Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Landecker New EDC Executive Director

I've received several reports from our readers that former Santa Barbara Council Member and President of Citizens Planning Association David Landecker has been named the Environmental Defense Center's new Executive Director. The announcement, which I assume was made at the EDC's TGIF, means Landecker is replacing former director Cameron Benson who took the Water Czar job at the City of Santa Barbara.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

via this selection, EDC has lost credibility, trust and respect of probably at least 1/3 of the progressive community in town. By a conservative estimate, that is the approximate number of people who have personally been betrayed or otherwise manipulated by their new Executive Director some time in the past two decades.

7/15/2007 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Reppin said...

David is a good man. He will do well.

His appointment is an illustrative example of the new ways that local news is now disseminated in our town.

The announcement has mainly been via local electronic media, which the News-Press really doesn't have since it's website is inferior and pay only (except for the free McCaw rants). The Independent and Daily Sound will catch up in print, but probably not the News-Press, once our "newspaper of record."

Normally, Landecker's appointment would be a story in such historic "newspaper of record" with various quotes, including some from David. Probably won't happen with McCaw/von Whatever/Armstrong/Steepleton because of editorial incompetence, lack of reporters, and they probably don't like David or EDC for some imagined offense.

Normally, in an "unbiased" newspaper of record there might be an op-ed by Landecker, discussing what he would like to accomplish. But McCaw probably won't let him in the op-ed pages because even the op-eds now have to parrot the party message from friends friendly to her regime.

And, normally, there might even be a serious Sunday newspaper management editorial about this change and the long-standing role of EDC within the local environmental community. Instead, this morning, we have a lightweight editorial advertising the French Festival, undoubtedly phoned in from the yacht in Europe, just like the Rob Lowe thing was last summer.

Who knows, in a normal unbiased newspaper, there might even be letters to the editor, pro and con, weighing in on EDC and the local environmental community. Seems reasonable, since a woman once touted as an "environmentalist" owns the paper. Letters pro and con aren't allowed here however, if McCaw doesn't like the con.

Wendy McCaw has instead created a news vacuum that others are busily and profitably filling. The illegally fired reporters who just closed will find that there's not much to go back to.

7/15/2007 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the same guy who tried to rip off a local merchant by switching the price tag on a rake?

Now he can rip off all local merchants, legally, by raking them over the environmental coals.

7/15/2007 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a news story on Edhat with some less than kind comments....

7/15/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I thought this might bring out a few comments and it had already over at edHat...David will do a good job and at some point Santa Barbara should stop judging him for his past. He's done an alwful lot of good things since then...

7/15/2007 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee Sara--- were you so forgiving on an EQUAL basis of people's statements---but you're not reading carefully. It is not just his "past" that people are concerned about.......

and leave it to someone to connect this item to the N-P. But why would david WANT them to cover it...he's been one of the critics of others who speak to, write in, or have lunch with anything-News-Press.
Will be interesting to see how he manages to avoid contact w/ the N-P as E.D. of a local organization dependent on press and news.....but I'm sure he would NEVER stoop to duplicity by now justifying any contact w/ or presence in such a "heinous" publication....

7/15/2007 5:12 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

reppin makes excellent points here.

As I see it, the community sent Mr. Landecker a message. Either you can chip in and make yourself part of this community or you can pack your carpet bags and go home.

He arrived here with an enlarged sense of political ambition. He failed to explain an embarrassing lapse in judgment. I wonder what has he done since then?

It should be up to an informed public to review his record of local public service, which is considerable, and his goals for this new public initiative.

Without larger media to do the digging and reviewing it is hard to know who we're dealing with now.

It seems unfair to me to rely only on those old stories when he has written so much more into his own local biography since then.

The work he has devoted himself to might well be worth consideration by all of us who write much but do far less in the community.

7/15/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

5:12 pm -- I wonder the same thing but wonder how important that is these days...

7/15/2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just look at the size and scope of the expansion of the Neighborhood Clinics with David at the helm and you find the answer to why he was hired over at the EDC.

As for 5:12 - hahaha there was some permafrost at that Jerry Roberts fundraiser wasn't there? It is going to be a while before that self-inflicted wound heals.

7/15/2007 8:05 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Expansion? It was actually a merger that didn't increase the size of each individual clinic at all...keep this within context and tell the truth please!

As for Jerry Roberts....what does he have to do with 5:12's comment? He wasn't mentioned at all...

7/15/2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who ticks off the increasingly marginalized "progressives" in this town is a step in the right direction. We don't want to keep paying for more "progressive" give aways at our expense than we have already been stuck with by this current crowd.

New winds are blowing in Santa Barbara and the only way one would have learned about his is by dumping that sob sister pack at the NewsPress that gave the "Progressives" far more copy than they earned or deserved.

If any "progressives" still think they are the voices of Santa Barbara, then you have prima facie proof of the bias of the old NewsPress.

You ain't, and haven't been for a long time. Accountability, conservatism, and balancing resources now rule -- and that was never your middle name.

Your feel-good give away days at the expense of voters, neighborhoods and taxpayers is over.

7/15/2007 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SBNCC and EDC are vastly different organizations w/ vastly different missions and E.D. roles.....

Sara, as for Jerry that J.R. fundraising event David was confronted a bit about his self-righteous email to Salud and the the fact that so many have so little trust in DL has little to do with past indiscretions and much to do with present-day foot-in-mouth foibles on his part.......oh well. time will tell eh?

7/15/2007 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since when is Stealing just an embarrassing laspe in judgement?

Wearing a lampshade and jumping on a table and dancing the Robot is an embarrassing lapse of judgement.

What David L. did was steal, then not own up to it by calling it a shortcoming and a mistake.

And he got caught. How many times did he not get caught. The odds are strong that this wasn't a one tome occurance and he got snagged on his first caper. This is the type of person we want serving the public's interest and drawing money?

Forgive yes, but not forget. A Thief is a thief. He still couldnt get elected to any type of public office in this town.

7/15/2007 9:56 PM  
Anonymous researcher said...

The job description is still up at the EDC site. There are extensive requirements.

For the last year or so as its president, Landecker has apparently been the chief spokesperson for CPA, advocating for greater urban density with more rental housing.

It will be interesting to hear him as the hired gun chief spokesperson for EDC whose "program areas include protecting coast and ocean resources, open spaces and wildlife, and human and environmental health." It can be assumed there will be a continuing push to build up Santa Barbara so as to save the non-urban area open spaces.

EDC is a 501(c)(3) with publicly available info. The most recent 990 (2004) at lists the salaries and total donations for that year. Interesting.

7/15/2007 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it was under Landecker's leadership at the Neighborhood Clinics that resulted in a highly successful capital campaign and complete move of the Eastside Clinic on Carrillo Street into a totally new (and green) building on Milpas Street, closer to many clients who need those services. That accomplishment is certainly something worth noting!

7/16/2007 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is wearing a lampshade and jumping on a table and dancing the Robot is an embarrassing lapse of judgement? Don't knock it till you've tried it...of have you??? Now I remember you!

7/16/2007 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so it goes. The ultra conservative wealthy have completely taken over SB. They spend millions on their lavish estates and gobble up local businesses so State St. looks more like Rodeo Dr. than the main drag of a beach town. Oh, and don't forget that it is a sin to build affordable housing for those who serve the rich. They would rather build super expensive homes and condos that more effectively pad their already fat bank accounts.

As to the workers who perform the services that support those lavish lifestyles? Why shouldn't they commute from where it is less expensive to live at $3+ a gallon, or cram as many as they can into a 2 bedroom apartment. Sure, there are still quite a few baby boomers who did buy their homes 20 years ago, but they will be retiring and cashing out soon. Who will be able to afford to buy their overpriced cracker boxes and who will take over for them in the workforce. How many people can afford to accumulate the 5% down and then pay a mortgage on a $400,000 condo or $700,000+ home?

Ultimately it will bite these pompous, stuffed shirts right where it hurts. They will leave town for new cities to conquer leaving empty mansions and storefronts everywhere. It isn't the first time and probably won't be the last time. Anybody left who remembers the last cycle?

7/16/2007 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Marc McGinnes said...

It has been a deeply rewarding experience to have been a founder of and an advisor to EDC over the past 30 years. From this vantage, I am delighted by the choice of the current EDC directors to appoint David Landecker as executive director!

7/16/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Gee Anon. 8:37 PM, that was certainly a vitriolic and emotional diatribe against "progressives." I actually like the old lable, "liberals" (or as Joe McCarthy called us "communists"). I do not think that you are living in the town in which you find yourself. Far from being marginalized, the progressives or liberals or whatever you would like to call them who live on the southern coast of Santa Barbara County continue to send like-minded folks into elected offices at the local, state, and national levels. Now, speaking so loudly in the ballot box may not make liberals the "voice" of Santa Barbara, but they certainly seem to call the political tune in the town. Maybe they are the village minstrels.

7/16/2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous YABBA DABBA'd 9:26 Anon said...

I'm glad to see EDC finally coming into the fold a bit by understanding that housing density = true environmentalism. It's a few years too late as previous EDC ED Bud Laurent was fired for advocating for housing density. We all need to get on the bus about this quickly if we are to be considered true progressives or environmentalists. Those of you out there that equate neighborhood preservation with environmental protection are drinking the "YABBA DABBA Kool-aid".

I'm sure people are also concerned that David's character (NOT a team player) will negatively effect the organization's reputation. He can definitely be an overbearing bull in a china shop.

7/16/2007 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I find it interesting to see you censored my post with a YABBA DABBA. What is that all about? When I look throughout the site I see references to McCaw, Travis, Jerry Roberts, David L, Joe A, etc., etc., etc.

Why would you YABBA DABBA another name? Maybe your true politics are showing...again.

7/16/2007 6:43 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I didn't find the tone of that part to be fair considering the subject matter AND you have a point. It's difficult to police the blog at times when some people are more of a public figure than others. Perhaps it shows my true politics but so what? I never said I wasn't biased...I just don't think that person needed to be brought in to the discussion. Sorry about that but I do the best I can!

7/16/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all those here who scream "elitist" every time continued public give-aways are criticized here, take note those criticizing are not bloated LA nouveaus, but the hard working, often fixed income property owners who mow their own lawns(or zeriscape) and dust their own furniture, and struggle to keep a decent lifestyle on their own dollar.

And we resent like hell the freebies lately being handed out to any whiner who wants to come here and suck off our hard-earned lifestyle, for free. The Big Blue Bus Idiot included.

7/16/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Davvid is cool. He has paid his price. They should be glad to have him. I admire him. He stayed to take his lumps and did his penance 100 times over. Give him a break. Especially if you don't want to take on the thankless job. Public service is no piece of cake.

7/16/2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell you a tale of someone who did put a down payment together in this town. A couple with just okay jobs. Lived in a studio for three years and saved everything. Even cut their own hair.

Bought their first condo in Ventura and then in a few years they had $100K to play with. This was their five year plan and it worked because they worked their plan.

They did not sit around complaining they could not do it. They did it.

It is called hard work, planning, saving, sacrificing and believing in long term goals to get through short term times.

And because this old fashion way still works, it is like fingernails on a blackboard to listen to all the slacker whiners here who demand someone else besides themselves bail out their short-term goal lives.

Immediate gratification gets you a lifetime supply of Starbuck lattes, and nothing else to show for it.

Quit bitchin' and start scrimpin'. I am sure this advice makes your skin crawl. And that will always be your problem.

7/16/2007 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:05pm

Congratulations, you read the market correctly, saw an opportunity and made it work for you. You also don't mind living for a mortgage. Very few people study the markets or are capable of understanding the fluctuations and using them to their advantage. They are daunted at the prospect or just are plain middle class working folk and can barely make it paying the high rents or commuting. Even if they understand the basics about the markets, they are not in a position to do anything about it.

Do you have kids? Are you married? What do you consider an ok salary? $50,000/year? $100,000/year? Either way, those are considered good salaries and there are a whole lot of people who don't make THAT much even working 2 jobs! I doubt if you were trying to pay childcare and/or a car payment(even on a used car), while saving. Try working 2 jobs and maintain a family. Lots of people on the Central coast work 2 jobs just to pay the rent and survive, much less save any money! These are the folks that do essential jobs like security guards, bank tellers, office workers, retail clerks, wait persons, emergency and hospital workers, and the list goes on.

Also, even by the limited information you gave I can tell you bought and sold during the "boom". If you haven't noticed the boom is over and property values are stagnant or falling but will never fall enough to make that much of a difference. It will be a while until it cycles back. I sure hope you didn't get one of those interest only loans.

I owned my home on the central coast but it would be a cold day in hell before my kids could own one. I told them to leave the state. You must have more than an ok job to pay a $3000 a month mortgage plus property taxes, especially now that the banks are cracking down on the sub-primes. If you haven't noticed, interest rates have gone up too.

So bully for you, but be careful before you accuse folks of being lazy and not trying. There are lots of very tired, hard working families just getting by. They would like to rent a nicer apartment or house and love to buy but will never afford it no matter how hard they work or scrimp. It is a dream that is out of their reach.

7/17/2007 6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Landecker is a community treasure. There are a lot of things that are unforgivable, and a minor, criminal act is NOT one of them.

David has more than made up for his transgression with his public and private actions since then. We need more like him and fewer people who spend their energies tearing down others.

David will do a great job at EDC. They are lucky to have them. And when he and EDC succeed, the critics will still be is all that sustains them and far more harmful to our community than the actions about which they are complaining.

7/17/2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Liv said...

Give the guy a break...and a chance to start fresh...I never knew about this stuff until everyone started criticizing the man. I am certain each of YOU have done something about the impeachment of "someone" with less pardonable offenses.

7/17/2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Mic DeNiro said...


Should you be publishing potentially libelous posts such as that of Anonymous 7/16/2007 11:04 AM, who wrote, "I witnessed another similar incident, not stealing, but trying to be admitted to something in which he [David Landecker] said he'd paid for but clearly had not (this not long after the publicized stealing incident)."

Essentially, Anonymous accuses Landecker of committing a crime. Additionally, because Landecker is an attorney, the conduct alleged might rise to the level of professional misconduct, depending on the circumstances in which it happened.

If it did.

I never thought I'd have to suggest you emulate TKA and the News-Press, whose policy regarding letters to the editor states in part, "We do not print submissions that lack a civil tone, allege illegal wrongdoing or involve consumer complaints."

Rather than protest that TKA observes the policy only when it suits his purpose, I suggest that you consider adding to the Blogabarbara Guidelines and enforcing a policy that proscribes publication of posts alleging conduct, illegal, immoral or otherwise, on the part of an identifiable person, when such allegations are not memorialized in the public record or verifiable from a source other than the post.

While such a policy may limit the nature and scope of your blog, I believe you should not publish anything that would be actionable as libel if it had a real name attached to it.

7/17/2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Mic -- you are right on that one. My bad. I let that one slip by without looking at it critically enough. I've deleted it and will consider your other suggestions. Thanks for keeping me honest...we all need to be kept accountable and the only way to do that is in interaction with other people.

7/17/2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who could only think of reasons not to skrimp and save for a house, you forgot one thing.

Your mortgage runs for 30-40 years with a relatively fixed monthly payment (plus substantial tax deductions) and your salaries will go up substantially over those same 30-40 years.

Your house payments will take less and less of your take home pay over time. But that is called delayed gratification which I guess you are not familiar with.

Yes, if you want to have a house you have to live for your mortgage. It was hard when we all started too when our salaries were a lot lower. We ate peanut butter and beans. And now we have a wonderful asset -- which you resent. Tough.

7/17/2007 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, there are obviously a cadre of people in town who have decided that any criticism of David Landecker based upon current and real behavior, statements or actions, is invalid and must have to do with his "past mistake" which must of course render such criticism moot.

so, let's just let time tell......what I will miss most about EDC is the presence of an E.D. who has true environmental credentials. After all, it is EDC.....

7/17/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote in today's Daily Sound is worth repeating: "So far it seems like those who know EDC and know me are as excited as I am," Landecker said. "I think those people see that there is a very good fit here."

Landecker talking about, praising himself does seem to say it all ---

7:47 has a good point about the true environmental credentials, but a major function of the job is fund-raising and PR even though it is interesting that the E.D. of an environmental law firm is an inactive member of the California bar, although definitely one in good standing.

7/17/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, I'm the one that posted what is considered a libelous post... (but mic added the name)... anyway I didn't know then or even now that he was an attorney...

I hope he has changed.. still I can't say I trust the guy & wonder if this is going to tarnish EDC...

7/18/2007 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 7:32

Does buying a home in SB County entitle people to become pompous asses? Not one of you has talked real numbers. Talk about whining! I back up my statements with facts and real numbers. The people I am talking about are not freeloaders, they are just hard working families. Trust me, I sacrificed a hell of a lot to keep my home in SB County. Back when I got my house the home prices were high but not nearly as high in proportion to average incomes. No amount of sacrifice can close this gap when you have rent to pay and kids to provide for.

There is a whole lot of difference between making $40,000 a year in a $200,000 market and making $40,000 a year in a $400,000 or worse yet $700,000 market. There is a whole lot of difference between qualifying for a $190,000 loan and a $380,000 loan. There is a whole lot of difference between $2300 a year in taxes and $4800 a year in taxes.

Also, as to mortgage payments staying stable, how many people entering the market can affort a fixed mortgage unless they have lots of income or a large downpayment. Not many. IF they can muster up enough income and down payment to qualify for a mortgage, most likely it will be an adjustable mortgage. That means their payment will change every 6 months and could go up 2% per year. If it is a negative ARM, then their equity goes down, not up.

Frankly, my advice is to tell these folks to run, not walk away from ungrateful jerks like you. There are lots of really nice places in this big country with decent weather,good jobs and really nice affordable housing. Enjoy your home in SB, but remember the people you show contempt for are the same ones who you depend on to provide the goods and services you take for granted.

7/18/2007 5:26 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

12:17 AM -- thanks for the acknowledgement.

5:26 AM -- great comment but let's all try to avoid name calling....

7/18/2007 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to anon 5:26 AM for starting to put the cost of housing into perspective. Let me add a few more stats:

In the 1950s the average American spent about 17% of their gross income on housing. Today, nationwide the average is around 40%!

This is much worse in Santa Barbara, where since 1999 the median-priced home has increased from $490,000 to $1,250,000 while income has increased only about 20% during that same time period.

So - the AFFORDABILITY GAP has grown much larger here than in the rest of the nation.

7/18/2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After his public humiliation, Landecker could have left town, as many others have done before him. Instead, he chose to rehabilitate himself and rebuild his public image, and that's certainly commendable. But he seems unable to contain his arrogance, and that could lead to additional problems for him, and the EDC down the line.

7/18/2007 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if those of you who are so eager to criticize Landecker, even know anything about what he's done before and after his shoplifting incident. He has spent almost 30 years here, mostly devoting himself to public service. He has sat on several non-profit boards because the boards ask him to be on them. He works hard to accomplish what others only talk about. Re: someone's comment about not being a team player, where does that come from? I have served with David, and he most certainly listens to everyone, and then is able to figure out ways to reach common goals.

When he took over as E.D. at the S.B. Neighborhood Clinics, he found the property and oversaw the building of the new beautiful clinic, AND in addition, built a new Dental Clinic next door that serves thousands of underserved people in our community. Check them out on Milpas.

Congratulations to EDC for overlooking a mistake that he made 15 years ago, and hiring a remarkable new E.D.

And you mean-spirited people - take a look at yourselves, and what you've done for this community. And what "mistakes" you've made, that don't get publicized, as you're not in the public eye. Or are you?

7/18/2007 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

umm, yes 12:17......we do know him. and, again the 'shoplifting incident' [conviction?] is the least of our concerns.

7/18/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is only meant as a generic comment from someone who has been on boards, worked for nonprofits, volunteered time to causes, etc all of my life.

Serving on a board can be an act of devotion or an act of self promotion. Being an ED is a paid job & the pay can be humble or quite decent depending on the np budget. The fact that he raised the money to buy property & build a new clinic means simply that he is doing his job. That is what is expected of an ED!

What I'm trying to say is that serving as a board member or as paid staff does not automatically qualify someone as ethical or honest.

It seems to me this person who I don't know at all has both positive & negative traits.

So, buyer beware I suppose.

7/19/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Landecker is not a nice guy to people he doesn't like or who disagree with him on the issues. That is his problem in a nutshell. Pure and simple.

7/19/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've worked with DL on a few "projects" before and I would classify him as the modern day definition of Machiavellian.

He can be righteously successful if he believes in the cause, but don't get in his way.

A warning to the EDC staff: don't disagree with him or think it's OK to share your opinion around DL; and, in general don't get on his bad side. He will hold onto it and make it very hard on you until you quit (which he won't). He will outlast you (which, when applied properly is an asset for DL and perhaps EDC).

7/20/2007 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machiavellian, huh?

Going to be interesting to watch how EDC, seemingly happily collegial as a team headed by Cameron Benson, develops since this is part of the job description for the E.D.:

Public Relations: Act as the chief spokesperson for the EDC, is responsible for public relations and marketing.
" Develops media and outreach strategies.
" Represents EDC to the public by way of media appearances, public presentations, and contributions to newspapers and the newsletter.
" Develops and maintains relationships with community groups and leaders.
" Oversees and approves all public relations materials.
" Builds and maintains relationships with media.
" With Chief Counsel, and other staff as appropriate, represents EDC at community events and in the media.

7/20/2007 2:37 PM  

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