Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chelsea to Visit SBCC

This from one of our readers:

Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton is appearing tomorrow, Friday February 1st at 2:15pm at Santa Barbara City College. The appearance is part of her Our Voice, Our Future Tour of college campuses across the country.

The forum will be held at SBCC on the main campus.

For more information please contact William Bairamian at 818-632-2250 or send an email to

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Carbajal Attends State of the Union

I received a community post from an anonymous reader related to County Supervisor Salud Carbajal's attendance at the State of the Union on Monday night. The reader called it the "State of the Lame Duck" and wondered about Carbajal's recent right wing associations including a recent award from the Building and Industry Association County of SB Industrial Association as Public Servant of the Year and his apparent cozy relationship with News-Press Editor Travis Armstrong. "Does Salud Carbajal have any principles and scruples left?" is the question anonymous wanted to pose.

I don't agree with Anon's assessment. Why? I'd go to the State of the Union if I had a chance -- whether or not I agreed with who was President. There is something about the office and the once in a lifetime opportunity that would call any of us to action.

What I could almost have an issue with is the fact that the County's Communications Director sent the following email with a very fancy ASCI signature.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Santa Barbara County Board Chair attends President's State of
Union speech tonight/ Santa Barbara County Communications Director
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 12:07:35 -0800
From: Boyer, William

Here is a great news tip for you. Salud Carbajal, Chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors (and First District Supervisor), will be “under the dome” tonight in the U.S. Capitol to attend, and hear live, in person, the President of the United States give his annual State of the Union address. This is a great opportunity to localize a national story. Should you want comment from Supervisor Carbajal, call him on his cell phone (after the speech, of course,) at (805) YABBA-DABBA.

Supervisor Carbajal is back in Washington, D.C. on County business meeting with government and elected officials on County issues and was invited to attend the State of the Union speech, one of the most important events to attend in Washington.

/*/W/*//*/illiam H. /*//*/B/*//*/oyer/*/
Communications Director
County Executive Office
Santa Barbara County

Perhaps a bit on the political side considering it is a non-County related event before an upcoming reelection bid for Carbajal? Careful to say Carbajal was on County business anyway, I guess you have to give /*//*/B/*//*/oyer/*/ the benefit of the doubt. ASCI-man should be more careful though as we get towards election season.

As for Salud -- again, I don't blame him for going. I'd give anything to see Obama ignore and turn away from Hillary live and in person. More power to him.

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Daily Sound Puts Craig Smith and Three other Columnists on "Hold"

It's an interesting euphemism to say that four columnists were "put on hold" at The Daily Sound yesterday. Craig Smith writes about it as honestly as possible considering the circumstances. He even shows a "jailbreak" screenshot of an email on his iPhone on T-Mobile.

Like Craig, I wish the best for The Daily Sound and hope this doesn't signal bad tidings for Santa Barbara's other daily newspaper.

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Oops! It happened again...when will they learn?

Maybe now the North County Supervisors will listen to Supervisor Janet Wolf -- an EdHat citizen journalist reports that Greka did it again. Greka just chose a new CEO -- should we give him the benefit of the doubt? I hope he gets their act together....


Friday, January 25, 2008

Does Judge Hill Deserve a Red Card?

The Independent Voices had a fascinating op-ed piece by former prosecutor and trial lawyer Kim A. Seefeld on the Eric Frimprong rape case. It seems Frimprong, a Ghana native who played on the 2006 NCAA National Champion Gaucho mens soccer team, is being convicted of rape without due process and a preponderance of evidence.

She says his DNA was not found on the victim who had an incredibly high drug alcohol level and that her boyfriend's DNA was found on her. She said she and Frimpong wrestled with her on the sand on Del Playa -- but there is no evidence of such. Frimpong wasn't read his rights and hardly understood what was going on when a Sheriff's Deputy wanted to "talk". Read the article...if it is true, it is a shocking display of discrimination and lack of process in our legal system.

Unfortunately, very real consequences face Eric Frimpong who was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards for Major League Soccer, has no funds to appeal yet still has the respect of his former teammates and coach:

Everyone who met Eric came away with admiration and affection for this young man from West Africa. Eric was drafted by a professional soccer team, the Kansas City Wizards, and was set to graduate from UCSB with a degree in mathematics. UCSB soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg describes Eric as a wonderful young man who he cannot believe would commit rape.

Is this op-ed skewed? Bloggers over at The Indy claim that she didn't tell the whole story -- something she insists is the case during the trial. They say some DNA was found on his privates -- why didn't she mention that and why else would they be there? Was their sex consensual? Most of us are probably left confused in this strange case of who did what and when -- when we weren't in the courtroom to hear the whole story and may be prejudiced by the Kafatia case at City College.

What is really important, however, is did he really get a fair trial?

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SBIFF World Première of “Don Riders” Documents “Low Rider” Bike Club

Got a request to post this press release about a movie documenting an SBHS program:

An unusual film called “Don Riders” will make it’s World Premiere at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, screening times are Sunday, January 27th 1:00pm at The Marjorie Luke Theater and Tuesday, January 29th 9:30pm at the Center Stage Theater - Paseo Nuevo. This short documentary was produced and directed by Diane Stevens of Pixel Dust Productions and according to Stevens it “will open the eyes of viewers by breaking commonly held stereotypes and also be a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for these Santa Barbara High School students to show their community, and the world-at-large, who they really are and what they are capable of achieving.”

She adds that while working on this film “new friendships were formed, barriers were removed and everyone rallied behind this amazing documentary, including the filming, editing, and even composing an original, spanking music score.” In the end, there is one unifying message the students are saying, “Give Kids a Purpose.’’

Alejandra Gutierrez works as the school’s community service coordinator and also acts as the Don Rider’s co-advisor. The Club’s advisor Pedro Menchaca approached Gutierrez asking if she would be willing to mentor the Lady Don Riders. About the film Gutierrez says: “This film means a lot to me because it not only tells the stories of the students, but it also reflects my life story. I came from a traditional Mexican family and growing up in Santa Barbara I was forced to live in two very different cultures, so I see myself in these students. At the same time, I see the world of opportunities in front of them that they might not be able to see themselves at this point in their young lives. My hope is that this film will show young people, especially those in my culture that they have choices — that it will show them they can have control over their own lives and in their community.”

For more information about the Don Riders Club or the documentary please call: 805-636-9230. For information about SBIFF go to:

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seen on the Web: Tornado Redux

Last November, we saw an Independent web site screen shot that showed John Travolta and an article on Scientology on their left column.

Today, a reader pointed out that there was a Western Goleta tornado and reverse 911 set of articles in today's Independent on the web. So, you may or may not have heard about the tornado warning last night from the reverse 911 -- but you sure as hell can take advantage of the system without a landline. Pretty funny.

Some editor at The Indy has a great sense of humor or is just not paying attention. I have a feeling it is the former.

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Seen on the Web: Tornado Warning?

A reader saw this last night at

To be clear -- this warning does not seem to be in effect now but it made me wonder: what's the evac plan for the "cities" of Refugio and Western Goleta? Much less the rest of our area?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

S2008 - Why Not For or Against?

I decided to vote tonight and after trying to decide whether State Superintendent Jack O'Connell was going to run for Governor and get tribal and gubernatorial support...might Arnold support him? Then I took a look at Measure S2008.

The measure seeks a $35.15 property tax assessment for emergency services. After doing some back of the napkin figures and wondering how a hospital can't afford a bit extra to the community, I had to also wonder why there were no arguments for or against the measure in my ballot statement.

Our friend from COLAB Andy Caldwell writes in The Lompoc Record to urge a "no" vote:

This unfunded mandate is costing our local hospitals millions each year. Additionally, there were some state funds helping to pay for the Cottage Hospital Trauma Center. These funds have temporarily been cut off. Before the county can reapply for state funds, it must first ask local voters to see if they would be willing to increase their property tax instead.

While I sympathize with our local care providers, I have no respect for our state and federal lawmakers, who already have enough of our money in order to deal with this problem. I therefore encourage you to vote “no” on Measure S2008.

I rarely agree with Caldwell and am not sure whether I agree with him now. Why though, when we are fighting health care costs, bickering among presidential candidates and producing movies like "Sicko" -- is this an issue? Is Cottage Health Systems not making enough money to give a bit back to the community in terms of care? Is this just a placeholder measure to meet a requirement to get some of the millions we will get from the Proposition 90's back to the hospital? Are they just going through the motions but figure there is no need to advocate for what they ask for?

There is something wrong with seeking democracy to cure an ill and not being willing to stand up for a $35.15 per parcel payday. What were they thinking?

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Letter to the Editor: Granada Theatre Opening – Dry?

I was sent this letter to the editor from The Granada which wanted a correction to what they point to as an inaccurate article that has appeared in "a local newspaper" on January 17 which made false claims. I assume that since this newspaper does not have a good record in printing letters to the editor that are critical -- they figured they should hedge their bets:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your ongoing front page coverage of the Grand Opening of the Restored Granada Theatre in early March. Festivities will begin with a “Hard Hat Party” honoring all the construction workers who restored this historic 1924 landmark theater. The Grand Gala featuring performances by many of our regional performing arts groups will follow on March 6th. A free Open House for the entire community is scheduled for March 9th.

As Chairman of the Granada Operations Committee, I am responsible for oversight of all operations of the theatre including procurement of a liquor license. A few weeks ago, after discussion with our local ABC District Administrator, The Granada submitted a routine application for a Type 64 license specifically designed for theatre venues. There is absolutely no reason to believe it will be denied prior to the opening of The Granada.

We’ve never discussed or even contemplated acquiring the Tupelo Junction Café liquor license nor anyone else’s. Clearly, your “reliable” source is a long way from reliable.

Sarah Schlinger Chrisman

Vice President, Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

State Street/La Cumbre Plaza Update: Apple, Crate and Barrel, Luis Vuitton

Last week, it was announced that an Apple Store will be opening where Pier One is currently located on State Street. There are unconfirmed reports that they will be paying $4.53 a square foot which pencils out to $68,000 per month for the privilege of selling MacBooks and iPods on State Street. Perhaps one of our real estate specialists can comment on how anyone could afford they write it off as a loss leader and essentially have higher profit stores cover the difference?

Yesterday, I heard second-hand that Crate and Barrel is moving into the Pep Boys building. Can anyone confirm?

While the face of State Street continues to become more corporate and chain-based, La Cumbre Plaza looks to be continuing on a path which will bump their traditional demographic elsewhere to shop or in debt. Somehow, I didn't think that our report that the ArtWalk was being canceled (and management's response) was the end of the story.

Pacific Coast Business Times reports that Luis Vuitton may be moving into La Cumbre Plaza where the Body Shoppe is located. Apparently, The Body Shoppe was asked to leave by the end of the month after 16-years at this location. Check out the link to the article for some choice comments from founder Anita Roddick's daughter Justine (whose mother recently passed away). Ritz Camera and Hallmark both have closing signs on their windows as well.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Citizen McCaw to Premiere in March 7th

World Premiere of Documentary Film about the Santa Barbara News-Press “Meltdown” Set for Friday, March 7 at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre at 7:30 PM

Santa Barbara, CA, January 17, 2008 – Billed as the story of “an epic struggle for the soul of journalism,” the new feature-length documentary film CITIZEN McCAW will premiere at Santa Barbara's famed 2,000 seat Arlington Theatre on Friday night, March 7th at 7:30 PM.

The film chronicles events since July 2006, when editor Jerry Roberts and five of his colleagues quit the Santa Barbara News-Press, citing owner and Co-publisher Wendy McCaw's abandonment of journalistic ethics, which McCaw denied. Since then, McCaw and dozens of her former staffers have been engaged in a fierce clash of wills that raises important national questions of journalistic ethics and media ownership.

McCaw’s attorneys assert that she alone can decide how news is covered. The other side, represented by journalists and community leaders, says that journalism is a public trust, asserting that the publisher must keep out of the news operation.

The film chronicles the twists and turns of community protests, legal maneuverings, a union vote, child pornography charges, a 25% decline in circulation, a noticeable drop in the paper's coverage of local news and issues, and numerous other events, including a surprise ruling in early January 2008, when a federal labor law judge found that McCaw's paper had violated federal law by firing six of her reporters for pro union activities. The paper is appealing the ruling.

Over 80 hours of footage were shot, including interviews with national leaders in journalism. Washington Post Executive editor Ben Bradlee and journalist Ann Louise Bardach appear, as do former NBC News reporter Sander Vanocur, Ronald Reagan’s biographer Lou Cannon, Harvard's Alex Jones, Boston University's Lou Ureneck, and USC's Diane Winston. The film was shot in high definition in Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC and at many landmark locations in Santa Barbara.

The producers have received four warning letters from various McCaw attorneys. The letters threaten legal action depending on the film's content. In 2007, her attorneys subpoenaed all of the raw footage shot for the film, as well as all of the production and interview notes. The subpoena was considered a "fishing expedition" and was immediately revoked by William Kocal, the administrative law judge who oversaw the trial of The Santa Barbara News-Press on charges of violating federal labor laws.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Clinton to Visit UCSB Tomorrow

I don't have a lot of information on this but Hilary Clinton is coming to Santa Barbara and visiting UCSB tomorrow - Jan 17th at 6:45pm at the Campus Recreation Center. Please post more information if you have it!

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Double Stabbing on Westside

Street violence issues continue in Santa Barbara with a double stabbing of two brothers on West Micheltorena street around 2 AM Saturday morning.

Whether downtown or in our neighborhoods farther away from real attention, this is a problem we must tackle in 2008.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Classified ads more than double in price for SB News-Press, and UCSB still plans to buy some.

Community Contribution by David Pritchett

Considering all the money the "News"-Press supposedly is saving by not having any experienced writers and editors, why are they nearly doubling the classified ad price for non-profit organizations and UCSB??

And perhaps more important, why does UCSB even buy ads there?? With all the social and ethical conscientiousness that University of California supposedly tries to practice, why does the biggest public institution in the County pay so much of its money --especially to that publication-- in the era of,, and other free media on the Internets??

As its top line indicates, below are excerpts from an email message circulating very widely around UCSB and beyond:


January 10, 2008

TO: Campus Community
FR: Melinda Crawford, Employment/Training & Development Manager
RE: 2008 Rate Increases for Santa Barbara News Press Classified Advertising

Effective January 1, 2008, the Santa Barbara News Press classified advertising rates for non-profits were increased from $1.52 to $3.42 per line. Based on the 2008 rates changes, departments interested in posting their job advertisements in the Santa Barbara News Press will now be subject to new rates that have at least doubled in cost.

Since the Santa Barbara News Press did not provide our campus with appropriate advance notice, departments that had already posted job advertisements in 2008 (e.g., in the 1/3/08 Sunday display ad) will not be recharged by Human Resources at the higher rate.

We are currently exploring the possibility of negotiating better rates with the Santa Barbara News Press and hope to have the opportunity to share a more positive update about our Santa Barbara News Press rates in the near future.

Please contact the Employment Office at ext. 3166 or email with any questions.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

210 Meigs Road and Washington School

Interesting piece over at the SB Housing Bubble blog on a 10-unit condominium project being developed across from Washington Elementary School. Saint Barbara points out that a serious amount of trees would be taken down in the process and takes a look at how the proposed development could affect the school.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

We'll Miss You Matt!

KTYD's Matt McAllister will not be on the air this week as he has taken a gig at KNIX in Phoenix. They already have a web page for his countrified show entitled Ben & Matt.

McAllister did much for KTYD's ratings and struck out on his own with cameos for the Discovery Channel and his successful attack at the Guiness Book of World Record for wearing the most t-shirts at one time.

How much his ambitions in TV and popular culture had to do with this hire and Rincon's opinion of it -- we will not know. Matt, however, tells The Santa Barbara Independent that “Santa Barbara is always a place you want to leave open in case you want to come back.”

Julie and Hayseed will keep things going and I kind of hope they click. They probably will if they kick it up a notch as this is their opportunity for the big time.

I wish the best to Matt as I will miss seeing him at Plaza Deli during lunch and Pizza Mizza with the family. Most of all, I will miss his sharp wit in the early morning. Best to you, brother!

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Oops! They Did It Again!

Britney couldn't have said it better than the great headline from The Santa Barbara Independent on Greka Oil's next spill. Did any of us think that with their record it wouldn't happen again?

Irony upon irony, the spill was sadly spent on a creek bordering Firestone Vineyard. The vineyard was only until recently owned by County Supervisor Brooks Firestone...who recently voted with North County conservatives to let Greka pass go and collect $200 when Supervisor Wolf asked for a serious hearing on the matter. How often does Greka have to spill for our friends to the North to agree that this is a serious problem with a business that is clearly run as well as Enron ran their finances? Although I have at times been critical, kudos to Assembly Member Pedro Nava for trying to do something about it.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

The Obama Connection to Santa Barbara

Community Post by David Pritchett

Now that Barack Obama really has our attention now, his speech and campaign rally at Santa Barbara City College last September, and recent inspired interviews with the local campaign organizers, are featured in the latest episode of Off-Leash Public Affairs, a video show about local politics and community events.

The crowd at SBCC was later estimated at 6000 to 8000, or about 3% of the total Democratic voters participating in the Iowa Caucus last Thursday night.

This one-hour video is now playing on community-access cable TV-17 and forever on the Internets. Look up Episode 013 at or see the show on cable channel 17 per this schedule:

Friday, 04 January, 1100 hrs. (11 am)
Sunday, 06 January, 2100 hrs. (9 pm)
Monday, 07 January, 2100 hrs. (9 pm)

Additional TV-17 replay times should be added up through the California Primary election on Super-Duper Tuesday, 5th February.

California voting by mail ("permanent absentee") starts next week, and so will the saturation advertising!!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Former SBNP "Spokeperson" Sam Singer Tackles Tigers Tangentially

A reader sent me this tidbit at SF Gate about the Christmas Day Tiger Massacre at the SF Zoo which may remind you of our favorite crisis management expert during the News-Press Mess:

"The whole thing is mind-boggling," said attorney Mark Geragos, who related what he had been told about the events that left Carlos Sousa Jr. dead and his clients, Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 23, injured.

"They were out there for 30 to 35 minutes and nobody takes them seriously - especially when there was blood. It's incredible," Geragos said.

Sam Singer, a newly hired spokesman for the zoo, said Tuesday that it was "highly unusual that (Geragos) is the only person who has the facts, when the San Francisco Police Department hasn't even completed its investigation."

"Anything that a defense attorney says has to be taken with not a pinch of salt, but a ton of salt," Singer said.

Although I can appreciate the position of the zoo, perhaps you remember reading Sam Singer's gems in the LA Times after obscenities were thrown at Travis Armstrong like so many newspapers on my doorstep:
"For a number of months, there has been a discussion between Mrs. McCaw and senior editors about the direction of the News-Press," said the spokesman, Sam Singer. "She desired to have a stronger emphasis on local news, and these individuals didn't like that emphasis, and so they decided to part company."

Without even getting into whether local news was enhanced or NOT -- we all know the following quote was a little outside of reality as well:
Singer, who is based in San Francisco, said he was told that the newsroom on Friday was "quite professional" and that "things are moving forward nicely." He said Armstrong would no longer be writing editorials now that he was the publisher.

In the SF Gate itself -- after Jerry Roberts and Gerry Spratt resigned:

"The newsroom is quiet and functioning well," Singer said.

Excuse me? Was he even here? In another article he said he was "told" the above.

It's amazing to me the article in the SF Gate today was quick to point out that attorney Mark Geragos was "retained" but failed to point out the same for Sam Singer. Is the PR/Crisis Management profession protected versus being a lawyer? Instead, they say he is a "new spokesperson"....perhaps "hired gun" is more appropriate. Maybe this is conservative bias in the newspaper?

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Virtual Betting Pool

I bet $100 virtual that the NLRB story listed below won't show up in the News-Press on either the front or interior pages of the newspaper tomorrow. Even given the holiday, I'll put my virtual money where my mouth is and suggest that we maybe (and I'd be surprised) see a few lines in a couple of days but definitely nothing of substance. Any takers?