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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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5 Comments:

Anonymous Stow said...

Coverage of local agencies has suffered enormously since the News Press went down the tubes.

Goleta West Sanitary District has $50 million in assets and property tax revenue of $2 million a year.

They are contributing $20 million to the upgrades at the Goleta Sanitation plan, to get full secondary sewage treatment before dumping the sewage in the Channel.

The City of Goleta has been explicit in pointing out that if they get Goleta West's assets and revenue, they are able to redirect the funds to wherever they want... not necessarily to treat sewage.

2/02/2009 8:19 AM  
Anonymous The Observer said...

Well, now that Scott Steepleton has been downsized from associate editor to reporter, according to Craig Smith's blog, perhaps he can get on this Goleta story and report it as accurately as he testified in past NLRB hearings on behalf of Wendy McCaw.

Thanks, Scott, for telling the judge everything Wendy wanted him to hear, and for alienating yourself from the entire newsroom of legitimate reporters, and for your unfailing loyalty to Wendy since July of 2006 at the expense of your integrity.

Here is your reward: Reporter!

Team up with The Investigator and maybe you guys can track down some lost parakeets or something.

2/02/2009 6:48 PM  
Anonymous deepbreath said...

Like him or not, Steepleton kept things going there almost single-handedly for a couple of years. If he had written or edited the Goleta West piece it would have been nailed. Even at that, a mistake such as that one is serious but thankfully rare. Things are changing. Why stand by and jeer? Maybe a contract is in the offing. Who knows. One thing is for sure the entire newspaper industry has gone from bad to worse during the past troubled few years at the N-P and things won't ever be the way they were.

2/03/2009 10:33 AM  
Anonymous nonagenarian said...

Three days and counting with no correction in the Newspress.

2/03/2009 4:51 PM  
Anonymous deepbreath said...

and on the fouth day, it was corrected. chill, nona.

2/06/2009 11:57 AM  

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