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I Never Expected to be Homeless: Who does? But that’s the situation Barbara (not her real name) found herself in. “I never thought I’d be in a shelter,” she said, with her four young children and just the clothes on their backs. After all, she had a job and owned a mobile home. But then violence hit the family a cruel blow. “I’ve always worked hard to help support my family, but this past year I became a victim of domestic violence,” Barbara said. “For our own safety, my children and I had to quickly leave everything behind,” she continued, “including my job and the mobile home I owned. We moved into Santa Barbara’s Transition House [family shelter] in August. My world had fallen apart. I didn’t know what to do next.”

On the Beat

Transition House provided more than shelter. With its support staff, “I finally came to believe that I am a worthwhile person and I’d be able to put my life back together,” Barbara said. “My tears stopped, and I got to work changing my situation.”

Barbara attended the Job Club class and worked with a career counselor. “The next week I went out and applied for 70 jobs.” She landed a position with a health clinic and is saving money. “I want to learn more about the healthcare field and get further education to one day become a nurse,” she said.

You can send tax-deductible donations to Transition House at 425 E. Cota St., 93101.

Turkey Daze: Longtime copy editor Lara Milton is denying that she wrote a blast that somehow found its way onto Laura Schlessinger’s online column Sunday, or that she had anything to do with sneaking it on. Blogger Craig Smith, who wrote about it, said he then got a call from Lara flatly denying that those were her words. According to Craig, the mystery post not only slammed the News-Press but lamented that the town isn’t what it used to be, either. The message said Santa Barbara was filled to the brim with “stinking rich” people: trust-fund babies, L.A. movie folk, and others who drive up the cost of living and the “arrogance factor.” Just how the stuff got posted remains a mystery. Lara is quitting this week.

And on Tuesday, the Teamsters filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the feds, charging that the paper is failing to bargain in good faith by illegally using temp workers in the newsroom and refusing to provide info about them. All that was on top of veteran circulation manager Kathy Knobbe making a run for the border, according to blogger Craig Smith. The word is that she’s leaving the paper, with its declining subscriptions, to take a job in Texas.

The paper’s filling of empty seats with temps is a “union-avoidance ploy [that] will not stand,” said Nick Caruso, chief negotiator for the union. “We tried to address and resolve this fundamental issue at the bargaining table without adversary action or rancor, but the employer insisted it has the right to continue to shrink the bargaining unit (now at approximately 23 according to the employer), while adding in unprecedented fashion an allegedly ‘temporary’ workforce,” Caruso said. Meanwhile, negotiations for a union contract are best described as cold turkey.

Carol’s Kaput: Sliding into a seat at Vices & Spices coffee shop, I found myself next to Carol Warner, longtime publisher’s secretary and one of the latest News-Press casualties. For 17 years, she served a series of publishers and then owner Wendy McCaw when McCaw bought the paper in 2000. But when the meltdown hit in July 2006, Carol found herself bounced down to Human Resources as a clerk. Apparently the powers that be suspected her of the horrible crime of being sympathetic to the newsroom. If she’d been mean, hostile, and hateful to the journos, maybe she’d still be there. More recently, Carol asked to be transferred to the copy desk, in view of her experience checking editorials and the like. After all, the copy desk has been decimated by resignations. But after about three days on the desk, Carol got the word: She was out. The contention, she said, is that she’d somehow wiped her HR computer clean, which she denies, although admitting that she’d deleted a few non-important emails. When I talked to Carol, she was cheerful and upbeat, ready to complete her degree at UCSB in film studies.

X Out the Bulldozers: Frank Frost, retired UCSB history prof, recalls the 1972 election. “Do you remember 35 years ago, in the 1st District supervisor’s race, that everyone was speculating who would win-Santa Barbara Mayor Jerry Firestone or Chamber of Commerce Prez George Bliss?” I recall it well, Frank. You ran on a slow-growth platform, with ads featuring a crossed-out bulldozer. And you won. “Same situation today,” Frank said. “Whoever runs for mayor on an anti-development platform is going to walk away with it.”

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.

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