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SB Pot Wars: As the Hoop House Turns...

In the latest installment of Santa Barbara’s most riveting civic soap opera, the plot thickens, twists and turns: As Laura fires an editorial shot across Das’s bow, he abruptly postpones a big fundraiser, but manages to shore up his political base anyway, while Hannah Beth shouts a warning from the far-off state capital and Mr. Cranky Pants goes in search of Actual Facts... (Our story to date. Supervisor Das Williams has filed to run for re-election, undeterred by the siren song of seeking an open state Senate seat, but suddenly is confronted by a red-clad pitchfork posse, furious at the foul stench of skunk weed spreading over the land. Then, a crusading young newspaperman reveals that Das

New Front in Montecito Water Wars

The plans for a new operations building at the Montecito Sanitary District – a project 15 years in the making – are suddenly in limbo, a potential casualty of Montecito’s divisive water wars. The district board awarded $4.6 million in contracts for a 5,000-square-foot “essential services building” earlier this month on a 3-2 vote, as the majority said it was well past time to replace the aging and substandard offices built decades ago behind the wastewater treatment plant at 1042 Monte Cristo Lane. Construction was set to begin in August along Channel Drive. Opponents of the project cried foul, however, and within days of the meeting asked the county Planning and Development Department to in

A Viewer's Guide to the Democratic Debates

From Bernie and Biden to Warren and Williamson, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination begins for real on Wednesday evening -- the first of two consecutive nights of nationally televised, speed dating debates featuring 20 contenders among the vast field of wannabes. Both events will be broadcast and live streamed by NBC and by Telemundo from 6-8 p.m. PDT. Plenty of free parking. For two hours tonight and tomorrow, two panels of ten candidates each will woo voters by answering questions from celebrity news personalities, each hoping to be the one who will emerge a year from now as their party’s challenger to the cruelty, greed, misogyny, narcissism, racism, sociopathology and xen

Notebook: Who's Up, Down & Out in Pot Wars

Community conflict over cannabis remains Topic A in Santa Barbara’s political whirl, more than a week after the L.A. Times dropped its epic take on how the county came to be California’s capital of cultivation. The story fueled a political narrative, pushed by a posse of outraged citizens, galvanized by Carpinteria-based national journalist Ann Louise Bardach, that casts Supervisor Das Williams as the villain of the piece -- an alleged Rasputin of Reefer responsible for passage of a county pot ordinance heavily weighted towards growers that, among other features, has yielded the two largest weed tracts on the planet. No surprise, Das takes great issue with this baleful characterization, and

Must Read: LA Times on SB's Pot Wars

It’s been an open secret for months that a reporter for the L.A. Times has been sniffing around for a piece about the surprise emergence of tiny Santa Barbara County (3,789 square miles) as the cannabis cultivation capital of California (163,696 sq. mi.). The piece finally landed yesterday, with a boffo lede that reveals, amid a few sentences of pastoral scene setting, that the county is now home to the two largest legal pot grows in the world (!). Anyone with a policy interest in the subject – civic, economic, medicinal, personal, recreational -- should definitely dig into all 3,464 words. For others who, like us, share more of an addiction to the guilty pleasure of political gossip, the bo

Dem Confab: Monique Stars, Daraka Stumbles

A soupcon of Santa Barbara insiders, pols and media hacks joined the largest collection of presidential contenders to date at the California Democratic Party's San Francisco convention. Besides 14 presidential wannabes, the weekend event drew more than 5,000 officeholders, delegates, coat holders, political junkies, protesters and Beltway bloviators to the Moscone Convention Center and surrounding streets, in a dazzling display of democracy. By the time the California Democrats left town on Sunday – after Elizabeth Warren stole thunder from Bernie Sanders; after delegates cheered Kamala Harris for demanding impeachment and heckled Nancy Pelosi for resisting it; after the Dominatrixes Against

California Gold Rush for Dem Wannabes

(Editor's note: This weekend's California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco has attracted more than a dozen presidential hopefuls, along with political media from around the nation and thousands of delegates and activists from throughout California. This piece about the convention first appeared on Calbuzz, our statewide alter ego). The Calbuzz “How Can You Miss Us if We Won’t Go Away” Reunion Tour will roll into San Francisco this weekend, along with every Democrat in the Northern Hemisphere, half of whom are running for president. At least fourteen – 14, count ‘em, 14 – presidential wannabes are scheduled to hit the stage at the California Democratic Party convention, as 3,400 d

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