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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

State St. Flags Caught in Mideast Crosswind; Big Change in Public Works Bids; Update from the Harbor

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Public dramas and behind-the-scenes intrigue at City Hall take center stage on this week's edition of Newsmakers TV, as the genial host debriefs Josh Molina on Santa Barbara's latest policy and politics predicaments and problems.

With other panel members variously AWOL, MIA or on the IL, the dynamic duo soldiers on, breaking down the arcane but important proposed changes in bidding procedures for big ticket, taxpayer-financed public works projects, which suddenly emerged at this week's council meeting.

The change from the historic low-bid process, now required by the charter, would have to be approved by voters at next year's November election. Good luck passing this if there's a batch of zillion dollar bond issues on the same ballot.

(BTW: Why, oh why, would we ever suspect there's some Project Labor Agreement type mischief lurking in the background of this one? But we digress).

As if the political sinkhole of State Street needs more controversy and confusion, Downtown Santa Barbara's Flag Program, a mom-and-apple pie project if ever there was one, meanwhile got caught up in the toxic fury of the Israeli-Hamas war.

The River-to-the-Sea crowd assailed the regularly scheduled display of the logo used by the non-profit Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara as an inflammatory gesture of support for the Israeli government's deadly response to the savage murders of 1,400 civilians by Hamas terrorists; and when the flags came down, as scheduled, on Tuesday night, some pro-Israel factions perceived it as a cave-in to an anti-Zionist protest earlier in the day.

Which left Robin Elander, the saintly executive director of the Downtown Association, to issue a pair of statements explaining the, um, Actual Facts of the matter, amid a terpsichorean display of finely parsed language that tried to steer clear of tilting towards either side in a bitter and bloody clash that's been going on for 2000 years or so. As if.

Plus: high-powered suits who manage Paseo Nuevo have apparently decided there's just too much damn commerce going on at the troubled mall; Pony League grandparents (we name no names) fret about a possible future parking shortage at Mackenzie Park amid another sign-off for the good-to-go American Indian Health Center; and Noozhawk's top man on the city beat explains why he's suddenly become the Boswell of the Harbor Commission,

All this and more, right here, right now on Newsmaker TV.


Watch the new episode 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. Saturday and Sunday. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Image: Logo of Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara, used in the State Street Flag Program.


Cartoon by Pia Guerra for The New Yorker.

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