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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Paseo Plan a Game Changer for Downtown? Social Media Stirs Racism Charges; Future of Local News

To this point, Santa Barbara historians would likely judge the most notable feature of the soon-to-end reign of Rebecca Bjork as City Administrator to be the brevity of her term: after 35 years of dedicated service elsewhere in city government, a mere 22 months of coping with our very fine, district-elected City Council left few doubts as to the wisdom and inordinate appeal of scooting off into the sunset, pronto.

However, future annalists may yet deem her pit stop in the Administrator's office as substantive and consequential -- should the new and surprising mixed use development scheme to rescue foundering Paseo Nuevo, unexpectedly brought forth by Bjork this week, ultimately pan out. If it does, the project will stand as a consequential and enduring legacy of her public service.

On this week's edition of Newsmakers TV, Nick Welsh, Josh Molina and Lily Dallow join the genial host to break down the policy, politics and news coverage of the Paseo Nuevo plan-in- progress. Outlined in broad strokes in a presentation to council, Bjork's Blockbuster raises countless questions - how much housing and for whom, being the first and perhaps most gnarly -- and faces a multiplicity of procedural challenges-- not least that the Administrator is determined to get a development agreement in place before she retires at the end of the year.

Audaces fortuna iuvat.

Our all-star panel of top local journalists also tackles the week's other big local story, the social media-driven uprising against a former UCSB instructor who was recorded performing a nasty Karen act with a Latino tradesman at an Upper East Side construction site.

After the cell phone video was posted on TikTok, and then amplified by an L.A. YouTube provocateur and online champion for street vendors, Jeanne Umana found an angry crowd rallying outside her home, and now faces possible hate crime, battery and trespass charges, despite limited, modified hang out apologies she offered in several news accounts of the episode.

All of which reminds Newsmakers of the words of renowned social justice attorney Bryan Stevenson: "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done."

Plus: the gang offers some perspective on the future of local news, leading off with Lily's educational exposition about the skills, demands and pressures of multimedia journalism, as the geezers sit open-mouthed and agog, struggling not to mutter, "Why in my day..."

There were no injuries.

P.S. Lily will join the post-film, "The Future of Local News" panel, following the free screening of "Citizen McCaw," the 2008 documentary which recounts the genesis of the decline and fall of Santa Barbara's historic daily newspaper, next Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre.

Admission is free, but please RSVP below if you plan to attend.


You can watch the latest episode of Newsmakers TV via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. TVSB, Cox Cable Channel 17, airs the show at 8 p.m. every weeknight and at 9 a.m. on weekends. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 p.m.\

RSVP below to free showing of "Citizen McCaw" and discussion on September 27, at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theater. Click here to learn more.


New Yorker cartoon by Drew Dernavich. .

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