Fighting the Good Fight: There are times to stand on principle, as we’ve all learned in the past 18 months or so. Just as I’m proud of The Santa Barbara Independent‘s courageous stand against turning over unpublished photos to the county, I find it shameful that the News-Press, so ready to unleash its legions of lawyers at the drop of a headline, didn’t join the fight. The News-Press, willing to spend what must be a million or more in legal fees to battle its journalists over their right to form a union, refused to spend a dime to defend the state constitution’s shield against public agencies snooping into newspaper darkrooms and desks. The Indy lives in rented space on West Figueroa Street, and the digs are none too fancy. Yet it is willing to fight the good fight. The News-Press-in its handsome home that then owner T.M. Storke built in the 1920s and that is now worth untold millions-groveled, handing over its unpublished photos to the county in servile fashion. The county public defender also demanded that the small Daily Sound turn over its photos. It had to because it didn’t have the money to fight. The News-Press does, and should have. This is the latest shameful event in the chain of disgusting events that have taken place in the House That T.M. Built. In T.M.’s day, the county wouldn’t have dared pull such a stunt.

On the Beat

Father Virgil in Assisted Living: Father Virgil Cordano, retired pastor of the Santa Barbara Mission, is now in comfortable quarters in the assisted living section of Vista del Monte retirement center on Modoc Road. The Mission no longer has medical facilities for retirees.

Wacky Theater: The Uneasy Chair, the latest Ensemble Theatre production, is one of the most bizarre, at times funniest, and best-acted plays you’re likely to see. Set “sometime in the 19th century” in London, it starts out with a bang and-as the expression goes-“laffs galore,” then settles into uneven drollery. Playwright Evan Smith has a ball poking fun at the follies of marriage and the law. Through December 23.

G is for Grafton: Hmmm, now that Sue Grafton has publishedT Is for Trespass, that leaves just six more alphabet mysteries to go. Let’s see: Z is for Zap, Zany, Zealot, Ziploc, Zodiac, Zombie, Zonk? Oh heck, let’s just wait to see what Sue comes up with.

Surfing History: Bruce Brown, a Santa Barbaran who made that classic surfing movie, The Endless Summer, celebrated his 70th b-day at-where else-the Endless Summer Waterfront Grill, according to owner Steve Hyslop. Friends, family, and fellow surfer dudes were on hand. Brown gave his permission for the restaurant’s name, and some of his gear is on display there.

DUI Patrol: “Perhaps S.B. police should set up intoxication checkpoints at entryways of the parking structures on Friday and Saturday nights to catch people before they get into their cars?” suggested S.B. resident Mark Soler.

Local Heroes: George Clyde was “the first sane county supervisor in modern history” in Santa Barbara, Bendy White said at The Independent’s Local Heroes luncheon in November. White, a city Planning Commission member (and chair of the county Planning Commission years ago when he was barely old enough to shave), praised the late Clyde for his conscientious efforts on conservation and sound planning-alien concepts that seldom made the Board of Supervisors’ agenda before he served from 1965-73. Clyde, an earnest man who came from money, was the richest reporter in the history of the News-Press before being elected to the Board of Supervisors. Among other things, he spoke out about the dangers of offshore oil drilling before the January 1969 channel oil blowout, and about the need for buffers to protect the coast from drilling accidents. White himself was honored as a Local Hero at the luncheon.

Big, Bad Buildings: “I want to thank you for your timely and excellent piece ‘Big, Bad Buildings’ [On the Beat, Nov. 21],” wrote architect Don Sharpe. “One year ago I applied for an appointment to the city Historic Landmarks Commission because of my concern regarding development of the Chapala Street corridor. During the Council interview, I made my opposition to the several overly large buildings under construction very obvious and was appointed. The aversion to the previously approved/built buildings has since boiled over and the Planning Commission and Council seem to now be listening to the message from the public.

“Fortunately, the Historic Landmarks Commission has also been listening and is much more sensitive to the Urban Design Guidelines and other documents available to evaluate projects. The opposition started out with a small, but vocal, group and has escalated, as you well know. Thank you for your support of this effort for the love of Santa Barbara.” Sharpe served 13 years on the Architectural Board of Review and was a member of Landmarks for eight years until being termed out in December 2004.


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