Thursday, July 17, 2008

Maybe They Ran Out of Relief Pitchers?

I don't know what lasted longer, Tuesday's All Star game or Wednesday's hearing before the Montecito Planning Commission on Rick Caruso's Miramar proposal.

Actually the Miramar hearing was longer, but only by about five hours.

While we know the outcome of the All Star game (the American League won) we can't say the same about the Miramar. After listening to ten and a half hours of presentations and public comment the Commission will consider the matter further on August 6.

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After taking Tuesday off, News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong was back hounding Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum on Wednesday.

This time, Armstrong wrote about a part-time city employee who claims he was fired for replying to that e-mail that Blum sent to all city employees over the weekend.

Evidently irritated that Blum was including him in the loop in her attempt to set the record straight about whether or not she planned to resign, Stephen Andrew reportedly told the mayor:

I have no interest in hearing about your issues regarding your health, your intentions for office, or any possible impending resignation . . . In the future, please refrain from sending me e-mails of this nature at my work location during work hours. You may be mayor of Santa Barbara, but your displeasure with a local newspaper report is none of my business and I don't want to hear about it.

He told Armstrong that because of that e-mail, the City fired him.

Armstrong then asks the question: "What in the world is going on at the city these days?"

I have no idea whether the employee's story is true or not, but two things come to my mind:

1. If he was terminated because of the e-mail, it was one of the swiftest firings in the history of municipal government.

2. Is Armstrong suggesting that if a News-Press employee shot off a similarly phrased message in response to a memo from owner Wendy McCaw, the employee would still be working there?

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In the meantime, Madame Mayor seemed to keep plenty busy talking to the national media about the proposal to lift the off-shore ban on drilling.

An extensive interview with her appears in Newsweek.

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Santa Barbara isn't the only town where the mayor and a member of the media are engaged in mano-a-mano combat. According to L.A. Observed, radio host Warren Olney and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a pretty contentious exchange on the air Wednesday afternoon.

At least Olney permitted Villaraigosa to appear on his "Which Way, L.A.?" show as a guest. Apparently Armstrong won't give Blum the opportunity to come on "News-Press Radio" and be interviewed.