Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thank You and Good Night

I won't be moderating comments any longer and I am not planning on turning off moderation -- as some folks might get revisionist.

BlogaBarbara will not be deleted -- at least for quite some time. I think the stories and opinions on these pages are worth too much -- if only for historical and archival reasons, especially as to what happened during the News-Press Mess.

I'm told today's News-Press headline was "Fire responders get some love at Children's Festival." It made me twinge and look toward my keyboard -- but alas, I will have to turn that energy into other worthwhile endeavors.

I so appreciate the good will expressed by the vast majority of you over the last week since I made my intentions public. Your kindness touches me deeply and I will miss you all. Perhaps a rather cryptic koan, I saw this quote the other other day and reflected on it in regards to my experience with blogging at BlogaBarbara:

"It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play". -- Dizzy Gillespie

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SDLG Signing Off

After 1,111 posts and a wildfire that has led me to reconsider my priorities in life, I decided last weekend that this will be my last post on BlogaBarbara. My adobe is standing and my family is well. This 'gnarly' fire, however, hit close to home and gave me reason to pause.

For a little more than four years, I have done my best to bring you the news and opinion that wasn't printed in our daily newspaper. I also did my best to be of service to our community and provide a platform for opinion -- whether I agreed with it or not. At times it was easy and I would get inspired by the polemic debate that was held on these pages. There were times, however, when I would be less than enthused in deciding whether or not to delete a comment and whether it met our community guidelines. I made poor decisions at times and the correct ones most of the time. One poor decision not to delete a comment immediately -- because of my predilection to dark humor -- led to a News-Press search for my identity and a call from me for 'lawyers, guns, and money'. By the way -- that's a reference to a popular song and has no violent intent at all in case you were wondering.

I'm proud of my support for the Teamsters and former reporters and workers of the News-Press. I was happy to do my part in uncovering where the bias really was at the News-Press. Part of me pleads to myself to not move on until Travis, Nipper and Wendy have moved on from their self-centered ways -- but I am also clear I have done my part.

When BlogaBarbara began, there were few alternative voices online other than Craig Smith whom I believe started some months before BlogaBarbara. Blogging was a nascent medium and Craig Smith's Blog, EdHat and BlogaBarbara were some of the first adopters. No media outlets come to mind as having blogs at the time. Today, media outlets are on Twitter, Facebook and providing streaming video. The competition for eyeballs is heavy for a blog with no budget and no payroll.

I've been considering this for months as the looming mayoral race is looking to be an election out of the pages of a Hunter Thompson novel. The number of mean comments on the blog has noticeably increased and, to tell you the truth, I just don't have it in me. Add atop that a council candidate that wears a fedora on Stearns Wharf and tries to friend anything that moves on Facebook -- and we have the recipe for a long, hot summer.

The Jesusita Fire sealed the deal. The fire came way too close for comfort and had me think about what was truly important to me. BlogaBarbara readers are important to me but my family, friends, career and community are as well. I am clear I can serve our community in other ways and not just under the guise of anonymity.

In case you are wondering, I will not reveal my identity now as Wendy McCaw still owns the News-Press. My heirs will pay for an obituary in the News-Press many years from now and slip the fact that I was Sara de la Guerra into the text. I am reasonably confident that the temporary worker in charge of editing by then will not have the institutional knowledge that a Josh Molina, Dawn Hobbs or a Tom Schultz carries with them. Then again, my plan assumes the News-Press will still be in operation.

What will happen to BlogaBarbara? I will moderate comments for a few days. If you are someone with thick skin and might be someone I would trust to take over the blog, email me at I wouldn't want anything more than your assurance that you would be responsible about keeping the public service aspect of the blog alive -- where all opinions are given a chance to be expressed.

Thank you so much for following my work over the last four years. Special thanks go to Canon Presidio -- a good friend and partner, who helped me get this started. Citizen Stringer for feeding me stories, writing many of them and taking a supportive interest in the blog. Special thanks are also due to Craig Smith and Edhat for their links to our pages. I appreciate that Joe Armendariz and Lanny Ebenstein realized that they could be good Republicans and still contribute to a liberal-leaning blog like BlogaBarbara. I'm not sure if I could have kept the guise at times without Uncle Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega's historical context. The Electronic Frontier Foundation deserves extra special thanks for giving me legal help when I needed it -- I will forever be in their debt. I am sure I have forgot many of you and for that I apologize -- I am clear I will hit "publish" and think of 10 other people to acknowledge.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Frank Hotchkiss to Run for Council?

The Santa Barbara County Republican Party website shows a calendar of events for the next month and includes a Santa Barbara Republican Club fundraiser on May 15th for Frank Hothckiss' campaign for city council. The interesting thing is that I wasn't aware that he had announced his candidacy yet. Maybe I am behind the times...

This isn't too big of a surprise as you might remember that in 2007, Citizen Stringer wrote about his chutzpah in refusing to engage voters via blogs.

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