Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, December 31, 2007

NLRB Lowers the Boom on Wendy McCaw

Judge William Kocol ruled today that the illegally-fired News-Press reporters must be rehired and given back pay.

From The Santa Barbara Independent:
According to the order, in the next two weeks, the News-Press must re-hire Melinda Burns, Anna Davison, Dawn Hobbs, Rob Kuznia, Barney McManigal, Tom Schultz, John Zant, and Melissa Evans, must back-pay those fired employees as well as fired editor Bob Giuliano, and must retract any related negative performance reviews or letters of reprimand. The judge also issued a wide-ranging cease-and-desist order against management, protecting current and future employees against surveillance, threats, interrogation, firings, or any other actions related to their union involvement. And this order must be posted in the newsroom.

Their resolutions from last year finally met -- and karma finally coming to fruition -- what will be next for The Organized? Will they stay or will they go?

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Poll Workers Needed!

The Elections office needs poll workers for the February 5th election. I've done this before and it is a good public service effort for your community. It's a 14-hour day at $120 but you can definitely afford a celebration that night at Elements or maybe down a few $15 martinis at Ruth's Chris with Craig Smith.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

BlogaBarbara's Person(s) of the Year and My Resolution on the DL

It didn't take much consideration on my part to name the brave firefighters of the Zaca Fire the BlogaBarbara Person(s) of the Year. I can't think of any issue which had us on edge so much in the last year as this fire and the incredible men and women that protected us from destruction. I also can't think of many of us who didn't think about what was essential to who we are that we would need to take if we were to evacuate. How many other people could we be more thankful to?

Who Are The Runner Ups?

Wendy McCaw: Eight Santa Barbara was pretty much right when he said that Wendy McCaw "is so 2006". At the same time, allowing Jerry Roberts to be smeared like so many political hit pieces on her newspaper under the "staff report" moniker makes her no better than a Willy Horton brandishing Karl Rove or sock puppet James Carville on Social Security.

The Gang Melee at Saks or perhaps more appropriately the "nameless, faceless, Latino youth archetype": Anyone and everyone involved with the "melee" should be considered as it made us think about what is going on in our city. From the victim to the Public Defender's incredible push to gain photographs from anyone who had a camera -- this story had an impact on our lives as Santa Barbarans. It was also, as Eight Santa Barbara pointed out, a major issue in the Council race.

Our Soldiers Who Serve: Don Jose is right to acknowledge our local boys that fight for freedom -- whether we like our President's definition of freedom or not. They put their lives on the line for us and for our country and we should be proud. Most importantly, they put their lives on the line for each other as Americans -- something we don't think enough about in this day and age.

"Selfish NIMBY Property Owner In Love With His (or Her) Speeding Car": This nomination make sense as we have all seen it. We were concerned in 2007 (if not 2005 and 2006) about the influence of new, LA-based home owners that bring a different way of life to Santa Barbara than what we are used to. For better or for worse, this is a reality we must begin to accept.

"I'd say we should give it to the boy who died riding his bike to school- Jake B.": The fact that people began to put his face on their car as a sticker amazed me and may be a by-product of the deep feeling and even empathy that speaks to the above nomination. Why are we so intent on getting where we need to go? Shouldn't we be organized enough to be able to take our time? This poor boy's death is a product of the cell phone generation that does not pay attention to the world around them. Again, for better or for worse...

"Jerry Beaver, for putting an end to the idiotic blue line": Maybe. Was this really such a big deal? It supposedly would have brought down property values at the same time as the mortgage crisis when we didn't know it was happening. Was the Blue Line really a patsy for the rather abnormal course of the economy?

Observer suggested "Anonymous good samaritans for hiding their light beneath the bushel baskets with countless charitable acts that serve to "pay it forward." Definitely qualified".

I agree with Observer but would suggest it as a resolution for the New Year. Whatever you and I can do -- maybe especially on the down low -- should be what we aspire for the next year. That is my resolution --- not so much on the DL.

Happy New Year to you all and thank you for taking BlogaBarbara into 2008.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

BlogaBarbara Vacation

I'm gonna pull a Mitt Romney, put my dog on top of the car, and get out of town for a few days. Can you believe that? Lack of compassion should disqualify candidates for office -- not to mention lack of common sense.

In any event, I will have limited Internet access through Monday night. Any comments you make on posts will either take awhile to be moderated or not appear until Monday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

KZSB -- Who Owns the Radio Station?

A faithful radio listener and reader of this blog reminded me that the Wikipedia entry for KZSB states that the Santa Barbara News Press does NOT actually own 1290am KZSB even though they are listed as owners on the page's sidebar. The text of the entry states that it is owned by a friend of the paper's owner. How 1984 is that? I guess it is simply a portmanteau of ownership.

How can this rather arranged marriage allow the newspaper to label 1290 am as the "Santa Barbara News Press Radio?" For the Santa Barbara News-Press to "control" this station, there would have to be a "limited marketing agreement" (LMA) which was announced as the sale was made.

I am told that LMA's are a common method of broadcast management which is recognized and regulated by the FCC. This marriage of sorts does, however, raise a few questions and does not mean that the spirit of FCC law is being followed.

  • Is there a current LMA in force between KZSB and the Santa Barbara News Press? Is it public information? If so, where is it? A web search bring up a "Black Rock" fund application for a group that includes the call letters -- is there any relation to the station? Why can't I search for "KZSB, limited marketing agreement" and get anything more relevant if it is public information?
  • Is control of station programming by any News Press employee a conflict of interest? We would have to think so considering the very public displays of angered bias the News-Press Editor has made of several public officials only to extend a fake hand of capitulation when an employee of the radio station.
  • Is the day-to-day program management of KZSB by the News Press part of any LMA approved by the FCC? We would have to doubt it although I would be happy to be proven wrong.
  • If a listener wanted to ask these questions, where would they call? News-Press Radio does not have a call-in number at all...

I was reminded that a large radio monopoly once told their local employees that they were "leveraging your assets across the facilities in the market cluster". If that is what the News-Press is doing with KZSB -- we should all rest assured that our market clusters are safe from bias.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa Barbara Santa Claus

I truly wish you all a Merry Christmas! Although I missed acknowledging Hanukkah a few weeks ago, I hope all of you had special time with your families during this holiday season -- no matter how you celebrate it.

Uncle Don Jose sent in this article from the LA Times about John Dickson who, as it turns out, gets phone calls for Santa Claus because his toll-free phone number is one digit off spelling "Santa Claus" on your phone dialing pad.

Good for Dickson for taking these calls and brightening a child's day...I guess these kids are lucky to have called a Santa with a good heart.

Nominations for BlogaBarbara's Person(s) of the Year

I'd like to accept some nominations for the second annual BlogaBarbara Person(s) of the Year....last year it was given to the brave reporters and editors at the Santa Barbara News-Press who dared to organize.

The criteria is the same as 2006 -- for better or worse, who had the most impact on our community in the last year? Although I will not be blogging next weekend as I will be taking my traditional holiday break -- I will take nominations through Monday the 31st at 5 pm and post the winner on or about New Years Day.

Would it have to do with the News-Press "Shame on You" attack on Jerry Roberts early in the year? Maybe it would have to do with the gang melee, the new councils, Dr. Laura, Santa Barbara Newsroom, the NLRB, Barry Cappello or perhaps even The Blue Line? Let me know your thoughts and remember that you can review posts from the last year in the archive section to your left.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Response from La Cumbre Plaza Management

I appreciate a response I received from La Cumbre Plaza's Senior Marketing Manager about yesterday's post:

I read with interest your blog regarding our discontinuing the ArtWalk at this time. It is unfortunate that you were misinformed as Tiffany & Co. and/or other retailers were not opposed to the ArtWalk. In fact, no one is opposed to the ArtWalk.

This next year will see many aesthetic changes at the Plaza and it is due to these changes and the construction that will be taking place that the ArtWalk will not be at the Plaza next year during its’ normal schedule of June – December.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Were They Thinking? Bah Humbug! from Tiffany & Co.

According to some artists I spoke to on the Art Walk at La Cumbre Plaza today -- Tiffany & Co., which has been at the mall for all but a month perhaps, is lobbying for the closure of the arts walk. It would seem they are a bit high brow for the local artisans.

While other retailers seem to enjoy the traffic created by the walk, especially in January and February when the mall is quiet, I guess Tiffany & Co. has a Teflon coating. Williams and Sonoma; and, Victoria's Secret don't seem to mind...

To be fair, the artists I spoke with may be extrapolating a bit...but is the new mall management taking it where we don't want it to go?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bait and Switch by Arno & Associates at UCSB Makes National News

While former US Senator and President of the New School in NYC Bob Kerry tries to tell us that Barack Obama is a Muslim in a desperate effort to get H. Clinton a second place showing in Iowa -- we have our own problems with electoral politics right here in Santa Barbara.

In mid-November, I reported that there was possible ballot signature fraud at UCSB saying that "It turns out that paid signature gatherers are duping students at UCSB with a series of nefarious initiatives separated by a rubber band and assurances that one needs to sign the original initiative four times and that the other pieces of paper they sign have nothing to do with the first.".

Arno and Associates, a well-known signature gathering firm, in the past has tricked Florida college kids into registering Republican and saying an electoral ballot initiative was an anti-war initiative. Perhaps worst was telling Massachusetts voters that an anti-gay initiative was actually an initiative that would allow wine to be sold in grocery stores.

It seems karma has begun to catch up with them according the The Daily Kos which shows a video of students at UCSB who went through the signature petition process and told their stories. The post was generated originally by UCSB graduate student/activist Steven Attewell.

Using a grifter type of bait-and-switch move, the "California Counts" initiative (seeking Electoral College "reform") is now under investigation by Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office. Here's a snippet from the activist's diary on Daily Kos based on a letter from Bowen:

Dear Mr. Love:

We have reviewed the video file you shot showing circulators on the UC Santa Barbara campus.

We will be opening a case for investigation for possible violation of Elections Code 18600 (misrepresentation) and Elections Code 18602 (obscuring the summary of a measure).

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.


Election Fraud Investigation Unit
Secretary of State

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Paseo Chapala: Wrong Side of Chapala?

The Santa Barbara Housing Bubble Blog is taking on the relative value of Paseo Chapala with a vengeance. Do the Bermant Brothers fulfill on their promise of a vibrant city life around the corner from graffiti and the Salvation Army just three blocks down?

Just a couple of years ago, this was the wrong side of Chapala Street. Progress or gentrification of our downtown area? You decide.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

City Council Asking for Troop Withdrawal

This Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council will be voting on a resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within one year.

Mayor Blum and Council Member Williams point out that the annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the past five years for the City of Santa Barbara has been reduced by $255,293. The Housing Authority has seen cuts in the Capital Fund Program resulting in the loss of about $150,000 a year since the war in Iraq began.

Presidential candidates Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards and perhaps a few more are calling for the same but I have not heard any of them speak of the war's effect on local government.

Over several years -- this is a serious amount of cash. Wouldn't it be smarter to spend it on more police officers on the streets, community-based funding and perhaps a balanced budget? All could be achieved with what has been spent on this war of attrition which seems to be getting our interests abroad nowhere in particular.

I am hesitant to have council members produce agenda items that have to do with non-local and even international politics -- especially without a groundswell of support and petition from the public. But doesn't this make sense from their point of view?

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What Were They Thinking? The Blurring Line Between Pets and Humans

I really love my dog but she belongs at home or where it is truly appropriate to take her -- like a dog park.

Walking around La Cumbre Plaza last night I was amazed at the amount of dogs allowed into stores. I saw one inside a store barking at a plush toy labrador as if it was real. The noise was deafening.

I'm even more surprised that people walk into restaurants like Plaza Deli or Pizza Mizza, for instance, and are shocked and appalled that their "baby" has to stay leashed outside the restaurant due to health rules. Would they try that at the new Ruth's Chris? Last night I heard someone mumble something about their dog's mouth being cleaner than any of ours -- as they were walking away I saw Fifi lift her leg at a bench in disgust. Fifi's "companion" (remember -- we do not own our pets!) looked the other way.

I had to laugh when a reader passed on this New York Times piece called Who Invited the Dog? which is a funny account of people who bring their dogs uninvited to family functions. Here's one of the more salient points:

Difficult guests are no longer limited to humans. The boundaries between humans and animals have been so eaten away by pet therapists, pet designer outfits and pet bar mitzvahs, that it has reached a point where devoted owners, who treat their animals as privileged children, lose all perspective on the pet’s role in their social lives.

Any of you have stories like these? What were they thinking?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Governator Declares "Fiscal Emergency"

The Sacramento Bee tells us that Arnold Schwarzenegger has used a newly found power from Proposition 58 to declare a fiscal emergency.

Although this new procedure seems to have more PR value than teeth, it might get the State Legislature moving on a budget problem they would have to work on anyway in first months of the coming year.

What are the programs first on the chopping block? The article points to some who say Proposition 98, which provides funds for schools, could be cut back within the way the law was written or even suspended. It's too bad funding for schools may come first.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's Caucus Day Look Like?

With all the commotion over Oprah and Third Eye Blind for Obama, Chelsea for Hillary; and now, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, local Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt for Edwards -- I've been interested in what's happening in Iowa and looked a bit deeper into how Caucus Day works as it is so different than how we do our's a YouTube video from the Edwards campaign that explains it, albeit more than a little bit biased, very well.


Housing v. Renting Again!

Both synopses from the last post were very good and I will use both here even though it will make this a long post.

Part of the comment (unfortunately the links didn't stick) which our first anonymous at 9:04 AM said was:

There is also the advantage of *leverage*. If you make a downpayment of $100,000 and buy a $1,000,000 home, and if that home appreciates by 10% in one year, it looks like you've now got $200,000 where you used to have $100,000. It feels like you've doubled your money!

You made some mortgage payments, insurance payments, tax payments, not to mention some points and fees in addition to the first $100,000, however, which pro-home ownership folks tend to overlook.

A group of contrarians tried to take all those nuisance expenses into account, and the end up questioning the financial wisdom of home ownership. They've written about it at MSN, at get rich slowly, the Wall Street Journal, the Motley Fool, and and the housing crash blog.

They point out that you don't pay yourself when you buy a house, you pay a huge amount of mortgage interest to the bank, you pay the prior owner, you pay taxes, you pay insurance and maintenance and upkeep. And if you sell, you pay a whopping great commission - 5 to 7% on the full price of the house - to a real estate agent.

Usually you end up paying three times the value of the house over 30 years!

Whether or not you come out ahead depends on how fast the prices of houses rise, and what you might do with the money you saved by renting. Nationally over the 100 years from 1895-1995 homes did not appreciate at all relative to inflation. But Santa Barbara is different, and an unresolved question is... does Santa Barbara real estate rise at about 7% per year, or 10% per year?

real estate guru doing his or her best to be objective enumerated a few things -- all of which could be discussed more.

1. One conclusion can be drawn from all this it's that buying a house or renting and saving 10% each payday and investing it in the stock market both come out about the same and both make one financially secure after 30 years. And that BOTH buying a house or renting, saving, and investing in the stock market are the best investment that one can ever make in their life.

2. We all learned that the average person does not have the discipline or will power to save much more than 1% of their income and so buying a house is a forced way of saving and investing.

3. We have all learned about the power of leverage and it's existence in the investment of buying a house.

4. We learned that the monthly payments of a buyer are not a part of the investment but are allocated as his cost of providing shelter and are an expense equal to rent over 30 years.

5. we learned that rent increases 5% compound each year and that both stock investments and a house investment appreciate an average.
between 7% and 10% a year

6. We learned that neither buying a house or a stock investment is a sure thing and that both have risks.

7. We learned that both have bubbles and corrections but that history always repeats itself and so both the stock and the house go right back to appreciating mode after the correction is over.

8. We learned the the bottom of this housing correction may be an opportunity of a lifetime for anyone who wants to buy a house and that the prices of houses will never be lower over the next 100 years than they will be at this coming bottom.

9. We learned that the coming housing bottom is going not going to occur for at least one year and most likely will occur somewhere between 1 and 3 years from now.

10. We have all learned about the wonderful power of leaving an investment in for a very long time like 30 years.

11.We all learned about the rule of 72. ( one can find out how many years it takes for something to double by dividing the number 72 by the annual rate of compound growth. ( compound growth is where one leaves the annual increase in to grow the following year along with the principal.)

12. We learned that there is much more to life than money. and that money alone will not make you happy. But it is sure nice to have.

13. We learned how buying a house can provide for retirement by providing a paid for house with no monthly payments. and can provide a nice estate to leave your kids, or a way to refinance and help your kids buy their own house.

14. We learned how buying a house gives one the security of knowing your landlord can't evict you, and the freedom to have a dg or to paint a wall purple or even to knock it out.

15. But the most important thing we leaned is that our american free enterprise system has powerful and wonderful opportunities for ANYONE ( and i do mean anyone) to get ahead by investing and to do that one needs to SAVE. And using that savings to either invest in a house or invest in Stock market.

16. so everyone of you: Start saving a full 10% of your paycheck starting next paycheck. make a budget to live on 905 of your pay. do without some materialistic luxuries and live more frugally and invest your savings in EITHER a house or the stock market and you too are on the road to building SIGNIFICANT WEALTH.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WWTT? VAFB Closes Trails to Hikers

What were they thinking? Vandenberg Air Force Base is the subject of some press scrutiny from the Los Angeles Times and even the very northern San Jose Mercury. This from the LA Times on trail and beach access:

At the trail head to one of the most remote and rugged public beaches in California, graffiti scratched onto a road sign asks: "What good is a state beach if you can't use it?"

It's a question that has vexed lovers of wind-swept Point Sal State Beach in the year since officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base abruptly closed the only public road leading to and from its rocky shoreline and began citing hikers who used it.
Being someone who understands national security, I can understand how VAFB would want to be careful and provide heightened security at times. To indiscriminately say they need to protect missile secrets all the time, every day....whaaaa? When many of their launches are for some corporation that is putting up a TV satellite or some such -- it rubs me the wrong way.

Surprisingly, Supervisor Joni Gray seems to get it when she points out in the LA Times:
...county leaders point to documents dating to 1935 that they say support the public's long-standing right of access. Vandenberg honored those agreements for decades without a problem, said county Supervisor Joni Gray.

To arbitrarily close the road and begin citing citizens attempting to use it is not only an abuse of authority by the military, it's illegal, Gray contends. "People shouldn't have to be doing community service when in fact they didn't break the law," she said. "We have set forth that legal argument, and the base officials haven't disagreed with it."
VAFB did not inform the county or the Coastal Commission of their new policy until after they began enforcing it. To be somewhat fair, it seems VAFB is slowly responding to Supervisor Gray's concerns...but perhaps not fast enough for this rather conservative public official or the public-at-large. Frankly, I am very impressed and surprised with Gray's stance....

"That's why I'm squawking," Gray said. "We think people have been deprived of their beach long enough."

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Diversity Brings Out the Turtle in Us

"Diversity, at least in the short run," he writes, "seems to bring out the turtle in all of us."

With apologies to my fellow blogger and Daily Sound columnist, The Conservative Turtle, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam says in a new study that diversity in communities may not make us stronger. In a large study forwarded to me from a frequent reader, he found that the more diverse a community, the fewer people voted in elections or volunteered for charity.

Counter-intuitive to most of us, the article in the Boston Globe asks what happens when a liberal scholar uncovers an inconvenient truth? In a nutshell, the "diversity paradox" says we become more insulated and alone as our communities get more diverse. Putnam admits there are many more factors that could contribute to this but what does it say about the work many activists, non-profits and local governments have done over many years?

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Greka Oil Needs to Be Shut Down

A concerned reader points out that The Santa Maria Times reports that Greka Oil spilled 800 barrels of oil and industrially tainted water into a creekbed in their second incident within 20-minutes on Friday. This should raise serious concerns among County of Santa Barbara officials as it is the second time in less than a month that their facility has been shut down.

UPDATE 12/11: The Board of Supervisors will be holding a hearing this morning on the subject matter above this morning. Although the board is meeting in Santa Maria, one can testify via video from the Santa Barbara hearing room if one desires. As this is being heard as a departmental item -- the Environmental Defense Center is asking for a full hearing on Greka's compliance and accident history.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Voter Turnout Low Last November

There are 25 days and 21 hours until the Iowa Caucus and it would seem with a contested election, there should be a huge turnout across the country by Super-Duper Tuesday when California, New York and quite a few states vote in a de facto national primary.

Locally, the raw votes cast in the last election was the least amount of voters in 13 years. Turnout was 37.1% is the lowest turnout rate since 2001. It would be hard to believe that Santa Barbara will see these kind of numbers for Republicans and Democrats in February. Yet again, proof that even-year elections make sense for Santa Barbara City Council elections in turns of an inclusive and democratic process.

This and more is discussed on the most recent Off-Leash Public Affairs on community television.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Community Question: Where's the Love, Wendy?

I received this from the frequent reader:

The Newsuppress is running a story on life on the home front in WWII. Wonder how they thought that up?

Read it and weep -- they should at least give me and my frequent reader a bit of recognition with a a mention as a source or inspiration considering our post just a few days ago.

I thought Craig Smith (where he reports today that Jerry Roberts is in arbitration) and I were IP blocked and there were video cameras watching every reporter's every move. Guess it didn't work and I'm left without being seen in print. Where's the love, Wendy?

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Sex, Lies and Menopause

Perhaps we should move the menopause discussion out of the non-related post...I should have done it sooner. Here's part of the last comments from Menopause Sally:

Back to the old days, if you were unlucky enough to see mothers and grandmothers suffer and I mean suffer either from natural menopause or forced by surgery, then you would have a more open mind to once again, quality or quantity. For ME? No matter what happens to me, MY PILLOW will end the pain.

One cannot paint a broad brush regarding women's health. It is too important to family after herself. So the decision is up to her with education, not suggestions by friends or foe.

I wish I could get 3 friends to tell you their experiences with and without HRT. Unreal.

Can menopause be "controlled" by diet as some doctors would have you believe? Or, should we accept the drugs that are prescribed for them?

Monday, December 03, 2007

News-Press North, Chumash Legitamacy and Native American Genealogy

Much like Wendy McCaw, but much more open about it...Nancy Crawford Hall bought the Santa Ynez Valley Journal a little over a year ago but has made no bones about battling any and every expansion plan put forth by the Chumash Casino and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Capitol Weekly wrote a story about it last month.

Vincent Armenta, Chair of the tribe, took his own pot shots at Crawford Hall and the Santa Ynez Journal in the Capitol Weekly shortly thereafter.

If that weren't enough, James Lynch who is a "nationally recognized Ethno-historical, research consultant" went so far as to question the tribe's legitimacy and even the genealogy of Chairman Armenta in yet another Capitol Weekly op-ed piece. He wonders out loud whether their reservation is really theirs.

If you've watched Santa Ynez Valley/3rd District politics for awhile, you know that the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians rarely let anyone else have the last word -- mainly because if you say something long and strong enough, it becomes the truth for many. The interestingly-named-for-his-position Sam Cohen -- "Government and Legal Affairs Specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians" wrote yet another op-ed piece deriding Lynch's assertions.

In Sunday's News-Press, Travis Armstrong jumped into the fray and criticized Crawford Hall. No stranger to bias, Armstrong knows of what he speaks. Armstrong, who does disclose his Native American ancestry whenever required, must have wondered whether he was writing about News-Press North. Maybe not.

Legitimacy and blood-lines in Native American tribes is a tricky issue, but the Pechanga Tribe recently ejected 140 members of a family that had lived on the reservation since 1897 (also LA Times, 9/9/07). In a democratic tribe where incomes of tens of thousands in casino monies a month are contingent on membership, much is at stake.

A frequent reader who gave me the content and the links which make up this post (which I researched as well) notes that "It is rare that history and genealogy enter public debate in the US. Weirder still is that modern DNA testing could in principle sort out these issues, but almost certainly will not be used."

Why? This is not a new issue as there are African-American Indians in Oklahoma who have been shunned and denied DNA test proof that they are Native American enough to belong to a tribe. Add land use planning into the mix and you have a battle royale, a thrilla' in Manilla that is far from over. The gloves have been off for some time -- but will an admittedly-biased newspaper owner (who enjoys the support of the majority of her community) have her way or will state law which can name the Chumash Highway intervene and say 'no way'?

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

After 99 comments, let's start again....

I am amazed at the back and forth as to what it takes to buy a house in Santa Barbara. Almost 100 comments later -- let's continue here with several questions:

1) Going away and coming back is argued as a good and bad move. Which is it?
2) Renting versus Owning Your Home is argued as a good and bad move as well. Which is it here versus elsewhere?
3) Will the national mortage collapse mean we all buy homes in Santa Maria and Oxnard but not SB because we are THE corner case of what is going on around everyone else in the country? I say those of us without homes have six months to get our act, and a down payment, together for our perceived family good. What say you?

Clearly, BlogaBarbara is not just about the state of a certain newspaper housed at De la Guerra Plaza...thanks for the conversation, advice and big picture on real estate in our hometown.

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Update: Gaucho's Fail to Make Elite 8

With a 3-1 lead eight minutes into the second half, defending NCAA champions and twelfth seeded UCSB lost 4-3 in OVERTIME to #5 Ohio State and failed to make the Elite 8 today in Ohio.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, this loss is hard to believe but it shows that home field advantage is everything. Maybe they should have won some of those early games in the season...then again, everyone wants to beat the champion. It goes to show that there is parity in the top 20 teams in the NCAA and anything can happen on any day.

Congrats for a great season to the Gauchos -- even though we wanted a repeat. With younger players, don't count them out for the next several years -- a repeat may still be in the making. You heard it here first.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yesterday and Today: Military History at the Biltmore, Miramar and Mar Monte

A frequent reader passed on a brochure from which I offer these pictures of the Miramar, Biltmore and a room shot of "returnee" soldiers from the World War II era. It is a fascinating historical snapshot of Santa Barbara during a very different time of war. The Biltmore, Coral Casino, Miramar and Mar Monte were all military-related sites at the time and the Santa Barbara Cemetary was a military golf club.

These grand hotels cooperated with the Ninth Service Command which worked with soldiers returning from war in returning them to future service. There was medical and psychological testing and assistance available to soldiers but the main thrust of this effort was "rest and relaxation". Wives could even stay with these soldiers for the ten day stay at the Biltmore for $25.00 -- including meals and other expenses.

The brochure talks about a "Let's Be Normal" class that gives you, believe it or not, "the low down" on what normal reactions are when coming back home from war. It also goes into great detail of what is expected of a soldier when visiting Santa Barbara and interacting with civilians.

Clearly, soldiers were a welcome part of our community in that era. Something changed with the VietNam War where the policies of our country began to not be accepted by everyone and there began to be a disconnect which continues to this day of how those who choose military service are viewed in relation to our rather political feelings for or against whatever foreign policy requires the use of force.

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