Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, August 19, 2007

POLITICAL PLAY of the WEEK: Wendy P. McCaw gives the community a big **explicative deleted** again!

As I wrote last week in my first Political Play of the Week, the Play can be executed by both heroes and villains, based on political effect, not likability. Even the Time Magazine Person of the Year included Hitler, Stalin, and George W. Bush a few times for each.

Without even being there, Wendy Petrak McCaw enjoyed even more chances during the past week to tell the community off through her hirelings and minions appearing in the federal trial presided over by the Internets-news-reading Administrative Law Judge for National Labor Relations Board. The testimony and antics during the trial were documented throughout the week by Craig Smith's Blog, SB Independent (three separate writers), SB Daily Sound, Ventura County Star, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Lompoc Record, KEYT, KSBY, and other news media, including several discussion topics in Blogabarbara.

Here are some of the cumulative key moves for this Play of the Week:
  • Even the ever-lovable Hannah Guzik, of the "News"-Press herself, wrote up (or at least had a by-line attribution) some articles that featured a very thorough treatment of what The Wendy's Uuber-lawyer Barry Cappello always had to say. Therefore, this time no one can accuse the News-Press of being the usual News-Less, at least by the three articles published.
  • Associate "Editor" Scott Steepleton managed not to have his nose grow visibly as he said, under oath, that the editorial Buck Stops With Him and that he had no awareness of how his wife, another editor there, felt about the unionization. Steeps also claimed the Teamsters union members were terminated because of the "biased" writings that he approved months earlier, instead of that the terminations were made out of retaliation only the day after their Cancel Your Subscription banner was hung over the freeway. The Steepinator even Did Not Recall if he had written a non-by-lined article months earlier about himself during the first NLRB hearing in front of another federal Judge.
  • Outright sympathy and morbid fascination for The Wendy is growing, with an eventual court appearance for HRH Wendy promised by Cappello during a TV news interview, sort of how an audience builds in anticipation for the latest Lindsey Lohan booking photos.
  • "Howse she holding up?" That question Thursday by KEYT (TV channel 3) news "reporter" Beth Farnsworth was **not** about the disclosure during the trial about the recent successful treatment for alcoholism of one of the terminated News-Pressers, but rather that question to Cappello apparently was out of concern for how The Wendy herself was enduring all the stress and wrath from the Natives.
Just when you did not think this Freak Show could get any worse or more bizarre --or sad and scary-- it does yet again during only the first of the four weeks of the NLRB trial. Then, after the Judge in November writes up some creative phrases that essentially mean the same as Extreme Embellishment --while finding in favor of NLRB on all the claims that matter-- the appeals by Ampersand will drag out the torture to the final resolution for even longer than the life of the Bush Administration and a even few months more.

Justice delayed is justice denied, yielding a victory all in itself for Wendy P. McCaw.
And that's the Political Play of the Week!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Florid prose opposing Wendy does not cover-up the fact she bought the paper fair and square and it is her paper. No one is forcing anyone to work there if they hate her and what she stands for so much.

The opposition is sounding more and more like too many unemployed writers in love with the sound of their own voices. It is boring to keep reading about picking wings off of flies in this ludicrous court battle.

Way toooo much blind anti-Wendy bias is present on this forum which gives credence to Wendy's claim the NP former writers did show too much bias and lack of journalistic independence when they sat down to write.

Repeat after me - This is Wendy's paper and she can run it the way she wants. This is the American way. This is still her private property.

Stop mindlessly battering her. You are doing nothing to generate sympathy for your side any longer - you are making it repugnent to be in association with your cause.

8/19/2007 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all have our political leanings, but to put Stalin, Hitler, and the President in the same category is despicable. I hope that wasn't your intent. If it was, you've lost me and I am pretty tolerant of other people’s views.

8/20/2007 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is comparing Bush to Stalin and Hitler really indicative of how "progressives" think?

8/20/2007 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara-- are you already abandoning your new guidelines? This citizen stringer post far exceeds a couple of paragraphs, and is 562 words from someone so obsessed with the minutia of the N-P that it is lost on most.....FYI: you're losing your audience.......

8/20/2007 6:43 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

The "Queen of Mean" (Leona Helmsley)is dead. Long live the new Queen...Any nominations?

8/20/2007 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are there any legal or hr experts here? isn't it now illegal to reveal someone else's medical history (the rehab incident)?

8/20/2007 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look up MICRA - the medical privacy act. You don't know if deposition, the medical history in question was already put into the public record.

Cappello is not dumb. If the person in question talked to anyone about this history outside of a medical or personnell confidentiality context, then that knowledge could become disclosable testimony because the party herself breached her own confidentiality.

Bottomline: one needs to know a lot more about the history here, than take this court disclosure for face value as the offending "breach".

This information may have been breached a long time ago, but the party themselves. No further priacay privilege is then allowed.

8/20/2007 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: medical privacy regulations are found under HIPPA, not MICRA.

Link to info on HIPPA:

8/20/2007 9:39 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

Even though I'm someone who has found fault with the News-Press for several years and expressed it frequently on this blog, I find this current posting (and the previous one) by Citizen Stringer to be embarrassing and inappropriate.

Postings should stimulate discussion rather than be one person's sarcastic rehash of the past week's events. Something else--I have found Blogabarbara interesting and informative in the past because the moderator has tried to keep the comments from becoming merely personal insults. This current posting by Citizen Stringer is pretty tasteless, even for someone like me who has little use for the policies and tactics of the News-Press. Citizen Stirnger offers no insights or new information--just an overly-long summary of other people's reporting and observations.

Sara--maybe it's becoming tougher to come up with topics and ideas for Blogabarbara and to devote the extraordinary amount of time needed to keep it up to your previous standards. If that's the case, you should retire it with dignity rather than letting it go downhill by running postings like these. Citizen Stringer can start his/her own blog and will attract an appropriate audience.

8/20/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone here know about the great Barry Cappello? Or are all of you whiners and complainers just 'newcomers' to SB? Wendy is in good hands because Barry won't take a case he cannot win and any person with 1/2 a brain knows that insubordination in the workplace is cause for immediate dismissal; not weeks or months of documentation to build a case against said employee. In this case, there was not 'safety in numbers' when the group hung the banner telling 101 travelers what to do. It is so amusing to me that the real reason for all this hoopla is because Wendy brought her boyfriend to the work place and everyone from her disgruntled employees to the city mayor had a cow. Wendy's personal business as well as her newspaper business is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. So, please shut the (blank) up!

8/20/2007 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought anyone with half a brain knew that jobs today were "at will" One can fire and one can quit at moment's notice, subject to the bare minimum of Labor law as to settlement of accounts.

But claiming anyone can be fired for "insubordination" is a quaint relic from a long ago past. The vast majority of private enterprise workers do not have to be fired only "for cause". They can be terminated at any time and for no reason at all. This is called "at will" employment.

Only the fat cats under public employee union contracts get to coast on someone else's dime and become practically fire proof, even in the face of gross incompetency.

But Wendy's present operation was not under any union bargained contract that granted bullet-proof jobs, and was subject only to whatever employee contract that was signed with the pre-union NewsPress. Does anyone have a copy of that contract -- if any even existed?

Love the fact she is now hiring purely part-time contract workers from an employment agency. Take note.

This may be the sign of the times now for most private employment practices. No rights, no benefits, or no job. The pendulum is swinging away from cradle to grave job security. And this may be the best thing that ever happened lately in America. Give us our edge back.

Becoming unionized is only part of the issue. The union still has to bargain and win a contract and the other side of that hurdle remains to be seen. And won't be for a long long time.

"All the writers" allegedly walked off the job, yet the paper continues to perk along and keeps a sustained readership.

8/20/2007 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:30pm anon,

If things are as you say then unions would not exist. Unions are almost always formed against the wishes of the employer. They are insubordinate by definition.

John San Roque makes a good point -this blog continues to slide downhill. It is time to retire the blog Sara. You had a good run and something else will rise up to replace it.

8/20/2007 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

Sorry, 11:24 and 10:30, but the Civil War is over and the News-Press is not a plantation. Wendy is not free to "run it the way she wants." It is not "the American way." (Well, maybe crapping on your employees is, but that's another discussion.)

The law says very plainly that Wendy can't simply do whatever she wants, and even the NLRB, which is not exactly a friend of labor these days, alleges she broke the law when she fired her union-supporting employees.

Speaking of the law, Cappello is in the business of making money and Wendy is an attorney's ATM.

As for Wendy's boy toy, nobody gives a rat's behind about him. He's a phony and a joke, and the newsroom staff give him no more thought than they do junk mail. If you think the "hoopla" is about von Weasleburger, you live in a reality with which the rest of us are unfamiliar.

8/21/2007 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's drastically disappointing that as this continues to drag on, people are losing sight of some of the larger ethical arguments that started the whole situation in the first place. The trial, unfortunately, isn't helping in this regard. As the minutae becomes further muddled, this is only going to continue.
The argument that "Wendy's personal business as well as her newspaper business is none of your business" disregards the concerns that brought everyday members of the community out to the rallies in the first place. Having a fair, accurate, balanced newspaper that focuses on ALL the issues important to members of the Santa Barbara community is vital, and that isn't happening now. Throw the union issues out for a second: just the drawdown in staffing there that has happened as a result of this should be of vast concern to everyone. So should the fact that no highly qualified people want to work there now.
Hopefully this dialogue can continue on a more positive note. It's very worrisome that things might be happening in Santa Barbara right now that no one knows about because the media outlets left do not have the resources to get to them. Better coverage of the Zaca Fire, Fiesta death, and yes, even the NLRB trial all come to mind.

8/21/2007 8:18 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

This post is just fine.

[BTW, this blog is the "journalistic equivalent" of a "column". And there's nothing wrong with that.]

Oh, and anonymous 10:30pm: You're really not worth the effort, but just so you know, any person with half a brain also knows that there's also such a thing as LABOR LAW, which mitigates the absolute concept of "at will" employment that you seem to be trying to dredge up. Just because people of your quasi-Libertarian ilk wish there weren't laws on the books doesn't make them unenforceable.

8/21/2007 8:31 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

This post is a mess. It has more in common with TKA's emasculated editorials and "Dr" Laura's pathetic hateful rants than an actual commentary on current events in the trial. I love this blog, especially the standard you have maintained Sara, but I'm with johnsanroque on this one. Better to go out at the top of your game, on your terms, rather than meeting the the Baron, Wendy, the flying monkey's(tka, schlesmess) at bottom of the pond.

8/21/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:24 and 10:30

You want to pull your heads out of the 19th century and into the 21st century? Laws started being enacted during the Industrial revolution to protect employees from abusive, greedy employers for a reason. Just because somebody hires you does not give them the right to break the law or treat you like dirt. Business and Management programs at the universities spend a whole lot of time on employee relations, business law and ethics. Ethics in business is a very hot topic. There have been more than a few companies who have abused those laws and lost in court over those abuses.

Any person who owns a business and depends on it for income to survive would tell you that what Wendy is doing, would put them out of business. The biggest problem is that Ms. McCaw has so much money that she feels that the rules don't apply to her.

What is more unfortunate is that our system hurts the small business owner who is heavily punished for minor infractions while those who have the money ignore the rules and then drag out the mess in court just so they can avoid rectifying the situation.

8/21/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:30pm

This started long before Nipper was even part of the scene. Wendy has been playing a game of promoting people, making them promises and stabbing them in the back when they disagree with her or stood up for ethics and principles which disagreed with her. A wise person is also humble and respects and listens to those who are more experienced than they are.

8/21/2007 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to agree that a private owner generally has the right to do as they please with their property, business etc., controlled, of course by legal restrictions, e.g., environmental, tax, safety, labor and other forms of regulation. While societal norms like obediance to journalistic norms are not similarly binding, violation of them justifiably leaves one subject to ridicule and scorn.

I suggest that if a reader does not share that sense of scorn for McCaw, which is so often expressed here and elsewhere, that reader can stop reading the material and please themselves by shifting their attention elsewhere.

8/21/2007 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to former DA David Minier, he and Barry Cappello dressed up as hippies and taunted the police during the IV riots...

see the LA Times Article

I wonder what all 20 or so of the officers who sustained career-ending injuries, like brain damage from a brick to the head, think of Cappello's incitement.

Or the surviving brothers and sisters of Kevin Moran, the young man shot and killed by police just after he put out one of the many fires in the Bank of America.

There were always stories that Cappello and Minier incited violence in IV, and then used the violence to help their careers. Now there is proof right out of Minier's mouth.

8/21/2007 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can buy a car fair and square and it is your car. So? You can't violate others & break laws. There are NLBR hearings for a reason. Even newspapers and miners need workers rights. Cappello didn't win the Love, music case. He spins like his win. He spins for McCaws money now. So? There are suckers born every minute. McCaw has alot of money and can buy people and time. She is marked as a bad business person since PAYING TOO MUCH for the paper, she can and did do it. Her public humiliations she can do, like her writings and the poor old gal has the EXTREME EMBELLISHERS, Steepleton and Armstrong, back for more. They will and can prevaricate through their teeth. They can all make out like billionaire bandits but they will never restore reputations. Including Cappello, who was once interesting, now a victim of middle age malaise, he's an embarrassment.

"Even the Time Magazine Person of the Year included Hitler, Stalin, and George W. Bush a few times for each." was a statement on who Time Magazine has included. McCaw must know someone free from paranoia?

8/21/2007 10:53 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

This is Wendy's paper and she can run it the way she wants.

She legally can, but not morally. And just as she can run the paper as she wants, we can point out what scumballs she and her supporters are. So really, what's your beef? The only person violating the law is Ms. McCaw -- not any of us.

This is the American way.

Breaking the law is not the American way -- and she broke the law.

This is still her private property.

No one said it wasn't. If your brain wasn't so shut to facts and reason, you would be able to comprehend what people actually have said.

8/21/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

We all have our political leanings, but to put Stalin, Hitler, and the President in the same category is despicable.

To be despicable is despicable, and Bush and Cheney are certainly that, and to lean toward them and their torture and murder and other crimes is despicable.

8/21/2007 2:03 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

FYI: you're losing your audience.......

Apparently not -- in fact, she seems to be gaining a whole new audience of Bush- and McCaw- leaning trolls.

8/21/2007 2:04 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

Wendy is in good hands because Barry won't take a case he cannot win

There's always a first time. He can't win this case, only drag it out indefinitely.

So, please shut the (blank) up!


8/21/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This fairly extreme post, Sara, comes close to being a Travisque rant, and certainly violates some of your own Community Guidelines, like "don't drink and blog."

8/21/2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

JQB et al -- let's take it down a notch please!

8/21/2007 6:25 PM  
Anonymous I like to watch, Eve. said...

KEYT living up to their reputation again. Having their A-list reporters too busy covering the Zaca fire is not an excuse that that!

8/21/2007 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wedny breaks the law only when the courts determine Wendy broke the law.

This has not yet happened, so you are only speculating that Wendy broke a law. It can defamation to accuse someone of violating the law when they are found to be innocent by a court of that accusation.

Please stick to the facts. Your bias is showing.

It is Wendy's paper and she can do whatever she wants with it, according to what a court of final jurisdiction requires her to do.

Labor law does not destroy at-will employment. Stop making up the laws as you go along. Thank you.

8/21/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed.

The die is cast, this woman's reputation is now what it is.

She is our very own Leona Helmsley.

No amount of money given to fancy terraces where only the deep pocketed folks can congregate will make one tiny bit of difference.

Ironic, isn't it? The woman who tried to stay out of the public eye, to keep people off 'her' beach, to delete any past history, will go down in national history with Leona & her kind.

Who knows, maybe that is someone she admires.

8/21/2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Allegro 805..

Not a quasi-Libertarian, but a "full blown" one from the Ludwig von Mises/Fredrich Hayek school.

8/21/2007 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To jqb 2:06 pm

...If he drags it out indefinitely, that's the equivalent of a win, isn't it?

8/21/2007 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everyone shares your views - and that's a good thing, even though you are entitled to them.

8/21/2007 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leona lived long and well and it never did matter how the little people felt about her. Or what a little jail time did for her final world view.

Wendy at her level of wealth is immune from the little people too -- and she just may also die happy and well at a ripe old age no matter how much you flail away and curse the darkness. Life is like that. Best we not drain too much of our own energies away envying what we may never have.

It has to be some consolation all Wendy has is Arthur v. W. These is some cold comfort in that, n'est-ce pas?

8/21/2007 8:49 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

John San Roque makes a good point -this blog continues to slide downhill. It is time to retire the blog Sara.

You really have to wonder what motivates people to come to a blog and post that the blogger should quit blogging. Certainly nothing honest, noble, or ethical motivates such comments. If you don't find the blog worthwhile, then don't visit it and remove it from your bookmarks (aka favorites).

Wedny breaks the law only when the courts determine Wendy broke the law.

Oh, so murder is illegal only when someone is convicted of it? That's not the case -- breaking the law is breaking the law, and being convicted of breaking the law is a separate matter. McCaw has broken numerous labor laws, and the NLRB finding that the union is certified (based on a court hearing in which the judge basically said that Steepleton and Armstrong are liars) is just the beginning. Of course it's "speculation" that she will lose the current case, just as it is speculation that the sun will rise tomorrow, but there is nothing wrong with well-founded speculation -- it's what distinguishes humans with forebrains from other animals.

JQB et al -- let's take it down a notch please!

I agree that the trolls should stop telling you to halt your blog, or saying that your contributor is "despicable" for mentioning the uncontroversial fact that Hitler, Stalin and Bush have all been Time Magazine Persons of the Year, or telling people to shut up. As for me, I don't see where I said anything objectionable. Surely torture and murder, and condoning such, truly are despicable, and surely Wendy McCaw is a, well, you know.

8/21/2007 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jqb - I find many of your attacking comments objectionable. They create a hostile environment, not just a controversial and thought-provoking one.

A little bit like how "bias" works, eh. Those guilty often do not even see it in themselves, but are extremely quick to point it out in others.

I don't mind rollicking arguments and I do learn from hearing the otherside. But just mean-spirited attacks and ad hominum slurs are dispiriting and fatiguing.

Chill, jqb. I agree, take it down a notch. I know you can do it. Your heart and passions are clear, but you are sharing the planet with the rest of us who come here from differing directions. Chill a bit and listen more. Crawl inside our arguments at bit at least; don't just react to them. Thanks.

8/21/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

RE: Retiring the Blog -- why? One person may not agree with Citizen Stringer and another might agree more with challenge now is to find someone who is more right than I (that I can trust) who can join the team.

In the meantime, I appreciate alternative opinions and welcome them with gusto....days like today, I wish everyone would get along a bit better, but overall I think we are doing a good thing here.

Contribute and your voice will be known. I don't care where you are coming from -- I just wish everyone wasn't so passionate! Speak into everyone's listening and what you say will make sense.

When we look at the big picture...y'all will either read or not read the blog but I am not ready to retire yet.

8/21/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy has violated labor law, and it's just a matter of time before that ruling is made. Cappello is grandstanding, and while he may be a good trial lawyer, he doesn't know bandini about labor law, and is leading with his chin in some of his presentation, as the judge is clearly recognizing.

8/22/2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:49 PM, I guess we each have our own definition of what a life well lived is but Leona's is not one I consider well lived by any stretch. Likewise I would question anyone's sanity who envied the SB queen of mean. Its an old cliche but then again its a cliche cuz its so true- money won't buy you love (or respect, or sanity, or intelligence ETC)

8/22/2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poverty doesn't buy you respect, sanity or intelligence either.

Money buys what money buys. Self-respect buys you what self-respect buys. Please argue apples to apples.

Wendy buys a lot of things, and she also seems happy. Two different issues. And if you don't respect Wendy, it is not her problem. Sorry.

8/22/2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

jqb - I find many of ...

Honestly, I have no concern at all of what some anonymous person thinks of me. Since you have no identity, the only thing that matters is what you have to say about the issues -- I will address those, but not comments about me personally.

8/23/2007 3:15 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

...If he drags it out indefinitely, that's the equivalent of a win, isn't it?

Aside from the fact that it is neither legally nor morally equivalent, you might want to look up the word "indefinitely" in the dictionary -- it doesn't mean "forever".

8/23/2007 3:18 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

Not everyone shares your views

Duh. If they did, then there wouldn't be much point in articulating them. But perhaps you are of the opinion that a "view" is like eye color, something that people simply have as part of their nature, rather than being a consequence of deliberation based on fact and reason.

and that's a good thing, even though you are entitled to them.

There's certainly a restricted legal sense in which everyone is "entitled" to their views -- they are also "entitled" in that sense to lie and cheat as long as it doesn't violate any statute. But there is also a broader sense in which people are not "entitled" to make claims that go against fact and reason ... there's very real sense in which people are not "entitled" to believe the irrational ... that rationality and the good faith exchange of reasons for one's beliefs are the very things that entitle one to hold them. It is that sense of entitlement that is the basis of philosophy and science and the advancement of human knowledge and civilization.

8/23/2007 3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy seems happy? Wow, where did that come from? The lady has done nothing but create drama for over a year and set out to ruin other people's lives. Happy, well adjusted people don't live for vengence and feel the need to make other's lives miserable. Frankly, I see her as a very miserable, angry, empty person.

8/23/2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:59 you missed the point which is this- why on earth would anyone envy wendy?

8/23/2007 6:02 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

if you don't respect Wendy, it is not her problem.

Ah, so the fact that many of her employees have quit, that she has trouble hiring new ones, that many of those working for her formed a union against her and took her to court, that newspapers and blogs all across the country have written damning and mocking articles about her ... none of that is her problem. But they kinda seem like problems, and she reacts to them as if they were problems.

8/24/2007 12:21 AM  

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