Roasting Roberts, Cold Shouldering, and More

Jerry at Bat: If you’re going to roast someone,
why not take over a ballpark to do it? So
Jerry Roberts
, the former News-Press editor who’s
facing a
$25 million lawsuit from newspaper owner Wendy McCaw
, will be
at the mercy of San Francisco roasters at AT&T Ballpark on
March 13.


The idea is to raise money for the Santa
Barbara Lawyers Alliance for Free Speech Rights
, which is
helping journalists hurt by the News-Press mess. The
roast, featuring Jerry’s old boss at the S.F. Chronicle,
Phil Bronstein
, will be 6-9 p.m., in the park’s club level,
with seating around 250 or so. Tickets are going fast, I hear.
(Invites go out today.)

Speakers will include Santa Barbaran Lou
(Ronald Reagan’s biographer), various VIPs from the Bay
Area, and no doubt a few ink-stained journos from San Francisco,
where Jerry worked at the Chronicle, man and boy, as a
political writer and managing editor for three decades.

No word on whether Barry Bonds will show, Jerry being a die-hard
Giants fan.

It’s Only 25 Mil: Friends of Jerry Roberts,

who is also battling stomach cancer
as well as
Wendy’s $25 million arbitration claim
, have put together a
website seeking donations to the Lawyers Alliance. I haven’t seen
the claim (it’s supposed to be secret but N-P is leaking
innuendos faster than a Bay Area rainstorm) but apparently Wendy is
blaming Jerry for the whole disaster, including but not limited to
the 1925 earthquake, 1969 channel oil blowout, and global

“Amid the ongoing exodus of dozens of professional journalists
from the News-Press, the paper’s owner has filed a flurry
of legal threats, claims and lawsuits against people who dared to
speak out or report about what was happening in the newsroom,”
Roberts wrote on the Cookie From Heaven
website and in an email this past weekend.

“In response, a group of prominent local attorneys formed the
Lawyers Alliance for Free Speech Rights, to help level the playing
field for journalists who found themselves bludgeoned by legal
attacks by Ampersand Publishing, owned by billionaire Wendy McCaw.
Colleagues and friends put together a web site —
— to help the Alliance help me and other journalists fight

You can send donations to: Lawyers Alliance, PO Box 22557, Santa
Barbara, 93121. Make checks payable to Lawyers Alliance.

Half & Half: Michael Doucet, leading
the Cajun band BeauSoleil last week at
UCSB’s Campbell Hall, described Louisiana, known for its corrupt
politics: “Half under water, half under indictment.” Doucet,
singing French most of the time, pointed out that, “This is
American music,” created right there by descendants of French
people forced out of Canada by the British in the 1700’s.

Bermuda Schwartz: That’s the title of
a funny new novel
about a floating body and missing money on Bermuda, written by
Bob Morris, former staffer
at Islands mag when
it was located hereabouts. barney%20book.jpg He’ll sign books at Chaucer’s this
Wednesday, February 21, at 7 p.m. “Cheerfully twisted,” is author
Carl Hiaasen’s blurb and he ought to know.

Hot Dog: Despite warnings that more than 300
people may show up for Wednesday’s noon protest outside the
News-Press, Carpinteria hot dog vendor and service veteran
promises to serve frankfurters (all-beef and turkey)
and lemonade to protesters.

“He’s hoppin’ mad about John Zant’s dismissal,” says rally
organizer David Pritchett. Speakers will include city councilman
Brian Barnwell, KCSB radio and community TV
journalist Elizabeth Robinson, and Connell as well
as sports fan Kathleen Rodriguez and recently
fired, 38-year veteran sportswriter John Zant. Other newsroom
employees will also share personal stories, updates, and
announcements, Pritchett said.

He also announced the Operation Cold Shoulder
campaign, which he said includes cancellations of newspaper
subscriptions, urging advertisers to stop buying ads in the
newspaper and at the News-Press-controlled radio station,
KZSB-AM, finding the news in other newspapers and media, such as
radio, TV, websites, and blogs, suggesting that individuals, public
agencies, community organizations, and political leaders stop
sending news releases and announcements to the News-Press,
and stop giving interviews and returning calls and emails.
Operation Cold Shoulder also includes asking the public to stop
placing classified ads, calendar listings, garage sale notices,
wedding announcements, and obituaries in the News-Press and instead
place them in other publications, he said. Cold Shoulder is also
requesting non-profits not to invite the News-Press
society-page writers to their charity events, encouraging news
sources, individuals, and organizations not to participate in any
of the KZSB radio programs, activities, or public service
announcements, writing “letters to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) expressing concern that the News-Press
controls a radio station and a newspaper in the same town,” raising
awareness that the News-Press owns and controls three
other publications — Goleta Valley Voice, El
, and Blue Edge Magazine, and picketing every
Wednesday at noon through the end of March.

Our Ship Scrapped: Maggie
, former journalist second class, USNR,
reports that the town’s namesake, the ammunition ship USS Santa
Barbara AE-28, “is no more.” The ship’s scrapped remains are headed
for China and no doubt will be returning in the form of TV sets and
computer games. Adds Maggie: “My old office at the Naval Reserve
Center is now a bar. Some would say it’s very appropriate for a
sailor and a journalist.”

Zant Interview:
Larry Nimmer
’s 20-minute interview with John Zant, shortly
after he was fired from the Santa Barbara News- Press, is
posted on YouTube. In it, Zant
talks about the firing of himself and others, the world of local
sports reporting, and how reporting and newspaper publishing has
changed over the last 38 years he’s spent at the

Here’s part one:

And here’s part two:


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