The gates of Neverland Ranch.
On the Beat

He’ll Never Lose Neverland (Probably): No matter what you’ve heard, it seems unlikely that Michael Jackson will let Neverland Ranch go to auction and lose it, smart money around town predicts.

True, he’s neglected the place and has yet to return since beating that child molestation rap a few years ago. In fact, it also seems unlikely that he’ll ever set foot in Santa Barbara County again, even though zealous Tom Sneddon, who originally brought Jackson to trial, has retired as district attorney.

Jackson apparently has the ability to fix the default on the $23 million dollar loan and probably will. What’s puzzling is why he doesn’t put the white elephant on the market.

Nuns’ Story: As of Monday, donations to the Santa Barbara Sisters of Bethany had not been turned over by Denise D’Sant Angelo, who headed the fundraising committee. The nuns have declared that they want no affiliation with D’Sant Angelo. Their supporters have retained an attorney who is asking for a return of the funds and a detailed accounting of any of the money that’s been spent. It is not clear how much money is in her possession. No one is accusing her of breaking the law, however.

NP Documentary: The Sam Tyler, et al, documentary with interviews about the News-Press controversy is due to be screened at the Arlington on Saturday, January 11. It’ll run for 80 to 90 minutes and there’ll be an admission charge.

Why Does Sansum Advertise?: Sansum Medical Clinic is one of the major advertising supporters of the News-Press, and patients I talked to are wondering why? The clinic being the only game in town, patients flock there for healing. Do they need an ad to lure them in? And with medical costs rising, why should unnecessary ad costs be tacked onto their bills?

Cate Blanchett Likes SB: The Australian actress, who will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival‘s Modern Master Award on January 26 at the Arlington, says she prefers the UK seaside city of Brighton to Hollywood. “When I’m working in Hollywood I live in Montecito in Santa Barbara. It’s not quite Brighton because everything is on a much larger scale and it’s near to Hollywood,” she said. The festival runs Friday, January 24 to Sunday, February 3.

Do Not Call or Mail: The current issue of Consumer Reports lists ways to opt out of unwanted dinner-time calls from hucksters and junk mail: Put your name on the National Do Not Call Registry to stop most – but not all – telemarketing calls. “You can’t stop calls from charities, politicians, or companies you’ve done business with in the past 18 months.” To get on the list, call 888-382-1222 or go to Your number stays on the list for five years and the first registrations will start expiring next year. Likewise, will stop “pre-approved” credit card offers, or call 888-567-8688. If you register with the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service, they are obligated to purge your name from its mailing lists. Cost: $1. Once a year, financial institutions are required to send you their privacy policies, including how you can opt out if they share such information as your account balances. The nonprofit World Privacy Forum explains how the various opt-outs work, along with links and phone numbers.

Grande Weiss Mourned: The board of trustees and staff of the Ensemble Theatre Company issued a statement mourning the death of artistic director emeritus, Robert Grande Weiss. Weiss, who passed away on Tuesday, November 6, had been one of the founding members of the Ensemble, as well as its artistic director for 25 years. “Robert’s success was immense,” said Jonathan Fox, the Ensemble’s executive artistic director. “It is an extraordinary accomplishment to grow a theater company through a quarter century, especially through lean and tough times, while consistently presenting the kind of challenging and thought-provoking work that Robert favored. The awards and accolades the company has received over the years, and the long-time support of a great many members of the community, are a testament to his major achievement.”

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


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