Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Candle Crack, Candle Break
Correct the Travis's Mistake

Dear Travis Armstrong has decided its time to teach Santa Barbara a course in civility, and to do so he has to go on attack (perhaps that's remain on attack, but why quibble). In today's editorial in the News-Press (you know the drill about how there's no point in linking as you have to pay to read his oh-so-valuable words), he asserts that the folks who picketed the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Awards gala this weekend are: 1) dupes of the out-of-town Teamsters, 2) "resorting to the tactics of the lowest common denominator."

First, many of the protesters were former News-Press employees who turned to the union because their ex-workplace was so horrible. So Wendy and Travis really brought the Teamsters on themselves. But since when is a candlelight vigil a tactic of the lowest common denominator? People use that method to protest wars. They used it when thousands marched in San Francisco to lament the death of Harvey Milk. Yep, Travis, all those folks are the scum of the earth.

Then there's this passage: "One union organizer even attempted to gain entrance to the private event held on private property. A local attorney reportedly also came to the hotel. It's a sad day when any local attorneys on their own try to interject themselves into matters of a privately owned business to seek attention and free advertising."

Now, anyone who reads Craig Smith's Blog--and at this point he probably has a higher readership than the News-Press--knows these sentences refer to labor lawyer Ira Gottlieb (he's not an organizer, but to Travis, all unionists look alike) and Smith himself. Smith decided to do some old-fashioned reporting and check out the scene of the fundraiser, but it seems Travis thinks no one is allowed on the grounds of the Biltmore. After all, when Travis objects to Smith messing with a privately owned business, my guess is it's not the Biltmore he is concerned about, but the News-Press, which Travis, Wendy, and the Nipper all see as theirs, sort of forgetting that a community has a huge stake in its local paper.

The willful obfuscation of a line like, "Why people would choose to picket an event honoring philanthropy and volunteerism is, to most people, beyond comprehension," is stunning. People weren't protesting the event, they were protesting Wendy McCaw. If she ever bothered to meet with any of the public, people wouldn't have to try to figure out where and when there is a chance to make clear their great displeasure in what she's done to our newspaper. But there I go pretending that the town has any say--I know money is 99/100 of ownership, and that the cock-eyed libertarianism Wendy espouses really means she can buy more liberty than any of us. Crucial to that kind of liberty is to ignore anyone else's desires completely, whether they want to walk on the beach she can't even see from her cliffside mansion or they want a local newspaper that isn't a national joke.

Their attitude to News-Press web content completely matches their attitude to everything--community be damned, so stay off the hotel grounds of our swank fundraisers and keep off the cyber-lawn.


Anonymous Starshine Roshell said...

Well done once again, George. You are a fine writer, and I love reading your stuff.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Jim Balter said...

Ira Gottlieb "even attempted to gain entrance to the private event held on private property" by ... buying a ticket, and walking up to the front door with it. The horror! The horror!

Also, there were no picketers or picketing, any more than the "people in black" who stand quietly on a street corner in silent protest of war are picketing.

Travis Armstrong writes that he would resign before working for someone who "doesn't want journalists on staff with views that might be different than her own". On those grounds alone he's a liar.

3:51 PM  

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