Wrong Way, Armstrong

Capping two tumultuous weeks for Santa Barbara’s daily newspaper, News-Press editorial writer Travis Armstrong — famous for his blistering opinions — was arrested for drunken driving late Saturday night after police noticed him driving the wrong way down one-way Santa Barbara Street. Police, who reported a moderate aroma of alcohol in the car, took Armstrong to the sheriff’s station and administered a blood test. Armstrong said he had a few drinks at the Bacara Resort — where he spoke that night — came home, had a few more glasses of wine, and then went driving to clear his head of work-related issues. He also indicated he would seek counseling. Armstrong has been under fire of late from Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and 2nd District Supervisor Susan Rose, who charged Armstrong with censorship because he would not allow them to appear as guests on a public affairs radio show dealing with nonprofits. The show — whose airtime was paid for by the Hutton Foundation — was broadcast on KZSB-AM 1290, which is owned by the News-Press parent company. Armstrong explained in a column that Blum and Rose were not allowed on the Hutton Foundation show because they had declined to appear as guests on his own radio show. Blum countered that she had indeed appeared as Armstrong’s guest, while Rose — a frequent target of Armstrong’s venom — said she refused because she wouldn’t receive fair treatment. In the midst of that controversy, News-Press publisher Joe Cole abruptly announced his resignation from both the newspaper and the newspaper’s parent company, explaining he hoped to spend more time with his children. Arthur Von Wiesenberger — the longtime fiancé of News-Press owner Wendy P. McCaw — is replacing him temporarily.

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