Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, October 20, 2007

POLITICAL PLAY of the WEEK: at least “Citizen Journalists” are paying attention to this election!

I never quite liked the phrase “citizen journalist” or maybe even “citizen stringer” although it is accurate to distinguish from an “undocumented alien” journalist or stringer.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!


Anonymous GVG said...

"Power couple" Pritchett and Murrillo? What power do they have?

10/20/2007 9:19 PM  
Anonymous buy American said...

Prosperity Red is made from grapes imported from Argentina?

10/20/2007 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me that I really do not want to vote on substance, but rather a gut feeling because I really don't want any more official candidate spin from all these multiple sources.

My gut has already decided and it is screaming for more balance, even if it means voting for a few crazies from the other side.

This current progressive train wreck has to be haltedand a few alternate viewpoints hopefully will slow down this out of control unbalanced council.

The great irony is progressives saved this community from the developers a few decades ago. And now it is the progressives who have sold out to those very same, re-emerged developers and it will be the conservatives who will really be able to conserve what is still left of a sane Santa Barbara this time.

Damn those pesky develiopers- ho's, all of them. They will buy anything in sight and currently it has been the city staff and the progressives are "too nice" to say no to anyone and to naive to know the developers yet again have highjacked city hall.

10/21/2007 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all these free media opportunities and others that will develop in the years to come, this looks like the candidates have and will have plenty of opportunities to get interviewed.

This looks like the city election won't get "buried" after all if the election cycle happens in the even years.

The down side I see is that so many of these free media opportunities are dependent on the Rincon Broadcasting radio shows or the TV on channels 17 and 21.

10/21/2007 9:46 AM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

I heard part of the Blum show yesterday and I think she said that frank Frank will appear next week along with giddy Giddens.

Btw, I was surprised that the NP endorsed Giddens's environmental qualifications when her business sells EcoQuest's 'Living air', now officially classified as health hazards. (Her father is an Ecoquest "presidential master manager" and she is a Santa Barbara distributor in the same multi-level marketing of those EcoQuest ozone machines.)

Those in-home ozone generators were among those banned by the CA Air Resources Board as hazardous, as contributing to asthma attacks. (see the LAT 10.21).

Air pollution and the hazards from which to young peoples' lungs increasingly is a major concern in SB city. Wouldn’t this be a conflict since she has been selling these to-be-banned machines?

To be sure, the ban doesn't take effect until 2009 and the ecoquest model "Fresh Air" has been backed by "Dr" Laura . ---

Not all air purifiers are found to be hazardous. HEPA filter devices, for instance, are allowed but the state board has found that "no safe level of ground level ozone has ever been identified" - something that has long been suspected or known - and that these devices should not be used in occupied homes.

Did the SBNP ask Ms Giddens if she is still selling those devices? What, exactly, are her environmental qualifications? We know most of the others’, Litten’s, for instance, and the incumbents’, but not hers, other than her business. She lists EcoQuest as a major source of her income on her campaign info on file at the City Clerk's office.

10/21/2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Goofy for Giddens said...

In a few of these interviews I have watched or heard, Giddens never said too much if anything about her job selling these ozone machines. If anything, she just talked about clean water filters or something during the Ernie Salomon show I saw.

Selling water filters seems like a financial conflict of interest for her in the unlikely event she were elected. The city is always trying to improve the tap water purity and taste, ironically through ozonation. Thus, Giddens would have a financial incentive for city tap water to be bad, so she can sell here devices.

However, in the Nimmer Touring TV show, I did notice a white cylindric thing in the house of Helene Schneider. Was that one of those ozone machines now banned?

Someone can learn quite a bit from all this "free media" listed here in this Blogabarbara post.

10/21/2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to say that these political plays of the week are getting much better. They were a little rough at first, but this one was very informative and a good read. Thanks.

10/21/2007 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And through it all one idea remained clear: that a news report free of owner interference serves all readers and viewers best.

10/21/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If air pollution damage to young people's lungs--or anyone's lungs--was seriously of concern in Santa Barbara, we wouldn't have half the amount of construction we have
now, and our City Council would actually demonstrate some knowledge about the issue of construction pollution, as contained in the important study recently cited in the Sound, as revealed by the Union of Concerned Scientists. An ozone producer has no business on Council, but neither do these "progressives" who pay no attention and don't even bat an eye about the dangerous air they've created for young, and old, lungs to deal with.

10/21/2007 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

What I am looking for in a council candidate is one who will work to shut down the embarrassing and counter productive “Arlington West.” I think it’s a shame that our Mayor and Council have taken a position against the war, and I feel sorry everyday for those Santa Barbara men and women who come back from the front and see this disgrace.

I spent a little time one day reading and thinking about the website for Veterans for Peace, and noted that they stand for blocking ports, trains, military bases, and making pleas to soldiers to violate their oaths of service. VFP is also happy to promote occupying congressional offices with the purpose of intimidating elected officials in order to stop military funding, and we all know well their intense and active anti-military recruitment program. They also advocate the impeachment of the Commander in Chief-- all these positions in a time of war. I am sure this isn’t news to you. Some of you will think this is great stuff. I don’t. But it’s my beach too and I am part of the public.

I could only think of Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Jane as I read the recommended books, the newsy reviews, and the assorted matter available on their site for the reader to ponder. I would say they have a very active and edgy program that goes right up to the line on the legal limits of political expression. But I note that so far, I see no acts of sabotage or the commitment of treasonable acts. But they seem very willing to commit misdemeanors to serve their cause.

I saw associated activities with Code Pink, which in my mind hinders the ability of Congressional oversight committees to do their work on matters that concern the security of the United States.

Their support in developing the “Peace Academy” and helping to end JROTC at Santa Barbara High School is a good example of their work. They say on their web site that JROTC wasn’t interesting or valuable to the students. I think that’s a lie. I read the student’s letters in the paper.

I believe “Arlington West” is a fraudulent activity, that it is used to support the above purposes, and that its principal use is as an anti-war message--because VFP moves it around from campus to campus in order to hinder military recruitment and support military resistance. It’s also an anti-war political statement, and as well a money machine that uses the names of the fallen, each of whom gave the last measure of their devotion, trapped into doing anti-war fund raising when their name used without their permission. It’s as if the fallen soldiers are signing on for the above mentioned activities. I remember Sergeant Peter Scott’s heartbreaking letter to the paper who felt so bad about “Arlington West” that he felt the need to write a letter to the paper just before he left to return for his second tour in Iraq, to say: “Not in his name: “Arlington West.”” Think of it! He had to take time out from that anxious departure to say that he needed to be assured that his name could not be used at “Arlington West.”

How all this must feel to the mother’s and fathers of Santa Barbara’s soldier's families or worse those tragic parents of fallen soldiers who find their kid’s name on one of those anti-war crosses without the family’s permission. There it is representing what they don’t believe in. I remember how Debbie Argel in Lompoc felt. Even the name “Arlington” co-opts a sacred place of honor and redefines its meaning.

The fraud comes when VFP tries to convince us that their political speech is just to support soldiers in the field and that they are just soliciting donations on their behalf. I would ask those of you in the community to ask VFP to open their financial records, so we can see to what their fraudulently obtained donations are used for. I bet some families would be very unhappy to learn how they have been duped. I know they used donated funds to open an anti-war office in Los Angeles. I was at the Board meeting when it was discussed. I heard other things at that meeting that disgusted me.

The Veterans for Peace name is only partially true because they are only partially Veterans. Some of them are just old time anti-war UCSB professors living it up for the good ol’ days of protest. Perhaps civilian heros from another time and another war, but horribly misguided today.

VFP spends very little time talking about our real enemies and their efforts undercut our nation’s war against those who would do us harm. The only soldiers they really want to help are war resisters. They are not interested in helping the loyal soldier or the families of the fallen. They are just interested in stopping this war by any means necessary.

As the father of wounded soldier who has his purple heart and bronze star, who has served abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am pissed. Maybe all this is just part of the political ‘Friction’ that Clausewitz wrote about, --what happens in a time of war. I am so sad to say, I don’t think Santa Barbara is helping the effort of our soldiers. Give me a new council member to fight this fight and change this situation.

10/21/2007 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 5:24: I agree that the "progressives" have been at best slow on this issue. However, other than CPA wonks and Upper State Street it hasn't been brought much to public attention, has it?

I think the Council only this week voted to ask for a lowered speed on large ships in the channel --- and those ships produce more than 40% of the pollution.

It boggles the mind that someone who sells air pollution devices for a living (and makes money off those who also sell those devices) should be endorsed for a seat on a city council for which that will be a major issue --- especially since at least some of those (expensive) devices she has been selling have been found by California to be "hazardous".

Gotta look at that touring show and see that white cylindrical thing mentioned by goofy for giddens at 1:23 PM. Wouldn't that be interesting if some of the present council members are customers of those ozone generating things!

10/21/2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Despite the never-ending attempts by some to mock and dismiss, the News-Press is still influential in this community. Thousands of loyal subscribers are a testimony to the fact that the anti-N-P folks are a small, petty minority.

In and effort to facilitate some change at City Hall, the N-P has endorsed the three most viable non-insider candidates -- Francisco, Giddens and Hotchkiss.

Dale is the best (by far). Michelle is terrible. And Frank is O.K. But, most importantly, any one of the three is much better than the stale incumbents they seek to unseat.

2007 could be the year that the voters wake up. A shake up at City Hall is long over do....and Das, Brian and Helene should be nervous.

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

Newspaper endorsements are fine. But a great paper they do not make. Free the newsroom!

10/21/2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

I missed the City Council candidate interviews where they talked about Arlington West on the beach, perhaps because it did not happen, but somehow it warranted 900+ words of pro-war commentary that was just a few lines shorter than my original overly long posting here.

Bill Carson really should apply to the Measure P Committee.

And, for my biggest admirer, the ubiquitous Anonymous, these Plays of the Week really may not be getting better, but you just may think the subject is safer and thus more to your liking. Even if they are volunteer public affairs commentators full of their own opinions, the news media really should not be the ones making the Political Plays, but sometimes those are the only choices that week.

10/22/2007 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That question posed by djdlgyn (or something) should be asked of all the candidates: do they support the continuing use of a section of public property, West Beach, devoted on Sundays (or any day) to "Arlington West"? ---

Are there any more forums?

Seems to me it's clearly a political statement, however you define the word "political". I support its presence because I think people should think about the war, what our tax dollars are going for, what has happened to the US reputation abroad as a result, but seems to me the use of public property is definitely a valid question.

How can we get an answer to that question from all the candidates????

10/22/2007 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Citizen Stringer: The reason I decided to write my long, intense, and detailed commentary about "Arlington West" and the so-called "Veterans for Peace" is because I find it extraordinary that in a time of war, the candidates don't have anything to say about this extremely serious issue. It is however, one of the elephants in the room. I guess I share this concern with those on the left who don't think it gets talked about enough either. Don't forget we have an official city position and give free beach space and publicity to what I consider an outrage. But the present council and mayor have spoken.

Part of what has motivated me to write this, is that I have just finished watching the PBS Ken Burns' special on "War" and was very moved watching this documentary--whose uniqueness lies in its ability to inform us emotionally about what happened back home in WWII. All those moving tales of sacrifice and honor back on the home front compared to my Santa Barbara of today shook me out of my complacency.

I imagined myself a historian sometime in the future putting together a documentary on what Santa Barbara did during the war against the Islamo-Fascists just before the jihadis dropped the second bomb.

10/22/2007 8:53 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

My gut has already decided and it is screaming for more balance, even if it means voting for a few crazies from the other side.

The phrase "cur off your nose to spite your face" comes to mind.

How all this must feel to the mother’s and fathers of Santa Barbara’s soldier's families or worse those tragic parents of fallen soldiers who find their kid’s name on one of those anti-war crosses without the family’s permission.

I think those soldiers died without their families' permission. If you want to know how they feel, you might want to go down there some day and talk to the families that visit it.

As for "anti-war crosses": I seem to recall that the cross is the symbol of a "prince of peace", who allegedly said

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.


Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.


Do not repay anyone evil for evil... On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

10/22/2007 2:52 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

That question posed by djdlgyn (or something) should be asked of all the candidates: do they support the continuing use of a section of public property, West Beach, devoted on Sundays (or any day) to "Arlington West"?

They should be asked whether they support the First Amendment, which protects such activities.

10/22/2007 3:03 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

When Peace Candidate Dennis Kucinich toured Arlington West recently, I was on hand to take pictures. He wanted to speak to the public and the press, and was told to take his campaign to another spot on the beach because Arlington West is completely non-political.

It's a shame that some people feel there is something wrong about honoring our fallen soldiers. This attitude appears to trickle down from the highest levels of government, where it is decreed that photos may not be taken of flag-draped coffins.

10/23/2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Dennis Kucinich didn't have his picture taken at "Arlington West?"
You got to be kidding or lying!

I find this without breaking a sweat.
Why is it that the "Arlington West" folks lie so much?

10/23/2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Free speech issues and political commentary in a community usually involve finding a space where everybody can go, as in the traditional rituals we perform when we have gone to the steps of city hall on Plaza de la Guerra.

As far as I know, it's a first to own all that pubic beach every Sunday for a single political point of view. I wouldn't be surprised if one day, very early in the morning, some soldiers came down there to play volleyball all day right where the outrage gets set up.

Also free speed has limits. No crying fire or wolf in a crowded theatre when there isn't one. And you can't crap on my front door.

10/24/2007 6:06 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Don Jose: I resent being called a liar. I nerver said there were no pictures. I said I was on hand to take pictures. I did in fact take pictures. He walked through Arlington West with his wife and then moved to a different area of the beach to make his speech. This was because the organizers of A.W. take great care to keep their site non-political.

I find it sad that you take such outrage in the honoring of our war dead.

10/24/2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

DJDLGYN: thank you for voicing your opinion on Arlington West. I'm right with you on it. I especially liked your idea of a documentary on SB residents behavior right before the second attack. The problem with these people is that they are so insulated from the real world they don't believe the war could ever affect them anywhere other than their pocketbook in the form of higher taxes to support the effort. Mix that in with the genuine disdain and hatred they have for the POTUS and it becomes even more volatile. Bush could loosen up laws on fetal murder, legalize all drugs, neutralize the military, and bow in defeat to the islamofascists, and the left would STILL find ways to try to nail him. The guy can't win.

Please tell your boy that this American is grateful for his service to his country.

10/24/2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

And, back to the point...

This morning on TV, channel 17 is playing both Chewing on the Candidates shows consecutively, while channel 21 simultaneously is playing the Touring with the Candidates show.

On the web, the Paul Berenson show has audio file archives and so do the Candidate Video Programs.

This is all fantastic for these resources about the city council candidates.

10/24/2007 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

WINEGUY: If you think you are honoring the war dead down there, you're are going to chock on your forked tongue.

Why don't you just admit what you're doing--taking donations under false pretenses and rubbing the soldiers nose in it.

And let me say to all of you that I kind of admire certain members of the corps of co-opting cross planters who have worked so hard to make this huge error in political priorities and judgement. I know putting up the lie every week is a big job. But it's all wrong and not the thing to do. "They know no what they do."

10/24/2007 7:03 PM  

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