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Newsmakers' New Year's Team Tackles SB's Top Stories of 2023, Amid Best Wishes for a Healthy, Happy 2024

An extra-special gaggle of guests, representing Santa Barbara's politics-media ecosystem, gathers on the cusp of 2024 for Newsmakers' Third Annual New Year's Rockin' Eve Show this week, an extra-lively conversation about the most memorable local news stories of 2023.

Trigger warning: Things get raucous early on, with a realtime political firefight between two City Hall heavyweights clashing over, what else, the state of State Street.

SB Mayor Randy Rowse and his City Council arch-nemesis, Meagan Harmon, square off in an impromptu fracas over policy, planning and progress apropos the dismal state of downtown, most specifically the nine - 9, count 'em, 9 - closed-to-traffic State St. blocks euphemistically designated "The Promenade."

Amid a volley of generational insults, matching antiquated Boomer geezer values against callow Millennial lust for social engineering, there were no injuries.

Lily Dallow, Hap Freund, Josh Molina and Nick Welsh amplify the high-spirited tone of the seasonal affair, as the gang breaks down what made news in 2023 - and offers some fearless, not to mention fearful, forecasts about 2024.

There's little disagreement among the panel about the year's biggest ongoing story: the countless facets of conflict and debate over housing.

From battles over rent control, renovictions, La Cumbre Plaza and El Paseo Nuevo, to throw downs about overdue Housing Elements, Builder's Remedy, the Strike Force STR and more density with less parking, Santa Barbara's version of the statewide controversy over Sacramento's damn-local-control demands for construction of more housing dominated the local news agenda.

Beyond that, our year-end panel also tackles literacy in public schools, teachers on the economic edge, the performance of SB's new police chief, climate crisis violent weather, the collapse of cannabis revenue and green shoot progress on caring for the homeless and mentally ill street people, critical issues all, directly affecting the lives of every Santa Barbara citizen who votes, pays taxes, has kids, shops in stores, or uses indoor plumbing.

Undaunted by the venerable maxim that making predictions is hard, especially about the future, our guests also offer prognoses for 2024, including a few terrifying political prognostications, with democracy on the ballot.

Plus: Nick provides a case study of Man vs. Machine.

All this, right here, right now on Newsmakers TV. Check out the show on YouTube below, or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. TVSB, Channel 17, airs Newsmakers every weeknight at 8 p.m., and on weekend mornings at 9 a.m. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 on Mondays.

Thanks for watching, and for reading, and all the best from the far-flung Newsmakers Global Network for a healthy and happy New Year!


New Year's image: Shutterstock.


Cartoon by Kaamran Hafeez for The New Yorker.

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