Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Event Series Arrives at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market on Saturday, March 14

SEATTLE – February 26, 2009 –The Toyota Venza Taste of the Market event series continues with a single-day event in California at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market on Saturday, March 14, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Toyota Venza created Taste of the Market to celebrate farmers markets in communities across the United States.

At the Santa Barbara event, located downtown at Santa Barbara and Cota streets, noted local chefs and popular local farmers will be paired together for a day that highlights Santa Barbara Farmers Market’s varied offerings. The chefs will prepare special tastings showcasing their partner farm’s fresh ingredients, and visitors will have the opportunity to sample the chefs’ creations while also learning more about the market vendors, their products, and how to buy and eat seasonally. In addition, to further support the market, Toyota Venza is making a financial donation to the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association, the organization that brings the area’s farmers markets to life each week.

“There is nothing better than being able to go to the farmers market and hand select heads of lettuce, beets, turnips, whatever I’m looking for,” said Taste of the Market participant Justin West, chef/owner of Julienne. “Handpicking ingredients ensures that the creative vision I have for a menu item shows up on the plate for my guests, and that’s key.”

Throughout the course of the Santa Barbara event, 12 local chefs will offer up their culinary creations to market goers. The impressive panel of talented chefs includes Justin West of Julienne, Brandon Hughes of Bouchon, Bob and Ellie Patterson of Here’s the Scoop, Serafin Ruiz of Blue Agave, Greg Murphy of Seagrass, Matthew Reddy of Elements Restaurant and Bar, Nat Ely of Los Olivos Cafe, and John Downey of Downey’s.

In addition to the free tastings, visitors will be able to sign up to receive a month-by-month Taste of the Market Guide to Eating Seasonally in Santa Barbara. Market goers will also be invited to pick up complimentary potted herb plant starts at the Mobile Garden Venza, and can enter for a chance to win a unique culinary prize. Toyota will also provide interested market goers with the opportunity to take a ride in a 2009 Venza and take home a John Boos cutting board as a thank you gift.

After Santa Barbara, Venza Taste of the Market heads north for an event at the Marin Farmers Market at the San Rafael Civic Center on March 22.

”Venza is a vehicle purposely designed for the on-the-go lifestyle, built for those with an interest in experiencing new things," said Keith Dahl, Toyota national marketing manager. "Farmers' markets are an ideal venue to connect with this group, while at the same time providing Toyota an opportunity to give back to the communities where our customers live."

Gallery Opening

The Goodland Gallery is having an Artist Reception Friday March 6th. 6-8PM. Featuring watercolor artist Erin Williams. Erin studied at the Academy of Art in San Fransisco and received her M.F.A. from the State University of New York at Albany in 1985 where she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Art. The artist's statement: Each watercolor I create is a prayer for the positive.Painting the beauty of nature is a way for me to connect to the source of the divine in myself.

Please come join us for an evening of Art,Food and Wine. We are located across from Costco next to the theater at Camino Real Marketplace. 805-968-1200

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cushman Reportedly Will Step into the Ring

The Daily Sound is reporting that Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman has asked his board for permission to run for Mayor, and received it. Rumor has it that former Council Member Dan Secord may enter the race too -- which will be even more bad news for mayoral candidate and Council Member Iya Falcone who (as Josh Molina points out) has staked out the middle ground in recent years. Advantage goes to Council Member Helene Schneider who would have the progressive wing of the electorate more to herself.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Community Post: Pappas' Case Lacks Merit

This letter was submitted to the Journal -- we'll see if it is published on Thursday considering the publisher's bias ($195K to the Pappas campaign). Kudos to UCSB student Liam Keene for writing an intelligent, well organized letter. A similar letter was published in the Daily Nexus this morning. -- Sara

Letter to the SYV Journal, Submitted February 18, 2009

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to a number of recent articles in your publication regarding the ongoing court case Pappas vs. Farr. I understand that the publisher of this paper has contributed a significant amount to the Pappas campaign (Lompoc Record, Feb 8. 2009), and so I imagine this is an issue close to heart for this newspaper. However, I do recall reading that this paper welcomes dissenting opinions and that its mission is to provide a forum for better understanding, which I commend you for. In the spirit of full disclosure, I would like to state that I am from the Santa Ynez Valley (my family lives in Solvang), I attend UC Santa Barbara, and I live in Isla Vista. I walked to my polling place on election day and voted in one of the precincts Mr. Pappas now seeks to invalidate. Like Mr. Pappas, I am not a registered member of either party.

A number of claims have been made since the election regarding widespread election fraud in Isla Vista. One issue that has been raised was first-time voters providing IDs with regards to the Help America Vote Act (Journal, Nov. 27, 2008). It seemed as if this newspaper believed that voters were required to show their driver's license at the polling place. However, HAVA requirements are met by putting one's driver's license number on one's voter registration form. Further, any doubts regarding the sufficiency of identification presented are resolved in favor of the voter.

Another issue raised was concern that students had provided a P.O. Box address instead of their dorm room number and that these addresses were sequential. At UCSB, no mail is delivered to dorms and every student who lives in campus housing is issued a PO Box in the UCEN. Roommates share boxes and they are issued sequentially.

When the elections office defended the legitimacy of the process, the publisher stated this was “no assurance to those who feel that the UCSB student population for the last 30 years has been used to dictate policy... to the residents and property owners of the Santa Ynez Valley” (ibid). There seems to be two sentiments here. One, that students should not be able to vote because they live in a place for a temporary amount of time. The Supreme Court ruled in Symm v. United States that students who reside in an area are indeed residents. Further, military personnel at Vandenberg are also allowed to vote and are considered full-fledged residents and members of our community; students should be afforded the same respect. The second sentiment, is that the legitimate votes of liberal students are somehow unfair to those who disagree with them. This would make the contention one of gerrymandering, not of fraud.

In court, Pappas has claimed that because Box 12 on a registration card was not filled out, the vote should be discounted. Regardless of whether registrars were required to complete that box, California Elections Code 2158(b)(1) makes it clear that failure to complete Box 12 “shall not cause the invalidation of the registration of a voter”. Pappas and his attorney knew of this section and yet they proceeded to make this claim in court. As they knew would happen, Judge McLafferty dismissed this claim.

Pappas also claimed that because volunteers did not turn in registration cards within three days of collecting them, the votes should be discounted. However, Elections Code 2107(a) states that the county shall accept registrations “at all times” during the registration window. The sections that state that cards must be submitted in three days and the sanctions they discuss apply to the volunteers and not to the voters. The code makes it very clear that any minor technicalities are not to invalidate a vote; again, Judge McLafferty acted appropriately.

With these issues addressed, it remains to be seen what Mr. Pappas intends to claim. Until Mr. Pappas provides real evidence, I am forced to question the motives of the suit. In the Journal, the publisher wrote “Our election process is too precious to cavalierly distort even a single vote.” However, Mr. Pappas' selective targeting of precincts intends to silence a community. Everyone is concerned with improper registrations but some number of irregularities are likely to be found county wide. To insinuate that Joe Holland or Doreen Farr have done anything wrong is irresponsible. All too often, political elements make cavalier claims of election fraud (see Many would like to eliminate the voices of minorities or young people (demographics present in the 18 precincts Mr. Pappas targets).

We certainly don't want votes to be cast improperly, but looking at the laws and the facts as they stand, it almost appears that the contesting of the election outcome is more of a dog and pony show designed to drum up support for future redistricting of the Third District than a case based on legitimate concerns of fraud. Instead of rallying the base against “the activist courts” or some vast left-wing conspiracy, I hope that those involved can stick to the facts and will examine the law as it's written. And if Mr. Pappas does have legitimate evidence of improper voting, I am eager to see to see it.

—Liam Keane
Isla Vista

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Falcone to Announce Mayoral Bid

Press release from the Falcone campaign...let the games begin! Not like it's Falcone's fault, but I just wish we had a bit more recovery time since the last election....whew!

Citing the need for city government to "get back to basics" by prioritizing public safety, needed infrastructure improvements, and providing for an environment where a vibrant economy can flourish, Santa Barbara City Council Member Iya Falcone will announce her campaign for Mayor at a press conference to be held at 1:15pm Monday, February 23rd at the Storke Placita of De La Guerra Plaza.

"As Mayor I will ensure Santa Barbara remains safe, clean and economically viable. Fixing our sidewalks, and paving our streets, dealing with the gang crisis and graffiti removal may not be glamorous, but they are the heart of what a city must focus on to effectively serve its citizens. I will provide proven, experienced leadership as Mayor."

Falcone is former attorney and crisis counselor who has served for the last seven years as a member of the City Council. Falcone has also worked with developmentally disabled children with autism, downs syndrome, and cerebral palsy.

Falcone received a BA in Child Development from Cal State Northridge, with concentration in abnormal psychology. Falcone earned her Juris Doctor degree from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in Sacramento. Falcone is a seventeen year resident of Santa Barbara who moved to California in 1967. Falcone has a daughter, Niki, as well as two step- sons, two granddaughters and two twin grandsons from her marriage to her late husband, Vincent Falcone.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Middle Eastern Descent and Class Now Officially Puts You in the Back of the Bus

There is a very disturbing comment thread on the release of names of 10 young people who allegedly began the Tea Fire over at Edhat. It seems that Middle Eastern descent and classicism runs rampant but I suppose the real issue is that people are just plain mad. Why that has to bring out the worst in us is one of the mysteries of being human.

We've had our fair share of heated exchanges here at BlogaBarbara. Far from being Edhat's fault (it's just a series of comments on a news story), it's hard to swallow and hard to see why people have to be so mean-- even if we feel like we have to find someone to blame for a senseless tragedy. Cheers to Edhat for being a place where free speech is taken seriously, shame on those that take advantage of it to show their hate.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tea Fire Decision from DA

The press release from the District Attorney's Office yesterday was carefully worded and cautious in it's approach. EdHat published the PDF.

The result of their investigation, however, will not sit well with everyone. It's hard to understand that the chain of events don't prove that the ten college students began the fire beyond a reasonable doubt. The will face criminal charges for the misdemeanors of criminal trespass and starting a fire without the property owner's permission. Also, their names will likely become known once charges are filed.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Laid Off in Paradise, What Do You Do?

I'm glad Cathy Murillo did a piece on the recent spate of layoffs in our area in The Independent. I was beginning to think we were all in denial about it.

We have people out of work across a great many industries. Stock Building Supply which used to be near Casa de la Raza through Texas Instruments, Citrix Online, Sonos and QAD. The Pacific Coast Business Times estimated 1,780 layoffs in the tri-counties in December. There have been a few more since then.

I think we will see a significant number of people leave Santa Barbara to find opportunities elsewhere. This will likely trickle down to the housing market too, no? It's too bad all the money financial institutions made a few years ago never seemed to make it down the line. I like the idea of paying it forward rather than assuming it will trickle down.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Roberts Gets Tentative Ruling in His Favor

A Santa Barbara judge has tentatively ruled against Wendy McCaw in her acrimonious and "take-no-prisoners" arbitration battle against former editor Jerry Roberts.

Apparently, McCaw has spent $2 mill in her recent legal battles. This is enough to keep a few non-profits in Santa Barbara going for years. The tentative ruling orders her to pay Roberts $12,153 in attorney's fees and $48,600 in arbitrator fees. Her legal team had said the arbitrator was too slow -- I've yet to hear an admission from them that they have been slow in responding to the National Labor Relations Board. What's good for the goose....

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pappas Now Faces Uphill Battle

Last night I was craving coverage of the Pappas-Farr court case -- there were finally articles about it today. One of them was at The Daily Nexus who actually serves the people whose votes could be stolen by Pappa's lawyers.

Superior Court Justice William McLafferty ruled that he would not consider much of the evidence that Pappas’ llawyers planned to use against first-time voters in Isla Vista and UCSB from the last election. Lucky for voters, evidence related to late registration cards or without help signatures will not be allowed in next week's trial.

I know it ain't over until it's over but to think of all the ways this money could have been spent.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

No Word on Pappas/Farr Court Case

The Daily Nexus had an article this morning, but there isn't any word in the mainstream print and internet media as to the results of today's court hearing. Although I missed KEYT News tonight -- it looks as though The Palm filed a report that will hopefully be shown on the KEYT website later.

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Tea Fire Faux Contractors Alert

Interesting article over at The Indy about the contractor sting. What were these yahoos thinking -- advertising and thinking they could get work without a license and not get caught?

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

City Pay Raises Come at a Bad Time but with Fair Concessions

I'm not so sure I agree with my friend Bill Carson's assessment of Das William's "attack" on Dale Francisco in the comments of my last post- -I think there is more to it than meets the eye and new council people can take awhile before they understand closed sessions. Considering what is going in DC, it's hard not to think Francisco is grandstanding as well.

Still, his point that this is a rough time for raises is well taken, even though they won't really go into effect for a couple of years. See the Noozhawk article for details on the deal.


Back to Future, Back to the Bridge

Doc Brown, Marty McFly? No, it's the illegally fired reporters from the News-Press who will be unfurling a banner tomorrow in an early morning press conference reminiscent of their protest action two years ago to get Santa Barbarans to cancel their subscriptions. As a tactic then -- I'm not so sure it was the best one. As one now, maybe they will have some news that will coincide with it. It certainly points toward how nothing has been done on the News-Press' part to address the NLRB decision in the reporter's favor. Here's most of their press release....I wish them the best! -- Sara

Back to the Bridge: A Press Conference and Banner Drop on Feb. 6

Friday, Feb. 6 marks the two-year anniversary of the day that six of us Santa Barbara News-Press reporters were fired — illegally — for holding a banner on the Anapamu Street footbridge encouraging motorists to cancel their newspaper subscriptions. A federal judge ordered our reinstatement in December 2007, but News-Press owner and co-publisher Wendy McCaw appealed that decision — and we are still waiting for justice. In all, nine News-Press reporters have been illegally fired for union organizing.

This Friday, the Teamsters will be returning to the Anapamu Street footbridge to ask motorists to cancel their News-Press subscriptions. Also, we’ll update you on the status of negotiations and on recent developments in our legal case as we continue our fight for reinstatement and a fair employment contract.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Downtown Update: Rob Lowe Helps Open Pinkberry

Amid all the festivities for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival last week, Pinkberry opened a store at 742 State Street (between De la Guerra and Ortega). I was sent a picture of actor Rob Lowe (click to enlarge) at the event who helped celebrate the grand opening with a champagne toast and free Pinkberry, hosted by Pinkberry founders Shelly Hwang and Young Lee.

With my many missives about the direction of La Cumbre Plaza, I couldn't help but think that Pinkberry is more aware of their demographic and understands the importance of location. I wish them well.

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Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr Comments on Challenge to her Election

Community News from Friends of Doreen Farr

Today Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr issued the following statement about the lawsuit Steve Pappas has brought against her:

"In response to numerous calls and emails that I have received about this lawsuit, I would like to clear up any possible confusion about what has happened, and why I am confident that the will of the voters will not be overturned by this suit.

In November 2008 3rd District Supervisor's race, I won by more than 800 votes, about 52% to Steve Pappas' 48%. Rather than concede, Mr. Pappas has so far paid over $11,000 for a recount of only the votes cast in all 18 UCSB and Isla Vista precincts. The recount resulted in his gaining one vote. On January 6, I was sworn in and seated as the 3rd District Supervisor.

On January 7th, Mr. Pappas filed an amended suit against me personally, seeking to invalidate the majority of more than 9,700 votes cast solely in UCSB and Isla Vista precincts and seeking to declare him the winner. Mr. Pappas has publicly stated that my campaign did nothing wrong, but that election laws require him to file against me, even for actions he alleges were done by others.

I'm committed to ensuring that this suit does not disenfranchise legitimate voters nor create divisiveness among 3rd District residents. At the same time I'm determined that Mr. Pappas' lawsuit will not distract me from addressing the issues and challenges facing all the residents of the 3rd District and Santa Barbara County.

I also want to express my confidence in Joe Holland, Clerk-Recorder, Assessor and Elections Chief as well as the integrity of the voter registration and elections process. Mr. Holland was elected by the voters, and has demonstrated the high degree of professionalism and independence that voters have a right to expect. It's most unfortunate that in these difficult economic times, substantial Santa Barbara County staff time and resources must be spent on Mr. Pappas' lawsuit.

I'm confident that the court will uphold the actions of our county's elections officials, the rights of the voters, and the results of the 2008 election."

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

News-Press Fail: Goleta Sanitary District is a Private Company that Collects Property Taxes?!?

David Pritchett published virtually the same post I would have published yesterday but didn't get to. The truth is I got so worked up I figured I better wait a day before I put it up. There is so much wrong with what we had separately decided to write about on so many levels...

His story over at Edhat is about the Santa Barbara News-Press story on Saturday about the Goleta West Sanitary District and the City of Goleta possibly splitting away from the district. Apparently, the loss of the Goleta Valley Voice hasn't translated to better coverage of Goleta politics in the News-Press which is something they had promised when axing the Voice.

There are several major problems with the News-Press article which Pritchett covers in detail. I hope the News-Press editor was sick that day:

  • It was reported that the Goleta West Sanitary District is a “privately-owned sanitation company”. Nothing could be further from the truth as their board of directors are elected by voters every two years.
  • The article said that this "company" collected property taxes. Wha?!? Taxpayer money being collected by a private company? I want that gig. That should have been the editor's first clue.
  • The article twice confused this agency’s budget surplus with its fiscal reserves. This kind of math allows me to buy a home I can't afford and have you bail me out in a couple of years.

Pritchett asks if there will be a correction....somehow I doubt it but hope they surprise me.

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