Thursday, July 03, 2008

Two Years and Counting

With tomorrow being a holiday, the start of a three-day weekend, in fact, I thought that today would be the most appropriate time to note that Sunday will be the two-year anniversary of the News-Press meltdown.

Don Murphy, a deputy managing editor, resigned in the early afternoon of July 5, 2006. George Foulsham, the managing editor, quit later that afternoon.

The following day, a Thursday, News-Press editor Jerry Roberts, who had also tendered his resignation but had offered to stay on for 30 days to ease the transition, was escorted out of the building, having been barely given time to pack his brief case. By the end of the day, city editor Jane Hulse, business editor Michael Todd, and columnist Barney Brantingham had also quit.

I think most of you know the rest of the story.

* * *

Tuesday, it was the same old story at the News-Press. Editorial page editor Travis Armstrong devoted his entire op-ed column to bashing Mayor Marty Blum.

Blaming her for everything but the defeat of the Union armies at Bull Run, it's a classic Travis rant.

As far as I can tell, there's nothing in the column that he hasn't said before about the mayor. With Blum term-limited out, she won't be running for re-election and as far as I know, doesn't aspire to any other elective office, so I'm wondering: why another hit piece?

My guess is that Wendy sent him a memo saying something like, "You know, I'd kind of like to see you do another number on Marty Blum."

If it's Fourth of July week, you can count on Travis to pop off.

Mayor Blum sent me and several other local media outlets a response to the column. You can read it in its entirety here.

* * *

A number of readers wrote in to note how slow the News-Press was to update its website with any news of the "Gap Fire" burning in northern Goleta.

One example was a crawl across the top of the site time-stamped 4:15 p.m., noting that summer school classes at Dos Pueblos High School have been cancelled.

Don't you think most of the summer school students at Dos Pueblos had figured it out by then?

Fortunately, other online outlets including Edhat, The Independent, Noozhawk and the Daily Sound had fire updates throughout the day.

* * *

South of us, the L.A. Times announced plans to cut 250 positions across the company, including 150 positions from the news staff. The Times will reduce the number of pages it publishes each week by 15%.

* * *

Yesterday, in writing about the next court hearing in the Rob Lowe nanny-gate case I alluded to some of the latest allegations that the Lowe's were making against Jessica Gibson. Wednesday Gibson filed her own declaration in opposition categorically denying every one of the claims.

* * *

Heidi's Gifts and Cards, which has been located in the Mesa Shopping Center for as long as I can remember, has lost its lease.

They will be open for another 60 days, and then that will be it. They may relocate to the small shopping center over at Las Positas and Modoc.

I learned the news yesterday afternoon when I walked over there from my nearby home to buy some stamps from the Post Office contract station at the back of the store.

The Mesa Shopping Center, which for almost a year now has been undergoing an extensive remodeling, is due to have it's "grand opening" next Tuesday.

The shopping center won't be the same without Heidi's and the friendly people who work there.