Deadline fast approaches to cast your votes in the Independent’s “Best of Santa Barbara 2018 Readers Poll."
Your participation can help deliver community kudos and curious customers for your favorite Breakfast Burrito, Cup Cakes, Contractor, Doggie Hotel, Lingerie Boutique, Mattress Store, Mortgage Company, Noodle Bar, Pool Hall, Tanning Salon, Tattoo Parlor and Urban Tasting Room (whatever that is), among other retail and assorted enterprises.
Favorite Contractor? (None). Favorite Mortgage Company? (None) Favorite Tanning Salon? (Why?)
The “Best Of” run-off is the best of such annual revenue and readership-generating events in town, and its ever-expanding list of categories and contestants owes to the energy and innovation of Sarah Sinclair, the newspaper’s talented and indefatigable (all rise) Director of Advertising.
You can register your own preferences up to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday on the complete online ballot to be found here.
The #1 Issue. A few weeks ago, Newsmakers was shocked to learn that, via the mystifying alchemy of Ms. Sarah’s marketing efforts, our own Santa Barbara Bureau Chief and Senior Journalistic Dogsbody is numbered among the Media bracket finalists for S.B. Columnist, the numero uno gold ring of bragging rights amid our small, self-involved circle of cranky pants ink-slingers, political flacks and media hacks.
At a time when journalism is under attack across the nation, we're emotionally conflicted by twin urges: a) the sincere wish to see pals and colleagues deservedly honored and b) our own selfish and shabby desire to stomp and clobber professional frenemies.
To help sort things out, we devised this handy independent voter’s guide to aid you in making this year's crucial decision.
Jump on the bandwagon. Starshine Roshell, the Golden State Warriors of Santa Barbara journalism, has won top columnist honors for 13 or 14 years in a row and she’s well positioned to do so once again.
Beyond the key political fact that she’s the only woman on a ballot with five aging white guys (Smash the Patriarchy!), she’s a stylish wordsmith, sparkling story-teller and mistress of the mot juste, whose biggest virtue, if not downright unfair advantage, is that she writes about interesting stuff that people actually care about: relationships, sex, families, sex, celebrities, schools, culture clashes, sex, entertainment, music, social injustice and sex.
Campaign Slogan: Don't Waste Your Vote, Dude - She’s Gonna’ Win
Opt for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Nick Welsh has been churning out about 21,000 words a week for the Indy ever since his first day on the job in 1786, when he covered the Architectural Review Board’s rejection of Padre Fermin Lasuen’s original plans for the Mission – and that’s just counting his “Angry Poodle” columns, not the other half-dozen stories he writes for every edition, while washing windows and swatting flies with his third hand.
The eternal bridesmaid in the “Best Of” competition, he combines vast institutional knowledge, derived from personal friendships with the late Pearl Chase, T.M. Storke, and Hugette Clark, and a prose style that interbreeds Tom Wolfe and Thomas Mann on a two-week bender.
Campaign slogan: If Not Now, When?
Confound the experts. Last year, Indy staffers endured the mortifying discomfiture of watching chief rival Noozhawk capture the "Best S.B. Based Website" award, and this time out Chief Hawker Bill Macfadyen looms on the columnist ballot to double down on the upset.
His that-was-the-week-that-was column is a rare combination of caustic commentary and shameless self-promotion, not to mention an acquired taste, but for perverse souls and mischievous trolls who, oh say, got a big kick out of Trump stunning the smarty-pants ilk, a win here would be a shocker of the same order.
Campaign slogan: If He Doesn’t Win, the Count is Crooked,
Ride a write-in dark horse. John Zant, among the hardest working men in show business, pens an Indy column that delivers reliable stuff and invaluable community service to local sports junkies jonesing for insight, through his unquenchable enthusiasm, unerring eye for athletic talent, and decades of history with the prep and college scene.
It’s a dirty little secret of the newspaper business that the best writers usually are found in the sports department and the fact that Z’s name doesn’t appear on the ballot is a downright scandal.
Campaign slogan: Grantland Rice Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Him.
Throw away your vote. As a longtime foot solider in the War of Words, the Newsmakers Guy for decades specialized in writing and editing DBI (Dull But Important) yarns for the PLAG (Politics, Law & Government) division of the city desk.
The Bendy White of this columnists field, he just can’t stop himself from pounding out Proustian-length insomnia cures about the state budget, reapportionment, infrastructure, OTDs, ADUs and the AUD, in sharp contrast to Starshine’s snazzy lines and hip bon mots about nude yoga, male pattern pube shaving and synonyms for “vagina” (we’re with Oprah on this one in favoring “vajayjay”).
Campaign slogan: Spinach Journalism: Read This, It’s Good for You.
All-important reminder: You have to vote in at least 20 categories of the "Best Of" poll for your ballot to count, so while you’re marking your media picks, remember also to weigh in on sushi, suds, salad bars, Sunday brunch and surf shops.
Don’t forget to vote.
Images: Indy promotion; Sarah Sinclair and Scout; Starshine; Nick; Macfadyen; Zant; Walter Lippmann.