POLITICAL PLAY of the WEEK: at least “Citizen Journalists” are paying attention to this election!
The Play this time is by all the volunteer journalists and analysts who are covering this city council election and actually interviewing the city council candidates.
The poorly paid and overworked pros at the Independent barely acknowledge the election is happening except for their safely predictable endorsements and a few news briefs. Ditto for the Daily Sound, which seems to ignore half the stuff the candidates are doing lately, although the challenger candidates were profiled in a series of nice articles last August. At KEYT they are, well, KEYT, so expectations are low. And the News-Press-Mess-Less-Suppress-Depress is, uh, just that.
During this election season, several local venues are actually interviewing the city council candidates and getting the candidates’ message out (for good or bad) via some free media coverage. Listed below are a few of these Political Players of the Week, none of whom are paid for their efforts but for their obvious love of Santa Barbara. We all should thank and toast them with a glass of Pelligrino or Prosperity Red.
- The Marty Blum Show (KTMS-AM radio, Saturdays at 12). Da Mayor started her own talk radio show earlier this year to fill the gaping void in City Hall news left by the Depress, so she says. She has been interviewing a couple of council candidates each week, and even was nice to Dale Francisco despite the routine insults he hurls during the council meetings. Too bad I missed Blum’s interview with frank Flamethrower Frank Hotchkiss.
- Palmer Patrol (KTMS-AM radio, Saturdays at 11). In the hour before the Marty show, Russell Palmer, a truly moderate Republican, also is interviewing the council candidates, or at least the ones who ask to be interviewed. He plays slow-pitch softball, but it is his game on his own show.
- The Paul Berenson Show (KIST-AM radio, Saturdays at 1). Rounding out the Rincon Broadcasting rock block on Saturdays, Berenson fills up 3 hours and also has been interviewing a couple of candidates per week between his usual lengthy chortles against the Bushies. He plays a little soft with the council candidates he clearly disagrees with when he could shred them, a sure sign those candidates have no chance at getting elected.
- The Ernie Salomon Show (Santa Barbara Channels, TV channel 17 several times weekly). In his minimalist style with fake bookcases behind his solitary chair, the emphatic Ernie Salomon can fill up an hour with his usually substantive rants and raves even when he has not been interviewing two candidates per week. Always one to pontificate about street sweeping and discounted Canadian drug prices, Salomon said he has been doing a show on channel 17 for nine years. Except for how he feels about Mayor Blum in his loyal jabs at her, Salomon keeps his personal preferences a mystery during his interviews with the candidates.
- Off Leash Public Affairs (Santa Barbara Channels, TV channel 17 at irregular times listed at their web site posting on this). In this public access cable show, local activists David Pritchett and Cathy Murrillo have put together two hour-long TV shows called “Chewing on the Candidates” where they ask the same, and now somewhat cliché, questions of each candidate. They should have asked more questions instead of offering their personal opinions in their “analysis” of them, but that is how it goes on channel 17 (i.e., anything goes except obscenity).
- Touring with the Candidates (Santa Barbara Channels, TV channel 21 twice a day at various times). Larry Nimmer offers another installment in his now classic election show where each candidate gets a set amount of time to go anywhere and say anything, no matter how stupid for either. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters, professional videographer Nimmer keeps his interviewing to a minimum and instead lets the candidates do the talking and exposing of their nipples.
- Candidate Video Program (Santa Barbara Channels, TV channel 21 twice a day and on the City web site). The City’s half-assed answer to election reform and public funding of campaigns, this video production cost the City no money and hardly any staff time because the public access TV station did all the work for free. Each candidate gets his or her three minutes of fame in a statement before the camera. They were recorded early in the campaign season, and it shows for some. Candidates Brian Barnwell looked like he got out of bed an hour earlier, frank Frank Hotchkiss the trained actor was quite the smooth talker no matter how nutty his lines were, while Michelle Giddens read her cue cards stiffly but scored a few points for some of her pitch in rudimentary Spanish.
- Santa Barbara’s Blog (24/7 on the web). And not to ignore the blogosphere, the “Bird” usually has some weird, although local, stuff at his web site, and he has invited some (or all?) of the candidates to provide a written statement to be posted at this blog, providing some chutzpah inspiration for this Citizen Stringer. Some goofy polls also are at this site, especially for people who like to vote an infinite number of times. None of the other local bloggers seem to be interviewing the candidates, although Craig Smith probably is accumulating some good quips in preparation.
The Play this week has been steadily practicing during the past month, and all these Citizen Journalists have cumulatively scored many winning points. The voting public in Santa Barbara should be grateful for the often thankless work by these news hawks.
If I missed any news and public affairs media that actually have been interviewing the city council candidates, my apologies. Gentle Readers should enter a comment about which venues may have been missed. For all the do-it-yourself political news media, this Play of the Week is for you!