Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Paranoid Publisher?

Simply looking in his rear view mirror and seeing a police car was enough to increase the paranoia of legendary rocker David Crosby. For News-Press owner Wendy McCaw it seems that the thought of people sitting around and talking about current issues is enough to pump up her paranoia.

Ah yes, the News-Press has identified a new enemy of the fourth estate; the community forum. Monday's editorial in the newspaper that has now become McCaw's personal journal had this to say:

One troubling trend in public discourse on the South Coast has been activist groups manipulating community opinion by holding forums they promote as being balanced and unbiased when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Santa Barbara saw this over the last year, with meetings organized by the Santa Barbara County Action Network and Santa Barbara Clergy Association regarding internal changes at this newspaper. Representatives of the News-Press, if they were invited at all, were to sit on panels stacked with people from competing media outfits or who were tied to politicians upset about the newspaper's past editorial criticisms of their misdeeds.

The sponsors promote these events as independent forums for the community to seek solutions or common ground. The reality is that they are lopsided gatherings -- loaded with speakers with one point of view -- meant to lead people toward a particular ideological agenda or attack individuals.

Touchy aren't we?

Of course, how would anyone at the News-Press know what goes on at the forums since they almost never send anyone to cover them and always decline to participate even though they have been invited.

Not since King George III has someone obsessed so much over citizens gathering in public and discussing civic affairs.

The horror!

* * *

So how was the first day on-line for the folks over at Noozhawk? According to head honcho Bill Macfadyen:

We were absolutely crushed this morning with site traffic. Even our ambitious overestimates of use were exceeded, which put a severe strain on our ad servers.

I'm enormously proud of Jim Farr, Andrea Huebner, Edgar Oliveira, Sonia Fernandez, Rob Kuznia, Chris Donahue and Cristina Wilson, but all of our staff and contributors have been just amazing. This is tremendously exciting to be a part of.

But not everybody in town is enthusiastic as Bill is about his new venture. Yesterday's post over at Santa Barabara's Blog, questioned whether a site staffed with some former News-Press employees and some "regurgitated" Daily Sound columnists (one of whom would be me) could make it.

Perhaps we should send a bottle of wine over to Santa Barbara's Blog to go with those sour grapes?

* * *

Add local philanthropist and publisher Sara Miller McCune to the list of people who have been subpoenaed to have their deposition taken by Wendy McCaw's lawyers in her arbitration case against Jerry Roberts.

McCune's attorney Stewart Holden confirmed to me that McCune had indeed been served.

* * *

The Coffee Kid has arrived! Everett David Kay Womack was born last Friday morning to proud parents Krista and Jason, the owners of the Coffee Cat at the corner of Anacapa and Anapamu downtown. Besides serving as my "office" during the recently completed NLRB hearings the Coffee Cat is one of my favorite espresso spots in town.

* * *

Local musician Randy Tico had his bass guitar stolen Monday night at the Santa Barbara City College bus stop.

The bass is an early '70's Fender Precision model with a maple neck and black body, black pick guard and an added jazz pickup (the pickup cover is burgundy). The bass also has a Stars guitars bridge and extra holes drilled with no knobs in them.

If you spot it or know anything else about the missing instrument contact Randy at

Randy’s a fine musician, but this is not how we want to see him singing the blues.

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