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SBist: News-Press Sues Employee, Evictions in IV

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Visitors cruise by or bed-and-breakfast and see the paradise that Santa Barbara is to the eyes. But that doesn't mean that there's no drama.

Today we have two stories from the (805) that could be nominees for Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World.

The first comes from the embattled Santa Barbara News-Press who has seen over 20 empoyees resign out of protest to the alleged meddling and reportedly unprofessional behavior of its publisher Wendy McCaw. Of those who left was 47-year veteran Barney Brantingham who has since been replaced by Dr. Laura Schlessinger (!).

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The first to resign was Executive Editor Jerry Roberts, who after stepping down, was physically removed out of the building by Editorial Page Editor Travis K. Armstrong as Roberts was bidding adieu to the staff.

Just when the News-Press soap opera seemed to have faded away, today the paper filed a half-million dollar law suit against Roberts.

In a short item published today, the Times cites sources at the paper as saying the claim had been filed with an arbitrator "as required in Roberts' employment contract. It accuses him of breach of contract and causing damage to the News-Press." Roberts responded this afternoon with an e-mail statement that declared, in part, "I categorically deny any wrongdoing alleged in this arbitration demand. I consider this action by the News-Press nothing more than an attempt to silence me and to threaten my family's financial future in retaliation for speaking out about ethics at the paper." - E&P

In Isla Vista the new owner of an apartment complex turns around and serves eviction notices to 50 families.

Strangely, the note written in Spanish threatened a fine and a call to the credit bureau, but the one written in English had no specific cost.

The eviction notices caused confusion and dismay among tenant families. Dated August 15 but handed out by apartment manager Jose Naves on August 18, the notices do not make it clear when the 30-day period begins. The stated consequences of failure to vacate on time are inconsistent between different versions of the notice: The English version threatens unspecified punitive damages if tenants fail to leave within 30 days, while the Spanish version says that noncompliant tenants will have to pay $600 fines and suffer damaged credit histories. - SB Independent
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The former owner, who built the playground equipment that he loved to watch the kids play on, died in May. The building was sold last week and the notices were then distributed.photo by the mighty Doc Searls