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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Notebook: E.J. Feted for "Woman of the Year" Honor; State Eyes SB Pot Mess; A Word on Daily Paper

Mega-kudos to E.J. Borah -- the blue-collar beating heart of political efforts and energy that advance the interests of progressive women in Santa Barbara -- who was celebrated over the weekend as a congressional “Woman of the Year.”

“E.J.’s passion for political activism has spanned her career as far back as her graduation from UCSB in 1958,” said Rep. Salud Carbajal.

Salud presented Borah with the award at a lively reception on Friday evening hosted by philanthropist and community advocate Claudette Roehrig.

A retired teacher, Borah is a longtime, indefatigable volunteer for nearly every Democratic cause, campaign, and candidate, especially those that further the policies, prospects, and political fortunes of, and for, women on the Central Coast and beyond. The embodiment of old-school, out-of-fashion character virtues and values like civility, respecting others and basic human decency, she is a board member of Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County, with a seat on the local party’s central committee, her political commitment displayed most visibly through leadership of the Democratic Service Club whose members, she says, are “the people who do the grunt work.”

“We do the mailings, the precinct walking, the phone calls, staff events,” she said, in an interview several years ago with the “beyondthecontract” website. “When a project needs to be done, we send out an email, and we provide the volunteers. We do the work.”

Borah started at UCSB in 1954, the first year it moved from the Riviera to its present iconic location. After graduation, she departed for what became a 44-year teaching career in Fullerton, in then-deep-red Orange County: “It was extremely conservative and I was an active Democrat in politics, but it wore me out,” she recalled.

E.J. returned to SB in 2003, along with daughter Farfalla, an attorney who’s now president of the Goleta Water District board, and then-infant granddaughter, Rosalind, now a junior at Smith College.

“When I got to Santa Barbara, I was stunned to see how many Democrats there were,” E.J. Borah recalled.

Talk about your understatements.

Borah is one six Central Coast women Salud honored this year: Other honorees include former county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso, Franklin Elementary School principal Casie Killgore, and Laura Selken, president of the Santa Maria chapter of American Association of University Women, as well as Kathleen Minck and Janna Nichols from SLO County.

Count on Our Man in Washington to count in every outpost of his district.

Here's hoping the fix ain't in. If you blinked you may have missed Nick Welsh’s least-noticed scoop in memory, the news that the California Auditor’s Office has singled out Santa Barbara as one of six counties in the state for a close examination of how they handed out cannabis licenses.

The Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee requested the audits in the wake of “Legal Weed, Broken Promises,” a boffo L.A. Times series that included an investigation into “How Legal Weed Unleashed Corruption in California.” Long-suffering residents of Carpinteria, who’ve borne the brunt of the Das Williams-designed, pay-to-play effort to make Santa Barbara the epicenter of cannabis cultivation in California, led a strong local lobbying effort to get SB included among the Hophead Half-Dozen.

Which counties are being audited was supposed to be a hush-hush state secret, given the state auditor’s preference for keeping things under the radar; the Board of Supervisors was informed, apparently in confidence but Steve Lavignino, Das's wing man in spreading the wonders of weed everywhere, except perhaps the Botanic Garden, confirmed it to the Angry Poodle anyway.

“I look forward to someone who knows something about it looking at what we’re doing and letting us know what we can do better,” he told Nick.

As if.

It’s intriguing to see how Das and Steve, long the pot industry’s most reliable lap dogs, suddenly modulated their hardline stance after Laura Capps showed up at the board and started highlighting some of the absurdities of the county ordinance. Noting, for example, not only that the promised bonanza of tax revenues the Doobie Brothers used to sell their appalling policy has not materialized, but also that the county barely breaks even, given the nearly two dozen public employees now singularly devoted to cannabis.

Advocating a seemingly modest reform, which apparently had not previously occurred to the other supes, she also recently pushed through a new policy to hold growers accountable for not paying their taxes.

Quel outrage!

Capps will be this week's guest on Newsmakers TV.


Press Clips. Those who passed out drunk in 2006 and just woke up (as well as Gen Z-ers and other recent arrivals), and who wish to understand better All the Fuss this week over the bankruptcy of the town's sole daily newspaper are urged to eyeball the documentary "Citizen McCaw" for insight into the origins of the lamentable, 17 year (!) civic tragedy that inexorably led to it.

Of more recent vintage, Josh Molina’s new podcast interview with Craig Smith, professor at The Colleges of Law in SB and Ventura, is also worth checking out.

When the deal went down, at the crack of dawn of the social media era, Craig’s blog was the go-to-must-read on the latest developments and inside scoop about the story, and his reporting archive represents the only day-by-day, contemporaneous recounting of the drama (farce? -ed.).

The widely covered, but not-very-surprising, bankruptcy filing by Southern California’s oldest paper appears to be, at least, the beginning of the end of the last chapter of this sorrowful tale.

Newsmakers will have more to say about it in coming weeks, but for now we have just three words: Sad, sad, sad.


Images: E.J. Borah (foreground) surrounded, left, by daughter Farfalla and granddaughter Rob, and unidentified man on the right (Marian Shapiro); Stoned Agin (R. Crumb); "Citizen McCaw" DVD cover (Rod Lathim).

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