Carp Pot Shop: "Fish Stink from the Head" - Plus State St. Follies, Elxn Update, Bye-Bye to Jade
Montecito Journal Editor Gwyn Lurie returned to "Newsmakers TV" this week, detailing two fine pieces of American journalism you won't find anywhere outside the MoJo's burgeoning media empire.
Josh Molina joins in with the latest on the most sharply contested local election races, and proffers a report on the latest skirmish over the present and future of State Street. It's being waged over What to Do about the Parklets, which city council emergency green-lighted during the pandemic, but which now are really annoying retail, while offending the sensibilities of those who prefer the lost elegance of Santa Barbara and find the whole thing looks like a garage sale.
And Jade Martinez-Pogue makes a farewell appearance with a report on the surprise double verdicts in the quarter-century-long Kristen Smart murder case. Jade soon is departing for The Big Apple, where she'll put her legal journalism chops to good use as a staff writer at Law360. Great news for her, but not so much for Newsmakers, sniff, sniff. Don't forget to write, Jade.
Smelly fish at the county. The just-out edition of the Montecito Journal includes, among other features, a notable op-ed, published in the letters column, from land use attorney Jana Zimmer, providing a case study of the sordid and shady, fix-is-in politics and governance that seem to surround every manifestation of Santa Barbara County's execrable 2018 cannabis ordinance.
In this case, it's a disputed retail pot shop that county officials, with a generous dollop of help from (wait for it) Industry Lobbyists, want to shoehorn into Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, despite widespread community opposition and the failure to address properly a batch of glaring planning problems -- Traffic study? Parking? Transparency? Hello? Anyone home? -- not to mention serious questions about conformity with the Coastal Act.
No surprise, Supervisor and industry minion Das Williams.turns in yet another louche and tawdry performance in the latest episode of our long-running Weed Wars civic soap opera. He previously told District 1 constituents he was "98.5 percent certain" to oppose the misplaced ganja emporium (no worries, we don't understand what the number means either), but more recently has taken to flinging ad hominem attacks at Zimmer's clients, who lead the opposition, even as he clears time for a cozy, previously undisclosed meeting at the home of the business owners seeking the pot permit - at the behest of one of the (wait for it) project's lobbyists.
Such ethically challenged behavior on behalf of his personal pals, boosters and campaign contributors in the business, of course, is not exactly breaking news. Perhaps because it has become such a matter of routine, Das moves the outrage meter this time less than the equally arrogant Dennis Bozanich. Recall that while serving as the county's taxpayer-funded "cannabis czar," Revolving Door Dennis blazed the trail for the county's land rush marijuana business and, in 2019, identified Santa Claus Lane as a dispensary site.
Mirable dictu, after leaving county employ in 2020, he suddenly parachuted back in this year, to work as chief lobbyist for the operation now seeking to slide into that very location. Quelle coincidence!
Zimmer's piece, titled "The Fish Stinks from the Head" (or "Ryba smrdi od hlavy" as she puts it in the original Czech) is only slightly longer than Anna Karenina, but well worth reading in full for anyone interested in how the cursed cannabis law has stained and damaged the county's planning processes.
"The County," she writes, "has failed every fairness test imaginable" in the Santa Claus Lane matter, and she brings the receipts in producing a jaw-dropping bill of particulars in support of her thesis.
While you're grabbing a paper off the rack, don't forget also to look for the latest edition of Mojo media's design magazine, "The Riv," which leads off with a sensational cover story by editor Les Firestein. Headlined "Google is Building God in Goleta," it tells a terrific tale of how the Don't Be Evil company is building the first, world-changing quantum computer inside a deceptively nondescript building in the Goodland. Plus: Albert Einstein on the beach in Santa Barbara!
Newsmakers says check it out.