Today I want continue with my challenge of our local media and the job they are doing. I have huge concerns with the Politics of Santa Barbara and how those stories are being presented to the public. Be it, print, broadcast or online journalism I see an obvious lack of Journalistic Integrity being applied to any of there efforts. I feel there presentation of political issues are not factual based and filled with bias .An when a news worthy story also has cultural factors and or overtones those factors tend to be misrepresented and over sensationalized in a negative fashion These forms of bias are extremely hard to correct, guard or protect ourselves from but they must be addressed.
So following up on my last posting I would like to spend a few more moments here and continue to review;
1- the reporting (more like the lack of) with the Corey Lyons double murder trial
2- the City of Santa Barbara employee Mortgage assistance program and the comments made by Councilwoman Self.
Why or what has caused a total media black out of the Corey Lyons Double murder trial from March 14th 2011 to March 26th 20011? Since Friday I can still not find any print, broadcast or online reports as to what transpired in the court room of Superior Court Judge Brian Hill during that time. I also have two issues with the Santa Barbara Independent’s coverage of the second trial;
1- I see they are one of the media sources that has not reported or updated there coverage of the trial since March 14th, why is that?
2- Why what little coverage there is by them is only available on line and never makes there print issue?
Last week after some research I found that Mr. Lyons is scheduled for preliminary hearing setting? There is something wrong here people when I continually beat the media to the punch in reporting the news of any subject matter. More than that I am also more reliable when it comes to facts included in my presentation compared to there’s!
DATE/TIMECASE#DEFT NAMEHEARINGJUDICIAL OFFICERDEPT
03/24/2011 – 8:30 am 1296724 Corey John Lyons Trial: Jury Trial Brian E Hill
SB2 03/25/2011 – 8:30 am 1296247 Corey John Lyons Trial: Jury Trial Brian E Hill
SB2 04/06/2011 – 8:30 am 1332725 Corey John Lyons Preliminary Hearing Setting Brian E
Below is a portion of a story by our local media dealing the Mortgage loan issues and the comments by one of our City Council members? My comments will follow in the same text as you see here.
DAILY SOUND REPORT: Amid budget shortfalls, Santa Barbara loaned $4.4 million from general fund reserves to employees to buy homes
Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Michael Self is outraged by the loan program. She said the city should not be in the business of providing mortgage loans. “We do not have the due diligence or the fiduciary understanding to implement a loan program,” Self said. “That is out of our purview. These people are getting benefits that no private company could pay for.” (Obviously councilwoman Self has never researched the subject of Mortgage incentive programs because the existed through out California County’s and City’s for quite some time. She does raise the question of legalities and the depth of the City Attorneys involvement)
Employees were allowed to buy homes even outside the city of Santa Barbara, from Carpinteria to Gaviota. The loans were approved administratively, and not by the council, although the council approved the parameters of the program. (So did the Council out line the allowed purchase parameters or not?)
Self said it’s one thing to loan money in 2002 or 2003, but that loaning money to buy homes in 2008 and beyond, after the mortgage meltdown, makes no sense. “Especially in 2008 and 2009, nobody was really lending money,” Self said. “So why are we jumping in when the house of cards is falling apart?”(This is the area where I have my greatest concern;
1- Was there a specific conventional lender that the city employees where required to work with?
2- If so did that or any other lender allow loans that under any other circumstance would not have been granted?
3- Who are the holders of the first loans and is there an issue here we are not dealing with yet?
4- If improper loans where allowed because of the role City of Santa Barbara’s played, who initiated the business relationship?
5- Regardless of all that one would think that the adjustment to Real Estate caused by the Wall Street melt down actually made the later loans a better value to purchase.
In April of 2006, the city loaned $179,000 to help a city attorney buy a $1.8 million house. In October of 2008, the city loaned $111,000 to a parks and recreation employee to buy a $626,000 house. The last loan the city did was in March of 2009, when it loaned an employee in the planning department $126,000 to buy a $700,000 house. (What is the Councilwomen’s point here?)
“Probably everything from the middle of 2007 is upside down,” Self said.( I feel an elected official should not be making such generalized comments and she should know better)
The councilwoman believes the program should be suspended. The council should not give any more loans or fund the program again, she said. (The Councilwoman has already stated the last loan was completed March of 2009)
“We should work to recoup what we can with the existing loans,” said Self, “and not walk into this wall again.” The council doesn’t have the legal authority to “foreclose” on a property, so it is unclear how, or if, the city would ever be able to recover money lent on properties where the value is now lower than the amount of the loans.( One should review the conditions or terms of the second note before making such general statements. It will be interesting to see how or whose name appears as the holder of the note. You might also consider offering the notes for sale to the Pension Trust if the notes are in fact performing and make sound investment sense. This would than make the mortgage funds available to the City budget immediately. Of course there is some civil recourse to none performing loans, I mean after all this is not Wall Street!)