On the Beat

NP Fights: It’s bad enough to be a reporter fired during the News-Press meltdown, but now the paper is fighting some of the jobless journalists who filed for unemployment compensation.

When one reporter won the case a few weeks ago, the News-Press promptly appealed the loss, I’m told. At another hearing the other day, the paper was represented by big-gun attorney Barry Cappello and his associate. Question: Is the paper so vindictive that it would spend more money to fight the jobless reporters than it would cost to pay them the paltry compensation?

Drowning in Debt: “The Carpinteria Valley Water District is awash in water supply and drowning in water debt, according to a newly released report from the County Grand Jury,” writes Melinda Burns at the Santa Barbara Newsroom.

“Heavily in debt because of a state water obligation it does not need, the district should stop investing in capital improvements and consider charging growers more for water,” the jury said this week. Carp residential water users are charged $49.65 a month as a fixed meter fee – the highest on the South Coast – while, City of Santa Barbara users pay $16.19, the report said.

The Newsroom is an online news report created by those reporters fired by the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Newsroom reporter Melissa Evans filed a story about the Santa Barbara City Council taking a step toward banning Styrofoam containers used for prepared food and plastic bags used at grocery stores in an effort to make the city more environmentally friendly.

Radio Blum: Once upon a time, in my days at the News-Press, KTMS – named for T.M. Storke – radio occupied a spot in the northeast corner of the newsroom. John Palminteri was a news guy there. But after T.M. sold the paper, cash-hungry new owners peddled the station. KTMS’s call letters are still around, however. And guess who has a show? Mayor Marty Blum. Banned from the current News-Press station, AM1290, she’s decided to report on City Hall news tom make up for the lack of NP coverage. Marty can be heard on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1490. The station’s number is (805) 879-5867 or 879-KTMS.

“[It’s] One of life’s little ironies to be banned from the station the NP now owns, but to get a show on Tom Storke’s station,” Marty told me.

“The format is to look back at what the City Council did in the past week, catch the listeners up on city business and projects, then take some calls, and look forward at the upcoming week. I will eventually bring in guests, but for now it is just me,” she said.

“Last week was my first show, and I have to admit I found it nerve-racking to be in the studio, with an engineer, trying to fill 60 minutes – or really 46 minutes. It was not hard to have enough material to fill the time, but the idea of continuing to talk without dead air was a bit daunting. My admiration for people who do that for a living has increased.”

“It is actually great fun. I am glad to get the word out there. With the implosion of the News-Press, the city business gets little or no attention… I am grateful to the other news sources, like The Indy, The Daily Sound, The SB Newsroom, and EdHat. They are doing a good job in keeping us informed, but not everyone knows about them, and the average person isn’t informed.”

“This is part of my effort to be available to everyone. People who don’t make an appointment with me at City Hall or who miss me at the Farmer’s Market, can listen in and call with their questions.”

Mellow Yellow: In Los Alamos, they’re calling Saturday “Saffron Madness.” Winemaker Stephan Bedford will be presiding at the Saffron and Wine Tasting Reception from 3-6 p.m. at his tasting room – located at 448 Bell St. There’ll be a tasting of his wines and three restaurants will be offering special dishes showcasing saffron. Featured restaurants include The American Flatbread Company, Cafe Quackenbush, and Twin Oaks Restaurant. The cost is $20, but Bedford Wine Club members get in for $15. More info is available by calling (805) 344-2107.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns for the Independent on Tuesdays and Fridays, as well as a column for the Thursday print edition.


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