Mission and State was a small, diverse start-up news room in Santa Barbara willing to get real about the place. In a good way.
The American Riviera is a reverse-time-travel into Manifest Destiny. A veritable throwback to the 50’s, where “funding fathers” shot call and a crepy-barbie-billionaire litters the collective mind with a sloppy, racist rag called the Santa Barbara News Press. A restaurant on a main street, Sambos, enjoys popularity and even has a glass display case with iconic “Sambo” art and lovely costal views of rusty, exposed pileline and oil rigs.
But if it’s so awful, why do so many people live there? Lots of reasons, like it’s their home or where they go to school. Nature is very generous. It’s on the coast. Santa Barbara is only awful in the way all American cities are awful. It’s racist. But the dispariy in the dispersion of wealth is extreme and the display is something my mother would call garish. This isn’t the Hamptons.
There is a big Indigenous presence in Santa Barbara (despite street signs like “Indio Muerto St”). Migrant communities and other Aboriginal People were here long before the Spanish ships showed on the beach. Long before the Franciscans decimated the food supply and infected the Natives with diseases they couldn’t resist.
Santa Barbara is 38% Latino according to the census. It’s looking a more like 58% to me, but ok. 34.4 thousand according to statisticalatlas.com. Of those, many are courageous migrants who weathered the journey north as part of diasporia motivated by destabilized economies, each and every last one of them with the imprint of US imperalisam in it.
Some now cleaning Ellen and Oprah’s toilets in near by Montecito, working in the fields and other forms of indentured, minimum-wage-servitude, while others are seemingly thriving in academia and other capitolist pursuits. Thier are a lot of Brown people in Santa Barbara, for now anyway, as they stave off the beast of gentrification, it’s still their town.
Welcome to the American Riviera. Lets go shopping for some $400.00 sunglasses and a $9.00 cup of coffee on State Street if you don’t mind stepping over a few unhoused bodies with untreated mental illness and scabies who are possibly spiriaing in a destabilizing personal crisis they will not survive.
They don’t call it Santa Bruta for nothing. It’s famous for uprise too. In fact, that is what it’s famous for. Community groups like Poder called the SB gang injunction apartheid before they took it down. Active resistance to gentrification of thier neighborhoods and other pressing issues are also part of the terraine here in Cesar Chavez territory. That is the real legacy of Santa Barbara, not rampant materialism and lack of discernment.
I opened at M&S with the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, and closed with the SBPD killing of Brian Tacadena, then hit the road before the powers that be pulled the plug and walls came tumbling down. Success!
You know your Mission (& State) was a resounding success when wealthy white people have thier feathers ruffled, and then fight to the death to preserve their toxic power structure. These people aren’t interested in journalism. They interested in elitist dinner parties and counterfeit philanthropies. They’re interested in appearances and preserving the last vestiges of white dominance at any cost.
The indelible stain of white dominance will linger here, but it will read a little differantly this time. Everybody will be writing the history blogs this time.
Here’s a preview:
Chapter One – Post Apocalyps: The Reparation Period: Nothing will every be right in this country until the end of the Indigenous Genocide and Slavery and reparations are made. Land. Money. Dignity.
The great resource of 37.0902° N, 95.7129° W, Turtle Island is not fossel fules or nuclear weapons. It’s Indigenous Spirituality. You’ll see an initiative that reflects that on a ballot the day an electable politition talks about affordable housing for everyone.
The M&S paradigm is the independent, mainstream future of journalism. Small diverse collectives of skilled, committed people co-creating good work.
I was s staff writer, did stories, videos and photos at M&S. General consensus is that I was inspiring, lovely and uplifted everyone, according to me.
Mission and State is primarily a destination website that will deliver powerful, deeply reported, richly experienced narratives from Santa Barbara with local, regional and sometimes national impact. We will focus on showcase investigative and explanatory journalism that uses the best digital-media technologies available to us, providing our readers with the most dynamic online storytelling experience possible. In so doing, we will inform and engage the community while fashioning a new standard for local, web-based journalism.