Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, October 31, 2008

A History of Dirty Tricks?

A reader sent the following images from a MySpace page claiming that this is State Senate candidate Tony Strickland -- one picture clearly shows him very happy that he had stolen a few lawn signs during a political campaign. It certainly looks like him.

Years later -- perhaps his tactics and techniques have gotten a bit more sophisticated with mailers which prey on Proposition 13 fears and call other candidates names.

Unfortunately, the lower level dirty trick of stealing lawn signs will always be around. Candidate wives even do it too (although the following might have been a misunderstanding).

I got this from a different reader about the race in Goleta (with an appropriate YABBADABBA):
I was at the Storke Drive-In dropping off signs for John to put on the pole and I was talking to the guys working on the driveway. They told me a woman in a Bronze Honda SUV had come and taken the signs on Tuesday. As we were talking, the van pulled up and I walked toward my car and the SUV. I was going to get paper to write down her license number. She got out of the car and I said I understood she had taken our signs. She said she had permission to have signs there and we didn't so she was removing them. I explained that John had given us permission and that she was stealing. She said she only checked on the Drive-In and across from Costco. She asked my name and I told her and asked hers. It was Don's wife Deanna Gilman. The guys told me afterwards that she had also taken down the signs at the gas station on Hollister. The guys wrote down her license for me. It is YABBADABBA. The guys will be working the rest of this week and Monday of next so we should be safe during the day.

John came by and I told him she said she was going to call him to check that we had his okay. Neither he nor I expect that to happen. I guess they don't have any help and have to do it all themselves.

They are talking about the property owner of the gas station on Fairview who also owns the old drive-in property across from Home Depot on Storke. Deanna Gilman should probably check before she chucks...

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Programs in Action at Gevirtz School

A long time reader sent these events along -- they look pretty interesting. --Sara

*UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School presents Programs in Action, three dynamic, free, and open to the public demonstrations of the state of teaching *

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education will provide the
local community with three free, open-to-the-public demonstrations of
the state of teaching in a series called Programs in Action. The events
underscore the Gevirtz School’s partnerships around the UC Santa Barbara
campus and with local schools, while illustrating how the school brings
innovation, imagination, and inspiration to the field of education.

The events are:

*Chemistry for 5th Grade: Motivation, Inspiration, and Achievement in the Physical Sciences*
Thursday, November 6, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Physical Science Building North 1652, UCSB

Dr. Petra van Koppen, Senior Lecturer of chemistry and biochemistry and
faculty partner with the Gevirtz School, will demonstrate how UCSB is
using inquiry-based, hands-on workshops to enhance the performance and
enjoyment of fifth grade students in the physical sciences; methods
which are then being expanded upon by teachers in some of the area’s
most diverse schools.

*Model Programs for Pre-Schoolers*
Wednesday, November 12, 9 am – 10 am
Harding School, 1625 Robbins Street

Dr. Sally Kingston, principal of Harding Elementary School in Santa
Barbara, will be our guide as we observe Harding’s Reggio pre-school and
three other pre-school programs. Visitors will see the new Pre-K –
Kindergarten playground designed by early childhood education experts
and learn from Dr. Kingston how Harding’s pre-school programs are
integrated with K-2 teaching and learning.

*Using Smart Classroom Technology to Improve Teacher Preparation*
Tuesday, November 18, 12 noon – 1:30 pm
Phelps Hall 3518, UCSB

Dr. Tine Sloan, director of the Gevirtz School’s Teacher Educa­tion
Program, and Dr. Willis Copeland will offer an interactive demonstration
of how the Gevirtz School uses cutting edge technology, from smart
boards and huddle boards to video and clickers, to improve teaching and
student learning.

Because of the intimate nature of these events, space is limited, the
School asks that attendees RSVP to Nikkia Pannell
( or 805-893-5994). Each event will feature
discussion and refreshments.

Programs in Action is one component of the Gevirtz School’s year-long
celebration of “100 years of preparing educators.” The Santa Barbara
State Normal School – the predecessor school to UC Santa Barbara – was
established as a two-year college program for training manual arts and
home economics teachers in 1909. The Gevirtz School prepares teachers,
educational researchers, psychologists, and school leaders who are
committed to improving public education — and thus every child’s
experience in the classroom and beyond — through research and collaboration.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Follow Up to October Goleta Surprise...

The Daily Sound wrote the following about the press conference decrying the Citizens for a Healthier Goleta. In it Gilman and Blois correctly decry some negative mailers that Friends of Goleta have sent -- at least they filed paperwork though.

Note: forgot to hit publish this morning! Thus the cross reference in the last post's comments....


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HBJ Endorsements Truly Impress

There are endorsements in politics you expect -- like the Daily Nexus endorsing the Democrat in the race.

There are also the random endorsements, or set of endorsements in this case, that you don't expect. I read in one of Ventura's main blogs, Making Waves, that Hannah Beth Jackson has received the endorsement of all 19 Ventura County school superintendents. Wow. That does not happen very often.

The Nexus endorsement put it perfectly, albeit sensationally, when they said:
Jackson looks even better when pitted against Tony Strickland. We fundamentally disagree with almost everything Strickland stands for. If he is elected, we’re moving.

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October Goleta Surprise?

It turns out the Citizens for a Healthier Goleta hasn't filed their pre-election report. Big surprise! Just who is this committee that purports to represent Goletans? I'm still wondering why they never talk about health care with a name like that...word on the street is that Jean Blois' was late too because it was sent by mail. The law is pretty clear that it is supposed to be filed on time. Here's a press release from the Easton camp. -- Sara

Goleta Planning Commissioner Ed Easton and Former Mayor Margaret Connell will hold a press conference Tuesday, October 28th at noon at Goleta City Hall. There they will announce details related to an investigation of the "Coalition for a Healthier Goleta" by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

The Coalition has failed to file required financial disclosure statements with the County of Santa Barbara and the City of Goleta for two consecutive filing periods. This means that with one week left before Election Day, Goleta voters remain uninformed about the sources of contributions that pay for the groups advertising.

Easton and Connell will comment on recent advertising, paid for by the Coalition, that make unfair claims about Easton and Connell, benefiting candidates Don Gilman and Jean Blois. The Coalition is led by prominent Gilman and Blois supporter Roy Zbinden, who ran unsuccessfully for the City Council in 2004.

Copies of the television advertisement will be made available to reporters at the Press Conference

More details to follow...

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NLRB to prosecute News-Press Again

A press release from the Teasmters...Sara

The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board announced after an investigation into the recent discharge of Santa Barbara News-Press reporter and copy editor Dennis Moran, who also serves on the negotiating committee of the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, that it will prosecute the News-Press for again violating federal labor law by firing Moran.

"It is regrettable that the News-Press continues to punish its conscientious, hard-working employees because they support, and are active in the Union", said Ira L. Gottlieb, of the firm Bush, Gottlieb, Singer, López, Kohanski, Adelstein & Dickinson, counsel to the Union. "Managment's intimidation tactics are blatant and transparent, but they will not deter the employees who still courageously support the Union and each other in their steadfast efforts to achieve a fair employment contract to improve the working conditions at this newspaper.

"Management will continue to lie about, and misrepresent what's going on at and away from the table, and attempt to frustrate the newsroom employees, but no one is persuaded by distortions from a recidivist labor outlaw. The employees will soldier on." added Gottlieb.

The General Counsel's office announced it will issue a complaint in connection with this violation soon. The General Counsel earlier announced that it will prosecute the News-Press for bad faith surface bargaining, for discontinuing its annual employee evaluations policy, and for failing to provide requested information required for bargaining. The General Counsel is still deliberating upon and investigating several other unfair labor practice charges filed by the Union against the News-Press, including hiring temporary employees to undermine the bargaining unit, refusal to bargain over mandatory subjects of bargaining, and interfering with the NLRB's investigative process. Still pending before the NLRB in Washington are some 15 unfair labor practices found by an Administrative Law Judge in December, 2007 to have been committed by the N-P, including eight unlawful discharges, surveillance, interrogation, and threats of discipline. The total of illegally fired unit empl!
oyees has now increased to 9, not including a supervisor who was also found to have been illegally fired by the paper.

The GCC/IBT won a secret ballot election in September, 2006, winning the right to bargain collectively with the News-Press over terms and conditions of employment for news department employees. The News-Press stalled the onset of bargaining for over a year, and then bargained in bad faith - that is, with no genuine intent to reach an agreement with the Union. In two separate hearings conducted by two Administrative Law Judges since the election, News-Press key witnesses Scott Steepleton (Associate Editor) and Travis Armstrong (Editorial Page Editor) were found not to be credible witnesses.

The NLRB has not yet set a hearing date for prosecuting the News-Press on any of the outstanding charges slated for prosecution.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yes on 8 Campaign Threatens Businesses in the Name of 'Traditional Marriage'

We've had a little bit of back and forth around Proposition 8 and Select Staffing's email to employees. Select Staffing even responded to the post.

Today I got a tip from a reader about a letter the Yes on 8 campaign is sending to businesses that have given a donation to the No on 8 campaign. Here's what one person who received the letter said:
“On October 20, 2008, I received a certified-mail letter for the Prop 8 campaign requesting I withdraw my support of Equality California (EQCA) and demanding that I donate the same amount of money that I donated to the NO on Prop 8 campaign,” said Jim Abbott, Managing Partner of Abbott & Associates/Abbott Realty Group of San Diego, Calif. “The Prop 8 letter was very threatening if I chose to continue to fully exercise my right to support the NO on Prop 8 campaign.” from the No on 8 Website

Read the letter and tell me if you think it sounds like extortion or is threatening...maybe because the "respectfully requested" it isn't?

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Voting Clarifications from Elections

Got this nice response to my question regarding what to do if one wanted to vote for just one or two candidates in the recasting situation with the school board race. I am impressed I got an email from them on a Saturday. Who said SEIU workers don't work hard enough? -- Sara

The SB School Districts contest has three Governing Board member seats to be filled. Voters can vote for up to three candidates. A voter does not have to vote for three. This means that whether they vote for only one or two candidates those votes would still be counted toward selecting candidates to fill the three seats. The Elections Office is offering voters affected by the disqualification of the candidate Kate Smith to recast their vote for the SB School Districts contest only if they cast a vote for Kate Smith. If a voter cast a vote for Kate Smith the voter has two options depending on whether they have the ballot in their possession or have already returned their ballot to the Elections Office.

Voter Options:

1) If the voter still has their ballot in their possession and they have voted for Kate Smith they can choose to simply place an "X" through the oval next to Kate Smith and not choose select a vote for another candidate. If they choose to select another candidate they must fill in the oval next to their choice and write “Yes” next to the candidate’s name.

2) If the voter has already returned their ballot to the Elections Office we are offering them the opportunity to recast their vote for the Santa Barbara School Districts contest only. This must be done no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 28, 2008.

Ballot Correction Example: The voter votes for three candidates for the SB School Districts contest. One of the candidates selected is Kate Smith. The voter subsequently receives a notice from the County Elections Office informing them that Kate Smith has been disqualified as a candidate. The voter wants to correct their ballot and select another candidate instead of Kate Smith. The voter must place an “X” through the oval next to Kate Smith, fill in the oval next to their new choice and write “Yes” next to that candidate’s name. The other two candidate selections made by the voter are not affected and will still be counted.


Hannah Beth Jackson Endorsed by LA Times

From an email Hannah Beth Jackson's Campaign sent out last night...Sara

Today The Los Angles Times strongly endorsed Hannah-Beth Jackson for State Senate, stating:

"The Times has no problem making its choice. We wholeheartedly back Jackson. The environmental and education credentials she built up as a member of the Assembly will be put to good use in the Senate, and we're counting on her to help work through California's budget mess."

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More on Kate Smith's Disqualification

I received a very nice email back from the Elections Office saying that Ms. Smith had been registered at one address when she filed her candidate papers and then registered again at another location which was out of the district after the nomination papers were already filed.

I did ask for further explanation on the process as their descriptions of what to do when one recasts their vote assumes a voter will vote for all three candidates. I hope to hear from them on Monday about that issue.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Breaking News: Kate Smith Disqualified from School Board Race

Many of you got a letter today from the Registrar of Voters today saying that Kate Smith has been disqualified from the School Board race because she is not registered to vote in the district.

Although I doubt many of you voted for the gadfly, you can recast your vote if you already voted for her and sent it in by going to the Elections Office at 130 East Victoria Street (or in Santa Maria or Lompoc) before 5 PM on October 28th.

If you marked your ballot and gave her your vote and haven't sent it in, you can change your vote by making an "X" over the mismarked oval and then mark your preferred choice and write a legible "YES" next to the candidate of your choice. Do not initial or sign your name.

It is not clear from the letter if one has to write "yes" if you only vote for one or two of the other candidates only...I have already emailed the Elections Office to find out what one would do.

Smith told KEYT that she has a ten year old letter from the district saying she lives within the boundaries...why wasn't her registration checked when she turned in her candidate papers? I bet it was and there is a good explanation but I am unaware of what that could be.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cryptic, Ransom-like Note from Coalition for a Healthier Goleta

Erstwhile former Goleta Council candidate Roy Zbinden sent what I will playfully call a "ransom-like note" to the Santa Barbara Independent. It doesn't have a thing to do with health care.

Why the sensational description? The Indy said it best -- "At present, the citizens of Goleta still do not know who belongs to this concerned group, and more importantly, who is paying their bills." I can just imagine Nick Welsh carefully opening the note with latex gloves...when reporter Ben Preston went to Zbinden's house, the ajar door was closed and the deadbolt locked. Why the conspiracy? Why did they bother communicating with the press? Perhaps the "we" is misplaced as Zbinden used the first person at an interesting place in his missive:

Goleta residents want things fixed — and they want leaders who can make decisions based on what is good for our city and our residents, not on any personal bias or agenda.

I have been a Goleta resident for more than thirty years. I want to see our city thrive.

The Coalition for a Healthier Goleta has come together as a group made up of long-time active Goleta residents to voice our concerns in an effort to educate Goletans about those important issues.

Fixed? What does that mean? If this wasn't enough, Zbinden pulled a "I won't talk to the 'liberal' media" card, saying "This will be the Coalition’s only statement regarding our goals and activities. Our materials speak for our issues and views".

He should stop taking his cues from the McCain/Palin campaign -- transparency is what works in politics today. The world is too open to do otherwise. Joe the Plumber for instance turns out to be a donor to McCain from before the debate. Also, Sarah Palin and family have appeared to get a $150,000 wardrobe shopping spree -- including $75,000 at Neiman Marcus -- for what? A month? Today, she also said that the Vice-President is "in charge" of the the Constitution lately? To be fair, Joe Biden hasn't given a press conference in a longer amount of time than Sarah Palin (although he has clearly given many times as many in his lifetime). Still, when will they learn?

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Upper State Street Update: Luis Vuitton Moves In, La Cumbre Management Says We Need 'Shopping Experience'

The Daily Sound reports that Luis Vuitton has moved in to La Cumbre Plaza.
Alice Love, senior marketing manager for La Cumbre Plaza, said the addition of Louis Vuitton is one more example of how the plaza provides a shopping experience that can’t be found anywhere on the South Coast.

“What we’re doing is concentrating on a compelling mix, which is first to market stores,” Love said, adding that first-to-market means stores like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton can’t be found nearby.

I'm not so sure that the La Cumbre Plaza makeover into some kind of mini-Rodeo Drive is compelling or very useful to the typical Santa Barbaran. This kind of 'shopping experience' perhaps can't be found here because it is the wrong change for a shopping center so far from Montecito or even the downtown area. My first-to-market prediction is that these stores will be loss leaders as the Santa Barbara address may mean to them that they can lose money and they will be forced to close within a few years.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Lobbying firms paid by Ventura County Board of Education rack up big charges for taxpayers, show little results

A press release from the ventura County Democrats -- it's a little long but chock full of information. Afterwards, check out Strickland's donation from Wal-Mart on ElectionTrack -- do you think there was any relationship to the story below? -- Sara

The Republican-controlled Ventura County Board of Education’s (VCBE) contract to pay two out-of-town firms more than $396,000 to lobby on behalf of the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) has produced little more than additional bills for taxpayers and a possible partnership with a private Christian College in Indiana which could help build the college a new $8.5 million building.

Since 2007, the VCOE has enlisted the services of Anchor Consulting, LLC, of Alexandria, Va. and Capitol Venture, LLC of Sacramento. Each of these lobbying firms received $10,000 a month from the VCBE. The board majority originally voted to use money garnered from leasing educational broadband services to pay for the lobbyist expenses. Now it is using money in reserves.

According to an article in the Jan. 16 edition of Roll Call, Anchor Consulting dreamed up a plan for the VCOE to partner with another one of its clients, Grace College, an evangelical Christian college in Indiana, to obtain No Child Left Behind (NCLB) money to fund a project for at-risk youth in Ventura County.

“The biggest chunk of the budget would be a new $8.5 million building on the Grace campus that would be used to host VCOE at-risk youth for four sessions of a two-week summer camp,” the Roll Call article states. “Grace would continue to use the building throughout the year.”

Currently, no earmarks for the at-risk youth program have been placed in the re-authorization of the NCLB measure, which was stalled in the last legislative session.

“No Child Left Behind is underfunded as it is,” said VCBE Trustee Mary Louise Peterson, a critic of the lobbying contracts. “And we’re trying to take money away from a program that is underfunded to give to a private college?” she asked.

The board’s other paid lobbying firm, Capitol Venture, recently billed nearly $800 in expenses for a meeting with Wal-Mart executives to talk about a Regional Occupational Program, Peterson said. “We’re their only education client.” This bill was in addition to their monthly $10,000 fee, Peterson said.

How were these two firms selected?

VCBE member Chris Valenzano, a former legislative aide to Tony Strickland when he served in the Assembly, proposed in September of 2006 that the board consider hiring lobbyists, according to board minutes.


Records from the California Secretary of State indicate Joseph G. Yocca of Capitol Venture made a $1,000 donation to Republican Tony Strickland in October of 2006 during his failed race for State Controller. Anchor Consulting also made a $1,000 donation to Strickland’s race at the same
time. Strickland is now running for State Senate District 19, which serves Ventura County and portions of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles County.

Not long after, in February of 2007, according to board minutes, VCBOE member and Ventura County Republican Central Committee member Dean Kunicki said he was considering six lobbying firms for the County Schools Office. He did not provide costs at the time he presented his recommendations. In March of 2007, a majority of the board voted to pursue contracts with these two lobbying firms. No other firms were presented for the vote.

The $396,000 contract is one of the largest expenditures for educational lobbyists in the state. Only a handful of other county offices have hired lobbyists.

Capitol Venture was also involved in work on a failed bill authored by Assembly member Audra Strickland last year. According to the Ventura County Star, AB911, introduced on behalf of the VCOE, would have equalized the amount of money counties receive for students in Regional Occupational Programs. The bill would not have helped the local schools, former Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Charles Weis told the Star, “It would have taken money away from us.”

Recent online reports filed on behalf of the Ventura County Board of Education for the 2007-08 state legislative session show no lobbying activity reported in the second, third and fourth quarters. A report from the lobbying firms presented to the board blamed partisan politics for the lack of activity on behalf of the county schools.

Two candidates currently running for seats on the Ventura County Board of Education will bring much-needed change. Dr. Mark Lisagor is running for District 3, which serves Camarillo, Somis, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, Meiners Oaks, Oak View, Ojai and Wheelers Springs. Dr. Ramon Flores is running for District 5, serving Oxnard, Colonia, Ocean View and El Rio.

“The unwarranted spending by the current board on dubious lobbyists with little or no accountability must stop. As a trustee, I will be an effective advocate for public education in Sacramento and our nation’s capitol,” Lisagor said.

Jan. 16 Roll Call article:

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

PR: Strickland 'Illegal' Mailing

This from the HBJ campaign -- there's more where this came from, I'll report on that story soon. I actually haven't gotten the mailer. If someone wants to scan it -- I'd be happy to post it. -- Sara

Strickland sends out illegal mailing in effort to trick voters

Strickland mailer designed to look like it is coming from Jackson.
Illegally fails to disclose actual sender.

Tony Strickland has reached a new low in his dishonest campaign against Hannah-Beth Jackson. Yesterday, voters in the 19th District received a mailing from Strickland’s campaign titled “Hannah-Beth Jackson’s Economic Plan.” Inside, the mailing contained Strickland’s predictable false charges about Hannah-Beth Jackson and taxes.

The mailing was clearly designed to look like it was coming from Hannah-Beth Jackson’s campaign.

The problem is that nowhere on the piece of mail is the actual sender (Tony Strickland’s State Senate Committee) disclosed. State election law requires the name of the committee to be prominently placed on the outside of every piece of political mail.

We know it comes from Strickland because it has his return address on the piece – postal regulations require a return address. The piece could not be mailed without one.

“Tony Strickland believes he can blatantly violate the law because he knows that the only consequence will be a fine, levied months after the election. Strickland has no regard for the law,” stated Jackson consultant Parke Skelton.

“This was not an inadvertent failure to put the proper disclaimer on the mailer, it is an obvious attempt to confuse voters,” Skelton continued.

This is the prevailing section of the State’s Political Reform Act:

§ 84305. Requirements for Mass Mailing.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no candidate or committee shall send a mass mailing unless the name, street address, and city of the candidate or committee are shown on the outside of each piece of mail in the mass mailing and on at least one of the inserts included within each piece of mail of the mailing in no less than 6-point type which shall be in a color or print which contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible.

“We will be seeking legal remedies to ensure that this illegal election fraud is appropriately punished,” Skelton concluded.


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Juarez Verdict Gator Rolls to a Post Mortem

An Anonymous comment, which I rejected on several counts due to our community guidelines, gave me a rather hard time about not doing an immediate post on the Juarez verdict.

The truth is I've been thinking about it a lot and I hope you have too. Was it just and correct to try him as an adult? Was the verdict fair? Apparently prosecutor Hilary Dozer liked the result but Detective Mike Brown didn't...each for very important and valid reasons. At 15, Juarez will be 37 when when he gets out of prison. I believe it is just but also believe it is a long time -- and can imagine nothing being there for him when he gets out.

Operation Gator Roll just yesterday involved 400 law enforcement officers from 18 more clearly emphasize the point that the city will not tolerate gang violence. Even though there must be a light bulb joke in there somewhere, all of us would have to agree that law enforcement is now doing something about the gang problem -- even if the timing is a bit too perfect for the newspapers.

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Deceptive Proposition 4 Deserves No Vote

An interested reader sent me some information on Proposition 4 I found interesting as it hasn't gotten a lot of press. The San Jose Mercury News calls it "the most deceptive measure on California's ballot this fall." Here's a few points about Proposition 4 to consider for your ballot:

1) It puts teenagers in real danger

A scared pregnant teen who can't go to her parents can feel trapped and desperate. Instead of seeking the counseling and safe medical care she needs, she may choose an unsafe back alley, illegal abortion, go across the border, or even contemplate suicide.

For more information on the ill effects of this measure, visit this link

2) Alternate family member notification and judicial bypass are unreasonable

You can see how Prop. 4 would work on a practical level at

It's deceptive to call this "family notification." Right now a teen can go notify another adult, but Prop 4 would close off that option. Under Prop 4 before a teen could notify another family member, she must first accuse a parent of mistreatment and sign written statement saying she fears physical, sexual, or severe emotional abuse - no matter what her circumstances really are. This would trigger a family investigation by authorities. This so-called notification is nothing more than a form letter sent to another person who may not even live in the same state. There is no requirement for counseling and no requirement that the substitute adult help her when she is in crisis.

Alternatively, a teen could avoid parental notification by appearing before a judge. However, this is unrealistic. If a teen is pregnant, unable to go to her parents, and already desperate, she isn't going to navigate court bureaucracy to reveal the most intimate details of her life to an unfamiliar judge in an impersonal courthouse. She doesn't need a judge; she needs a caring counselor and safe, quality medical care without delay. Proposition 4 provides none of this.

3) Prop. 4 is rejected by experts and research

The California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the California School Counselors Association - all major organizations who work with teens every day OPPOSE Prop. 4 because it threatens teen safety. You can visit and post for the full list.

In addition, research has shown that laws like Prop. 4 do not work. For instance, a Bixby Center brief highlights the dangerous actions teens are likely to take if parental notification in implemented in California. Visit to read this brief and for other research on laws like Prop 4.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Community Post: Yes on H and I

A very nice reader who wasn't sure how to post this asked that I share this with you -- Sara

Vote yes on Measures H and I (a parcel tax in the Santa Barbara Elementary and High School Districts) on the ballot this November (you only vote on Measure H if you live in Goleta or Montecito). This is a really important opportunity to provide our schools with local funds that will help make up for cuts in revenues in recent years and add funds for program enhancement. There is no easier way for us to raise up to $ 1.6 million dollars in revenue for our schools over the next four years for valuable programs our students want and community members have said they support (in a recent survey). See our website at for more information.

Even if you don't have kids in school, you can benefit from the passage of these measures through enhanced property values, a better prepared workforce and high quality performances and programs (concerts, science fairs, math superbowls, plays, etc.) by students that we can all enjoy. Here's the programs that would receive support if these measures pass:

Measure H is for Santa Barbara area junior high and high schools (Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Goleta) and Measure I is for Santa Barbara elementary schools (Santa Barbara only ). Voters living in the City of Santa Barbara will be voting on both measures; voters in Goleta and Montecito will only be voting on Measure H.

Measure H seeks an investment of $23 per year per parcel from property owners in our secondary district for a period of 4 years to:

* Supplement math, science and technology education;
* Enhance music, art and theater programs at the junior high level
* Supplement secondary foreign language courses;
* Reduce ninth grade math class sizes.

Measure I seeks an investment of $27 per year per parcel from property owners in our elementary district for a period of four years to:

* Supplement math and science education
* Hire fulltime classroom music teachers
* Enhance computer and educational technology

These "taxes" are a small investment that will reap great rewards for our students. If Measures H and I pass, the money that comes in will immediately be used to benefit students at ALL of our schools (including charter schools) —students would have new opportunities for enrichment and education by the Fall of 2009. Both of these measures require a number of controls including a citizens’ oversight committee, annual independent financial audit, and other accountability procedures required by law.

Please vote for Measure H & I.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Owning v. Renting Debate a Year Later

A long-time reader reminded me the other day that it was just about a year ago that we had two posts and over 200 comments on the issue of owning versus renting.
my memory keeps remembering and reviewing those conversations on your blog where all those Santa Barbara real estate maniacs kept on pushing the wisdom of buying all those houses and leveraging money for the obvious utopia that would follow...Do you ever think about that? I wonder what they would say now?

I was reading how people in Riverside are abandoning their homes and clean up crews are finding expensive items and even left-behind passports and birth certificates in the aftermath. My, things have changed....

No, I don't think that will happen here...but if the renter advocates had been saving their money and getting out of debt, aren't they in a great position to buy today? Prices in Santa Barbara have been down by upwards of 35%, no? When homes can be $100,000 less than they were in December of 2007 -- why not buy?

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Word Play: Sarah Palin

Thought any of you who live near the Wilcox/Douglas Family Preserve might appreciate this -- I'll try to find a Democratic one to balance the laughter -- any ideas? This could be a great NPR puzzle.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Independent Endorsements Questioned

I've heard more than a few candidates question The Indy's endorsements this year -- especially since Indy management apparently did not conduct interviews with all candidates. To be fair, I don't know if they interviewed anyone. Still, either course of action would be a marked change in policy from more years than I can remember.

There has always been a ringer in The Indy endorsement that is a bit of a surprise. This year one might look at the SB School District race where Annette Cordero has hardly campaigned and two other candidates who are hardly known are getting the nod over State Superintendent Jack O'Connell and Rep. Lois Capps endorsed Ed Heron. Cordero, who deserves another term, does not look like she wants it. Heron, who is too polite to be one of the ones who wrote to me, is someone I have been watching because of his broad-based, bi-partisan support.

In the Carpinteria City Council race non-endorsement endorsement, they say that Joe Armendariz has brought "intelligence, civility, good faith, and common sense to the [Carpinteria City] Council proceedings." Their reasons for endorsing the other candidates were good but their positive reasons for not endorsing Armendariz don't make sense.

Has the polarization witnessed by otherwise God-fearing people on the national level trickled down to Santa Barbara like so many tax breaks for the rich? Errr, maybe not as they never trickle down but you get my point....this hurts to say as I have good friends at The Independent but doesn't The Indy not interviewing candidates make them no better than COLAB endorsing Tony Strickland?

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Voter Registration "Slamming" in Ventura County

As a follow up to the recent post -- see the talk about voter registration slamming at the Ventura County Star.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sierra Club Announces Endorsements

Sierra Club endorsements just announced this morning. -- Sara

Today Fran Farina, the Co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Los Padres Chapter Political Committee, announced the Chapter’s endorsements of candidates in local races.

• Congress – Lois Capps
• California State Senate – Hannah-Beth Jackson
• California State Assembly – Pedro Nava
• Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor – Doreen Farr
• Goleta City Council – Margaret Connell and Ed Easton
• Goleta Water District – Lauren Hanson, Bill Rosen, and Jim Marino
• Carpinteria City Council – Chuck McQuary and Kathleen Reddington

In announcing the endorsement, Ms. Farina said, “We are pleased to endorse candidates who have demonstrated leadership on the issues our Chapter cares about most - the growing challenges with land use, water availability, coastal protection and energy development.”

The Los Padres Chapter of Sierra Club urges all of its members to be actively involved in local elections, especially the upcoming November 4th election.

To learn more or to become involved, please see the local website

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dem Dirty Tricks in Ventura? or CRP Payback?

General Counsel to the California Republican Party Charles Bell has sent a cease and desist order (PDF of his letter)to the chairs of the San Bernadino and Ventura Democratic Party chairs over a series of voter registration drive dramas that are unfolding in these targeted counties. Some of the key points/allegations:

  • Threatening to arrest or otherwise interfere with voter registration activities in San Bernadino, Riverside and Ventura Counties.

  • Interfering with voter registration activities by offering a $5,000 reward for reporting illegal incidents of violations of voter registration law.

Apparently, one of the above resulted in a violent incident in Ventura County which is documented in a letter to Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten. The US Attorney's Office got one too for good measure.

These three counties have had issues around voter registration drives for many years and have been the targets of the respective political party's for even longer. There's a few problems with the above allegations -- but it would take a post three times as long as this to even get started.

I'm not clear the Democrats had much to do with the alleged assault on a Republican voter registration worker, and I find that action unconscionable (even if the Republican worker really did dupe the guys' daughter -- see the Totten link above for an interesting read). I'm also not sure $5,000 is enough for anyone to try to create problems to report to the Ventura Democratic Party who may not even have $5,000 in the bank right now. Then again, desperate times call for desperate measures.

What I do know is that the Strickland Fracas and the rather silly police and media report follow-up likely did not help matters. Perhaps Republican payback for Ventura Democrats is a beach?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Rest in Peace: Vince Falcone

Long time Democratic activist and husband of Council Member Iya Falcone died of a heart attack early this morning. I heard about this from several sources during the day and there is now a story on EdHat about our community and Council Member Falcone's loss.

Vince was a good man, a devoted husband and a loving father. His contributions to our community were many. I'm sure many of you will want to voice your good memories of Vince herein. I think I speak for all of us in that our hearts go out to Iya and her family. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Vote-by-Mail Begins Monday. What does the early campaign cycle mean for democracy?

Those of you who are registered to vote-by-mail will likely see your ballots on Monday or Tuesday in your mailbox. County Clerk Joe Holland says our county may reach a majority of voters through mail in a Daily Sound article,

Expanded vote-by-mail programs has meant earlier direct mail schedules in recent years. I've already received several from Hannah Beth Jackson's State Senate campaign -- including one that questions Strickland's use of the environmental torch and Erin Brokovich who seems to be an enviro-for-hire when representing Strickland.

It has also meant earlier and earlier fundraising -- which is a problem for some of the smaller races like school board, water board and even city council. Candidates and measures end up having to ask for contributions over the early part of the summer when most of the public isn't concentrating on their race. This will especially be an issue in non-presidential campaign years and makes it harder to defeat self, PAC, Union or industry financed candidates.

Although vote-by-mail programs are great for democracy -- they have an unintended effect of expanding the election cycle. Does it also make it harder, however, for Mr. Smith to go to Washington?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CPF/LWV to Hold Election Forums

Upcoming election forums. -- Sara

Don't miss these free, non-partisan

3rd District County Supervisor Candidates
Goleta City Council Candidates
Measure A
Goleta Water Board Candidates (see time correction below!)

3rd District County Supervisor Candidates Forum
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
@ Goleta Valley Community Center, Auditorium
5679 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Co-sponsored by League of Women Voters Education Fund
& Citizens Planning Foundation

Goleta City Council Candidates Forum
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
@ Goleta Valley Community Center, Auditorium
5679 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Co-sponsored by League of Women Voters Education Fund
& Citizens Planning Foundation

Measure A Forum
Saturday, October 4, 2008
@ SB Public Library, Faulkner Gallery
40 E. Anapamu St, Santa Barbara
Sponsored by Citizens Planning Foundation

Goleta Water Board Candidates Forum
Monday, October 6, 2008
(NOT 6:00-7:30pm as previously emailed and in our 9/25 Indy ad)
@ Goleta Valley Community Center, Auditorium
5679 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Co-sponsored by League of Women Voters Education Fund
& Citizens Planning Foundation

For more information on any of these forums,
email or call (805) 966-3979.

Dr. Dave Endorses Pappas

From a press release -- an announcement from Dr. Dave Bearman. -- Sara

Ever since the closely fought Wallace-Chamberlin race in 1992, the 3rd District has been very evenly divided. This divisiveness has not been good for County government or appreciated by the voters of the 3rd District. In fact, the incumbent Brooks Firestone ran as a uniter. Unfortunately like George Bush, Firestone turned out to be a divider. The voters’ displeasure in his perceived failure to act even-handedly was reflected by the 3rd place showing of Firestone’s hand-picked candidate, David Smyzer in this year’s 3rd District primary.

There are many reasons to support Steve Pappas for 3rd District Supervisor. Not the least of which is that he is a true independent (he is registered as Decline To State). He will make decisions on what is best for all of us in Santa Barbara County, not what is best for North County or South County, or the Republicans or the Democrats. An added bonus is that of the two candidates for this office, he has the most experience in elected office(6 ) years to (0 ) and has the most business experience.

We are all Santa Barbara County residents. Pappas being an independent allows him to act in the best interest of Santa Barbara County without hewing to any particular party line. The vast majority in the 3rd District want to see open space preserved. They want ag zoned lands to remain ag zoned. They want Ag to prosper and want what development does occur, to occur in urban settings supported by adequate infrastructure. So does Steve Pappas. He is not tied to special interests. As our Supervisor Steve Pappas will be the more effective in representing the whole of Santa Barbara County and the Third District.

Santa Barbarans want a County that supports business while requiring these businesses to act responsibly, not leak oil over pristine land, tear up scenic freeways, or bully politicians with plans for building mega resorts. Steve’s work in fighting development in the Santa Ynez Valley, his experience in public office and business acumen, give him the tools to effectively protect the environment without creating a hostile business environment. Steve Pappas will implement safeguards that both protect the beauty of Santa Barbara’s unique natural gifts while not unduly hamstring business.

Steve Pappas has stood up to developers. He worked creatively to prevent a 15 acre farm in Los Olivos from being turned into 150 condos. He has tried to work with the Chumash to hold them accountable for the environmental impacts of their development and to require them to act at least as responsibly as a normal developer.

We need someone who has the savvy and experience right now to use every avenue to fight the Naples development and development on the Bishop Ranch. Steve Pappas is that person.

A person with the business experience of Steve Pappas has a much better chance of working out a transfer of development rights (TDR) arrangement than the relatively inexperienced Doreen Farr. Her own supporters, in their campaign material, have damned her with feint praise. They characterized her as a nice lady who is a hard worker and is willing to learn. That is all well and good, but we should demand a candidate with a solid track record of experience and results in work ,community activism and public office.

Of the 5 candidates who ran in the primary there was no argument that Farr had the least elective office experience, whereas Victoria Pointer and myself had the most, followed by Steve Pappas. Pappas can hit the ground running. He is in a unique position to represent the best interests of both the Santa Ynez Valley and the Goleta Valley. The Independents said we need someone who can communicate with the ranchers. Pappas has strong backing from this element of the electorate.

While Farr has some impressive endorsements, it is not they who will be serving us as Supervisor. Let’s look at Ms. Farr’s track record. According to her campaign material, she served on the Planning Commission for 2_ years, was active in PANA and before that got a stop sign put up. That’s about it, folks. Just because an ad shows her standing next to Lois Capps, no one is confused that Farr is Capps.

• Goleta Decision
The policy decisions Doreen Farr made as a community activist are cause for concern about her judgment. Farr has made some poor public policy decisions and has yet to publicly acknowledge these errors in judgment. She supported the city of a third of Goleta even though the County’s fiscal analysis and the LAFCO required independent fiscal analysis of this truncated city of Goleta pointed to a high potential for a financially marginal city. Farr still insists she made the right decision.

• Revenue Neutrality Agreement
When asked about the Revenue Neutrality Agreement (RNA) Doreen Farr has consistently said she had no hand in developing what has been deemed the worst RNA in the state. Somehow she thinks that excuses her support of the city of Goleta at the time of its formation. The fiscal underpinnings of a city are one of the most important aspects to consider in forming a new city. Goleta’s political leaders are now clamoring for a dramatic revision of that RNA. In my mind Farr should have been aware of the fiscal implications of the RNA before throwing her support to the boundaries of the current city of Goleta.

• Isla Vista Governance
Her position on Isla Vista governance is hard to comprehend. Her supervisorial campaign literature says she supports some vague sort of self-government for Isla Vista. What does she mean by that? Most analysts believe that a freestanding city of Isla Vista would be even less financially viable than the present abbreviated city of Goleta.

When there was a real chance to give Isla Vista self-government and have it be a part of Goleta, Farr opposed IV’s inclusion in the city. This is even though the independent fiscal analysis showed a city of Goleta including Isla Vista would have had 14 million more dollars in surplus at the end of 10 years than a city with the boundaries approved by LAFCO. And this is not counting the 25 million dollars Goleta West bank account, plus the 1.5 million per year in ad valorem property tax which goes to the Goleta West Sanitary District. The city of Goleta would have gained these assets if the Goleta Now proponents had included Isla Vista within their boundry. This would have allowed this larger city to absorb the functions of the sanitary district and dissolve the Goleta West Sanitary District.

• The Environment
Farr and many of her supporters made a flawed fiscal, political and environmental decision in choosing the current boundaries for what is now the city of Goleta. The Goleta Now organization correctly reasoned that support for their new city would go down in Goleta if they included Isla Vista. What they did not calculate was that the overwhelming support out of I.V. would have led to an even larger favorable vote than the current city received. More importantly this larger city of Goleta would have been more financially viable and have been more environmentally conscious than what we got. We would not be facing the prospect of 900, 1200, 3000 – who knows how many – new houses on the Bishop Ranch and the rezoning of other ag lands within Goleta.

Steve Pappas, Victoria Pointer and I represent the emerging less partisan trend in government. We must move away from confrontation between Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left and look to leadership in the middle, a leader who has the best interests of the people at heart, rather than the interests of one political party or another. If that’s what you want, Steve Pappas is your man.

I support Steve Pappas for Third District Supervisor. I urge Third District voters to study the two candidates. After doing so, I believe most of you will join me in going to the polls to vote for Steve Pappas for Third District Supervisor.


David Bearman, M.D. (Dr. Dave)

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