No-Brainer Blues: Somebody get Kinsey Millhone on the phone. If Measure D, the countywide traffic congestion relief effort, fails to pass this November, Santa Barbara’s most famous detective writer, Sue Grafton, will have to revisit her alphabetical crime novels and replace “D Is for Deadbeat”-written eons ago-with “D Is for Dummies.”
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PUNK’T: Poor Lois. She never had a clue. By Lois, I mean Lois Capps, our Congressional representative in Washington, D.C. What Lois was clueless about is more precisely a “who”-in this case Duncan Hunter, the raging Congressional right-winger who represents the good people of El Cajon and others living east of San Diego, an inland empire where hot desert winds snuff out errant ocean breezes.
It’s true I take everything personally. But this time I think I might be entitled. By the time you read this, the News-Press will have held its union election, and I’m betting the farm that by about 5:20 this Wednesday evening, the world will know the Teamsters were overwhelmingly elected to represent that paper’s unhappy newsroom workers in their dealings with Wendy McCaw, the daily’s gratuitously grim owner and co-publisher.
HOPE YOU GOT KISSED: When I pick up the morning newspaper, I like the jokes to stay where they belong-on the funny pages. But now that even the comic strips have become an ideological minefield, I suppose everything’s fair game.
STINK FEST FOLLIES: The enduring dust-up at the News-Press calls to mind the old schoolyard axiom: 10,000 flies can’t be wrong. In other words, something supremely stinky’s going down at Santa Barbara’s oldest daily despite the hyperventilated protestations to the contrary by owner-publisher Wendy P. McCaw, her in-house hit man Travis K. Armstrong, and her professional mouthpiece Agnes Huff, PhD.
TERROR BY TEDIUM: It was hardly the trial of the century. It only felt like it lasted that long. In point of fact, last Friday’s courtroom proceeding-an institutionally contained spasm of political perversity-took just six hours start-to-finish. At issue was the ballot language in support of Measure D 2006, the proposed quarter-cent increase on an existing half-cent sales tax that will fund $1.6 billion worth of freeway widening, commuter rail service, bike lanes, mass transit, road repairs, and more pork than all the public works directors throughout Santa Barbara County could ever hope to eat.
Former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts has accused lawyers representing Wendy McCaw, the Santa Barbara News-Press, and its parent company Ampersand of leaking the fact that McCaw filed a $500,000 claim against Roberts that will be handled through arbitration, rather than the court system.
Who will cover the Santa Barbara High Dons, San Marcos Royals, and Dos Pueblos Chargers now that the News-Press’s sports reporter Mike Traphagen is gone? Plus, the N-P drops their Unfair Labor Practice complain against the Teamsters. Read on….
SUPERSIZE THIS: Should I get a notice that my water bill’s a couple months past due and they’re thinking about shutting off my spigot, my palms would sweat, my eyes would twitch, and I would go into gastrointestinal overdrive. But when developer Bill Levy is notified by his lender that he has defaulted on his $35 million loan-$10 million of which is the interest that accrued in just one year-he’s cool as a cucumber. That money was due, by the way, in July. Say what you want about Bad Boy Bill, the man is pucker proof. For those tuning in late, Levy is attempting to transform the portion of lowest State Street-around the Californian Hotel-into a beehive of Ritz-Carlton time-share condos, each fetching a modest $350,000 per three-week use. In his own ingenious and determined way, Levy’s been pursuing this Levytown dream for more than 30 years.