On the Beat

Kissing a Student: If an adult male teacher kisses a 9-year-old female student, is that a crime?

Well, according to a San Luis Obispo County jury, a Santa Maria man was guilty of the misdemeanor of annoying or molesting a 9-year-old girl by French kissing her.

But David Eugene Grey, a former third-grade teacher, was found not guilty of a felony count of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, according to the Santa Maria Times. He could have been facing up to eight years in prison. As it is, the maximum sentence is one year in county jail, probation, and he may have to register as a sex offender.

Grey admitted kissing the girl, but denied using his tongue during the incidentlocked classroom at the end of the 2006 school year. He will never be able to teach again, his attorney said.

Lois Capps
Paul Wellman

Capps Urges NLRB Speedup: In a letter to the National Labor Relations Board chairman Monday, Congresswoman Lois Capps prodded the NLRB to do something about its slower-than-glacial action on pending labor cases, including the News-Press.

Ten months ago, NP newsroom employees voted 33-6 to form a union. It took six months before an NLRB judge overruled NP objections, but that decision was appealed by the paper “and the NLRB has yet to act on the matter,” Capps said.

Santa Barbara critics have complained that slow action on the unionization issue and on the paper’s unfair labor practices has played into the hands of multi-millionaire NP owner Wendy McCaw. The NLRB will hold a hearing on Aug. 14 on the unfair labor practices, including the firing of a group of reporters after they protested the paper. The NLRB says their firing was illegal because their protest was protected under labor law. You can bet that if the eventual outcome goes against McCaw, she’ll appeal that too, which means more delays.

Where’d the Trees Go?: Surfer Tom laments that the formerly heavily-wooded Santa Barbara Cove propertyjust bought by Craig McCaw, has been cleared of many trees. All with necessary permits, no doubt? “The hard part for me is, it’s one of the last semi-secret surf spots left in Goleta,” says Tom, a former Mountain View School scholar in Goleta. The 60-acre property is near the Bacara Resort & Spa.

Dear Duck Hit: “This early evening [Sunday, July 15] as I was running along Cabrillo Boulevard, I saw a group of ducks attempting to cross the road from the Bird Refuge,” reports Elena Yee. “I thought, ‘Uh, oh, I hope they make it.’ Unfortunately, one dear duck was hit and killed as the others scurried back to the sidewalk. (Thanks to the young woman riding a bike who stopped to attend to the situation.) I know this seems like a small thing, but people, please drive the speed limit and be mindful that there are ducks – as well as people and other creatures – crossing Cabrillo from the Bird Refuge.”

Vintage Fiesta Footage: Rare footage of the 1924 and 1926 Old Spanish Days parades will be aired on Santa Barbara Channels during the week of Fiesta. The film, shot by famed Western artist Ed Borein, will be shown on Channel 21 July 30 through Aug. 5. The downtown skyline looks very different in the 1926 footage, due to damage from the 1925 quake.

Ty Warner, 2003
Paul Wellman (file)

King of Kona: Santa Barbara investor Invest West Financial/Pacifica Hotel Co. has purchased its first Hawaii hotel, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, according to industry sources. The investors paid $32 million and have planned for $25 million in upgrades. Hawaii is in a tourist slump and the Big Island hotel is badly in need of renovation, sources said. The hotel is not to be confused with the Kona Village Resort, which is partly owned by Ty Warner.

Public TV Winner: The local nonprofit that operates Channels 17 and 21 has won national recognition, taking first place in the Alliance For Community Media’s Hometown Video Awards. This year’s two first place winners bring the total up to eight winners over the past three years for the Santa Barbara Channels public access station.

Change a Life: Imagine not being able to read? Well, many adults can’t. But you can change a life by volunteering to be a tutor for the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program. Tutoring is free and confidential. The next tutor training class will be held on Saturday, July 28, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the library’s Townley Room.

Back With PCPA: Craig Shafer is returning to Allan Hancock College’s Pacific Coast Conservatory of the Performing Arts Theaterfest in his former position as the Communications and Media Relations Director. Shafer held the position from 1994 to 2004 and for the last three years has been the Arts Editor for the Santa Maria Sun.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.


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