Governor Newsom came to Santa Barbara on Friday for a brief display of empathy and concern over the impact of this week's superstorm, a performative political set piece he unsurprisingly chose to stage in Montecito.
Better he'd checked in on the lower Eastside, Westside or North County.
The governor stood for the cameras near the Randall Road debris basin (there introduced by Supervisor Das Williams, making Prince Gavin only the second-most oleaginous politician among the large pack of them on scene). Although the project for certain is a splendid symbol of community resilience and rebuilding in the wake of the deadly 2018 debris flow, Montecito is not the center of suffering inflicted by the latest deluge.
As Nick Welsh explains on this week's edition of Newsmakers TV, all the focus of media and public resources on Montecito contrast with the meagerness of attention aimed at the considerable damage sustained by neighborhoods and residents in Guadalupe, Orcutt and Santa Maria, not to mention the East and Westside.
Josh Molina also joins the genial host for a conversation about the policy and political fallout and implications of the latest natural disaster (spoiler alert: no, the drought's not over); the fellas find rare consensus in agreeing that local government executives, emergency responders and on-the-ground public employees overall did a superb job of planning for, coordinating and executing preventive and reactive strategies to manage the torrential rains, flooding, traffic nightmares, rescue operations and oozing rivers of mud.
No deaths, no serious injuries, only a few red-tagged houses - truly and thankfully impressive work.
On the new show, the three amigos also tackle the bizarre shoplifting case of former Planning Commission president Deborah Schwartz, caught on surveillance video snatching a costly rug; the city's troubling passivity in the face of new financial machinations by the owners of Paseo Nuevo; and the surprise pick -- Bill Who? -- to fill a vacant seat on the Santa Barbara Unified School District board of trustees.
Plus: how the national story about the blundering and humiliating process that eventually led to Kevin McCarthy's ascension to House Speaker proves there's always a local angle - shout-out butter-brained Matt Gaetz!
Image: Gavin Newsom in Montecito on Friday (Don Brubaker/Santa Barbara Independent).