Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Editorial Is In-De-Fence-Able

If News-Press owner Wendy McCaw looks particularly tired and haggard these days I think I have the answer to the question of what's keeping her up at night. She's obsessing over the grass in De la Guerra Plaza.

Wednesday's News-Press carried an editorial, the premise of which was that the City's delay in the removal of the plastic fencing around the grass in the center of the plaza (which is placed there every August to give the lawn a chance to regenerate after playing host to Fiesta's El Mercado) is an example of the City's "hypocrisy."

De la Guerra Plaza's grass this year bounced back thicker and quicker than ever.


But the city is perfectly happy to ring De la Guerra Plaza in plastic for as long as possible. It's never in a rush to take the barriers down around this public property.

So, Wendy is officially second-guessing the groundskeepers at City Hall about how long the public should be kept off the grass? Who died and made her the garden wise guy? Is she going to start writing the horticulture column for the News-Press?

Or perhaps she's just ticked off because she's been forced to postpone her plans for Arthur and her to have a picnic lunch on the lawn?

You might remember that back in November of 2006 the News-Press was forced to remove chain link fences it erected around its downtown parking lots because they were put up without the proper permits.

Wendy is apparently still stewing about that because it gets mentioned in the editorial.

[We] didn't understand the big uproar by a few people about the limited temporary fence the newspaper erected in 2006.

The fence, which only was up along Anacapa Street, was meant to be there for a short time while the News-Press did some work sprucing up its parking lots on private property. In light of the number of city employees who trespass through the newspaper's lots, you'd think they would have been pleased with the News-Press for spending a little extra time cleaning them up.

"Sprucing up" the parking lots? That claim is suspect because the fences were covered by green windscreens, the kind you often see on tennis courts. Most of us suspect that the real purpose of the fences was to hide those "McCaw Obey the Law" signs that News-Press employees were displaying in the windshields of their parked cars.

And McCaw is actually cheesed off because pedestrians dare take a short cut by walking through her parking lot? Kind of odd that McCaw, who has her own helicopter to shuttle her around, begrudges the fact that the commoners in this town would try to save a few steps.

The editorial goes on to say:

Yet when it comes to the city's ugly fence in this historic plaza, you don't hear a peep from them. It's another indication of how City Hall plays by a different and hypocritical set of rules.

When you consider the numerous "rules" of the National Labor Relations Act that McCaw has been found to have violated, or the fact that she refuses to adopt the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for her newspaper, just who is it that is playing by a "different" set of rules?

And on top of all of that, it wasn't that long ago that McCaw herself was involved in a spat with the Hope Ranch Homeowner's Association over a 12 foot fence she built along her property without first getting permission to do so.

Now you tell me, whose hypocrisy knows no boundaries?