Tuesday, July 22, 2008

News-Press, Ready to Rumble in Goleta

In its never-ending quest for contrarian editorial page stances, Wendy McCaw's News-Press seems to be in a quandary as to whom to oppose in the upcoming Goleta City Council race.

After noting its disappointment "that those connected with the developer-dependent Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and others appear poised to pour a lot of money into the election," the editorial, which appeared in Monday's edition of the paper, went on to state: "There likely could be a backlash against candidates heavily backed or associated with these entities."

The editorial charged that the present council is "shutting out views it disagrees with and refusing to listen."

Which raises the question, just who is responsible for putting the present council in office?

Well, in the last Goleta council election which took place in November of 2006, the News-Press endorsed Eric Onnen, Mike Bennett, and Roger Aceves, all of whom were elected over incumbent council members.

Onnen and Bennet were the recipients of contributions from South Coast PAC, a political action committee that was backed by the Chamber.

And yes, that's the same Goleta Valley Chamber that the News-Press is now warning that any candidate associated with it could be subject to a "backlash."

So of the four announced candidates who are competing for the two seats that are up for election, are any of them courting the News-Press' support?

According to the editorial, Margaret Connell -- who lost re-election in 2006 -- and newcomer Ed Easton took a meeting at the News-Press and "provided a bit of hope that a new kind of moderation could be in the air by those who want to shift the council's direction." The editorial didn't come out in support of either of them but rather said, "We're eager to see how their words and deeds play out on the campaign trail."

That would seem to suggest that the other two announced candidates, Don Gilman and former Goleta Councilwoman Margaret Connell incumbent Jean Blois, neither of whom were mentioned by name in the editorial, are long-shots to get the News-Press seal of approval.

Of course, the bigger question is, would they ever want it?

The editorial ended with this ominous note:

The editorial pages of this newspaper and our sister publication, the Goleta Valley Voice, will be active participants in holding those accountable who attempt to put their self-interests before those of the greater Goleta community.

As if McCaw has ever allowed her self-interest to take a back seat to the interests of the greater community.

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Long-time Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney Darryl Perlin was not only quoted in a national article about how social networking websites can come into play when a defendant is sentenced, he was mentioned by name by L.A. morning talk radio king Bill Handel on his Monday KFI show.

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I didn't make it down to the Edhat Town Hall meeting at the public library last night, but it was the lead story on both KEYT's 6 and 11 pm newscasts Monday and it looked like a pretty sizable crowd showed up to discuss the dissemination of information during local emergencies.

There once was a time when the News-Press would have been the one to sponsor such a public discussion.

Just goes to show how a new media outlet, Edhat, can surpass an old media outfit like the News-Press in influence.

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Finally, on Monday the Gap fire was declared 100 percent contained. Mayor Marty Blum is now wondering when the same can be said of Travis Armstrong.