Barney’s On the Beat

Woody Allen Coming: I always thought that the Woodman never ventured from his beloved New York (except to make a movie or two in London), but he and his jazz band will hit the Lobero on December 17. This is going to be one hot ticket when they go on sale October 28. Price: $125, or $250 for a limited number of good seats that include a six-course dinner at The Palace Grill.

But Woody, known as one private guy, will for sure not be at the dinner, tooting at your table, and Lobero folks don’t expect him to do any public meet-and-greet autographing and public pressing the flesh while he’s here.

I figure it was quite a coup for the Lobero to snag Woody. He’s played Europe but this is his first major West Coast tour. In addition to knocking out a movie just about every year, for 30 years he’s played clarinet and New Orleans-style jazz at Michael’s Pub and lately at the upscale Carlyle Hotel. The 8 p.m. concert is a benefit for the Lobero’s Performing Arts Initiative.

Mystery of the Elk: Now that Representative Duncan Hunter is poised to allow deer and elk hunting to continue on Santa Rosa Island, against local wishes and a court settlement, is he trying to import elk onto Vandenberg AFB? For hunting, maybe? If not, why is a fence being proposed, according to what I hear? To keep the critters within convenient hunting room?

After repeated calls to the Vandenberg PR people about reports that elk will be brought to turf where they never roamed, I got this email from Lt. Col. Douglas Murdock, staff judge advocate: “Vandenberg has been approached regarding providing elk habitat on base. We are just beginning to study the issue from an environmental, safety, and mission-impact perspective. We will be working closely with federal and state officials to determine if elk habitat would be viable and desirable on Vandenberg. No decisions have been made at this time.”

Since this is public land, supported by the taxpayers, and since elk would seem to have little or no security benefits, why shouldn’t the government explain what is proposed? And by whom? How about VAFB working with the public, too?

Representative Hunter, if he’s involved, is the powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, which controls the Pentagon’s purse strings. Is the elk plan being kept under wraps for fear of offending him?

Since Lt. Col. Murdock’s scanty reply raised more questions than it answered, I asked: “What entity made the approach to VAFB? And what specifically is being proposed? Is Representative Duncan Hunter among those making the proposal? Is a fence proposed? Is hunting envisioned or would it be banned? If elk have not historically been located in that area, why is it now being proposed? What is the estimated cost of such a project and the timing? Please provide me with any documents or reports dealing with the proposal.” So far I’ve received no reply. Nor have I had a response from Representative Hunter’s office.

Clinton Mania Revisited: Bill Clinton wasn’t even running on all charisma cylinders at the Arlington on Friday, but you felt in your bones that he heartily wished he were campaigning for president. As it is, he’s just trying to save the world.

So Santa Barbaran Paul Orfalea, who founded Kinko’s with a copier on an Isla Vista sidewalk, donated $400,000 to Clinton’s Global Initiative, which focuses on poverty, health, energy and climate change, and mitigating religious and ethnic conflict.

As it was, Clinton’s handshaking, the 2,100-strong cheering, standing-ovation crowd, and the enthusiastic rally at UCLA earlier Friday certainly won’t hurt Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s expected 2008 presidential bid.

It wasn’t as boisterous as when president-elect Clinton jogged through town amid wild crowds and blew sax at the Nugget in 1992, but the old charisma sparkled at the Arlington. And the passion emerged when he quoted from the Bible and finger-wagged, warning that religious clashes stem from those who claim that their religion possesses the only “absolute truth” and those of other beliefs are “less human.” You can find evidence of this intolerance even in laid-back Santa Barbara. Believe what we believe, or you’ll surely go to hell.

True, the world’s in terrible shape, but Clinton’s full of hope, working with nations to help the have-nots. “How can you not be optimistic?” he asked. “Human history is on our side.” It was a feel-good, upbeat outing, one that left the crowd full of idealism and ready to do something, anything, to help alleviate global ills. You got the feeling that they would have voted him back in as president in a Washington minute, or at least UN secretary general.

On the Arlington stage, Clinton chatted with Orfalea, who sold Kinko’s and is a visiting lecturer in the Global and International Studies program at UCSB, which sponsored the dialogue. The event also inaugurated UCSB’s Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and its master’s degree program.

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