Monday, April 21, 2008

No Country For Old Menus

Friday's edition of the News-Press carried a restaurant review of The Porch at Los Olivos Grocery.

Routine dining reviews usually don't get much attention from me but this article was prefaced with an editor's note stating that both the chef and menu had changed since the review was written.

If you wanted to make an informed decision before hopping into your car and driving up to the Santa Ynez Valley to try The Porch, I think you're out of luck. Columbus had more guidance when he set out to find the new world.

With the News-Press writing up superseded menus and departed chefs, can reviews of the Olive Mill Bistro, Kelly's Corner and The Talk of the Town be far behind? (Yes, you have to be a long-time Santa Barbarian if you remember any of those long-gone watering holes.)

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In his column in yesterday's edition of Wendy McCaw's News-Press, editorial page editor Travis Armstrong opened with this question:

Not to be too curmudgeonly on this Earth Day weekend, but am I the only one who thinks the annual festival at the county Courthouse Sunken Garden has become a bit stale?

I'm tempted to say "yes," and leave it at that however, Armstrong uses the column to take a swipe at the Earth Day Festival's organizer, the Community Environmental Council, who has apparently become the latest inductee into "the cabal."

Armstrong cites the CEC's abandonment of creek and watershed programs as examples of its decline. Those programs have since been taken over by other organizations.

Armstrong concludes by saying "perhaps it's time to hand off Earth Day as well to a group that would make it a priority rather than an obligation" Like who? The News-Press?

Santa Barbara's "paper of rancor" certainly hasn't been saving any trees with the unsolicited junk-mail flyer "NP Direct" which periodically shows up in mail boxes all over the south coast.

And the News-Press was conspicuously absent as a sponsor of this year's local Earth Day celebration even though the Santa Barbara Independent and Daily Sound were lending their support to the annual celebration.

Of course there is one "Earth" Day activity in which the News-Press has no peer; getting down in the dirt and slinging the mud. Sunday was the one year anniversary of the paper's shameful smear of former editor Jerry Roberts.

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What I believe is the first "review" of Citizen McCaw appeared over the weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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The Santa Barbara County Bar Association is sponsoring a week long observance of Law Week. One of the events is a panel discussion on "The First Amendment In The Internet Age." I will be the moderator of a discussion of how freedom of speech and the press have been impacted by the Internet. The panelists include Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge George Eskin, media attorney Mike Cooney, former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts and Matt Kettmann, senior editor at the Santa Barbara Independent. The date is Thursday, May 1 and the time is 7 p.m. The location is the Santa Barbara College of Law, 20 E. Victoria Street. Admission is free.