The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

Nick Welsh, the Independent's executive editor and Santa Barbara's top columnist (you could look it up) drops by for an in-depth conversation about some big stories he's been covering -- starting with UCLA 's under-the-radar incursion into the local health care market.

"It's like people from the moon landing on Earth," is how Welsh describes the quiet shake-up of the local health care industry by behemoth medical provider UCLA Health.

Author of the Indy's iconic Angry Poodle column, Nick has scooped the world on the UCLA Health invasion: having opened a cardio clinic on Coast Village Road last summer, the regional health provider just poached several top doctors from Santa Barbara's beloved Ridley-Tree Cancer Center to begin treating patients at a new Westside oncology clinic -- and plans to launch a new operation in Goleta in August.

It all portends headaches for Sansum Clinic, which depends on the Cancer Center for substantial revenue, and which finds itself increasingly vulnerable as one of the few such major independent non-profits not financially partnered with a hospital.

Nick breaks down the details, and also offers analysis and insights on other top local stories

  • Nobody's talking about it publicly yet, but behind-the-scenes, elected officials are discussing a Big Fix for the chronic problem of homelessness that might include proposals for a new sales or bed tax increase; with more than $40 million annually being spent on government and non-profit services, county and city officials are looking at ways to better focus resources on a problem that has defied solution for more than three decades -- and that has gotten more serious in the pandemic.

  • Traditionalists, historians and some architects are screaming bloody murder about the new garish green bike lane markers that suddenly appeared on the State Street promenade, an effort by city officials to adjudicate clashes between pedestrians and over-enthusiastic bike enthusiasts; a widely-known champion of the biker brigade, Nick breaks down the situation, amid mounting unintended consequences of the city council's pandemic-driven closure of downtown State Street.

  • The SBPD remains tight-lipped about its investigation of a double murder on the Eastside in early January, as the grieving mother of one of the victims described in an anguished interview her search for answers to the killing of her boy, 17-year old Angel Castillo, along with 18-year old Omar Montiel-Hernandez and the wounding of two other teenagers in the incident; she told Nick she wants to "set the record straight" that her son was not a gang member.


The Poodle, who a year ago was the very first guest on Newsmaker's "Journal of the Plague Year" series, also offers an update on how the Independent is navigating the pandemic -- and puts out the word that Santa Barbara's top newspaper is looking for new office space.

It's all here right now - if it's Friday (or for some viewers, even Thursday) it's Newsmakers TV.

Watch our conversation with Nick Welsh via YouTube below, or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

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APHRODITE Mar 05, 2021 03:37 PM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

So is the responsibility of those who work and pay taxes already to come up with even more taxes to support those who do not contribute to their own keep. I know the arguments about many of them not being able to help themselves. But the problem being chronic for better than three decades now may mean the problem is not solvable. So much money has been thrown at it and yet it is worse than ever. City and county officials perhaps need to recognize that perhaps money is not the solution since it has not worked to date. And that workers like myself are being taxed beyond our ability to pay. If we want to pay at all--and I for one do not.

Does that make me a meanie? Maybe. But after so much time and after so much money and after so much support and sympathy the fact that homelessness is worse than ever should tell us that, alas, there is a portion of society that just isn't going to make it. I refuse to support any agency that supports the homeless. What I do believe in doing is assisting those who help themselves: those who work minimum wage or low-paying jobs. This are the portion of society so often overlooked and who, in my opinion, need help. I'd far rather subsidize with rental or food or utility assistance those who are willing to go out and work hard but who could use help too.

Basicinfo805 Mar 05, 2021 06:55 PM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

UCLA moving in? Sansum needs a big shakeup, because it's doing very poorly and is capable of much better healthcare delivery. Survival of the fittest.

Homeless tax? Wow, I'm very thankful I don't live in the city limits of SB. Halllelujah! Sorry to those who may have to pay for this stupid idea from out city leaders.

Giant green stripe on state? Looks ridiculous. Bad move.

NotReallyDave Mar 05, 2021 08:07 PM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

The "Big Fix" is just that. Whenever public employees decide that government needs to get bigger, the taxpayers, who really do not have any input to these types of decisions, have to bend over and crap out more money. Think subsidized housing: saving people who can't afford to live here by building up the management structure to generate even more public servants. These types of decisions should be voted on by the people, not installed by the current party in charge. We need better control of how government actually works.

Voice of Reason Mar 08, 2021 10:28 AM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

Pit, the Deep State is alive and well here in Santa Barbara. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars has the City spent on consultants to tell us the Community Development Dept. has a culture of anti-growth and roadblocking development that completely contradicts the direction of the City Council. The city council can only fire Paul Casey, they have no say over how he runs the city. Unelected government bureaucrats ARE the Deep State. They have their own agenda (along the lines of NotReallyDave's comment), and really just give city council lip service until their terms up as city council positions are temporary, these "Deep State" government employees have been working there for decades, are nearly impossible to fire, and will continue on with the own agenda because city council is unwilling to take meaningful action against it (i.e. fire Paul Casey and hire someone who will run the city as directed but the council) and will move on to some other office in short order anyway. Also, If you're at a loss in drafting a counter-comment, just invoke Trump? I don't think that accomplishes what you intend.

letmego Mar 08, 2021 09:48 AM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

What Bird said. Like it or not, the districting should represent the county. If you would like some data, as of Oct 2020, Santa Barbara County has
235,198 people registered to vote
109,182 registered Democrats
59,601 registered Republicans
7,071 registered Independents
1,020 registered Green

58,324 remaining I assume are other or Decline to State.

BigDD Mar 06, 2021 08:36 AM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

Thank you, Aphrodite--you echo my sentiments exactly. And I would add that when it comes to helping the homeless (which we will undoubtedly continue to do) priority should be for individuals/families who already work, but need a little boost to secure a roof over their head/s. These are the people who are contributing and are closest and perhaps easiest to assist out of their situation.

Watcher237 Mar 06, 2021 11:35 AM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

Good general observations. Yes, competition is a good thing. The discussion on homelessness looks more like the HOW than the WHAT to do. Always a bad start to resolving a problem. Especially one as complex as homelessness, which has a variety of causes. No silver bullet here. Not even for a price!

Really wish "redrawing the lines commissions" would simply learn to count people, and leave it at that. Divide the county into 5 districts, then do the math. How many people in each district. Start from the top (or bottom) and move down until you reach the 20% and call it a District. We're all independents on this bus anyway...

Would love to take Nick out for coffee and have a discussion like this with him. Lucky man! He's gotten to vent weekly, for years, about whatever he sees as needing to be discussed. Probably one of the healthiest things anyone can do. I'm jealous!

a-1615078306 Mar 06, 2021 04:51 PM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

I have been a patient of Sansum Clinic for over 50 years and thank heavens every time I have had to call upon the doctors and nurses there for medical help. I am amazed and saddened at the cheap shots I have read here . Santa Barbara is fortunate to have the services of these dedicated medical practitioners. To those naysayers and their inexplicable criticism I offer this advice: grow up and get real!

Basicinfo805 Mar 06, 2021 05:22 PM
The Angry Poodle Talks UCLA Shaking Up Sansum, Homeless Tax, Remap, Eastside Murder

No cheap shots here - I've seen healthcare models in action elsewhere, not just in SB for decades, and I'm a physician so I think I know what I'm talking about. I'm not ragging personally on your or anyone else's physician. It's the DELIVERY of healthcare that should be much improved, in my opinion.

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