Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coming Soon to an Editorial Page Near You: Bottled Water Wars!

We now know what the next bone of contention will be between Santa Barbara City Hall and Wendy McCaw's News-Press: bottled water.

As first reported in detail in Friday's edition of the Daily Sound, Mayor Marty Blum is one of the backers of a resolution calling for municipalities to stop using bottled water.

On Monday, a majority of the mayors attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Miami indeed voted to phase out regular use of bottled water for their cities' employees and functions.

At the News-Press, where a "they're out to get us" mentality abounds, this will undoubtedly be perceived as yet another example of City Hall's grand plan to try to cause misery for its neighbor on De la Guerra Plaza at every opportunity. After all, who runs a web page that claims to be "The Definitive Bottled Water Site?"

That's right: Arthur von Wiesenberger, the paper's co-publisher and, not coincidentally, owner Wendy McCaw's boyfriend.

While his expertise on bottled water may be arguable, he is undisputedly the "best kept man in Santa Barbara"; so undoubtedly, Wendy will be pulling a Tammy Wynette and "standing by her man."

With the paper already having run an editorial last year extolling the virtues of bottled water and gone on record as opposing Chicago's five cent tax on each sale of bottled water, Wendy will probably presume that Blum's vote on this non-binding resolution is a scheme to make life a little tougher for those who bottle water and, ultimately, for those who critique the contents of those bottles.

I'm sure that when editorial page editor Travis Armstrong returns from vacation later this week, Wendy will have put a "smack down the Mayor on the bottled water issue" editorial high on his to do list. And to be sure, Wendy's contempt for Marty won't be watered down.

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Former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts, who has written some occasional print articles for the Santa Barbara Independent, now has his own blog on the Indy's website. Called "Capitol Letters" (clever, huh?), it's devoted to covering "the state of Golden State Politics."

His first post was about a fracas that took place between supporters of Hannah Beth Jackson and Tony Strickland, candidates for the 19th district State Senate seat, outside of a Strickland fundraiser in Thousand Oaks last week.

Susan Paterno wrote about the "Santa Barbara Smack Down." Jerry's writing about the "Thousand Oaks Tussle."

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After yesterday evening's Hope Ranch fund raiser and before this morning's appearance at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, John McCain spent last night at the Doubletree Hotel.

I wonder if they gave him the "senior" rate?