Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pappas Legal Challenge to Return? Wha!?!

The Santa Barbara News-Press covered the actual final day of former-Supervisor candidate Steve Pappas legal case against Supervisor Doreen Farr. Although I felt it was a little long on supportive statements from the Pappas camp -- there was a key set of quotes from Pappas fan and Santa Ynez Valley Journal 's Nancy Crawford-Hall:

In her newspaper column on Thursday, Mrs. Crawford-Hall essentially said, "It's not over."

"I can't say that anyone was terribly surprised at the outcome of this first phase of the pursuit of legitimacy," wrote Mrs. Crawford-Hall, who attended almost every day of the proceedings. "It seemed fairly evident even before the trial began that the court was not inclined to give much credence to the Pappas attorneys, while all manner of latitude was afforded the opposition.

It was a bit mind-boggling to see the group of people whose names you knew but weren't aware of, just how cozy they all were. I guess it should not be a surprise as this election effort has been perfected probably by the same group over many years."

She added that it was good to see that the "same script has been followed and now that that has been discovered, future litigation will have an easier time to expose it."

Does this mean this spurious litigation is not settled? or does it mean we should assume any election that involves UCSB and Isla Vista will be targeted by Ms. Crawfor-Hall? Did she think she set some sort of precedent? What a waste of money on her part. It's nice some people have money to burn in a recession but the public suffers too as there are definitely costs associated with the defense.

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Community News: Emergency Communications

Good news -- albeit a bit dated. Was catching up this weekend and saw this press release. -- Sara

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. (March 6, 2009) – In response to the need for a system-wide communications solution in the event of a power outage during an emergency situation in Santa Barbara County, a community partnership between private and public organizations is collaborating to enhance the County’s communications capabilities with residents for the next regional emergency.

The Orfalea Fund’s “Aware and Prepare” Initiative along with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services and a local community group, California Concern, today announced a partnership to implement the county’s first-ever emergency communications system that links the County Emergency Operations Center with generator-powered radio stations and then to the radio-listening public to provide regular informational updates during a critical emergency when power is out.

“Our Aware and Prepare initiative awarded California Concern a grant to fund the Radio Ready program,” said Lois Mitchell, president of The Orfalea Foundations. “We are committed to funding this program because of its realistic vision in connecting county emergency officials directly to all residents via radio communication during emergency situations.”

While all stations in the county receive emergency information, the Radio Ready program is providing satellite communication equipment to the County’s Emergency Operation Center and select radio stations, which will allow officials to communicate information to local radio stations who can remain on the air with generator power during an emergency. In addition, a satellite station located at the County Betteravia Government Center will assist government officials in communicating when conventional systems have failed.

“The radio can be your lifeline for information during any emergency, and with the Radio Ready program, residents will be able to get accurate information during a power outage when televisions, cell phones and the Internet don’t work,” said Bill Pearlman, project manager for California Concern. “It’s important that everyone put a crank or battery-powered radio in their emergency preparedness kits. It’s a transportable and probably the best option in any emergency to get information.”
In the event of a crisis, the radio stations will broadcast regular information to residents, including evacuation orders, location of areas affected by the disaster, street closures, shelter information and all other relevant data helpful in making informed decisions early enough to save lives, protect property, and ease stress. The program will also be distributing, through the County’s Social Services Department, more than 5,000 hand-crank radios to area residents in need, to help facilitate the receipt of information in the case of an emergency or natural disaster.

“Radio Ready is a vital emergency communication program for the County’s multiple jurisdictions and it will further enhance our efforts to inform and protect Santa Barbara residents during an emergency,” said Michael Harris, Emergency Operations Chief for Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services.

The program will also involve a public education and awareness campaign, the distribution of hand-crank radios to individuals in need, and emergency drill testing of the equipment. The program will launch March 8, 2009 in conjunction with Daylight Savings Time.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Two in One Day...Now Schneider Changes Position on Height Ordinance

This morning I referenced a story about Mayor Blum having a few words about Council Member Falcone's vote on the union contract. No sooner than I posted it, a different article came out that pointed towards an apparent change of position on Council Member Helene Schneider's part on the height ordinance issue. Some readers who aren't my fans were quick to point this out as if I didn't mention it on purpose in the last post -- I actually hadn't seen it. I also want to hear more about the reasons why from both and I am sure the issue will be bandied about for days.

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City Workers "Fall Guy" for Economy?

Council Member Iya Falcone heard it from Mayor Marty Blum this week on what must have been a tough decision to switch her vote on the city contract from one week to the next (Santa Barbara Independent). Admitting that the Service Employees union had become the "fall guy", Falcone and Council Member Francisco had moved to block SEIU's modest 5% over two years contract. Falcone had both voted for and spoken in favor of the contract the week before. Does this make them the "big heavy" as they are telling us what we don't want to hear?

These kind of votes so close to an election cycle bother me as they are so prone to political maneuvering. Falcone has enjoyed the support of the police officer's and firefighters union...both of whom received a more than 20% increase over three years fairly recently. Council Members Schneider, WIlliams and Blum have all enjoyed support from the SEIU, who has not only asked for a modest increase but had made $600,000 in concessions in the contract.

Add on top of that how we now have a mayoral campaign landscape where there is one to the left and at least two in the center of the political spectrum -- and candidates have to find some way to distinguish themselves. This may mean running to the right of center on some issues. Unfortunately, city workers are a convenient target for many -- like they are living off of some kind of largesse? Most I know are just like you and me -- struggling to make it in Santa Barbara and save a little money for a rainy day.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

NLRB Files More Charges Against the News-Press

Craig Smith thinks his son may graduate college before the labor situation over at the News-Press is settled. I hate to say I agree. This week, the National Labor Relations Board filed more charges against the newspaper.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Select Staffing Back in the News: Cut Out Severance for Workers?

Steve Sorenson from Select Staffing is back in the bad graces of the blogosphere after Select parent company Koosharem Corp's acquisition of Walnut Creek-based Westaff for about $10.3 million in cash and perhaps $10.5 million in debt (see PacBizTimes).

I often look twice when several comments show up on a several month old post. This is from a reader on the last post about Select's response to my post about them asking if their employee's were feeling 'spunky about gay marriage':

You buy the company I work for, two days later you terminate the existing severance agreement entirely, then the day after that you start letting people go.

I trashed the link to a blog in the comments here that went into more lurid detail and invective. I'm not really interested in maligning the man's religion -- especially because there are plenty of Christians that don't follow their own values. If you are into that kind of thing you can probably find it.

If this is true -- that's kind of lame to change the severance policy and then expect your remaining employees to trust you. Yes -- we are in a recession, but that does not give one carte blanche to be an uber-capitalist (i.e. The Man).

Republicans keep on talking about socialism like its a dirty word (an inept, incorrect adjective for Democrats if I ever heard one) but they are not usually willing to say when capitalists (separate from a healthy respect for business and capitalism) come up shy of their promise. What do you think?

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Downtown Update: Chapala One -- What Happened?

An avid reader pointed out that Barney Brantingham's column this week in The Santa Barbara Independent went over some of the details in the doomed, $40 million Chapala One condo project that has failed to sell even one unit. The project is unsolvent and going into bankruptcy.

I bristle when I hear Don Hughes representative tell Barney, however, that: “The residential market got clobbered,” Raftery said. “San Diego is a complete disaster as to condo sales,” along with places like Phoenix and Las Vegas."

I say this is an unfair comparison and fails to take into account the type of growth we are talking about. Each of these cities overbuilt without the proper resources behind the growth. He's also comparing $1.5 to $3 million condos on State Street to homes that look more like the opening credits of the Showtime series "Weeds". Orange County type lot line to lot line homes or condos this is not. The key here is the price.

Critics like former Mayor Sheila Lodge and Mayor Marty Blum are correct -- these kind of high prices do not solve the workforce housing problem in Santa Barbara. The rest of the neighborhood on lower Chapala doesn't help either. It's fine for me but isn't going to convince the Land Rover set that they need to move down to lower State Street. More appropriate would have been sub-$1 million condos -- so that living downtown might at least begin to appeal to people tired of driving from the hinterlands to work in Santa Barbara.

Like Chapala One, will Paseo Chapala, Villa Andaluz and the new development on West de la Guerra dissapoint?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How many days you got? City Worker Contract

From the Taxpayers Association -- worst case scenarios for sure, it is worthy of discussion. I'm not sure why it wasn't directed to the whole council, but here is the text. The title? Some of you may remember it as a variation on the old SNL skit.... -- Sara

March 18, 2009

Hon. Marty Blum, Mayor
City of Santa Barbara

Re: Response to Your Question at City Council Meeting--Number of Days City Employees Report to Work; Question for You

Dear Marty:

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss the derivation of data presented to you at the City Council meeting yesterday. The question of appropriate remuneration of civic employees is important to the public and benefits from clear presentation.

The question you asked was how the figure of a maximum of 83 days per year--16 and a half weeks--that City employees may now not have to report at the City Monday through Friday and yet be considered full-time was derived. Please note that if the furlough program adopted yesterday is more generally implemented (which is likely), this figure would increase to more than 19 weeks per year for some employees.


These data are derived from the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Service Employees' International Union, local 620.

According to the MOU, the number of days which City employees are not required to report to work each year now include, for all employees:

-- Holidays (with new Cesar Chavez holiday)
-- Personal leave
-- Bereavement Leave
-- Sick Leave

This is a total of 31 paid days each year city employees do not have to report to work as a result of holidays and personal, bereavement, and sick leave. It should be noted that many employees in the private sector receive merely 6 paid holidays a year, and if a holiday falls on a weekend they do not receive it. On the other hand, in the City, not only will employees now have 10 holidays a year, but if a holiday falls on a weekend it is taken on the preceding Friday or following Monday.

With respect to the City's 4 paid personal leave days each year, this is not general practice in the private sector.

Concerning bereavement leave, it is a broad net to whom this applies, per the MOU: "mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, child, grandparents by blood or marriage, grandchildren by blood or marriage, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, person standing in loco parentis ..., and step family members." This is typical of wording in the MOU.

Concerning sick leave, the city not only provides 12 days each year, but, if not used, this time (up to 1 year) may be applied to retirement benefits. By way of contrast, many private employees receive merely 6 days of sick leave each year, which may not be accumulated and do not generate retirement benefits.


Pursuant to the MOU, city employees receive 23 days of vacation with 11 years of service to the City and 28 days of vacation with 24 years.

This means that for an employee 11 years with the City, he will receive a maximum of 31 paid days each year for holidays and personal, bereavement, and sick leave, plus 23 days of vacation, a total of 54 paid days each year. For an employee with 24 years with the City, he or she receives 5 more vacation days, so this is a total of up to 59 paid days each year per the new MOUs.

As with holidays and personal, bereavement, and sick leave, City vacation days are generous compared to the private sector. Another feature of City vacation benefits is that employees are able to receive cash in lieu of up to 12.5 vacation days per year.


I recognize the argument that a longer work day on the other 9 days means that employees work the same number of hours in 9 days they would otherwise in 10, but I believe this understates the exceptional, and apparently unreplicated, benefit it is to city employees to have 2 Fridays off each month.

This is a total of 24 Fridays off per year. I have been careful in my communications to account for the circumstance with respect to number of hours worked in 9 days versus 10 by saying that City employees may not have to report to work on as many as 83 days per year (59 + 24 = 83). This would be the case for a city employee with 24 years service. City employees with 11 years service would currently have a maximum of 78 days per year (54 + 24 = 78) they would not have to be at work Monday through Friday and be considered full-time.


Pursuant to the MOUs the Council voted for yesterday, some employees will begin to receive furloughs of up to 104 hours per year, or 13 days. It is likely that, as in the County, the City will expand furloughs to more employees.

To return to the example of employees with 11 years and 24 years service with the City, if, in the future, they were furloughed, they would be in the position of not having to report to work for as many as 91 and 96 days per year respectively Monday through Friday, more than 18 to 19 weeks per year, and yet be full-time.

Since employees in the city are typically receiving a 4 percent raise over the next two years and the furlough would be equivalent to 5 percent of salary, this means furloughed employees in another year would receive 1 percent less take home pay than they do now. If an employee received a step or class increase (as many do), he would actually receive more take home pay than now is the case.

Even if the 24 days of every other Friday off were deducted from the 91 and 96 days totals, these employees would not have to report to work for as many as 67 and 72 days per year, or 13.4 and 14.4 weeks. An employee with 24 years would have a 3.6 day work week, and an employee with 11 years would have a 3.7 day work week.

If the additional 24 days of every other Friday off are included, then the work week (in terms of days employees have to report to work) declines to 3.2 days for the employees with 24 years and 3.3 days for employees with 11 years service, and be considered full-time.

Whether one uses the 3.6 and 3.7 figures or the 3.2 and 3.3 figures, these will likely become the work week for many City employees in the coming year.


Sometimes Council members talk as if balanced, even-handed settlements have been reached between the City and employee organizations, similar to those in the private sector.

Such a view would be very inaccurate.

Marty, the following is a direct question to you, similar to the question you asked me: Are you aware of private employers in the Santa Barbara area who provide comparable holidays, personal leave, bereavement leave, sick leave, and vacation benefits to the agreements between the City of Santa Barbara and its employee organizations? And also practice a policy of closed offices every other Friday? If so, who are they?

The above analysis does not incorporate retirement benefits whereby many City employees can retire in their early to mid fifties with lifetime pensions of as much as $50,000 to $100,000 per year, health benefits, and other benefits.

Thank you for your consideration. The Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association Board meetings are open to the public, and we welcome your participation, and that of any member of the City Council or City staff, anytime.


Dr. Lanny Ebenstein, President
Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pappas Legal Challenge All But Over

Saying “It’s over” to the Santa Ynez Valley News -- County Supervisor Doreen Farr's attorney Phil Seymour pointed out that Steve Pappas wasn't able to disqualify a single vote in the last supervisorial race. The judge in the case denied a last challenge yesterday by Pappas to prove that voter fraud occurred in the 3rd District race. A formal judgement is expected in the coming days but it looks like the weight-challenged opera singer sang -- ergo the opera is over.

The Santa Barbara Independent has an article about the case as well and quotes Farr's attorney other attorney Fred Woocher referencing Shakespeare's Macbeth -- "saying the election contest from the beginning had been “a tale… of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

I wonder if Nancy Crawford-Hall, rancher and owner of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal, might feel like she had wasted her money. Even Pappas' attorney at one point strangely stated that he didn't think it was up to him to bring cases of fraud before the judge. Excuse me? Sounds like a legal stimulus package paid for by Crawford-Hall.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Investigator's Last, Unpublished Column

Robert Eringer, The Investigator, no longer works at the News-Press and although we will probably never know the details as to his being let go, we do have access to his last column. It is a rather scathing attack on Police Chief Cam Sanchez that makes quite a few allegations and uncovers dirty family laundry. Is this last, unpublished article what got him fired?

I his credit, Eringer stated that he is prohibited contractually from making statements on News-Press matters. What he could tell me is that he will be signing copies of his (limited edition) new book on March 30th at Piatti in Montecito’s upper village from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Contact the for more information.

Another look at this story is available over at Craig Smith's Blog.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Where You From? Ventura is Assembly Battle Ground

In this well-written article by respected VC Star reporter Timm Herdt, the politics of a recent oil-drilling deal is vetted for the effect it has had on the State Assembly race. Based on the State Lands Commission decision, Santa Barbara City Council Member Das Williams has found a possible entry into the race to replace Assembly Member Pedro Nava. Susan Jordan, who happens to be Nava's wife and has worked for private nonprofit coastal advocacy groups, is running as well. Their opposing views on the issue has created the ground upon which a Democratic candidate that wins the primary, wins the general election because of the party registration in the district.

Ventura will be the battle ground in this race and this is reflected in the article. Jordan makes perhaps too much of her leadership in stopping a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal off of Oxnard. Williams, whom many remember as making much of his youth in Isla Vista during the last Supervisorial race, says: “I feel most at home right there at Surfer’s Point.”

Before any of our hyperbole-laced readers get too crazy with that statement, Williams did spend time in both cities during his youth and has worked extensively in Santa Barbara and Ventura since. It is a fair statement. Both of their statements, however, point to how important Ventura will be in that race. Other candidiates might include Ventura City Councilman Bill Fulton and long-time Ventura County Democratic Party activist Irene Henry.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Carpinteria Lowers Fees to Spark Economy

This from Carpinteria Council Member Armendariz. Interesting concept. Let's hope they can also be careful with responsible planning as well! -- Sara

Carpinteria, CA - By a unanimous vote of the Carpinteria City Council, the "Highway, Interchange and Bridge" Development Impact Fee (DIF) in the City of Carpinteria will be reduced by 50% for the next 18-months. This action by the city council was proposed by council member Joe Armendariz with the support of fellow council member Gregg Carty, who also serves as Mayor.

"I am pleased and very proud of my colleagues for supporting what I would suggest is one of the boldest and frankly one of the most audacious, pro busiess, pro economic growth decisions by a city council anywhere in California", said council member Joe Armendariz.

Presented to the council in the form of a resolution, the 50% reduction goes into effect immediately and will apply to any commercial development permit pulled in the next 18 months.

The decision was applauded by the local business community including a representative of the chamber of commerce. Also speaking in support of the resolution was a representative from Inve.stec, who told the council that because of this decision, their approved project called Lagunitas, has now been restored to viability and the company expects to move forward on the project in the next few months. Lagunitas is a mixed use development in the eastern part of the city and will add over 60,000 square feet of new R&D space to the city's existing commercial space inventory.

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One Crisp Blue Shirt and a Shiny Badge

I did happen to see the News-Press photo of the Falcone press conference late today....I would post a link but they are not available via the News-Press website. The picture clearly shows a man who very much looks to be in uniform. My efforts yesterday to point out that an SBPOA member at the event would not likely have a City of Santa Barbara patch and probably wear an alternate, SBPOA badge are still relevant and we now have visual proof.

I haven't seen that The Santa Barbara Independent has posted an article about the press conference. On Noozhawk, the picture unfortunately just barely crops out the man in the crisp blue shirt with a shiny badge. KEYT had a story on the press conference and had a clear view zoomed in on the crisp blue shirt in question.

My comments regarding the perception of whether a uniformed officer was present or not stands. Really, the issue isn't about SBPOA support for Falcone -- they have every right to do so and considering the filing period hasn't even ended, Falcone has landed a major coup. My congratulations to her stands as well.

The issue is about whether people might think a uniformed officer was present...the gentleman clearly pictured in the crisp blue shirt did not have a City of Santa Barbara Police Department patch but he did have a badge on.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Police Officers, Union Endorsements and Uniforms

There was some question yesterday in our comments section as to whether or not Santa Barbara police officers were wearing uniforms at Council Member Iya Falcone's press conference announcing police union support. It would certainly be unethical if any of them did.

I wasn't there, reviewed the tape from Channel 3 news and can't tell. What often happens in these situations is that the union member will not wear the City of Santa Barbara patch on their shoulder and even their badge on their chest might be specially designed as a "SBPOA" badge rather than an official City of Santa Barbara version. I have a feeling this was at least happening in the front of the group that were camera facing. Indeed, it would be hard to tell the difference from afar or on camera.

If anyone was there, has a picture to prove otherwise, etc -- please bring it forward. Otherwise, I would assume that SBPOA President Mike McGrew is smart enough after all these years to have his members either not wear a uniform or wear something a bit less than an official one.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Falcone to receive endorsement of City & County Public Safety Organizations for Mayoral Bid

From Falcone's campaign...the only proviso I would add is that the Deputy Sheriff's Association will usually follow the lead of the SBPOA; and the County Firefighters will usually follow the lead of the City association without much question. Perhaps it is is not so surprising she got all four as supporters (considering her record of staunch support) as it is how early it is in the campaign. Definitely a a good media day for Council Member Falcone tomorrow.

What I hope gets answered during the campaign is what Council Member Falcone's plans are for law enforcement....stimulus monies and long-awaited COPS funding is finally coming through and should translate to more officers on the streets. This is a good thing. Still, will she promise not to cut other services in putting more officers on the street?

That being said -- congrats to some good endorsements! --Sara

Representatives of Santa Barbara City and County law enforcement and firefighting agencies will join Santa Barbara City Councilmember Iya Falcone in an unprecedented show of support for her mayoral campaign at 10:00am Monday....

The Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, Santa Barbara City Firefighters for Better Government, Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Santa Barbara County Firefighters Association are all endorsing Falcone, based on her long record of support for issues important to local public safety professionals. No Santa Barbara mayoral candidate in recent memory has earned the endorsements of all four agencies.

“As mayor I promise to use my proven leadership to continue to prioritize public safety” Falcone said. “Public safety is the foundation for maintaining a prosperous and vibrant community, and I am truly honored to have the support of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to strengthening that foundation.”

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Homeless "Outlaws" Get Representation from ACLU

Although I am not sure saying the city treats them like outlaws is the best way to put it, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California is suing the City of Santa Barbara for the following reason:

On April 1, more than 100 homeless people, including many with physical and/or mental disabilities, will be compelled to leave safe and secure shelter beds at Santa Barbara’s Casa Esperanza emergency shelter because the city permits the shelter to operate only from December through March. These chronically homeless individuals -- who have mental or physical disabilities and have been homeless repeatedly or for an extended period of time -- will have no alternative to sleeping on the streets or in other public places, and will be at serious risk for being cited for illegal activity by police.

According to the ACLU, 11 homeless people have died on the streets of Santa Barbara this year. A similar suit was conducted against Laguna Beach in Orange County. That council responded by repealing their anti-sleeping ordinance this last week. One of the key points is that when you are cited by the police, you can have a hard time renewing a driver's license or receive benefits. Accrued citations could also mean jail.

It is frustrating that this becomes an issue every couple of years and it seems to coincide with the economy. What's sad about it is that we can't seem to come up with a permanent solution to the problem. I don't like tripping over homeless people when I am walking downtown as much as the next person...but what do you do? Christianity talks about caring for the "least of us" -- as does almost every religion -- yet I am sure many of my church fearing readers will be ready to stomp all over the "outlaws". Let's see if we can have a decent discussion about this....without making everyone wrong.

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Jerry Roberts Fundraising Letter

It's gotta be tough when you are in a court case against Wendy McCaw. Like so many two-year olds that want whine with their cheese, McCaw seems to appeal until she gets the answer she wants. This is a money pit for Jerry Roberts and there is little reason for it other than McCaw can appeal. Please help if you can....the following is in Jerry's own words and jumps to his website after the break. -Sara

I want to update you on what's happened in the $25 million lawsuit filed against me by billionaire Wendy McCaw’s Ampersand Publishing, the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

As you know, I resigned as editor in 2006 to protest unethical journalistic practices at the paper. For 2½ years, I have been unable to talk publicly about the litigation because it was filed as a private arbitration. But McCaw's lawyers recently took the matter public, so I can bring you up to date.

The good news is that we've won. The arbitrator has issued interim orders denying all of Ampersand’s claims against me and declaring me to be the prevailing party in the case. The bad news is that because of McCaw's unlimited resources and vindictive effort to ruin my family financially, it's not over yet. [Read More]

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Prop 8 Goes to California Supreme Court

Got this press release from the ACLU...Sara

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorneys for same-sex couples, civil rights organizations and the state Attorney General’s office appeared before the California Supreme Court today to urge the court to strike down Proposition 8, which took away the right of same-sex couples the right to marry. At issue in the case is whether the ballot initiative process can be used to take away a fundamental right only for one group of Californians based on a trait – in this case sexual orientation – that has no relevance to the group’s ability to participate in or contribute to society. Because the case has serious implications for the constitutional rights of all Californians, it has generated unprecedented support from many national and state civil rights groups as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups. [Read More].


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

May 19 Special Election Ballot

The Daily Sound published a short article on the upcoming special election. An avid reader also sent me the official state list of ballot measures and the draft copy of the voter guide that will be sent to our homes. Here's a full list of the measures:

Proposition 1A
Stabilizes State Budget. Reforms California Budget Process. Limits State Spending. Increases "Rainy Day" Budget Stabilization Fund.
Proposition 1B
Election Funding. Payment Plan.
Proposition 1C
Lottery Modernization Act.
Proposition 1D
Protects Children's Services Funding. Helps Balance State Budget.
Proposition 1E
Ensures Funding for Children's Mental Health Services. Helps Balance State Budget.
Proposition 1F
Elected Officials' Salaries. Prevents Pay Increases During Budget Deficit Years.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Fresh on the heels of a successful fall campaign, the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee will host its first ever county-wide Democratic Party membership meeting, scheduled for most of the day on Saturday, March 7th, at the University Center at UCSB. Democrats plan to use the meeting to work on a local party platform, and prepare members and delegates for the upcoming State Democratic Party convention that will take place in May.

“This meeting is an opportunity for all of us who are inspired by the election of our new president to apply the principles we fought for in November to local issues,” said Daraka Larimore-Hall, the county party chairperson. “Lasting change requires that we all stay engaged, and this meeting is an important step in the process,” he said. The platform developed at this meeting is expected to guide the party’s endorsement decisions in the fall.

"This is the first time that the local party has got together to draft a platform on local issues. It's very exciting, and is keeping in the spirit of do-it-yourself democracy launched by Howard Dean and Barack Obama,” said Hillary Blackerby, local party Secretary. The event is open to all registered Democrats in Santa Barbara County. The agenda includes statements from candidates for statewide party posts, workshops on ‘starting a Democratic Club’, ‘grassroots activism’, and ‘the role, status and structure of the Democratic Party’. The day will include afternoon working groups to help develop a local Democratic Party platform, and will end with a meeting of elected and appointed local delegates to the California Democratic Party Convention.

When: Saturday, March 7th, 10AM – 5PM
Where: University Center, USCB (near Storke Tower) Flying A Room

Community Event:Eve of Justice

Pacific Pride Foundation and the Strategic Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) Announces the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria Eve of Justice Candlelight Vigil

Pacific Pride Foundation and the Strategic Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) announce local participation in a statewide Eve of Justice candlelight vigil on Wednesday, March 4th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

On Thursday March 5th the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the validity of Prop 8. The evening prior, we’ll stand together and send a unified message to our fellow Californians, including the Supreme Court Justices, that individual liberties like the right to marry are guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone and cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a bare majority. Just as important, we will give our love and support to all the families headed by same-sex couples who are threatened by the recent electoral outcome, as well as same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by enactment of Prop 8.

Locations for the vigils are as follows:
- in Santa Barbara at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens
- in Santa Maria at the northeast corner of Main & Broadway

We are asking all participants to arrive at 5:30 p.m. and bring a candle and a friend.

S.A.M.E. and Pacific Pride Foundation are also asking everyone who support marriage equality to wear white on Thursday March 5th.