BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, March 15, 2007

TKA on Gang 'Melee': Everyone Else To Blame

None of us will be too surprised on Friday morning to hear about an editorial posted late yesterday afternoon by Travis Armstrong blaming the Mayor, the ethnic makeup of the council and the School District for the "gang melee". Here's a harsh excerpt:

These are the times when we expect our leaders to, well, show leadership. It reminded me of those awful days in 2002 when Mayor Marty Blum was too busy attending Fiesta parties to read the police report on the drowning death of a 14-year-old girl who died after suffering an epileptic seizure while swimming as part of a city aquatics program.

As a faithful reader pointed out to me:

Only that author can link Katie Janeway, gang murders, and suburban housing proposals as all the fault of Mayor Blum. And if only Das Williams were a real Latino, then he could have stepped in to sweet talk the brawlers into holding hands and singing instead. The two press conferences also apparently should have been BEFORE the rumble...

Mr. Armstrong went on to rail against Brian Sarvis and the Santa Barbara School District and somehow tied a development project with the "gang melee" Wednesday. Now that the School District is his new whipping boy, is there any government agency besides perhaps the Santa Barbara Police Department that he hasn't criticized harshly?

This tragedy is so much more than an opportunity to swipe at Mayor Blum, Superintendent Sarvis and gain supposed political points with your readers...these problems begin at home. Talk about taking personal responsibility as a parent and even as a young adult, Mr. Armstrong. City government and our schools are not parents! As usual, he misses the point in favor of being sensational. I guess personal responsibility doesn't sell newspapers.

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64 Comments:

Blogger The Observer said...

So, it's the responsibility of the local government, local school district, the local police department, rather than a parents' responsibility to raise your children and teach them how to become responsible, productive members in society?

If he'd [TA] only spend the time he wastes on these personal attacks doing something productive in our community...

3/16/2007 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Al Bacara said...

Where are the parents ? Travis, maybe if Wendy had spent ALL that money on after school programs, job training or had just passed out twentys to each student at 'the gathering' instead of on cease and desist orders and legal fees, nevermind; a way would have been found to make it a simple blame game, to punish any 'cabalist' and forget the real tragedy, another child, killed. It's easy to sit back and should have/could have this problem. More police, lockdowns at school, metal detectors on State street? Travis, got any positive suggestions? All these problems could use your 'award winning' skills from 2005? It's there somewhere.

3/16/2007 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same old same old all purpose rant from Armstrong.

How about something thoughtful and productive instead, Mr. Armstrong, like starting a civil debate of sound ideas of what can be done to diffuse the ongoing tensions between eastsiders and westsiders (the victim reportedly being the latter)?

It's something the News-Press used to do back in the day--start a serious discussion of serious issues and then host voices from across the spectrum on its opinion pages.

Those days are gone, just like this once would have been a letter to the editor. Too bad.

3/16/2007 5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis should just stop writing... and find something else to do.

3/16/2007 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Sally C. said...

Everyone has been pointing fingers... now it is time to turn that blame into solutions.

3/16/2007 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can be no surprise that Travis takes the tragic gang slaying as and opportunity to rail against the schools and his favorite political targets. Once again, rather than using his pulpit to provide valuable insight, Travis seeks to incite the population against his perceived enemies. This is just another example of Travis demonstrating that he is very “flexible” in his views.

If you saw the full page in this week’s Independent reprinting parts of a Travis editorial in his last job, you’ll know what I mean. In his last job he rightfully railed against the negative effects of casinos on the population, in particular his own family. Yet since his arrival in Santa Barbara, he has repeatedly supported the Chumash casino business and he has accused any critics as racists.

Other signs of Travis’s “flexibility” include his repeated support for slow growth Noletans, and repeated attacks on the once slow growth City of Goleta Council.

Travis’s support of Dr. Laura, who made a name for herself by labeling immoral homosexuality and sex outside of marriage, seem to be somewhat in conflict with Travis’s own beliefs and his boss’s current lifestyle.

Travis should stop and reflect that this is a time for everyone to consider how we can prevent future tragedies, not how we can further inflame the community discussion.

3/16/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Reading TKA is a like watching a slow train wreck said...

Blog postings like this are hard to understand without more of the whole original editorial. Seems like the sarcastic comment about Das Williams in the posting makes sense only with this part of the editorial read as well:

start... "The council -- except for perhaps Councilmen Roger Horton and Das Williams -- has done little to help our community's young people as it focuses on pet causes. As cover, council members point to the opening of a teen center. But this facility likely will cater to a different demographic and will do little or nothing to address the underlying problems that led to Wednesday's violence. Shame on any council member who points to the center as a cure-all or even a Band-Aid.
I do wonder if the Santa Barbara City Council had a Latino member, would there have been at least one elected official who'd have quickly stepped in to help the situation Wednesday as crowds of young people gathered at the scene?"...end

Also, and ironic, only a day earlier at a City council meeting, the opening of the new Teen Center (called Twelve35 after the address on Chapala Street) was announced, with specific remarks by Parks Department staff and a few Council Members that the teen audience targeted for the new Center and encouraged to use it specifically would NOT and should not be just the usual clique of high achievers from the city Youth Council and others kids not really at-risk.

Wondering about which kids will use the Center is an okay question to ask, as TKA did, but criticizing the process when he specifically knows it happened differently is the real and continuing problem with these editorials.

Today, the Daily Sound newspaper published its 250th edition, and next week it hits its first year anniversary. Will readers have a new venue to read editorials by writers who actually know the facts for a change?

3/16/2007 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Steamer said...

Travis aside, there are some problems with the El Puente school system..it's an alternative school for kids with big problems..alcohol/drug abuse, anger issues, not being able to be a kid..some students show up to school drunk..what the bleep are teachers/administrators doing? hiding? Sarvis is in over his head. The parents? Too ignorant to raise children with values?
yeah, we got a problem..no oversight

3/16/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is that Travis Armstrong, no relation to Jack, will put Mayor Blum's name in his "writing" no matter whether it's relevant or not.

When I saw the column this morning I simply scanned down to see in what paragraph her name would appear.

I am wondering why he didn't conclude that this stabbing was the result of the police department being a union shop? He could then use it to justify that this is why a union would be bad for the SBNP.

boB

3/16/2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Bob Guiliano said...

Friends, Romans and Santa Barbarans, lend me your brains! ...

Travis Armstrong's editorial about the recent gang violence was biased toward pushing his agenda on other issues.

I know many gang members firsthand. As a substitute teacher for five years, I interacted with them and talked with them openly and honestly. I know how they think and where they come from. I always try to find the spark of good in each kid that just needs fanning into a burning desire to accomplish something with their lives. And I always show them respect.

More respect than I can show for Travis, however. I would like to read an editorial by him that is unbiased, and supported by facts, not innuendo and ludicrous allegations.

Overall, I'd rate his editorial as "extremely embellished" and "unreliable." There was one thing missing: Travis did not report seeing Teamster Marty Keegan in the middle of the gang brawl, instigating it. Perhaps that revelation will come to Travis the next time he sees Marty in a courtroom.

A note to Wendy: You need a straight shooter editorial page writer and editor capable of earning readers' respect and bringing honor to you and your newspaper.

I have plenty more ideas where that came from, and am available to chat with you anytime. Got lots of free time these days. I just feel so relaxed, my blood pressure is doing great, and I'd love to just talk amiably with you about the newspaper business. No charge. I'll even buy the coffee and donuts.

/s/ Your friendly neighborhood Bob G. :)

3/16/2007 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis must be slipping...he forgot to mention how the rumble was Susan Rose's fault.

3/16/2007 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addicts & drunks don't "do" personal responsibility, they blame others.

Maybe if the NP still had a decent core of reporters, they could investigate this story in a full, objective manner without resorting to their usual whipping-boys (& girls).

Maybe McCaw can blame this on the feral pig hunters next...?

3/16/2007 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Don Lubach said...

Dear, Beautiful, BlogaBarbara Community,

I am a local career counselor but rarely do private work. However, I'd like to make an exception and volunteer my services to Mr. Armstrong should he wish to free himself from what must be as horrible a situation for him as his writings can be for readers.

Send me your resume, Mr. Armstrong, and I'll help.

p.s. My heart goes out to all affected by the recent violence. I'm counting on parents to step up the love and parenting--these kids are all reformable.

Don Lubach

3/16/2007 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is partly the fault of the city council because they have faulty priorities.

They support the the rights of the homeless over the rights of the home owners.

They care more about state of the art creek water purification and turn a blind eye at who is peeing and defecating the the creeks downstream.

They care more about national awards for electric buses than providing functional responsive public transportation system that stop the parking pollution in the more crowded neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods have been asking for safer, better lighted and more police protection for years and all we get are official responses that crime is not a problem in our fair city.

You are right TA - there is not only a lack of leadership, there is intentional blindness except when it comes to basking in national attention for window dressing special projects that don't do a darn thing for the average residents here who have been living with a siege mentality in this publically fair city, once you get beyond the showcase of State Street and the Golden Triangle.

It is time for the Golden Triangle dwellers (Riviera, Upper East and San Roque) to git on down and see what exactly is happening beneath your noses while you sit in isolated splendor demanding we show more "compassion" to people they in fact have no daily or nightly contact with.

Screw the compassion. We need more police and public safety officers presence on our streets and embedded in our neighborhoods. And stop this elitism bashing the cops when they actually carry out their jobs --which is protecting those of us who do live in the "hoods" where all this violence has long been going on.

Do you get the message SB - this town is just not for the tourists and the Golden Triangle campaign donors. It is finally getting in your face what you have long chosen to ignore.

3/16/2007 1:26 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

It's very simple.

Judges make you lie,
Schools make you kill,
Blogs make you mean,
Science makes you pollute,
Society makes you poor,
Distortion makes you right.

Welcome to Santa Barbara. City of Helpless Victims.

3/16/2007 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guiliano you had me at " Greetings Mayor Blum, something you should know ..."

It is already satiated repetition about Armstrong, Steepleton, Schlessinger or A.S.S. Yet, important to be repeated until most everyone gets it. EDUCATE.

I can see diverse groups getting together in PEACE to protest and boycott. The Plaza should be loud and full. Cancel the old parades and invite tourists to the NEW (not"solstice/fiesta") this year. I'd like to see a workers strike the first week in August. There are some good graffiti artists, what great banners and signs they will make. If this seems too much, I can listen to alternatives. I won't compromise on integrity and peaceful protest. No racism of any color.

3/16/2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

I’d like to respectfully suggest 3 ideas for improving life in our city for parents, schools, students and law enforcement. I’m pretty sure nobody will like them.

Libertarians and Conservative Republicans will want nothing to do with any increase in social spending. On the other hand, Liberal educators, politicos and district honchos won’t want get into a shoving match over who has to be flexible first.

But until Augusto Pinochet or Bobby Kennedy are available to make suggestions we’re stuck somewhere in the middle with lesser talent such as myself. So try these and then let fly with your famous mean-ness and fabulous lack of character:

1) The School Districts need to establish a master calendar for 2008 as soon as possible. Families and law enforcement need to plan. Parents need to plan time off, childcare and travel around the school schedule. The calendars for each district need to be coordinated to prevent extended periods when parents have to provide care for more than one child. So far, my call to the district requesting schedule information has gone unanswered. Futhermore an earlier and more concise calendar would help our Police Department budget and prepare in advance.

2) Minimum days during the school term (plus parent/teacher conferences) mean that working parents have to either provide (pay for) child care or miss work. Neither is an option for many families. Please consider staff training days before and after school terms when students have vacation, or provide supervised activity so students can remain on campus. Fewer minimum days will help keep the need for law enforcement at a more consistent level in the city and do more to keep our kids safe during regular school hours.

3) Anyone who belongs to a working family knows that finding affordable and decent part time child care on demand is a real challenge. The City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College and UCSB could be involved in coordinating more opportunities and training for those who are interested in working with young people during minimum days, holiday breaks, and summer vacation. Especially if we knew when they were!

(Ummm, by the way – if your department is already doing some of these things, letting the community know is a great way to guarantee funding.)

Simply adjusting and announcing school schedules early helps give additional support to law enforcement, working parents and their kids. It eases the tough choices parents have to make between time spent earning and time spent raising children.

Okay. So fling your rotten fruit. I’ll feed it to my worms.

3/16/2007 6:42 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

John Quimby, will you accept bouquets instead of rotten fruit? I think your ideas seem perfectly sensible & worth implementing. Of course the bureaucrats will give you many reasons why such ideas aren't feasible. If any are reading this blog we'd love to hear from you.

3/16/2007 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Bemused by TKA/Worried about Homies said...

Now Scott Steepleton knows the challenge experienced by all the fired reporters in the past. He has to write a straight, objective, meaningful news story (in this case, about the very serious subject of gang violence) but Travis Armstrong is like a deranged clown in the background attacking the news sources.

I bet Scott wants to tell Travis to keep his negative and twisted thoughts to himself. As usual, the editorial added nothing productive to the public discourse.

3/16/2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what I don't understand. Everyone goes after TKA and his editorials and says they are biased.
But aren't editorials SUPPOSED to be? They aren't news. They're the OPINION of the paper.

I agree - the news shouldn't be biased. The OPINION can be.

Someone help me understand this.

3/17/2007 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Travis becomes qualified to discuss responsible parenting, then I'll listen.

3/17/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Good ideas John Quimby, but I fear that such policies are only band-aids placed on a much deeper and more severe problem. For many reasons, these Latino adolescent boys and young men feel that they only way that they can gain respect and earn status is within the context of gang membership. They are disenfranchised and estranged from the mainstream society and they see no route to success there. Yes, this is partially a parental problem because parents are supposed to show their children the path to living in society. But all of us share this reponsibility to some extent. It is not as if there is nothing for adolescents to do in this town. There are a lot of children who go from school, to the soccer pitch, to a music lesson, to homework, thence to bed until they wake to start the whole cycle over again. This type of structure provides positive social and intellectual stimulation and leads to the development of responsible and ambitious citizens. My child wants to do more than there is time in the day to do. On minimum days, my child sometime gets together with friends to go out to a long lunch, before sports, music, and the books call. What we need to do as a community is provide these opportunities to all the children and facilitate the travel arrangements to get them there. Would such a scheme be expensive? Of course it would. However, it would not be nearly as expensive as warehousing wasted lives in prisons.

3/17/2007 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a sad event for our town. And it is just the tip of the probllem.

With all the riches, Santa Barbara does so little for our youth. Bakersfield, Oxnard and Fresno do so much more.

We, like Travis are so self focused, that we can not step away and do something for our children.

Yes we have all sorts of non-profits - barely funded - yet they cannot add a building or the entire environmental community comes to life with some global warning chant. Well now the heat is on - and it is not from CO - it is human and maybe we can wake up and fix it.

3/17/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Mic DeNiro said...

Anonymous at 3/17/2007 5:48 AM,

I'll help you understand.

If you're not totally against everything that appears in the News-Press, you're either being paid to flack by Ms. McCaw or you are Neville Flynn hiding behind the nom de blog "Anonymous."

F. Scott Fitzgerald is alleged to have said that the test of a first-rate mind was the ability to hold two contrary ideas at the same time.

On the blogs, the measure of some minds is the inability to entertain one contradictory idea at the same time.

3/17/2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're not totally against everything that appears in the News-Press, you're either being paid to flack by Ms. McCaw or you are Neville Flynn hiding behind the nom de blog "Anonymous."

Thanks Cheney.

3/17/2007 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the Chumash Tribe could help out by diverting a small fraction of their "gam(bl)ing" profits to activities/child care for Santa Barbara teens and tweens left adrift by a public school system that always places its own priorities first in scheduling, and their parents who spend their days doing our undesirable service jobs in town.

3/17/2007 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The killer first and foremost is to blame, regardless of his age. He chooses what clothes to put on in the morning. He chooses what to eat at lunch. He chooses his friends. He chooses whether or not to do his homework.

He is not without an internal decision making mechanism. In this case, he chose to kill. We accept his ability to make far less major decisions about the direction of his like.

He cannot be absolved of his personal responsibility to also carry a deadly weapon and his choice to kill.

Then once primary blame is assigned, start working on the secondary blame. I respect youg people. They are well capable of making decisions in a myriad of ways about the day to day directions of their lives. This one chose to kill. Never forget this.

3/17/2007 2:39 PM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

5:48, What's wrong with the Friday opinion column (that I just read) is not that it is opinion — that's fine, whether or not I or anyone else agrees with it — but that Armstrong has to make it personal, venting his personal distaste for the Santa Barbara mayor.

It's strange that he doesn't realize that all that kind of pettiness does is make most people say, oh, please! and for many to not bother to read further. If his point is to convince others, and isn't that part of the point of newspaper op-ed columns?, it's not the way to go about it.

I can't see what's possibly wrong for the Council to hail the new Teen Center. Nothing is a cure-all or even band-aid, as Armstrong sneeringly put it, but here's yet another opportunity for this "demographic", again his word, lumping one and all together. As Eckermann points out, there are myriad possibilities for teens (and others) for after school time, not least, of course, being doing some studying.

I don't know what the solutions are - and surely there are many. Much responsibility lies at the feet of the parents and schools - and it is not acceptable to say, well, the parents have to work to live here and can't spend after school time... and the teachers are hard-working as it is....

I think that is where the solutions lie - and not in City Hall which can only encourage and express deep concern and sorrow, both of which all have done. I would agree with Armstrong, "A top priority for the board and superintendent ought to be to address gang tensions in schools, rather than alienating various neighborhoods with rather secretive development plans."

And would agree, too, 'though I was not standing on the corner, that what is striking is how young these kids are who have destroyed one life and thrown away sizeable chunks of their own. It was surely an accident, unpremeditated, a response to being caught up in the adolescent fury of group behavior, kids with too much time on their hands and too little structure or understanding how to use that time constructively, but no less deadly serious fo all participants for being unplanned.

3/17/2007 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the owner and publisher of one of America's daily newspapers a "leader" in the community?

Isn't that's why people care about Wendy McCaw and what she's doing with the News-Press?

So where was her leadership?

Has the newspaper been so busy hollowing itself out and employing lawyers that it forgot something like supporting investigative journalism into the environment for gangs and teen violence?

3/17/2007 5:23 PM  
Anonymous My Two Cents said...

To Mr. Quimby -

You have great ideas. Just please remember the incident on Wed. could have happened on ANY day, not just a min. day. Remember, all the schools get out at the same time on regular days, so it isnt just a min. day problem.
But I do understand what you mean by parents having to plan ahead and need to know. You are right on with that one. At the beginning of each year, the schools give out the master calendar for the year (In Aug.) so parents know when min. dyas are scheduled, Back to School nights, etc.etc.

The master calendar for next year has not been decided on officially. It is tied in with the salary schedule, which won't be voted on by the teachers until next week. And with the district handing out close to a 100 pick slips last week, the vote will be a very interesting item to watch.

3/17/2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an easy-going kinda SB native (not naive) who is so sick up and fed with the whining about how there's not enough for the youth to do in our city. I managed to not join a gang, stay off drugs/alcohol, etc. -- and I don't EVER remember wanting for things to do in this great city. Yes, times change, but basic parenting skills and values (not the Schlessinger variety for me, thanks!)are woefully missing. I cannot conceive of my parents not knowing where I was and CARING about where I was. Now get outta my way or I'll ram ya in the passing lane with my walker!

3/17/2007 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 2:39 pm:

And the alleged killer is 14 years old.

At that age the brain is still a work in progress and rational thought processes are the last to develop!

Hormones trump Reason no matter what the game!

3/17/2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

There are some presumptions on earlier posts that if only parents had known about the minimum days at school ahead of time then they would have stayed home or arranged for other supervision for their children.

I'd bet the farm on several opposite propositions:

1)parents who read communications or simply talk to their children easily could have known about minimum day schedules well ahead of time.

2)many of the parents of the kids involved in the melee work jobs, maybe a couple of jobs, that would not accomodate to the need to take off from work to care for children.

3)many other parents of kids involved in the melee do not know the whereabouts or behaviors of their children most of the time.

4)a few of the parents whose kids were involved in the melee have also been or still are involved in similar behaviors themselves

Another presumption is that there is an shortage of "things for kids to do" here in SB. I dunno, though, my family and lots of other families I know spent child-rearing years racing from one place to another to deliver kids or watch kids in an endless variety of activities - lots of them very low cost or free and lots of them involving many minority kids with limited financial means. To presume that if the Teen Center had been open sooner, or if Golf'n'Stuff or the ice skating rink were still in town that the East and West side gangsters would have been engaged in some fun loving innocent early teen recreation just does not seem realistic to me.

Usually kids with gang affiliations are described by those who know them well as loving, sweet, loyal, misunderstood youths. And probably they are all those things with family and friends on a personal basis. But normal young people DO NOT spend time at El Puente High School. Children end up there only after they are badly broken. Sometimes they get fixed, sometimes not. But to believe that the mayor or the school administration or donations to teen centers have it within their powers to arrange to fix gang problems it seems alarmingly naive.

3/17/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only someone as shamless as Armstrong could take a tragedy like this and turn it into political payback.

3/18/2007 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many are claiming "there is not enough for kids to do" or they lack adequate role models need to track the facts that are emerging. This killer kid apparently spent time playing racquet ball at the Westside Boys and Girls Club - no better program exists on the Westside. How did it fail?

So dispense with that shibbolith excuse and get back to the basics. The kid had a knife and he killed.


What part of his after-school experience allowed him to get a knife? Was he already carrying one? Do we need metal detectors at Puente? Probably.

And who was the reader who claimed it was the fault of his hormones? Yeah, that is a great cop-out. Then maybe along with the mad rush to put older women on "hormones" for their "mood swings" you need to recommend freezing kids hormones with drugs until they develop adult reasoning skills.

I am begining to see that all of those who are now making excuses for this kid's acts are in fact the problem and they are too lazy to actually dig into themselves and recognize if "you are not part of the solution, YOU are part of the problem." (Thank you Eldrige Cleaver or whomever from the 1960's because that remains damn good advice. )

So get out of your smug worlds and get over to the Eastside and Westside Boys and Girls Clubs and starting living what it means to be a better role model.

And start yesterday because even then it is getting to be too late.

3/18/2007 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are talking about a child who was killed! You are blaming the victim. Ignorant and cruel.

>But normal young people DO NOT spend time at El Puente High School. Children end up there only after they are badly broken.<

3/18/2007 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting the facts straight is important. The kid who killed attended SBJH.

>What part of his after-school experience allowed him to get a knife? Was he already carrying one? Do we need metal detectors at Puente? Probably.<

3/18/2007 10:26 AM  
Blogger Worker Bee said...

The only thing worse than Travis's Sunday column is "Dr" Laura's.

"Dr" Laura's Sunday Funnies

Warning: link leads to not entirely family friendly material.

3/18/2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous funk zone said...

It's not just the youthful, bored, hormonal Latino kids contributing to ganglike behavior. The hateful commentary expressed here against a single individual in our community reflects badly upon all of us. The guy is doing his job, and carrying out the wishes of his employer, just like most of the rest of us poor schlubs trying to live our lives. I'm beginning to wonder if he's beginning to fear for his own personal safety in this town after reading so much vituperative commentary directed his way. This is part of the problem, too.

3/18/2007 11:51 AM  
Anonymous worker bee said...

Oh, and to stay on topic, I'll scrap for something positive in the gang tragedy and give Armstrong some props, regardless of how moronic is his stance, for at least writing about the topic twice. It's a topic that should be constantly kept alive.

Too bad our new "local" columnist "Dr" Laura has nothing to say about it. Writing about how she herself is so great is about as local as she gets.

Sunday Funnies

3/18/2007 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

El Puente does have metal detectors. And cameras. Maybe we need them at our district junior highs and high schools, too--schools must be safe--but it won't stop kids from stashing weapons in some off campus hiding place and grabbing them as they leave.

We all have a lot of work to do on this.

3/18/2007 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 'My Two Cents'... you must look at the fact that this gang melee did not happen on any day - it happened on one of the excessive 1/2 days our local school districts insist on foisting upon the working parents of this community. These gang members met 2 hours after a minimum day let out - on a regular day that would mean gangs would meet downtown at 5:00 p.m.? - I think not. These minimum days are all for the convenience of a public school system that consistently places its own wishes and desires above the population they are supposed to be serving and supporting. Teachers have far and away more days off per year than the traditional working person - the District is just going to have to face the music and lessen the oppportunity for such crimes and provide teacher education and parent-teacher conferences under a different scheme. 100 pink slips... wake up and smell the coffee teachers - it is time to craft a school schedule that yields to parents and students rather than your own priorities.

3/18/2007 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local teachers coming fresh off a near strike over pay need to recognize how extremely well-compensated they are when compared to the average working person in this town.

You are right (just like most public employees like the city staff) - they have way more paid holidays, paid sick leave, paid vactions, paid for professional development. workshop time off, gold-plated health insurance, one of the most heavily funded and generous retirement plans (STRS) as well as "step" increases that come just for sitting still long enough and not doing anything, automatic COLA offered by the state and ..tenure.

Yet, all we here are complaints they are over-worked, under-paid and worst of all under-appreciated.

I say they are the ones who fail to appreciate all they have -- that compares to 8090% of every other working person in this town who works "at will" and usually self-funds their own health insurance and retirement, and doesn't even know what an automatic COLA raise is except when they sadly realize every year while their pay remains the same, heat, gas, electricity, phone, food, health care and insurance keep going up, up, up.

Hello teachers - you have it pretty darn good. So find the time to also be adult role models, as well as adolescent whiners. Too many of your students are looking just like you. Thank you.

3/18/2007 9:21 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

Teachers do NOT get an automatic COLA (cost of living increase) each year. Most years the school District gets a modest COLA that often does not cover the real dollar increases needed to maintain programs already offered. Teacher unions bargain for wage increases at regular intervals and when COLA's are more generous (as in this election year)the unions have a bit more leverage in asking for pay raises. But there is no guarantee of wage increases even during a large COLA year (that is the basis for the acrimonious bargaining in the SB Districts this year) and NEVER do teachers get the full COLA automatically passed on to them.

3/18/2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

To those who addressed comments to me directly I want to acknowledge you and tell you that I read your comments with great interest.

I also want to admit that I forgot something very important.

Bob Giuliano used a word that has stuck to me the past few days. He mentioned respect. I tried to get my head around this word in this instance and found it very difficult to do. I share many of the same emotions about failed parents and responsibility with other writers here. Fortunately blame costs nothing. That's probably why it's worthless.

As I drew my boys closer to me I thought of the parents and families in our town who were in real agony this weekend over their children. You don't have to be Latino to understand the humanity of knowing that your kids are failing, hurt or in trouble with the law.

I realized that I hadn't offered my condolences to the families of these children as any decent neighbor would do.

I want to correct that mistake now. I want to offer my sincere sorrow that children were caught up in something that they couldn't control. I want to express pain that my city lost innocence. I want to offer my regrets as a sign of respect so that it may be acceptable to ask,

"What can we do now?"

3/18/2007 11:22 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

JQ -- you are a gentleman and a scholar. It could be any parent in this town and any parent should have pause when thinking about what happened here at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara. It could also be any teacher that taught any one of these kids and any happenstance neighbor that gabbed with any one of these kids at the corner store. This kind of thing has been brewing for a long time with few means of amelioration..what can we do now? Love our kids and take an interest in their life. Respect other people's kids and take an interest in their life too. we can set an example -- and it really begins with me.

3/18/2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The state gives each school distritct COLA, based upon an independent standard.

"Just passing by" is correct - this full amount does not go automatically to the teachers alone.

Why should it - it costs more to run the entire school as well as funded programs that do not receive COLA. That automatic COLA has to be shared equitably with the entire insitution.

Please realize how closely "Just Passing" splits hairs - because she/he does not get the WHOLE COLA amount just for teachers only,is grounds for wounded complaint.

Your district gets the money every year. And you don't have to do anything to earn it or show progress towards accountable goals.

These are the standards in private industry when one gets more money - they do more things, create more good, and always have to still price themselves competitively.

Teachers just sit there and keep their desk warm -- and the state gives the district automatic COLA for doing nothing. Along with step increases, tenure, collective bargaining rights every few years, etc. etc. etc.

And this person complains because he/she does not get the whole 100% of this automatic COLA just for teachers, with no consideration for increased operating costs for the entire institution, unfunded state mandates, cost of repairs and constructions etc, etc, etc.

Please take a few business management classes when you on your own dime decide you need to put more into the educational system than just whine about not taking enough out.

3/19/2007 7:45 AM  
Anonymous My Two cents said...

In regards to Anon 6:30 comments -

Yes, I do know the gang fight was on a half day. It was a terrible occurance. I apologize for not making my point clear. The fight didnt happend because it was a half day. There was a gang fight this weekend on Milpas. There have been incidents before that occured after school on regular days. There have been fights in IV. Fights on the Westside, Eastside, Goleta, everywhere at anytime. 2pm, 5pm, 7pm, anytime.

The gang problem is something that has been growing for a while now and it is everyones problem. City, County (does the Sherrifs Dept. even have a gang task force anymore?), schools, community, and parents.

And the master scheudule is messed up because there are too many people to please. Remember the fight to have a 3 week winter break because of the number of students gone for skiing trips and trips to Mexico? There are charter schools that want their own schedule, Alternative schools that want theirs, year round schools that want their own schedule, high school need certain schedules due to AP testing and sports, Goelta and Hope districts needs, and parents need all those to mesh together somehow esp if they have kids in both the elementary and secondary districts...and it is impossible to do so to make everyone happy. Just think, starting next week, there is a two week spring break. Why? I really dont know. Probably a combination of everything above.

Ok enough of my ranting. It is just my rambling of ideas. I do agree with you there are too many half days. I just dont feel like the incident happened because of it. There are way too many other factors involved.

3/19/2007 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That half-day has absolutely nothing to do with anything. The fact that 14 year old kids are in gangs has everything to do with anything.

That kid died because he was in a gang.

3/19/2007 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate + Two Anglo teens in Colorado gave us death during school hours.

Hate + One Anglo Adult in Goleta gave us death at the postal center.

Hate is the killer. Guns and knives are the means.

3/19/2007 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to KEYT News, there was another gang attack on Sunday on Milpas.

3/19/2007 11:15 AM  
Blogger passing-by said...

Sheesh... anon 7:45, take it easy!

I did not post a complaint. I posted a clarification. I did not say teachers deserve a COLA. I said they do not get one automatically. I posted this because some other anon post (yours?)used the same mistaken implication that the News Press printed a few weeks ago: that public employees, including teachers get an annual "automatic COLA offered by the state..."

That leads readers to believe that when teachers or other public employees ask for raises they are asking for money above and beyond the COLA. That is not true.

I did not complain "because he/she does not get the whole 100% of this automatic COLA..." I stated the truth rather than to accept a distortion. And as for "wounded complaint", by my reading of the posts anon 7:45 has an almost complete monopoly in that category. Based on the diatribes above Anon qualifies as a world-class whiner.

3/19/2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Dear Sara,

I bow to your honors.

You have far greater fortitude, courage and wisdom than I.

Regards, JQ

3/19/2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One reason there is less money for teacher's union demands is enrollment is declining in Santa Barbara schools as more parents opt out for home schooling or private schools.

And that is why state COLA money gets stretched further and further every year.

It is time to lay off under performing teachers and pay the remaining more in response to this declining enrollment.

If this leads to better schools, then it would start an influx of more students from the privates and home alternatives.

Worth a try. First step is get rid of tenure and second is to support the legilature's plan to rate teachers by merit, not longevity.

3/19/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Ineptness on the Council said...

Grant House's comments about going to a local nonprofit to make sure "the kids weren't being mistreated" by Police--- really warrant a recall. Here, while the kids are being "mistreated" [eg: killed] by one another, and while the police are working 24/7 to identify the suspects, House makes this inane and dangerous statement.
Bye Bye House.

3/20/2007 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NewsPress said today House was unavailable for comment because he was out of town at a conference at the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite.

Please may we have a moritorium on out of town conference attendence until we fix the problems in our own cities?

Or bring the conferences here so we can all learn from other's best practices.

Sure hope House reports in public what was so important for him to learn out of town at taxpayer expense that warrants leaving town in the middle of a major crisis where he should have been learning face to face from his taxpaying voters.

Bad priorities.

3/20/2007 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Didn't Wendy say don't write Mayor Blums name? T.A. does her writing and writes about her?

3/21/2007 3:53 AM  
Anonymous jqb said...

"Sure hope House reports in public what was so important for him to learn out of town at taxpayer expense that warrants leaving town in the middle of a major crisis where he should have been learning face to face from his taxpaying voters."

Not that not knowing what the conference was about or how important it was keeps you and others from leaping to conclusions.

http://www2.lgc.org/events/index.cfm?fuseaction=conference&cid=63

The Local Government Commission is proud to present the 16th Annual Livable Communities Conference for Mayors, City Councilmembers, and County Supervisors.

The Ahwahnee Principles call for compact, walkable development surrounded by open space that helps naturally replenish our water supplies. It's a simple vision but accomplishing it creates multiple challenges.

At this conference, we'll examine how to overcome stumbling blocks to 1) creating vibrant, walkable communities and 2) preserving the open space that surrounds them.

Given the recent passage of the California bond initiatives, we'll have experts with us to tell how this money might help us achieve the vision of the Ahwahnee Principles.

3/21/2007 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weren't the kids who got into the knife fight on State Street honoring the Ahwanee Principles by walking? Sooooooo....

I think House should have stayed home.

Making Santa Barbara more "walkable" as evidenced by those walking students did nothing for the quality of life that day.

Myabe it would be better to make it more bikeable - harder to get into street fights on a bike and it drains off a lot of adolescent energy.

3/21/2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neighborhoods that spawned this current gang problem are not liveable. They are sorely lacking in minimal public services, that make them a mockery compared to tourist Santa Barbara.

A Tale of Two Cities.

It shouldn't take a trip to Yosemite for you to learn this. A trip on an MTD bus would do just fine.

And it is too late to find "greenery" left to "surround walkways" over there.

You already are building out the minimal required setbacks, and giving up interior space to zoning modifications in order to accomodate more affordable units.

This has now come back to bite you ...and those living in these neglected neighborhoods. All the kids have for greenspace are the streets.

You can't just build housing, you have to build a community and that is where you have failed. You failed to bring in the public services any community also needs to be healhty.

Plus any greenery now hides drug dealers and street crime, so out it goes in these parts of town even where it had existed.

I could have told you all of this and saved the expense of needing to learn this at the deluxe Ahawahee Hotel, hundreds of miles away.

Voters feel betrayed. It should not take going to a conference in Yosemite to learn how to solve the problems that have long been brewing right here for a long time. And more affordable housing is not going to solve it.

How many of the kids in the recent melee walking the streets were already living in affordable housing? Reasonable people want to know.

3/21/2007 4:09 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

I disagree entirely regarding Mr. House. There was nothing of any substance he could have done here this week. He's not a cop, or an expert on gangs. He's an elected City Council representative, and the business of the City goes on every day.

As for saying he hopes the arrested youths are not mistreated by the police, I hope so too. Both because I know we have a professional police force which will act in an appropriate manner, but also because I want those kids to be convicted, and any mistreatment by law enforcement may help to get them off when their day in court comes.

3/22/2007 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May we revisit the question: House was at a conference to learn how to make cities more walkable. The kids involved in this leathal fracas were out walking.

They find this city quite walkable obviously. Plus they also use alternative transportation - the MTD bus. These are our model citizens when it comes to sustainable transportation. These kids are "green". So what else went wrong. That is what House needed to be learning.

Gil Garcia while on the City Council was a strong proponent of so if he could did not get them to work then why did House have to go to Yosemite to try and re-invent the wheel.

Why didn't he just take Garcia to lunch right here in town - and maybe at a nice little Eastside restaurant and learn some practical information about application of these principles right here in this little town.

3/22/2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry so much about the kids involved getting mistreated. The police need to do what they can do and the district attorney needs to do what she can do.

But I do worry about the Hispanic population in general getting mistreated in this town. There are so many good kids and parents here and I hate seeing them all get tainted by the Anglo community as if they were all one and the same. The same way I see some in the Hispanic community make inaccurate assumptions about the Anglo community.

This is the city's main problem - two parallel communities looking with distrust across invisible, but tenacious barriers with no understanding an very little dialogue going on between the two.

Both communities are prisoners of political correctness - fearful of deep honesty and fearful of revealing hidden fears. Recipe for an eventual flashpoint and catharsis - was this it? I almost hope so.

The mutual dialogue needs to begin - with safety for both sides. Prejudice runs deep on both sides of the divide. This is Santa Barbara's dirtiest little secret.

3/22/2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I moved to SB in 1970 it was a beautiful small town. Most of my neighbors & coworkers were Latino (I was a young caucasion female). Their small yards were beautiful- filled with flowers.

They welcomed me and my friends into their modest homes filled with family and friends and they shared their meals with us. The music they played was a reflection of the joyful celebration of life that Santa Barbara was in those days.

This is the community that SB once was. I'm grieving, once again, for its loss.

3/23/2007 9:14 AM  

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