Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Conversaton Starters: In the News...

A couple of news and conversation topics for the weekend:

  • Craig Smith questioned a Santa Barbara News-Press editorial from yesterday which cries conspiracy in relation to the De la Guerra Plaza redesign and parking in front of their world headquarters.

  • The Santa Barbara Independent reports that the News-Press and the Teamsters are at it again. The Teamsters, who had filed an unfair labor charge earlier this week, are now a recipient of a charge which claims Dawn Hobbs and Tom Schultz impeded delivery of the newspaper. Perhaps we should set up a boxing ring in De la Guerra Plaza....

  • Anyone miss the Amgen Tour coming through town? Was it worth the City of Santa Barbara saying they didn't want to pay for the police time? Probably....but it sure sounds like the race was exciting. Here are some pictures at edHat.

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Anonymous wineguy said...

The Tour is coming to Santa Barbara! Stage Six begins today (Saturday) at 11 am on Cabrillo Blvd. No need to miss anything!

2/23/2008 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Good morning. I was at the Plaza de la Guerra discussion before the Planning Commission. I was the second public speaker out of the chute. You can watch it on City TV by going to the Planning Commission part of the City website.

Basically, (and I hope we can discuss the value of the restoration plan for the Plaza), after many years of discussion, 84 years to be exact, we have finally come to the moment when perhaps we might complete what was left unfinished Plaza project in 1924.

The Plaza has become a creeping parking lot and as one planning commissioner put it, "a Plaza has become an alley". The Plaza is in bad shape. SUVs and traffic have made the Spanish Plaza disappear under double rows of parking and thereby taken away one of the sacred spots of Santa Barbara.

For the last few weeks the Newsupress has been running a series of letters on closing State Street and editorials entitled by such yellow journalism (It's a good thing Travis and Wendy don't want to start a war with Cuba!) headlines as "Rallying to save De la Guerra" or "Tearing out the Heart of Santa Barbara," "Ruining Santa Barbara History.." and other such apparent falsehoods. Today Travis has gone the next step and declared "off with your head" to a Planning Commissioner who is sympathetic to the restoration and invented a scandal to go along with it. He's like Robespierre, shouting "off with their heads" and sending them to the Guillotine.

At the meeting following me at the lecturn, was big bad Barry, the hammer, lawyer extraordinaire, who, all the while dressed in natty pinstripes (no taste these lawyers), came up to the public podium and threatened the Planning Commissioners and anyone who dared think of this Plaza restoration as a good idea. With a dash of hutzbah, he also demanded extra time at the podium. He clearly thought of himself as more important than any of us mere civilians. What a guy! I felt like I was in Rennaissance Italy with the representive of the Malatesta family.

So what's the problem? It's clear the Newsuppress wants its parking places on the Plaza in front of their building but they don't own them, they're part of the Plaza.

It escapes me what the business problem is for them, since the Newssuppress has a large parking lot next to the Plaza, and people would only have to walk an extra ten feet to do their business with the Newspress.

Meanwhile, paranoid and out of his mind Travis, has written in ink in his paper, that this restoration project is all a plot to punish the Newsupress by a cabal of city insiders.
It's crazy folks.

Now I worked on this restoration of the Plaza for a long time and know a lot about it. (If you want, we can discuss the plan). I practically lived on the Plaza for thirteen years. And I want to tell you when Charles Storke had the Newspress, he was for the Plaza restoration. When the New York Times owned the Newspress, they were for the restoration, and even helped out in many ways.

Now times are different, Wendy is here. She sends the nasty lawyer to speak her thoughts at a community discussion. And her editorial writer, sets up a false campaign to link closing State Street with the Plaza restoration, writes poisonous and false information editorials, and calls for the head of a planning commissioner who dares to think otherwise than what Travis and Wendy want.

Needlesstosay: Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga is very upset.

2/23/2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

Viva The Tour Of California! It is an incredible event. You don't need a ticket and you can get within a few feet of some of the best athletes in the world.

2/23/2008 4:52 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

On the Plaza restoration: I honestly believe that part of the objection by the News-Press is based on the fact that the City's Administration seems to be for it. I almost hesitate to say that because you'd think that no person or organization could be that childish or vindictive, but clearly the News-Press has displayed those traits in spades over the past few years. Unlike our newspaper braintrust, I find fault with the City Council on various occasions, but I believe they make the right decisions some of the time.

While I agree that there's some self-interest on the part of the News-Press in keeping a few parking spaces nearby, I think it's basically a contrarian stand that drives their position. It's very difficult for any objective person to look at the ugliness of the cars, delivery vehicles, SUV's , etc. and believe that historical preservation is being respected or maintained by the current set-up.

Here's a chance to beautify that area in a way that strengthens the historical aspect of that beautifully laid-out plaza. If the News-Press is legitimately concerned about historical preservation of their site, they ought to take a look at their eyesore of a parking lot.

2/24/2008 5:55 AM  
Anonymous D said...


Good morning. I am very glad to hear of your support for the much needed restoration of Plaza de la Guerra. Do you know much about the details of the plan? It's a very fine plan, faithful to the past, that will eventually require a few, as Mr. Lavoie put it, just a few tweaks.

Your right about this enormous paranoid response of the Newspress to what is in reality NOT a very big issue from their point of view as I understand it. What shocks me is the extreme tactics, the Newsupress turns to to express their reservations. It's was just a meeting to express public opinion about the plan. Why the mean and nasty lawyer, the campaign of public vilification of council and the commission, the calling for the head of a commissioner who is merely expressing her opinion (no vote was taken), not to mention lies on the part of Travis in his editorials, and the non-objective report of the actual meeting in the News section of the Newsupress.

Things should not be so acrid and mean.

To lose this opportunity to restore the Plaza would be tragic.

2/24/2008 8:03 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Crime in this city is on the rise. The gang issue remains a big problem. There are missing sidewalks and other expensive infrastructure issues all over this city.

To spend any taxpayer money on a frivolous project at DeLaGuerra Plaza would be irresponsible.

Of course, this City Council would never be irresponsible with our tax money.....would they?

2/24/2008 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Obama is creepy said...

Here is another conversation starter:

For Obama to trash, Clinton because she "supported" NAFTA after it became the law of the land, it follows that OBAMA NOW **SUPPORTS** THE WAR IN IRAQ because he voted for every single Iraq War funding measure since he was elected to the US Senate.

What a coniving SOB hypocrite he is. He stands for more of the same and that is not change. Arrogance and jerk are quickly coming to mind the more we see this man in action.

2/24/2008 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Good afternoon Bill Carson!

Why do you think the Plaza de la Guerra restoration is frivolous?

There are security problems there, sidewalks that are in bad shape, heavy usage, and much needed infrastructure improvements that needed for the Plaza. This is quite clear.

Many community events happen there. Have you seen the present electrical system for these big festivals that support our non-profits? How many extension cords can you plug into an outlet? Trash receptacles and proper disposal and recycling systems are also necessary. There are many cultural amenities planned and a reduction in the carbon footprint of the Plaza area.

Please tell me why you think the money would be wasted? Or to use your term: "Frivolous"

2/24/2008 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Westy said...

The DeLaGuerra Plaza project is wholly inappropriate as long as the San Andres park still sits as mess of wood chips and there is no safe place for kids to play on the Westside. Where is the city's sense of priorities?

2/25/2008 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Dear Westy: Good afternoon. I am sure that San Andres Park is a good project and necessary for the Neighborhood.

However, the funds identified for the city to use for the Plaza restoration are City Redevelopment Funds which can only be used in a very precise manner and only downtown.

If you have any questions about this, just ask.

When the Redevelopment Agency was created, it came with a map to which the bonds are tied. So worthy as your project may be, the Plaza restoration is not taking funds that could be used on the Westside.

2/25/2008 12:21 PM  

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