Protests in De La Guerra Plaza continued
this afternoon with fired Santa Barbara News-Press
employees attempting to disrupt life inside their former office.
Moving the time of the protest from 3 p.m. to noon seemed to help
draw a crowd to the area, as more protesters showed up today than
at ones held earlier this week. Of course, the makeshift orchestra
of noisemakers didn’t hurt either. In addition to a trumpet and
snare drum, protestors made liberal use of bike bells, megaphones,
a train whistle, and New Year’s Eve party favors.
While the instruments sounded and the drum beat — sometimes with
a rhythm that sounded remarkably like that of “My Sharona” — but
the demeanor of those reporters who have lost their jobs remained
firm, as exemplified by Dawn Hobbs’ address at the rally’s start.
“My name is Dawn Hobbs, and I’m an illegally fired crime and court
reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press,” she said.
Hobbs, who was among those fired Monday, recalled the charges filed
against Barry Cappello yesterday for allegedly intimidating current
News-Press against taking further measures against their
employer. “This will be in court sooner than they
think,” Hobbs said of the matter. “We have to bring this paper to
its knees… This is not a company you can run like a widget
business. This is a public trust,” she said. Hobbs continued that
the only “crime” she and her fellow co-workers had committed was
loyalty to their jobs.
After Hobbs’ address, about 40 people — including many former
News-Press staffers clad in black — marched in a circle
around the entrance to the office, chanting “Shame.” “The whole
town is watching,” and “Thirty-three to six,” the last of which
referred to the outcome of the employees’ vote on whether to
unionize. The group then marched up to the corner of State Street
and Canon Perdido, where Cappello’s office occupies the
second story of the building. Chants of “shame” were then directed
at Cappello himself, instead of Wendy McCaw, who bore the brunt of
the DLG Plaza ruckus. Cappello himself did not address the
Christine Cunningham, a Santa Ynez resident, attended the
protest with her daughter in tow. Cunningham said she felt the
current state of the News-Press was particularly harmful
to her and others living in her region, as they have do alternative
daily newspaper there. “I rely on the News-Press to tell
me about library events for my daughter and things like that,” said
Cunningham. In its current state, Cunningham said, she could not
rely on the paper.
After the protest, Hobbs said she was pleased with the turnout,
crediting increased number of protesters to the event being held
during lunchtime, when more Santa Barbara residents would be on
State Street. Hobbs said the next protest — “Wake Up Wendy
Wednesday” — will take place at noon on Wednesday, February 21 and
encouraged those concerned to attend.
Below are two videos from the protest.
And, finally, here is an excerpt from Kuznia’s brief performance.
(Please excuse the fact that it is sideways. Head-tilting is