Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watch Out for the Svelte Unionists!

Gosh. I've been trying to hold out on commenting on Travis Armstrong's sophomoric rants posed as editorials for quite some time. In the last month since he spread false rumors about Mayor Blum resigning, I went to Bloggers Anonymous and did some steps. I have respect for anyone that tackles their addiction and totally support 12-step programs AND I'm ready to admit that I have a problem. I read Travis' editorials and they get my blood boiling.

Over the weekend there was a piece on Helene Schneider and her travel expenses that failed to mention other council people that might be running for Mayor. Hmmmm. One council member has been so absent from Travis' rants that it will be no surprise when they are endorsed by the News-Press prior to the election. Even though he kind of made it look like Schneider's husband David might be some kind of paramour in Atlanta, I let that go because at least Travis admitted he had made a mistake in his original piece on the subject -- more than any of us have gotten since he started at the News-Press.

Today, he went after The Teamster's with an accusation that he failed to even make in the content of the opinion piece. What exactly happened? I guess because it is he who is making the accusation -- we are supposed to simply agree that unions are bad. I feel sorry for the reporters who are unionized because they are consistently categorized as "large and intimidating" by Travis. Most of the ones I've seen are actually rather svelte.

The best part of the web version of the piece today though was the following listed below the text which could have been placed above and in the midst:

Need to put dummy text here for the quote. We need to put dummy text here for the pullout. We need to put dummy text here and here and here and here.

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Anonymous hypocrisy is as hypocrisy does said...

I really think TKA is so obsessed he thinks no one knows how to figure out which city council members travel the most and spend the most city taxpayer money.

The leading spender of taxpayer money is hardly Helene Schneider.

8/13/2008 12:13 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I don't really even care who the council member would be that has the most travel as I don't have access to the records...more importantly, other council members should get equal opportunity from TKA.

8/13/2008 6:08 AM  
Blogger spitfire squid said...

...more importantly, other council members should get equal opportunity from TKA.

Wow! Equal-opportunity slandering. This might be a step up for Travis.

8/13/2008 1:53 PM  
Anonymous her head in the sand? said...

Does Wendy McCaw know how terrible Armstrong is making her and her newspaper look? Aren't the fleeing readers costing her millions? Or does she know and not care?

8/13/2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Gettin' Deeper said...

TKA should clue in on the edit instructions and dummy up.

8/13/2008 9:25 PM  
Anonymous JMHO said...

A point is made in the editorial about the teamsters. It is WRONG to pass out negative messaged balloons to children no matter how many ways you look at it.

Makes me want the teamsters to get the heck out of town and leave Santa Barbara alone.

8/14/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous sarashillsfortheteamsters said...

Here's to Mrs. McCaw for battling to keep the Teamsters out. Not many newsrooms are represented by the Teamsters. Why the Teamsters, anyway?

Here's why they suck: if they don't get their membership dues out of the paper's newsroom employees, they want the paper to fail and go away. That's what the fired reporters want too.

Papers can outlast owners, editorial writers, etc., but once they are gone, they don't usually come back or get replaced. And then you are left with ... what? Noozhawk, the Daily Sound? They suck horribly. When the top prosecution witness testified at the Juarez trial, the Sound ran a piece not on the testimony, but on John Palminteri getting cameras back into the courtroom.

Maybe they were ascared of gang retaliation. The N-P covered it. The N-P doesn't suck. That's just a union talking point.

8/14/2008 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Gettin really deep said...

Ditto on the dummy up for Travis drones: your myopic topic rant selection is fine proof you followed TKA's intructions to a T: "...We need to put dummy text here and here and here and here."

Geez not only ignored salient points in Sara's blog (ala TKA) but the fact that the union wouldn't even be in the picture were it not for Wendy McCaw's professional and ethical ignorance.

8/14/2008 10:35 PM  
Anonymous notthattoomanycareanymore said...

Tsk, sarashills. "If they don't get their membership dues out of the paper's newsroom employees ..."

That's a demonstrably false talking point even the SBNP management doesn't try anymore. The Teamsters are in this for the union dues? Let's look at some facts:
No employee has yet paid a dime in union dues -- that only starts to happen after a contract is ratified. And then, for a paper this size, the dues obtained from the small newsroom won't compensate the Teamsters just for the investment they've made over the past two years until, oh, probably 2040.
No, the Teamsters' motivation here isn't pecuniary.

8/14/2008 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Not this time said...

sarashills, Why the Teamsters? Because they were willing and able to stand up to the bully McCaw and her attack dog lawyers and liars.

Let's do the math. The Teamsters have spent more than they can ever hope to gain in dues from the SBNP fight, and they are at the negotiating table trying to get a contract for the newsroom, so how do they want the paper to fail? If McCaw were willing to negotiate in good faith, the Teamsters would not have to be constantly present and regularly asking the NLRB to condemn McCaw.

The fired reporters want to come back (and they want their backpay); how do they want the paper to fail?

The News-Press doesn't have to suck, it just acts like it wants to right now, by allowing its staff to be depleted, by not hiring a quality managing editor, by allowing its politics and institutional peccadilloes to infect its reporting, by letting its local coverage be diminished and its working atmosphere to be poisoned.

Someday Wendy will realize that good employees are essential for producing a good newspaper, and that good employees must be treated well to continue to produce. Until then, only blind shills will defend her.

jmho, handing out balloons ain't "intimidation". That's a News-Press nutjob hysterical talking point.

8/15/2008 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Read Less About It said...

Wow! Speaking of declining readership. Blogabarbara gets less than ten comments on a posting about the News Press and TKA. I think Sara has more to worry about than Wendy.

8/15/2008 3:23 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

read less about it -- nice. thanks for your support! I don't have anything to worry about as I haven't spent very much money at all to prove I am right :)

8/15/2008 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Read Less About It said...

Sara, you may not have spent much money as long as you consider your time worthless. (Time is money.)

Are you proved right? That's subjective.

In any event, bashing the NP has got to get old and perhaps Blogabarbara is approaching that point with this issue.

Oops. I upped your comment count!

8/15/2008 1:39 PM  
Anonymous sarashillsfortheteamsters said...

Okay so maybe saradoesn'tshillfortheteamsters.

When anyone says it's not about the money, the exact opposite usually turns out to be true.

I heard there was a move afoot in the N-P newsroom to break with the teamsters and bring back the Newspaper Guild. What ever happened with that?

8/16/2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Native Son said...

Re: Bolting the Teamsters and bringing back the Newspaper Guild:

I've asked some of my former brethren about that and they laughed so hard that milk came out of their noses. We dropped the Newspaper Guild years ago while negotiating with the NY Times suits because it was the most toothless, inert union organization in the world. The Teamsters may be the most ruthless union organization, but the attitude in the newsroom is that you've got to fight fire with fire. And Wendy's been playing with a blowtorch for years now.

But the feelings are also fairly fatalistic ... they know the ship is going down -- that's become pretty obvious to the few souls left inside that empty building, putting out a newspaper that is now as thin as the Daily Sound. But they figure that they might as well collect their paychecks while they're still cutting them and take Wendy down with them.

From these ashes, maybe somebody will start a new newspaper ... or the Daily Sound or the Indy will grow a pair and give this town more than just cursory coverage (i.e., business page, sports page, daily home delivery, etc.). It'll happen some day, although probably not until the day when the only thing remaining of Wendy are her entrails.

8/17/2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Art said...

On the subject of failing newspapers with inexperienced publishers at the helm, why not open a thread on the insulting appointment of the new publisher of the Los Angeles Times, a former executive with Direct TV--and no newspaper experience whatsoever. Times are tough for real journalists, readers and the fourth estate. Meanwhile politicians get away with anything they like without anyone investigating--like what is the entire travel budget and what's it going for? One Smart Growth conference after another? Or does anyone bother to attend an event with another point of view? Would the city even pay if a Council Member asked to go to such a conference??? But the questions go unasked and unanswered, and we are much less as a result.

8/17/2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous editress said...

Just noticed a great subhead on today's B-1 section on the Nation & World, about the "withdrawl" from Georgia--I guess it's from South Georgia, right, y'all?

8/17/2008 3:49 PM  

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