Riff and Raff
Thursday, March 20, 2008
SWEPT AWAY: “I am in an argument with the city,” confesses Richard Ross, a 30-year UCSB professor of art.
“I parked at Samarkand [Retirement Community] on the street to visit a friend who had a knee replaced. I came out and there was a ‘street sweeping’ violation on my car. The closest sign designating this was three-tenths of a mile distant, on Las Positas Road.
On the Beat
“Another sign from the residence is seven-tenths of a mile away. Yet I am supposed to be informed, and according to the police and Ordinance Committee, this is legal and sensible because the residents did not want ‘sign pollution.’
“I appealed to the Police Department. Denied. I appealed to the City Council, who sat mute and said not a word. I emailed everyone on the council. [Mayor]Marty Blum’s response was, ‘There are no businesses in Samarkand.’ (Obviously she is unaware of the assisted living center.) My friend whom I was visiting should have told me of the no parking rule, and I should take consolation in the fact that some of the money is going to help teens in Santa Barbara. [Councilmember] Das Williams said he could not talk to me if I was considering litigation against the city.
“So now, on March 24, I am suing the city in small claims court. My $40 ticket has an added fee of $25 for the suit. But if I can’t get relief from the executive or legislative branch, perhaps the judicial might be more responsive. By the way, when I was a kid, my father came out of our apartment in New York and his tire and the curb surrounding was painted red and he had a ticket on the windshield. Maybe this is a tribute piece.
“When Marty Blum made her comments, I told her an attitude like that could make me vote Republican, and certainly not for her. Her response was ‘I’m term limited out anyway!’”
Good luck, Richard. I’ve heard from others who didn’t see far-flung warning signs about street sweeping, then got tickets. Maybe the courts have, too.
NO RIFF-RAFF, PLEASE: A Santa Barbara Realtor emailed colleagues about a recent mid-week open house, jokingly telling them: “No open house signs. (Seller doesn’t want the public riff-raff, only agent riff-raff.) Look for my sign: ‘Will Sell House for Food.’”
HANNAH-beth’S PEOPLE: Former Demo Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson, running for State Senate, was at blogger Craig Smith’s bash on the rooftop of the Canary Hotel (former Andaluc-a) telling how she’s raking in endorsements: Sheriff Bill Brown, Ventura Police Chief Pat Miller, the DA’s association of both counties, and others.
FAMILIAR STORY: What newspaper does this sound like? A daily illegally fires two reporters and suspends a third for engaging in union activities, a federally protected right. One was a member of the union bargaining committee when canned. Now a judge has ruled that the paper was guilty of this and a number of other unfair labor practices, including interrogating workers about their union activities and banning them from wearing armbands or buttons in support of two fired reporters. No, not the Santa Barbara News-Press but the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, in Hilo. And guess who was representing the Trib-Herald? None other than attorney Michael Zinzer, also at the News-Press bargaining table for Wendy McCaw. The Hawai’i paper was also going to be prosecuted by the feds for bad-faith bargaining this month, but that was settled. The paper was accused of engaging in various delaying tactics such as making predictably unacceptable bargaining proposals, with no intention of reaching an agreement. Gee, funny how glacially slow Zinzer’s current foot-dragging negotiations with the News-Press workers are going, eh? Do I see a new complaint against him and the NP on the horizon?
WENDY ACTUALLY PAYS? So far, Santa Barbara attorney Bruce Anticouni is the only person I know of who’s actually managed to make News-Press owner Wendy McCaw come up with bucks via litigation. To the surprise of many, she’s okayed a $140,000 payment to settle a lawsuit filed by two former reporters, Anna Davison and Hildy Medina. They alleged that the paper shortchanged them on overtime pay and on meal and rest periods, all required by California law. The settlement also includes the fact that the paper had an illegal policy of wiping out accrued vacation if not taken within the calendar year. If you didn’t manage to take all your days by December 31, you lost them, even if you had too many assignments or other work to take the time off. (Makes me wonder how many days I lost.) According to the settlement terms, anyone who’s worked for the paper in the past six years, regardless of whether or not he or she lost out on overtime pay or vacation time, is eligible to take a bite out of the $140,000 clams. Wonder if I’ll get a nip?
Barney Brantingham can be reached at email@example.com or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.