Real Legal Eagles

Rough Times: A mother and her two small children were living in a place with no heat, broken windows, and a mouse infestation. The Legal Aid Foundation stepped in and got her a refund of the $4,000 she’d paid in rent, so she could afford to move to a safe, habitable house.

Legal Aid also helped a mother of three in obtaining a restraining order against her husband, who, despite temporary orders, stalked her and tried to break into the foundation’s office. He also beat her, leaving bruises all over her body. With the foundation’s assistance, the family is now safe and he’s serving jail time through next spring.

The foundation also stepped in to stop the financial and emotional abuse of a 40-year-old developmentally disabled woman by her caregiver and won a judgment for the return of the $3,500 the caregiver had wrongfully taken. The foundation also obtained a domestic violence restraining order for a pregnant 17-year-old girl against her former boyfriend. His probation terms banned him from any contact with her but provided for no enforcement mechanisms for her.

When an elderly mobile home owner was having problems with the park management, which wanted to evict her, the foundation helped her resolve the situation. These are just a few of hundreds of similar cases.

A tax-deductible pledge of $500 will help the nonprofit Legal Aid Foundation serve two needy persons, according to Ellen Goodstein, executive director. You can send a check to the foundation at 301 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, 93101.

News-Press Protest: Journalists demanding that News-Press owner Wendy McCaw “build back the wall between opinion and news” and negotiate a union contract will lead a march from De la Guerra Plaza on Wednesday. The 12:45 p.m. march will go from the News-Press building, up De la Guerra Street to State, to Ortega Street, then on Anacapa Street back to De la Guerra Street to the Plaza. There speakers will be updating the public on issues, the journalists said. News-Press journalists were honored last week by The Independent as Local Heroes and received a standing ovation.

Italian Access: Every Tuesday during December, 10 percent of what you spend on lunch or dinner at Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, 1031 State St., goes to support Santa Barbara Channels, which brings public access channels 17 and 21.

Coming Up Roses: Good luck to Marshall Rose, who was hailed just last week as Protector of State Street” but now is leaving the Downtown Organization (DO) to open a microbrewery pub at the Camino Real Marketplace. Rose, as the DO honcho for a decade, made the downtown hum, while pretty much avoiding the nasty major controversies that many cities suffer. So who’ll be the next State Street protector?

Cop Wins: Now that the final votes have been counted, Santa Barbara police officer Roger Aceves has narrowly won the third spot on the Goleta City Council. But with three new faces on the five-person council, which way Goleta? Continued slow growth and careful planning or speed-o development, as many fear?

Cox Robocall: “I received this morning a robocall on the home hard line, a recorded pitch to buy some kind of premium pay sports channels on Cox,” reports David Pritchett. “One would think they would not annoy their customers with that, considering the ever-escalating prices they charge under their monopoly power.” I got one of those calls too, David. Cox is it, unless you want to go the satellite route. Remember, it was the City Council that okayed the monopoly.

Kona’s Here: Blue Booth, co-owner of friendly Vices & Spices, on the Northside, is back from Hawaii with his Kona coffee beans grown on his own land on the Big Island. Since coffee-drinking in schmooze shops seems to have far surpassed bar-hopping, I invite other coffee emporiums to send in their news.

Ellen on CVR: Ellen DeGeneres, new owner of a $16.5 mil casa in Montecito, has been spotted on Coast Village Road and reportedly told Jay Leno that she’s sold her Santa Ynez Valley ranch.

No $$ Left Behind: Or no Bush left behind. Seems as though a company headed by President Bush’s brother Neil and partly owned by his parents are cashing in on President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, aimed at economically disadvantaged students. Educators are reported to be divided over whether the Ignite! products being sold are worth their cost or even qualified under the No Child law.

Gates and the Biltmore: Even if Bill Gates, a Saudi crown prince, the CEO of the Four Seasons chain, and others buy the Four Seasons company for $3.7 billion, Santa Barbara’s Four Seasons Biltmore ownership probably won’t be affected. That’s because Ty Warner owns it. Four Seasons has the contract to manage it, however.

The Messiah: When you’re sitting in the First Presbyterian Church, absorbed by soaring voices of the Santa Barbara Choral Society, you don’t expect to spot a politician among the singers of Handel’s Messiah. But there was 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone among the bass voices (and wife Kate among the altos).

(Barney Brantingham can be reached at 965-5205 or He writes an online column on Tuesdays, a print column in Thursday’s Independent, and a Friday online column called Barney’s Weekend Picks.)

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