Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How do we stop the widening of 101?

You asked for it you got it -- a reader asks how we can stop CalTrans from widening 101....shoot, I'm just hoping the Castillo underpass stays dry. All kidding aside, it seems to me that the majority of people think that a wider highway will solve our problems much like taking out the stop lights at 101 and State was supposed to ease traffic years ago. It seems to me if you build it they will come.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Where's the Bias? Continued...

Former News-Press Editor Bob Guiliano understands the word "bias". The Santa Barbara Independent has reprinted an email Guiliano sent to Mayor Marty Blum which outlines a disturbing conversation Guiliano had with Ms. McCaw and Mr. von Wiesenberger.

Essentially, they told Guiliano that Anna Davison's article on a downtown renovation project quoted Mayor Blum too many times and that she didn't want Blum quoted in her paper. When asked how this shows bias -- McCaw intimated that it "went against our editorial page". Davison later got fired for "bias" and Guiliano was fired without cause.

I'm sorry, where's the bias in the newsroom?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where's the bias?

This is from one of our readers:

The Women's Literary Festival was written up twice in the News-Press before the Feb. 24 event. The first time was Feb. 11, in a books column; the second was a Feb. 21 story about the festival.

In neither article was the name of author and guest speaker Starshine Roshell.

Another example for the SDLG Center for Union Busting Studies - It seems that banishing bias is only applicable if you want to wage a PR campaign against a union or get rid of reporters who voted for it....


State Street Update: Forth and Towne Opens and Closes?

A citizen stringer noticed this in the news and passed it along:

They just opened up the Fourth and Towne in Paseo Nuevo...

SAN FRANCISCO – August 23, 2006 – Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) announced today that Forth & Towne, the company's latest apparel concept for women, plans to open at Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista and at Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara. The two stores are expected to open in November, in time for the holiday shopping season.


and now it's being shuttered?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apparel retailer Gap Inc. said Monday it will close its 19 Forth & Towne stores following a 18-month pilot program.
The move will affect about 550 workers, which could possibly transfer to jobs at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, Gap said.

...The 19 Forth & Towne stores, located in 10 U.S. markets, are expected to close by the end of June 2007, Gap said.


Is the News-Press Indispensable?

Considering my last post -- maybe not....but a reader suggested that we discuss the comment below on a new thread....makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

The News-Press has taken some hits, but it's still the indispensable news and information source for Santa Barbara.

Boycotting it and refusing to speak to its reporters will only choke off the flow of information that's needed in a free society. While I can't support everything Wendy McCaw has done in the past few months, it's time to give her the opportunity to fix things instead of being locked in a state of war.

News Off the Press Offers Alternative News

News Off the Press asked me to let you know about their new service which aggregates local news as RSS feeds -- it's a good solution to having a place for alternative local news.

I tested it out and it looks easy to use and understand....thanks for the new service and the link!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mark French Ignored? or Coincidence?

From one of our readers today:

Interesting to see the write up on the Lady Gauchos not include any quotes from the team or the coach, Mark French. The Titans coach did have one quote. Will this lack of local media exposure end up hurting recruiting or will any recruits even know about the team's boycott of the local paper?

I doubt his boycott will make a difference with recuriting but good for Coach French for standing up for John Zant. If the News-Press is ignoring him, shame on them for showing their bias in the newsroom. If it's a coincidence, aren't they showing bad reporting skills in not interviewing our own coach -- something that is de rigeur in sports writing?

Update: Several readers have retyped the last few words of the article -- I was working off the above comment -- it said: "Gauchos head coach Mark French refused to speak to the News-Press at the postgame press conference, and asked the News-Press staff reporter to leave the media room".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Two NP Press Operators Fired

In another case study for the SDLG Center for Union Busting Studies -- The Indy reported that two press operators at the News-Press printing plant were fired....both of whom had not signed last week's full page ad in the paper. Yolanda Apodaca -- now known as "The Angel of Death" among the remaining staff (according to Craig Smith's blog) -- gave them the news. One of the workers, who had been there 26 years, reported that they were fired for not following a policy that they had never been informed of...where is the NLRB?


Friday, February 23, 2007

Down for Maintenance

BlogaBarbara will be down for scheduled maintenance and down time all day Friday :)

All comments posted during the day Friday will not show up until the next day. BlogaBarbara will return on Saturday. Thanks for your patronage!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cabalista Barnwell the New Blum?

Our newest cabalista, SB Council Member Brian Barnwell, got skewered today by Travis Armstrong who got so low as to bring up a personnel matter related to Barnwell's wife when she was working for the News-Press.

Interesting that on Wake Up Wendy Wednesday this "opinion" piece comes out which used the words "free press" and "independent editorial voice" like Ampersand is being criticized without cause. He made a very clear attempt to play Barnwell off of Council Member Williams like Brian doesn't play well with others. Also, yet again -- Armstrong does his bit of revisionism and tries to make Barnwell a friend of developers. Much like with Blum, if you make an unfounded accusation enough times, it must be true. Rather than show proof of his accusations, Armstrong plays the ad hominem game like a pro and simply says that his proof has been recorded already in the News-Press. "Independent editorial voice" must be the theme of the week over at the News-Press. How Karl Rovian of them...

At the risk of being accused of being "moody and impulsive" by Mr. Armstrong -- I don't care if he expresses his opinion but I'd be much more willing to hear him out and respect his writings as just opinion if he backed it up with facts rather than invective. As I've said before, if things start changing on these counts -- I will be the first to acknowledge it.

Conversations he has had with people like Barnwell are hearsay and shows a lack of professionalism on his part -- as I doubt Barnwell was told that the conversation would be saved for future use. The dog-bite episode Armstrong says "raised questions"....well, with whom? Now Barnwell is a friend of developers -- well, where's the beef? Break it down for us! Bringing up Camee Cohee -- who was an excellent reporter -- and revealing her personnel file was another act of betrayal to the newsroom and to his readers. Are the reporters who are left at the News-Press to assume that they will be the subject of his ridicule someday on the editorial page? Does he himself have no ill will toward her or Brian because of their history? -- if so, he should acknowledge his bias. Today's editorial shows that he is not committed to eliminating bias from the newspaper.

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Rally Roundup

A place for your thoughts, accounts, etc. on the rally held today at DLG Plaza.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stalled Contract Talks for Teachers

The Santa Barbara Independent reported recently that hundreds of Santa Barbara teachers protested at a school board meeting over stalled contract talks despite state-mediated negotiations. The "S" word was actually used -- teachers mentioned going on strike for a 1.5% increase which they say equals about $50 per month.

I would love to hear from some SBTA members on some comparative pay studies to districts of similar size. We all know it has to be tough to be a teacher and afford to live in Santa Barbara -- but what are the numbers? And, if I may, how do the numbers match with declining enrollment figures?

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Former Levy Partner Declares Bankruptcy

The Pacific Coast Business Times reports that former Bill Levy partner Roy Millender and his wife have declared bankruptcy because of the failed La Entrada project. It also seems that Santa Barbara Beach Holdings may be next.

With over $100 million in liabilities found in La Entrada -- who could blame them. The PacBiz Times says that court filings suggest the Millenders are of relatively modest means although they do own 45% of The Flavia Group. There will probably be a few more people finding themselves in financial ruin because they counted on La Entrada being built. I feel sorry for them but is it the risk of doing business?

Alternative Links to Local News

An email has been forwarded recetnly which provides alternative links to news for those that are no longer subscribing to the News-Press -- it's a good list of websites with news. I'm unclear who originated it, but appreciate them for putting all of these together. Of course, if you are a News-Press subsciber you can get past the "paywall" of their website, but with just a few reporters now you might as well get your AP and McClatchy news stories straight from the wires.

I am sure there are more and please feel free to include them in comments. If someone wanted to take on a great project and had the time, this would make a great shared bookmark page for

Edhat -
Coastal View -
Daily Nexus -
Montecito Journal -
Santa Barbara Daily Sound -
Santa Barbara Daily Sound Forum -
Santa Barbara Independent -
KCSB (UCSB Radio – FM 91.9) -
Pacific Coast Business Times -
Goleta Valley Voice - (no paywall!)
Coastal Woman -

Lompoc Record -
Santa Maria Times -
Santa Ynez Valley News -
Santa Maria Sun -
Latino Today -

KCOY TV (Channel 12) -
KEYT Local TV News (Channel 3) -
KSBY TV (Channel 6) -

El Tiempo -

Santa Barbara Winemakers -

BlogaBarbara -
Craig Smith’s Blog -
The Independent -
Goleta Observer -
Sound Off Santa Maria -
Santa Barbara's Blog -
Santa Barbara Sheriff's Blog --

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chapman Papers Stolen from Racks

I saw in the Los Angeles Times that all 2,000 of the school's newspaper run were stolen from racks last Thursday....interestingly enough, the headline piece had to do with the News-Press Mess and their faculty member, Susan Paterno. Conspiracy? At the very least it is certainly an odd coincidence....

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Let's Help Jerry Roberts!

Fellow Blogger Cookie Jill has posted a fundraising letter for Lawyers Alliance for Free Speech Rights who want to help Jerry Roberts. Those of you that are willing...this looks to be a good cause.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Community Post: What's the Endgame?

This community post is from from Michelle Dunoire....thanks for the topic Michelle, it's a good one.


There hasn't been much discussion about the endgame of the News-Press situation.

Here's my take on how this plays out.

Once the NLRB rules that the News-Press must re-hire the workers terminated after the pro-union vote, Ms. McCaw will shut down the entire operation.

No court can force her to keep the News-Press open because the XIIIth Amendment bans involuntary servitude....

Community Post: Operation Cold Shoulder

For Immediate Release – February 15, 2007

Wake-Up Wendy Wednesday
A Rally to Launch Operation Cold Shoulder

Wednesday, 21 February 2007
12 noon to 1 pm in De La Guerra Plaza, downtown Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA – Organizers expect hundreds of people to rally and show support for the newsroom employees of the Santa Barbara News-Press. Nearly 50 writers, editors, and other staff have been unfairly terminated from their jobs or have resigned out of principle since the well-known meltdown of this community institution last July. This demonstration will be an opportunity for people to advocate for worker rights and a credible free press that actually reports on itself. Creative picket signs and costumes are encouraged.

Speakers will include:
· Brian Barnwell, Santa Barbara City Councilmember
· Elizabeth Robinson, KCSB radio and community TV journalist
· Bill Connell, the Hot Dog Man
· Kathleen Rodriguez, sports fan
· John Zant, 38-year veteran sports reporter recently terminated
· Newsroom Employees with personal stories, updates, and announcements

This rally aims to inspire action. Operation Cold Shoulder will be launched as a community response to the continuingly abhorrent behavior practiced by the News-Press, such as terminating loyal employees who write the truth, refusing to meet with neutral community leaders, intimidating local small businesses, suing other journalists doing their job, declining to publish well-reasoned but contrary opinions, allowing the important news to go unreported, and other insults. The News-Press is violating the public trust as part of its business plan, and now needs to be shunned and given the Cold Shoulder until it becomes the valuable and meaningful newspaper and community asset it once was only 8 months ago.

Operation Cold Shoulder includes these and other actions that everyone is encouraged to follow:
  • Continue cancellations of newspaper subscriptions.
  • Urge advertisers to stop buying ads in the newspaper and at the News-Press controlled radio station, KZSB-AM.
  • Find the news in other newspapers and media, such as radio, TV, web sites, and blogs.
  • Suggest that individuals, public agencies, community organizations, and political leaders stop sending news releases and announcements to the News-Press, and stop giving interviews and returning calls and emails.
  • Ask the public to stop placing classified ads, calendar listings, garage sale notices, wedding announcements, and obituaries in the News-Press and instead place them in other publications.
  • Request non-profits NOT to invite the News-Press society-page writers to their charity events.
  • Encourage news sources, individuals, and organizations NOT to participate in any of the KZSB radio programs, activities, or public service announcements.
  • Write letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing concern that the News-Press controls a radio station and a newspaper in the same town.
  • Raise awareness that the News-Press owns and controls the other local publications Goleta Valley Voice, El Mexicano, and Blue Edge Magazine.
  • Picket every Wednesday at 12 noon through the end of March.

Operation Cold Shoulder and this rally are a community-based campaign separate from the Union activities of the newsroom employees. This campaign is by local people concerned about the continuing decline of this daily newspaper of record for the Santa Barbara area.

News-Press Actions Escalate

David Ferry wrote a good piece in The Daily Nexus about the News-Press escalation in their mismatched campaign to elimate bias in the newsroom. Full page ads signed by employees, busting into union meetings, trashing cabalistas and even perhaps, maybe, probably sending threatening messages to yours truly (not publishable) is part of the "fighting back" plan. If this is a war, it is one they cannot win because they are hopelessly outnumbered.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Would you like to sign our ad? By the way, today's payday, right?

This just in from a citizen stringer -- it seems none of you read the News-Press anymore! I'm surprised I didn't hear about this earlier...

Today's paper has a full page ad extolling the wonderfulness of working at the News-Press, signed (many illegibly) by about 30 employees (?). There are no printed names under the signatures.

The best line starts "We thank Wendy McCaw for... ."

Any thoughts as to whether the employees signed on willy-nilly?

Is this war?

Craig Smith's Blog reports that News-Press lawyer David Millstein and their CPA busted into a Teamster meeting with News-Press advertisers as if it had a public comment period. Yesterday, the News-Press FAQ on the News-Press Mess made headlines at The Independent. As a reader who provided a possible community post just pointed out to me:

What are the courts doing? I am past of the point of shock when I read the business wire statements from News Press spokespeople, or the memo sent yesterday to editorial staff. I am also disappointed when pro-journalist commentary on this blog and the Indy becomes name calling. One person admitted to using many names to post anti-NP messages. That may be his or her right, but does it lend our side credability?

Actions are escalating because there's been no legal repercussion to put a stop to them.

As reported by Craig, Wendy McCaw told Sarah Sinclair that "This is war, you're either with us or against us". Days later, Sarah found out that a private investigator was monitoring her at a newspaper convention in Vegas. So, who is this war against? Anyone and everyone whose loyalty is questioned? History is full of despots who took the same view -- the problem today is that the nation state is now represented by the corporation.

Our citizen editorial went on to ask:
I am so disappointed by the actions of NewsPress management. I am also increasingly disappointed by the actions, or lack of, by our legal system. All the firings, resignations, money going into the pockets of lawyers, private eyes,and security to the amount that I will never see in my lifetime are the result, I feel, of a painfully slow legal system.
Where is the NLRB?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Leaked SBNP Memo Posted at Indy

Although several bloggers, including myself, chose not to run it -- The Independent Media Blog has published an SBNP memo that turned into an FAQ on management's intransigent stance on what is happening at the newspaper.

My favorite one asked "why the News-Press is portrayed so negatively". The answer? As if written by a high-powered political consultant -- "Lies, misinformation and spin". The answer went on to say the Teamsters will say or do anything to get elected and that former employees left in "temper tantrums" and are now spreading misinformation and the b-word (that would be 'bias').

Da Nile ain't just a river in Egypt.

Community Post: Listen to My Words

Here's a list of quotes that was anonymously given to me. It's a very interesting to read them in chronological order and see where we are today. The author says they culled them from News-Press archives which mainly consisted of messages from Ms. McCaw printed in the News-Press.

I find these interesting because her actions are in direct contradiction to what she keeps telling the community.

Here are the quotes:

"... I plan to leave the day-to-day management and editorial direction of our paper to the professionals who run it. An essential reason for buying the News-Press is to preserve its independence and integrity." 7-22-2000

"...I will continue to leave it up to the newsroom to make the news judgments on which you, our readers, depend." 5-27-2001

"Our strength, however, continues to be the people who work at the paper. They are part of our community and work hard to provide you with the news you need to keep informed..." 1-1-2005

"As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on improving the newspaper." 1-1-2005

"...we firmly believe that "the best is yet to be" for the Santa Barbara News-Press." 7-13-2006

"I respect the traditions of journalism and believe that the best way to run a paper is to hire good people and let them do their jobs, and that is exactly what I am doing." 7-19-2006

"To make the News-Press an even more professionally and personally rewarding place to work, I welcome your comments, recommendations and feedback so we can have an open dialogue to work collectively and collaboratively as we further improve the quality, coverage and accuracy of our paper." 7-19-2006

"We are in the process of hiring a new editor who is a strong journalist with impeccable credentials to be the buffer between the newsroom and the publisher." 7-25-2006

"While I don't believe that union representation is in the best interests of our employees, the paper or this community, I respect our employees' rights to make their own decisions." 7-25-2006

"I will always do what I think is best for the News-Press and our community." 7-25-2006

"I will personally continue to work in 2007 to ensure that you receive the best local coverage that can be provided, not only this year, but beyond." 1-1-2007

TKA Attacks Former Employees

I've been asked to start a thread on the Armstrong editorial today which attacked former employees. Haven't seen it since I don't have a subscription anymore but the first few lines listed on the News-Mess web site opinion page make it look like a doozy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Herald Columnist Says NP 'Tramples on Standards', 'Makes Mockery of Itself '.

EdHat found this link to Monterey Herald columnist John Yewell has written an opinion piece on the News-Press Mess saying:

Journalists may feel threatened by the Internet illusion of free, reliable reporting. But it is a different kettle of fish when our struggling industry makes a mockery of itself, trampling on standards, insulting the First Amendment, and reinforcing the unfortunate notion held by some that we are no better than our bloggy imitators.

Agreed -- bloggers can't take the place of paid journalists unless we can find an economic model that works. That won't happen unless the above becomes common place...

Rude Shirts at the Thunderdome

UCSBs Atheltic Director wrote an open letter of apology in the Daily Nexus regarding some t-shirt language with racial overtones that showed up during this weekend's game against arch rival Long Beach. He didn't provide much information in the letter -- did the Gaucho Locos go too far in their top ten list? or was it another fan group? What was on the list?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Community Post: Video Blogging and Citizen Journalism

Possibly for the first time in local sociopolitical blogging, videos have been embedded into the posting, debuted by the Indy Media Blog post about the News-Press employees demonstration held last Friday.

Notwithstanding the horizontal trumpeteer and the hiccups, Drew Mackie recorded video snips and added them to his blog posting. Currently, 28 videos about the News-Press tragedy are on the web. Which video appears first is somewhat related to the number of historic hits for that particular one.

The best and most consistent way to find all these is to search Google Video (not Web, but Video; look carefully at the top of the search box at Search on the obvious phrase: "Santa Barbara News-Press" (just "news-press" too often gets the newspaper in Florida with the same name).

Searching Google Video also picks up YouTube, which is now owned and operated by Google and gradually is absorbing all of YouTube. This link should work to reveal the current search results.

Currently with such a search, 28 total videos about the local News-Press so far are there, posted by Bob Guiliano ("BobbyLuigi"), David Pritchett ("David Pritchett"), and Drew Mackie ("kidicarus222"). These videos on the right of the screen usually also include a text description with links to other coverage.

Are such "Citizen Journalists" (or even nonresident alien journalists) and their words and videos going to add even more impetus for the accelerated demise of the News-Press and/or other print newspapers?

Thanks to You -- BlogaBarbara Hits 250,000 Page Views Since February 2005

After a record 5,999 hits this week, BlogaBarbara hit a quarter of a million page views since we made our first post in February of 2005. That's quite an accomplishment and I want to thank all of you for your support over the last two years. The rise of citizen journalism and commentary on the news may not be any more prevalent in our country than it is in Santa Barbara. Our friends at EdHat, Craig Smith's Blog, George's "I'm Not One to Blog, But...", Santa Barbara's Blog, and The Independent Media Blog have all contributed to each other's success and ours here at BlogaBarbara. I am sure they would agree with me that we appreciate you for blogging with us!

What's next? Ironically, a community post came my way as I was writing this piece -- it has to do with the rise in video blogging. Just this week, The Independent began showing video with their news coverage of The Organized demonstrations at DLG Plaza and at Barry Capello's office. EdHat has also had some creative use of video through YouTube. I'm not so sure Sara DLG can provide video and stay anonymous so I don't think you'll see much video content here -- but I applaud those that do.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Demonstration Video

Videos of yesterdays demonstration are available from David Pritchett and our friends at EdHat. Today's rally is at noon at DLG Plaza.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

From The Organized...A Call to Action

Dear Friends,

Six more News-Press reporters were illegally fired yesterday and
today, bringing the total to eight since late October. The latest
reporters to be fired were among those who displayed a banner over a
freeway bridge on Friday, urging drivers to "Cancel Your Newspaper
Today." Wendy McCaw, the News-Press owner and co-publisher, said they
were "engaging in disloyal conduct," but we know they were fired for
engaging in union activity.

The eight of us who have been illegally fired will be demonstrating
today (Tuesday) in front of the News-Press from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30
p.m., making a lot of noise and carrying signs and banners. We don't
expect you to come out today on such short notice. But we hope you
can join us tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. We'll be in front of the
paper on those days from 3 - 5 p.m.

We are protesting for free speech and the right to unionize the
Santa Barbara News-Press newsroom, and we are demanding reinstatement
and back pay.

We have lots of signs. Any noise-making equipment you can bring,
such as air horns or bullhorns, would be welcome.


Join us in De la Guerra Plaza, on the sidewalk in front of the News-Press

Wednesday, Feb. 7, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 8, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 9, beginning at Noon. 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Thank you.

The organized News-Press newsroom staff

Evans, Schultz and Zant Fired Today

The Santa Barbara Independent and Craig Smith's Blog are reporting that Melissa Evans, Tom Schultz and John Zant were fired today from the News-Press.

Meanwhile, in yesterday's post -- Nelville Flynn comes back after a several week hiatus and tells us that the News-Press needs to protect itself against acts of sabotage. He says they are committed to creating an unbiased and capable staff but how do you do that when anyone in their right mind would be afraid to work for you? I can respect Nelville's intention to protect his(?) business but cutting off both legs yesterday and going for the arms today means that you won't be able to write tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hobbs, McManigal and Kuznia Fired

As usual, Craig Smith got the scoop before me. I wish the best to Dawn, Barry and Rob -- over the Summer and into the Fall I would say to myself that this couldn't get any worse, but then it did. It's hard to be shocked, however, when we know that this war of attrition is a war that only management can win (a topic for the SDLG Center for Union-Busting Studies). Yet again, free speech is shot down by the News-Press if it doesn't serve their needs. What those needs are at this point for a newspaper that has been under fire, we can only this the tipping point? or just an inhumane way for News-Press management to find cost-savings for a newspaper that is clearly losing advertisers and subscribers? You decide.

Sidewalk Shuffle for Starshine

Craig Smith reports on Travis' encounter with Starshine Roshell outside the News-Press's a comment from "susano" -- not clear there is recourse here (and don't think it's important in the grander scheme of things) but it's an interesting question:

"Craig Smith reports that Starshine Roshell was recently standing in front of the News-Press building saying goodbye after lunch with a former co-worker. Travis told her to "get off the premises" and sent a security guard to take her "off the property."

My question to all of you is that isn't the sidewalk in De la Guerra plaza public property? And doesn't Starshine have legal recourse to sue Travis and the News-Press for this threatening behaviour? Just wondering...."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Goleta Council Race Spends $300,000

Between Candidates and PACs, over $300,000 was raised and spent on the Goleta City Council race in which all three incumbents were ousted. The primary recipients of these funds, Eric Onnen and Michael Bennett, outdistanced all other candidates in fundraising. The closest was Roger Aceves -- still some $10,000 in donations less than Bennett and almost $19,000 less than Onnen. The incumbents in the race were pretty much all grouped just behind Aceves.

The late contributions to Onnen and Bennett, and some to Aceves, is only part of the story. The real story is in how the Chamber-backed South Coast PAC (recipient of a $10,000 contribution from Veneco -- with an issue coming before council very soon) and the mysterious Goletans for Fiscal Responsibility raised and spent about $150,000 during the campaign in favor of Onnen and Bennett. How are they not beholden to these interests?

Goleta, no matter how much it has grown, is still too small for this kind of money to be spent. I, for one, hope this isn't a trend that continues although now that the dam has been broken -- the water will surely continue to flow.

Friday, February 02, 2007

KEYT Covers Reporter Protest

Tonight's 11 o'clock KEYT news shows several past and present News-Press reporters protesting on a highway bridge asking people to cancel their subscriptions -- interestingly enough, it doesn't show on their web site as of my last review. Still, most of the reporters were obscured from view and wearing sunglasses. Can't blame them considering what they might face in the morning....perhaps KEYT thought the same thing. As usual, the News-Press declined to comment.

Community Post: Community Access TV

Here's a community post from David Pritchett:
In his by-line editorial or opinion piece published on Thursday, 01 February 2007, Travis Armstrong of the News-Press hits several topics but concludes with more accusations --long on innuendo and short on fact-- against the local community-access TV station (cable channels 17 and 21). This actually is a non-profit organization, with a variety of funding sources, by the name of Santa Barbara Channels, and sometimes is known by its older name, Community Media Access Center.

Here is an excerpt from that editorial:

CHANNELS 17, 21: I've been contacted about the operations of Channels 17 and 21, the channels that are in essence publicly supported through cable franchise agreements with local governments. Complaints include concerns about possible favoritism and inconsistent broadcast policies that allegedly might reflect the whims, grudges or politics of a few. Hap Freund, at the channels 17 and 21, responded to one question about the management by saying, in part: "Our attorney believes that the personnel matters you alluded to are privileged.

Of course, one could imagine that the editorial writer just has a grudge against our local community-access TV, and its Executive Director, Hap Freund, because several local videographers have produced nine or ten independent video documentaries about the travails of the News-Press, and the rise of the Teamsters Union, since the meltdown at the newspaper that started last July 6th. The schedules when those videos are shown on channel 17 often is posted as a comment at Blogabarbara as information for readers.

The irony with Travis Armstrong criticizing community-access TV is that he and/or the News-Press publishers always have been invited to provide comments in any of the videos produced in the past and in the future. The phone numbers and email addresses of the producers or TV station are no secret, and most of the events in the videos happened conspicuously in Plaza De La Guerra immediately outside the News-Press building. The most recent video about the NLRB hearing last month even had the videographer outside the Court yelling to request a comment from the News-Press representatives walking away, including Travis Armstrong himself.

Because it is all about non-commercial access, the News-Press management might even be able to get their own show on Channel 17 if they felt their own radio station and newspaper were not enough ways to spin their message. Maybe they would bump into Starshine Roshell there, who hosts a show on 21 called SB Connections.

Another irony, or hypocrisy, is that the editorial jab at Hap Freund implies some conspiracy about him not releasing the personnel records requested by Travis Armstrong. Followers of the News-Press mess might recall past incidents, reported in Santa Barbara Independent and elsewhere, where News-Press attacks on its former employees Jerry Roberts and Melinda Burns included a disclosure of information (true or false) from their confidential personnel files in an attempt to boost the public perception of the newspaper and apparently gain some leverage in a lawsuit against Roberts.

What say you all, readers? Any comments?
  • Should the News-Press complain about community-access TV as the "rival media"?
  • Are they just jealous and envious that more and more people are getting their news and culture from these TV programs?
  • Is Hap Freund just part of the "cabal" and not revealing personnel records simply because the News-Press dropped Channels 17 and 21 from the printed Sunday TV listings?
  • Does anyone really care what Travis Armstrong writes any more?

SMHS Student Protest for Teacher Pay

KEYT covered the San Marcos High student sit-down protest today over teacher pay. Students will face consequences for skipping class but what is the bigger lesson here? Sound off or on here....