Marianne Partridge and Joe Cole

Paul Wellman

Marianne Partridge and Joe Cole

New Publisher for The Independent

Joseph Cole Appointed After Four-Year-Old Ownership Lawsuit Concludes

The Santa Barbara Independent entered the next phase of its nearly 30-year history on Monday, when attorney Joseph Cole was appointed by the board of directors as publisher. The move marks the end of a four-year-long legal battle between Editor in Chief Marianne Partridge and former publisher Randy Campbell, who relinquished his majority stake in the newspaper on January 7 and was terminated from his position.

A longtime Santa Barbara resident and former publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, Cole helped bankroll Partridge’s purchase of Campbell’s shares, which was first attempted in the fall of 2009, when Campbell tried to sell his interest to an out-of-town company. Campbell balked when Partridge, exercising her contractual right of first refusal, offered to buy the shares at the same price. She sued over breach of contract, and a series of judges affirmed that Campbell must sell her his shares.

Campbell sued Cole in an attempt to end Cole’s support of Partridge, but that case was dismissed, though Campbell is appealing. Cole began his daily duties on Monday afternoon, when the staff welcomed him with loud and repeated applause during a celebratory meeting that ended with chocolate cake. As publisher, he will manage the paper’s business operations while Partridge remains in control of the editorial side of the building.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to working with Joe,” said Partridge, who cofounded the paper in 1986 with Campbell but has known Cole for many years. “This is a happy day for The Independent.”

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Volunteers in Policing Is Looking for 10 Good Men and Women

An eye-opening volunteer program at Santa Barbara Police Department.

Alvarado and Ford File for School Board

Mark M. Alvarado and Kate Ford registered to run for the Santa Barbara Unified school board.

Thousands Received DACA Relief After Lawsuits Filed

Renewal applications have totaled 117,446 since program suspension was overturned.

Bank Robbery Suspect Kills Self in Bathroom

[Update] The suspect in the Goleta Rabobank robbery has been identified as Keith David Goodwin, believed to ...

News-Press’ Found to Owe Union and Employees $2.2 Million

National Labor Relations Board puts money amount on employee losses since 2006.