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Politics and Power Tables


Pelosi Politics: The biggest ovations at Representative Nancy Pelosi’s fundraiser at Betty Stephens’s place were for Marilyn Horne performing a ditty to the tune of “California, Here I Come,” and for Sarah Weddington, who at the age of 27 was the winning Roe v. Wade lawyer before the Supremes.

That was light-years ago politically, but “Sarah earned about 12 standing ovations at Betty’s,” I was told by an attendee. The all-Demo Santa Barbara City Council was well represented by Das Williams, Iya Falcone, Grant House, and Roger Horton, but her honor the Mayor Marty Blum was elsewhere, reportedly speaking to the Downtown Rotary Club.

On the Beat

Pelosi, of course, is speaker of the House of Representatives, and the first woman to hold the post. (More light-years.) She’s from Frisco (take that, Herb Caen, the famous S.F. Chronicle columnist who wrote a book in 1953 titled Don’t Call It Frisco). Wordsmith Herb was a genius, and I wouldn’t be qualified to sharpen his pencils. He’s probably up there in the (small) corner of heaven reserved for newspaper ladies and gents, batting out a witty, gossipy newsletter for the amusement of the winged journos.

Speaking of newsfolks, also in attendance at the Pelosi bash were Lou Cannon and Sandy Vanocur. So was the talk pro-Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? “Judging from the enthusiastic reception given here, and the fairly large majority of women in attendance, I would guess that it was more a Hillary crowd, but the subject didn’t come up,” one observer told me.

When Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public education, got up to speak, Betty kept referring to him as the next governor. Betty’s just kidding, Jack assured everyone. But the rumor that O’Connell, former assemblymember from S.B. and ex-state senator, might be eyeing the gov job has been lurking for many a year. Don’t be surprised if Jack goes for the Sacramento gold after Arnold moves on.

Obama Bargain: I read that presidential candidate Obama held an affordable $25-a-head gathering for regular folks before taking part in a big-bucks fundraiser. So how about the Obama folks doing the same thing here before the Oprah bash, where it’ll cost $2,300 to get in her door, or $25,000 for a VIP reception, or $50,000 for a meal with the two Os?

Capps Gooses NLRB: Congresswoman Lois Capps is urging the National Labor Relations Board to stop dragging its feet in labor cases, including the News-Press dispute. Almost a year has passed since NP newsroom employees voted 33-6 to form a union, yet the NLRB hasn’t resolved the case, Rep. Capps wrote in a letter to NLRB Chairman Robert Battista. It took six months for an NLRB judge to overrule management’s objections to the election and certify it, she said. “The decision was appealed and the NLRB has yet to act on the matter,” said Capps. “I was very troubled by the findings of a recent report from the inspector general that revealed substantial delays in consideration of labor dispute cases pending before the NLRB.”

The impact of the delays is felt disproportionately by employees, she pointed out. The illegally fired reporters remain jobless while Wendy vacations. Meanwhile, the NLRB will begin prosecuting the News-Press at an August 14 hearing for a number of unfair labor practices, including firing a group of reporters.

Biltmore Power Tables: VIPs chose their favorite tables soon after the Four Seasons Biltmore upgraded its patio dining room and dubbed it the Bella Vista. Owner Ty Warner, for instance, “comes in almost daily” when he’s in town and likes Table 21, on the side, reported the Wall Street Journal. Oceanfront tables 103-107 on the revamped outside terrace “command long waits,” the WSJ said. “Couples enjoy the curved banquettes at end tables 61 and 66. Two steps below the main dining room are mezzanine tables 81 and 82, popular for business meetings. Tables 92 and 93 on the terrace and 42 and 45 inside are all coveted because they’re right next to the fireplaces.” Among the VIPs are Janet Garufis, CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust, who prefers a terrace table when she brings friends and clients, the WSJ said.

Brophy’s Opens in Ventura: Brophy Bros., the popular Breakwater eatery, opened a new restaurant in the Ventura harbor area Monday, the latest Santa Barbara business to move to or add a venue in our neighbor to the east. S.B. Brophy’s, natch, is staying right where it is.

Kiss Me, Kate: Add Cole Porter’s scintillating lyrics and music to Michael LaFleur’s boisterous direction and winning performances by Emily Rogge’s Kate and Shawn Pennington’s Petruchio and you’ve got a great night of theater. Plus more than a nod to Bill Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. All this when Sue and I spent Friday evening at Solvang’s open-air Festival Theater, thanks to the PCPA. Through August 12. Info at 922-8313. Be sure to bundle up against the evening chill.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 965-5205. He also writes online columns at independent.com on Tuesdays and Fridays.



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