BASEBALL ANYBODY? Okay, just because the Santa Barbara Foresters finally won the World Series of semi-pro baseball, that doesn’t mean the Powers-that-Be at City Hall will find them a home at Pershing Park anytime soon. But it would be nice.
For the Foresters to come downtown—and out from behind UCSB’s ivory curtain where they now play—a whole lot of furniture must be re-arranged. The first thing is to buy out Old Spanish Days, which owns about half an acre of the Pershing Park outfield and the nearby Carriage Museum. City Hall might be able to relocate the Fiesta folks to a chunk of city-owned land between Cabrillo Boulevard and the railroad tracks, but first we need to know what impact that might have on an environmentally significant smear of mud that’s home to the Southwestern Pond Turtle. Then we’d need a serious chunk of dough to build a new Carriage Museum. At that point, we might actually have something to actually talk about. In the meantime, congratulations to the Foresters.
IMPEACH THE PREZ? WHY NOT: Sometimes, I am forced to re-evaluate even my most cherished prejudices. Last Wednesday night gave me that kind of pause. It was a meeting to discuss a plan to get the Santa Barbara City Council to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of the President.
The idea of impeachment has been floating around for the past two years, and I’ve always dismissed it out of hand. Sure, Bush is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but so what? Better to beat him at the ballot box, I figured, than waste precious time pissing up a rope—unless, of course, your idea of a good time happens to be a Golden Shower.
But last Wednesday’s gathering in the Faulkner Gallery at the downtown library gave me pause. And it wasn’t any of the featured speakers who changed my mind. Professor Richard Falk is undeniably a dapper, dignified dude—who knows far more than I ever will—but I’d heard his rap before and it laid my pulse to rest. Lisa Hajjar, another UCSB prof, was more impressive, exhaling vast lungs full of information as she spoke. The last speaker, Jim Lafferty from the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, got a little grating with his smug-lefty-critique. His point was that a resolution was kind of pointless given that Republicans and Democrats have both embraced an imperialistic foreign policy since the end of WWII. When he started quoting Noam Chomsky, I started reaching for my gun.
Maybe he’s right, but so what? To the extent there’s any kind of homogenous ruling elite pulling the strings in this country—personally I think the grown-ups left the building a long time ago—they’re clearly freaked out and upset by the mess Bush made of their intricate designs. Aren’t good lefties supposed to exploit such rifts, not to pretend they don’t matter?
What was genuinely impressive about the forum was the number of people who showed up. At least 250 people, by my count. That’s far more than any event I’ve ever attended at the Faulkner. That’s a lot of people—mostly part of the Farmers Market demographic—all dressed up with no place to go, outraged over an administration hell-bent on making a very scary world an even scarier place.
So maybe the city council should pass an impeachment resolution after all. Maybe symbolically self-indulgent actions aren’t necessarily devoid of nutrient content. It probably won’t accomplish much. But maybe it will in some minute way embolden a few more politicians to ask uncomfortable questions and stray from the safe and narrow. And at this point in history, every little bit helps. And if nothing else, it will give city councilmember Helene Schneider a chance to quote her favorite bumper sticker of all time: “We are now all wearing the blue dress.”