He’s Risen Out of the N-P: Business writer Tom Risen, son of New York Times reporter and author James Risen, was given his walking papers at the Santa Barbara News-Press Friday night, according to sources. Why? Maybe it was because he was a temporary hire – he moved here from Washington D.C. last summer with a master’s degree in journalism to go to work as a temp? – and his six-month time was up, some speculate. “Yes, I know all about the drama at the newspaper there,” he famously announced in August before arriving, “but the trouble is clearing up and my new job as business reporter will be free of such drama.” (Ah, the naivety of youth.) Or perhaps Risen might have been let go because the Teamsters are challenging the right of the paper to fill slots with temps during the unionization battle. Or maybe he just couldn’t cut it. One staffer dubbed him “clueless.”

On the Beat

Drunk and Alone: Quote of the week, from a 22-year-old UCSB coed sheriff’s deputies found alone in I.V. after being kicked out of a cab she’d barfed in: “I know I’m drunk, but I’m a straight-A student.” Also reported in the Goleta Valley Voice: An 18-year-old woman awoke alone and covered with mud in a Goleta avocado orchard after a night of excessive partying in I.V. She told sheriff’s deputies that she had only a hazy recollection of the night before. (Give her an F for inattention.)

Dirt Blowers: So many people have been pummeling the city about gas-powered leaf blowers -they’re illegal – that it included the rules and regs in water bills. By vote of the people, gas-powered dirt blowers are banned. And electric-powered blowers must meet noise level standards – a max of 65 decibels. In residential areas they can only be used between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and never on Sunday or national holidays. “It is illegal to blow debris, cuttings or refuse onto a neighboring property or into the street or gutter,” the city says. This is widely violated, including in my neighborhood. Why not just use a rake and pick up the stuff in the first place? Questions to the city at 564-5433. The notice didn’t mention that it falls to police to enforce the rules, as a last resort. First, remind violators of the law.

Throwaway Voice: Why, asks Jim Kreider, is the Goleta Valley Voice, a News-Press-owned weekly, thrown unsolicited “on our driveways near the street on Thursday night? A lot of the ones in my neighborhood (University Village II) just sit there day after day. After several days these really start looking bad. While I walk the dog, I either pick the decomposing ones up to put in the trash or toss them further up near the front door of the house. Doesn’t this seem like a stupid idea to throw these items from the News-Press at our homes without our desire to receive them since a bunch of persons don’t think enough of the publication to remove them from the street side of their driveway? Talk about polluting the neighborhood and a waste of paper [also cutting down trees].”

Musical Tables: David Cecchini, long time executive chef of the Wine Cask and Restaurant Nu, has been named executive chef of the Harbor Restaurant on Stearns Wharf. Cecchini wisely plans to kick things up a few notches there and has changed the menus and introduced $29 three-course dinners on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. He’ll also introduce winemaker dinners and cooking classes.

Meanwhile, Leslie Tucker Klatt, former general manager of the Wine Cask and a business partner with Cecchini at Restaurant Nu, has become GM at Elements restaurant, on East Anapamu Street across from the Courthouse. Nu closed earlier this year after the property owner decided to make use of the space at 1129 State Street in another way.

Casa Blanca: I see that the classic Moroccan-style Casa Blanca home on the beach is on the market for $13.5 million. That’s the one with that pool pavilion like something out of Arabian nights.

Metal Monstrosity: As for all the complaints about that eyesore jutting from the top of the Granada building, it’s a cell phone site that had been hidden from sight but was moved during the current renovation. When the work is done, it will be tucked back, city folks assure the public.

Divine Poet: Poet Philip Levine, brother of Santa Barbara’s Ely Levine, will be featured during a weekend of verse reading at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference March 28-30.

Blind Boys: The Blind Boys of Alabama will present the Christmas Show, Go Tell It on the Mountain, at UCSB’s Campbell Hall Dec. 16. For more than 60 years the Blind Boys have spread their passion for soul-gospel music.


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