Normally, I find On the Beat to be interesting and informative. This week, I was quite disappointed to see my business’ name mentioned in a defamatory way in the column about the Borders Bookstore on State Street closing. I started and owned Morninglory Music for 38 years before closing it in late 2008. Ironically, it was closed for partly the reason that the Borders Bookstore was closed: competition, both legal and illegal, from the Internet. You chose to include a statement by a former Borders manager that, “Rumor was, people would steal CDs or DVDs, walk one block to Morninglory, and sell them there for cash.” That statement was doubly-offensive to me because your editor chose to feature the sentence in large, bold type in the center of the piece, as if that were the main point of your article.
The fact is that Morninglory employees knew not to buy any CDs or DVDs that they suspected were stolen. While it would have been impossible to know with 100 percent certainty that everything we bought was sold by its rightful owner, our policy was to not buy stolen property. The column on Borders makes it seem like we were in the business of buying stolen property. You could not be further from the truth. The relatively long history of Morninglory Music in the Santa Barbara area was one of ethical business practices and respect for friendly competitors. I personally was offended by shoplifters whether they were committing their crimes at Morninglory or at any other store.
You might know that Paul Wellman (the fine photographer at the Independent) worked at Morninglory Music for a number of years. I believe that he would corroborate what I’ve written here.