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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

New Video: Latest on 101 Mess, Pot Revenue Sinks Again, Local Pols Relocate, Whither Journalism...

Newsmakers turns the tables on Santa Barbara’s most influential podcaster this week, for a one-on-one conversation with Josh Molina, host of “Santa Barbara Talks,” featuring analysis, commentary and Actual Facts.

The Joe Rogan of Santa Barbara leads off with an update about the transportation purgatory farce known as the (all rise) 101 Widening Project. As planning chrome domes and bureaucratic bubbleheads limber up to embark on a 14-mile, city-centric stretch of the project, it augurs endless construction guaranteed to spike the blood pressure of anyone who drives a car, and to depress the quality of life in our cozy burg for, oh say, 50 or 100 years. Oh yeah: it's currently estimated to cost $264 million (bet heavy on the over for where that number finally ends up) and nobody yet knows where the money is coming from.

I'm excited by this plan.

Then it's on to politics and some serious punditry about an entertaining spectacle, as a trio of prominent local pols play musical chairs: Supervisor Gregg Hart bids farewell to the county board and saddles up to brave the blistering summers and tule fog winters of the state capital at Sacramento, representing Santa Barbarians in the 80-member Assembly; Laura Capps pivots from the SB Unified School Board to Hart's vacated Second District seat; Planning Commission president Gabe Escobedo expands his expansive political portfolio by taking the school board seat being vacated by Kate Ford, who decided not to seek re-election; he and the other three SBUSD trustees next will select a fifth member, who will serve out the final two years of Capps' unexpired school board term (1).

We're exhausted just typing about it.

Following some snarky and cynical commentary and ranting about the latest slump in cannabis revenue (toldja) -- and a glimpse at a new state law, aimed at curbing the kind of sleazy, pay-to-play politics that yielded the county's calamitous pot law, by prohibiting local elected officials from voting on matters involving campaign contributors who've given them more than $250 (looking at you Supervisor Bud Head) -- the fellas wander deep into the weeds discussing the, harrumph, harrumph, State of Journalism in Santa Barbara and Beyond, cogitating on how the dramatic transformation of the local media landscape over the past 15 years reflects economic mega trends in the national and global news industries.

There were no injuries.

All this and more, right here, right now on Newsmakers TV. You can watch the show via YouTube below or by clicking through this link, or listen to the podcast version here. Check TVSB and KCSB-FM schedules for broadcast times of the program.

(1). An earlier version of this post inaccurately described Escobedo's move onto the school board; he was elected in November to a full, four-term for the District 1 seat vacated by Kate Ford. Laura Capps' move to the Board of Supervisors leaves two years left on her school board term; the other four SBUSD board members will appoint her replacement in 2023. Apologies for the confusion and thanks to the loyal readers who pointed it out.


Image: Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets via

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