Sara’s Achievement: Irony of ironies: Although Sara Miller McCune’s hoped-for achievement in recent months has been to rescue the Santa Barbara News-Press from the clutches of Wendy McCaw, Sara’s been named as one of three News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award recipients. McCune, who has been leading an effort to buy the paper, will be honored at a November 11 News-Press dinner. (Mighty strange times in our little town, eh?) I left a message for Sara but at this writing, no reply. Should be a fun little soiree, if Sara actually shows up, eh? Sara was chosen by a group of past honorees, the usual procedure. I’m told that she’s accepted the award and will in fact be there.
Wendy Suing The Indy: Invites to the bash might even be accompanied by summons to depositions and service of the lawsuit. Wendy announced late Thursday, after The Indy was published (interesting timing), that she was suing the paper in federal court for obtaining “two different confidential unpublished articles” that never saw the light of day in the News-Press.
In response, Indy publisher Randy Campbell announced: “I would like to assure the powers that be at the News-Press, as well as the community, that it will take more than specious bullying tactics to silence us at The Independent.”
Ellen and the Tabs: The tabloids are having a field day with news that comedian Ellen DeGeneres bought a $16.5 million home in Montecito. First, the National Enquirer claimed that she and partner Portia de Rossi plan to wed there next summer; actually go through a commitment ceremony since same-sex marriage isn’t legal (yet) in California. Now the London Free Press and Ottawa Sun say the two “are talking seriously about adopting a baby.” It may be just a coincidence, but the new mansion has a nursery, and not for plants.
Illegal Political Signs: Not so many so far, probably because there are no Santa Barbara City Council seats up for grabs; still too many defacing the land with impunity. I like the idea of the city and county setting a task force out on patrol, paid for by sign fines. Main violations: Excessive sized signs and signs in the public right of way. A school board candidate, of all things, or the candidate’s campaigners, is one offender.
High Cost of Health Net: An angry senior citizen complains to me that he got a premium notice from Health Net Seniority Plus Ruby billing him for what he calculates to be a 256 percent monthly premium hike.
Honoring Harriet: Former mayor Harriet Miller will be honored at a Hotel Andalucia fundraiser November 11 to benefit the Garden Court Endowment. That is dedicated to assisting frail, low-income seniors to live independently. The event will feature a progressive dining and wine buffet, silent and live auctions, with special hotel room packages available. Price of the 6:30-9 p.m. event is $125. RSVP to Kelly Sheets at 560-7993.
Diamonds in the County: Laura Kath points out that seven of the 10 AAA Four-Diamond ratings given by the Auto Club in Santa Barbara County are in the Santa Ynez Valley. The two restaurants are the Ballard Inn Restaurant and The Willows at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez. Hotels honored are Petersen’s Village Inn in Solvang, Chumash Casino Resort, and Santa Ynez Inn, the Inn on Summer Hill in Summerland, Harbor View Inn in Santa Barbara, Ballard Inn, Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn & Spa in Los Olivos, and his Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara.