Reefer Madness II: Lara
, campaign coordinator for Sensible
Santa Barbara
, backing the marijuana issue on the
City of Santa Barbara ballot November 7, said she wants
“to clear up a discrepancy that has been repeated often in regards
to Measure P.

“The initiative makes marijuana offenses the lowest police
priority, yet this does not apply to public use, driving
under the influence, or to minors. This is explicitly stated in the
text of the initiative,” she said.

It’s simply not the case, Lara said, that—as I wrote last week
after talking to police—”anything would apparently take precedence
over someone’s complaint that the homeless were puffing in De la
Guerra Plaza … or lighting up outside S.B. Junior High.” According
to Cassell, “Measure P only applies to private marijuana offenses (
i.e., inside an adult’s home), so public usage would not be
included in the lowest police priority, she said.

“Furthermore, Measure P would in no way interfere with allowing
the police to conduct their jobs. It is simply prioritizing their
time in a way that is consistent with the values and needs of the
Santa Barbara community ( i.e., 73 percent of polled S.B. voters
agree that ‘by criminalizing marijuana we are clogging our courts
and wasting our tax dollars and police resources on nonviolent
adult marijuana offenders instead of focusing on violent

Police strongly oppose the measure and say they already devote
few resources to sniffing out pot use.

Calling Film Buffs: For $50 you can attend the
Santa Barbara
International Film Festival
’s U.S. premiere showing of
Stranger Than Fiction at the Lobero on Sunday, November 5. Cast members due to
attend: Will Ferrell, Emma
, and Dustin Hoffman. For VIP
tickets (more $$) to the pre-party reception with the stars,
reserved seating, and after-party, call 963-0023.

On to S.L.O.: Both Al Bonowitz
and Leah Etling, late of the Santa Barbara
, have found a new home at the San Luis Obispo
. There they’ll join former News-Pressers
Tad Weber, now the Tribune‘s managing
editor, who left in 2000; Stephanie Finucane
(1993); Tony Prado (2000); and Don
, one of the first to quit during the recent
NP meltdown. Don is the Trib’s North County
S.L.O. editor. Leah’s uncle Bert is also a Tribune staffer
in its Cambria bureau. Al will be joining the features desk and
Leah will be working with Don in Paso Robles. Both the
Trib and Santa Maria Times have stocked
themselves with departing talent from the NP, to the gain
of those papers and loss of the News-Press and its
readers, however many they be. Meanwhile, recent escapees from the
NP are Melissa Olson of the ad staff and
Dianne Elliott of the
creative services and other key positions.

Here Come da Judges: Just a couple of weeks
after the California Supremes came to Santa Barbara to hear cases,
the 2nd District Court of Appeals will trek here from Ventura
October 25 to hear oral arguments. The seven cases include one
filed by Richard Berti against Bill
and his S.B. Beach Properties, a k a
the time-share/commercial development on lower State Street. Gavel
falls at 1:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ hearing room.

Constant Wife Out: I was looking
forward to Ensemble Theatre’s production of Somerset
Maugham’s sparkling comedy The Constant Wife. But the
theater group’s new boss, Jonathan Fox, has
dropped it in favor of Visiting Mr. Green. Labeled a
“funny and invigorating comedy,” Green will run in the
season’s second slot, opening November 24 and showing through
December 17, according to Fox, ETC’s executive artistic

Rocco Cooks: Find me a guy who makes cooking
fun and I’ll follow him anywhere. And Rocco
made whipping up five-minute meals look like
a kick during his demonstration Sunday at the Festival of Arts.
(Photo of Rocco DiSpirito by Sue De Lapa) rocco%20image.jpg

But the ups and downs of opening Rocco’s 22nd Street in New York
in 2003 were the focus of NBC’s The Restaurant. All the
torment of hiring, firing, and getting the place in shape for those
first-nighters was laid out for the world to see.

Not surprisingly, after a few highly successful forays into the
world of Manhattan culinary crusades, “I got out of the restaurant
business,” Rocco told me. Now the celebrity chef appears on TV and
writes cookbooks. And good ones, like my wife Sue’s copy of
Flavor. Sunday he and Elements owner/chef Paul
were whomping up quickies from his new book,
Rocco’s 5-Minute Flavor.

In it, Rocco shows how to prepare tasty meals using fresh food
and some prepared ingredients, employing short-cut methods.
“America’s changed,” he told me. “Everyone wants a piece of the
good life.” People want to cook at home and have folks in but not
necessarily spend hours over a hot stove, he said.

He was in town as part of a 15-city Lincoln auto tour,
introducing four new vehicles.

New Dishes: Shelley Shoemaker
and David Bozzini are new owners of
Barcliff & Bair restaurant in La Arcada Court,
1112 State Street, and they are planning to expand the menu. That
means more salads and desserts. And why not? Shelley was a pastry
chef at Brigitte’s and the Four Seasons Biltmore, and ran the Lazy
Acres bakery for six years. Also coming: High tea.

Solstice Needs $$$: One way to help the wacky
Summer Solstice celebration is to come to the
Black Cat Ball Halloween party October 28 at 631 Garden
Street. Tickets are $25 (including one drink ticket, that’s cheap).
Info at 965-5535.

101 Best Scenes: Barnaby
will be signing two of his books at Tecolote book
shop Thursday, 5-6:30 p.m. They’re The 101 Best Scenes Ever
and a re-issue of his The Death of Manolete,
the great bullfighter.


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