Law and Disorder 9-4

Two wayward surfers-lost in the fog and paddling miles offshore-were plucked from Santa Barbara Channel waters on 8/27 by the U.S. Coast Guard. According to authorities, the two men set out from Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard in hopes of paddling to Platform Gina a few miles offshore. Once at the platform, they became disoriented in the fog and accidentally paddled toward Anacapa Island until being rescued.

Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw won a significant legal victory in her dispute with former business advisor, attorney, and fiance Greg Parker, as a three-member panel of arbitrators ruled Parker was entitled to only $3.5 million in back pay and attorney’s fees rather than the $15 million he had been awarded several years ago by a single arbitrator. Parker, who was terminated from McCaw’s company, Ampersand, not long after his romance with McCaw ended several years ago, sued that his contract contained a clause entitling him to a cut of the profits the company earned while he was employed.

A week-long marijuana eradication effort by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department ended on 8/22 with the seizure of 23,262 plants with an estimated street value of more than $51 million as well as 312 pounds of processed marijuana with an estimated street value of just over $1 million. The plants were being illegally grown in Los Padres National Forest, and, though no arrests were made, a Sheriff spokesperson said the culprits were likely Mexican nationals.

The trial of Ricardo Juarez-the teen accused of fatally stabbing Luis Angel Linares in a March 2007 gang brawl-adjourned early on 8/27, after a handful of witnesses had taken the stand, and is scheduled to have resumed by 9/3. (/juarez905)

About 100 demonstrators convened near Stearns Wharf on 8/27 to march downtown in protest of the federal government’s threats to close Santa Barbara’s medical marijuana dispensaries. “It’s not right that the federal government is trying to control peoples’ lives,” said one protestor. The demonstration was peaceful in nature and included cancer patients for whom marijuana constitutes part of their treatment, their supporters, and general cannabis enthusiasts. (/potmarch)

The California Highway Patrol announced on 8/28 that California roads have never been safer. According to CHP records, 2007 had the lowest number of deaths per miles driven in history: 1.18 for every 100 million miles. Figures for 2006 put the Mileage Death Rate slightly higher, at 1.27 CHP-recorded deaths per 100 million miles. The three leading causes of highway deaths, however, remain speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving under the influence.

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