Monday, September 08, 2008

Let The Games Begin!

A depleted sports department at Wendy McCaw's News-Press got a break on the first Friday of the high school football season: a limited schedule of teams in action.

Carpinteria High and Bishop Diego where the only south coast schools that had games. Santa Barbara High, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos don't kick off their seasons until this Friday.

Covering the action were Dennis Bateman, Alex Pavlovic, Chauncey Kim and John Greely. Bateman and Pavlovic were identified in their by-lines as "staff writers," Greely was identified as a "correspondent" and Kim was ID'd as a "staff report."

So does the News-Press think they can cover prep football once it really gets into full-swing at the end of this week? Apparently not. The paper is running an ad in it's own classified section saying it's "looking for freelance writers to cover high school sports across Santa Barbara County."

So it looks like major league baseball is not the only organization that holds an "amateur draft."

Meanwhile, Presidio Sports, the new website started by former News-Press sports writers Blake Dorfman and John Dvorak, has launched. Former News-Press sports writer Mike Traphagen covered Carpinteria High's victory over Santa Ynez for the website. Dorfman covered the Bishop Diego game.

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It may not be sports, but the game playing continues at the News-Press when it comes to its war on the Teamsters union.

Labor negotiations continued on Wednesday and Thursday of last week between the paper and the union. On Saturday, editorial page editor Travis Armstrong, who was management's representative on the negotiating team, wrote an op-ed page column belittling the negotiations and taking shots at both the Teamsters and the NLRB.

Armstrong made a big deal out of the fact that the two sides didn't actually meet face-to-face in these last sessions. Rather, a federal mediator shuttled between the two rooms where each side was conferring.

Armstrong claimed, "It's not that the News-Press didn't want to sit face to face with them." However, my sources tell me that the paper's lead attorney in the negotiations, Michael Zinser, also did not want to meet face-to-face.

With the News-Press already facing a charge from the NLRB that it has not negotiated in good faith, I'd think twice about using what transpired in the negotiations as material for a column.

* * *

Had a chance to chat briefly with Rick Caruso last Wednesday. Caruso told me that he has offered several times to sit down and meet with Armstrong to address his questions and concerns about Caruso's Miramar project . Armstrong has yet to take him up on his offer.

I guess Travis is too busy dragging his heels in those labor negotiating sessions that seem to only occur once in a blue moon.

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Look alikes: Sarah Palin and Montecito resident Julia Louis Dreyfuss.

Todd Palin and Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent.