On the Beat

If They Weren’t There: Imagine a day without: cops, deputies, the CHP, firefighters, nurses, doctors, paramedics, FAA control tower operators, service station attendants, supermarket clerks, airline pilots and flight attendants, 411 operators, 911 dispatchers, Harbor Patrol, Coast Guard, and everyone else who does essential work on the day we stuff ourselves at the Thanksgiving table. And let’s not forget the people who deliver the papers in the wee hours before we’re up. Also on the good side: Be thankful that Congress is taking the day off. No harm, no foul.

Free Turkeys: A pal said over the phone: “A rich guy’s giving away turkeys at Burl Ives’s old place on East Valley Road. He’s got a big sign up and there’s a Pilgrim and an Indian. Noon to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I sent my maid over and she got one.” So Sue and I hopped in the Chevy Prizm and sped over to 1880 East Valley to see what it was all about. Got there five minutes after 3 p.m. on Monday and no one was there but the Pilgrim and Indian manikins, pumpkins, corn shocks, bales of hay, and the huge orange sign: “The Thanks is in the Giving.” The Indy had an early deadline Monday, so I couldn’t find out more before I turned this in, but when I do, I’ll report.

Journo Film Fest: There’ll be a free December 9 showing of the 1976 movie All the President’s Men, preceded by a reception to raise funds for beleaguered News-Press journalists. Guest speakers at the 5 p.m. reception at Arnoldi’s will include investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach, Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, Pulitzer Prize-winning L.A. Times critic Howard Rosenberg, and Sander Vanocur, former correspondent for ABC and NBC News.

The film, which features Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the Washington Post reporters who exposed the Watergate scandal, kicks off the Heroism in Journalism film fest, the first in an occasional series in Santa Barbara honoring those who report the news. It will screen at 6:30 p.m. in the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High. Wine and snacks will be served at the Arnoldi’s reception where the public can meet the journalists.

About 30 journalists have left the NP since early July. “All proceeds go to the Journalists Loan Fund, offering no-interest loans to News-Press reporters and editors who have been forced out or fired by Wendy McCaw,” according to the organizers. The events are sponsored by Sara Miller McCune, Dave Peri, Arnoldi’s Café, and the Fund for Santa Barbara. To make reservations for the reception or make a donation, call 640-7340.

She’s Mad: Elaine Aver, “grand prize winner” of the Santa Barbara Dream Home raffle, is upset. How, she asked me, can she be the grand prize winner when she didn’t get the grand prize — the dream home? As of Friday no one had called to tell her what she won.

A California Academy Foundation (CAF) official I contacted Friday said the final report had just been completed. After I left a message, CAF tried to reach her and they’ve been playing phone tag. It wasn’t until a friend called the Laguna Hills woman and read my column in The Independent last Thursday that she learned she’d only won $200,000.

Aver said she’d had a call last week telling her the Santa Barbara-based CAF wouldn’t be giving her the promised house because not enough tickets were sold (“That was a shock”) and that she would be winning at least $200,000. But since then “nobody’s ever talked to me” about how much she really did win. “What irritates me is that I don’t see how I can be the grand prize winner without winning the grand prize,” Aver told me. “I’m happy I won something but that’s not the right way to go about it. It’s not right that everyone under me gets their full prizes and I have to share mine. Mine was cut down. It’s very disappointing.”

There was no mention of this arrangement in the ad she answered in the Orange County Register, she said. But, CAF officials told me the rules were spelled out in the information mailed to her after she bought the $150 ticket and were also on the Web site. The house, with an estimated value of $1 million, would not be given away unless at least 15,000 tickets were sold. The total was far less. It was not until she was told she’d won (“I was so excited”) that she checked the Internet and learned that only after all the 260 prizes were awarded and expenses deducted that the remainder would be split between the grand prize winner and the nonprofit CAF, which supports Santa Barbara High’s media arts program. That came to $400,000, to be split two ways.

You can reach Barney at 965-5205 or via He also writes a Tuesday online column at and Barney’s Weekend Picks on Fridays.

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