole "sabbatical" was handled.

I've never seen the supporters of the paper answer questions or concerns about Laura Schlessinger. It seems to be divided. 1. The Laura fans will gush over her. 2. The supporters of the paper, anonymous, even the Nelvilles do not dialogue or answer the both sides of Laura to the public. If you can show me where this occured? I thank you. It makes the paper cheesy to not give answers. Like you made a bad choice for the wrong reason and are in complete denial until it gets worse. The most decent thing they did was
to put quotes on the physiology degree. Enough people don't want anything to do with a blantant quack (not name calling, check facts and dictionary). This is a global news story. A new paper will address this, the misuse of title and the whole Laura's place at the paper. The News-Press needs alot more SUN. Too many dark secrets.

* Laura's statements on bloggers:

"The cowardice of anonymity"
"writing commentary without full personal attribution did not demonstrate character, courage and conscience."

Someone, help her. She wrote:
"I'm trying to figure out how to make my comments anonymous..."

Years ago she had top computer people help her son Deryk Schlessinger. She has more available now. That makes no sense.

3/15/2007 2:28 PM  
Anonymous jqb said...

If this judge believed someone lied under oath ...your missing "l" word, then why not cite them for perjury

For the same reason a judge doesn't cite you for illegal parking -- handing out citations is someone else's job.

rather than getting his jollies writing inflammatory text rather than dispensing justice

In order to dispense justice, the judge must judge the credibility of the claims made by witnesses, and he must explain why he discounted uncredible claims.

That is legal error.

Since you obviously have no understanding about the law or the legal system, why would you make such a claim? It's simply not true.

3/18/2007 11:53 PM  

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