Tuesday, September 5

LIVE FROM THE BATHROOM: Kyra Phillips, who trashed her sister-in-law live on CNN during President Bush’s speech the other day, attended Westmont and worked at KEYT briefly. That’s the word from Lance Orozco, who helped Kyra during her KEYT stint before she transferred from Westmont to USC. Lance is now news director at KCLU-FM. Kyra took a bathroom break, but left her personal mike on, treating the world to news that her sister-in-law was a “control freak.” While viewers saw pictures of Bush, Kyra could be heard chatting with a colleague about the men in their lives, and at one point she uttered the word “assholes.” See it below.

UGLY AWARDS: If there was a Santa Barbara Ugly Award (and maybe there should be), it might be a tie between the Verizon building and the landscaping at the Milpas and Upper State Jack in the Boxes. So moans a city employee who’d rather not be ID’d.

“One of the potentially loveliest buildings in Santa Barbara could be the Verizon HQ at Chapala and West Canon Perdido,” he told me. “But it looks like a massive case of corporate neglect allows the exterior of the building, and especially the little planting beds along the sides of the building, to poke its ragged finger of neglect in the aesthetic eye of our beautiful city.” (Wow, how’s that for purple prose?)

”I’ve tried calling 411 to get through to someone at the building, but that didn’t get me too far. I kept getting the retail phone outlets and no one in those locations even knows that the building exists. Maybe you could put a little time into contacting a local property manager and find out if they have any interest in at least removing the dead plants and hiring a gardener for a few bucks a month to care for what they have left. Better yet, shame them.”

After leaving a message with Verizon’s PR people, they finally responded, claiming, “We’ll have it cleaned up immediately.”

DOWNHILL RACERS: Can someone do something about drivers using the steep, narrow 500 block of Pedregosa on Santa Barbara’s Upper Eastside as a race track to work and school, pleads one resident?

“We are just around the corner from Roosevelt School,” he said. “The hill becomes an attractive high-speed launching ramp to the Riviera as people constantly gun it up the steep hill. And conversely, down the hill cars frequently set speed records. Currently there are no speed limit signs nor speed bumps, nor any school zone markings, even though this is a well-traveled pedestrian route for children from the Riviera to Roosevelt.”

He’s been in touch with Mayor Marty Blum and the police. He’s asking that the street be surveyed for possible radar control, be posted for a 15-mph limit, and school zone signs be erected. With the police force down seven officers, speeders are having a field day, making the street a “Wild West,” he complained.

True, replied Mayor Blum, the force is down seven, “but considering that the Sheriff’s Department was down over 100 officers a year ago, we are in good shape.” The worst time for speeding seems to be between 7 and 9 a.m., when people are rushing to work and school. One result of his protest is that an officer stopped by his house to nab speeders “and was quite successful.”

MICHAEL’S CATS: Since Michael Jackson split from Santa Barbara County (got out of jury duty claiming that he no longer lives here), people have been wondering about the health of his menagerie at Neverland Ranch and whether he’ll sell it. No word on a sale, but at last report the critters are said to be in good health.

As for the rare tigers, Sabu and Thriller, they’ve been moved to Shambala, the SoCal preserve run by former actress Tippi Hendren, according to Parade mag. “We’ve received no financial assistance from Jackson,” said Hendren, who’s engaged to Neverland vet Dr. Martin Dinnes, according to Parade.

THEYRE IN SM: Reporter Chuck Schultz, who quit the News-Press a couple of weeks ago, will find lots of familiar faces at his new paper, the Santa Maria Times. He joins a team of ex-News-Pressers: executive editor Tom Bolton, managing editor Dave Bemis, news editor Laurie Jervis, reporter Sally Cappon, and former Scene editor Gary Robb, who’s working the website. John Lankford, who used to write N-P editorials, is doing the same for the SM Times from his home in Florida. (Keeping a breast of things in SB County via the Internet, natch.)

And the Montecito Journal confirms reports that it is going weekly starting in mid-November. The MJ started a decade ago with an issue every six weeks, then monthly, every three weeks, and now every other week.

FREE PAPER? “Today I was chatted up outside a supermarket by a lad trying to give me a free News-Press in an attempt to sell me a subscription,” reports J.D.“I, of course, politely declined his offer, but felt obligated to tell him the reasons why, in 60 words or less. Without missing a beat, he replied, ‘Hey, all you have to do is subscribe, then cancel your subscription in 30 days and you won’t be charged anything. I get my commission, you get a free paper for a month, and the News-Press eats it.’“ Dontcha just love the loyalty the N-P is shown by its employees?

“My only reservation about doing this is that even though the subscription would be ‘free,’ it would still register as a paid subscription—at least for 30 days—and would therefore bolster Wendy’s circulation figures, albeit very temporarily.” J.D. said he conferred with other people, but “all advising against doing it, so I went with that and didn’t do it.”

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