Missing dot means more than weather to Santa Paula

January 30, 2004
Santa Paula News

Santa Paulans are generally a good -natured bunch but tempers are rising over the treatment of the city by the larger media.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paulans are generally a good -natured bunch but tempers are rising over the treatment of the city by the larger media.City residents have become used to being aggravated when they see “blue collar” or “farming town” precede Santa Paula, a city that needs no adjectives, especially incorrect ones.The latest example is the removal of the dot denoting Santa Paula from the weather map located on the back of the California section of the Los Angeles Times. Of note is that the section used to be called Ventura County, which followed a failed attempt to create neighborhood wrap-arounds mimicking community newspapers.Since being purchased by the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times has done a complete flip-flop on local reporting, devoting less and less space to smaller communities unless there is major scandal, juicy homicide or missing child. Times columns are no longer run with the writers’ head shot, the first step to disappearing people by removing that feeling of reader familiarity.The Santa Paula weather dot went missing in December and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, fired up with the indignation at the media that Santa Paulans had allowed to simmer, challenged the giant newspaper to replace the dot to its rightful place on the weather map.The reasoning is simple: Santa Paula is trying to revitalize its economy and one of its greatest draws is its much-admired weather.One million people read the Los Angeles Times and that innocuous dot on its weather map is a form of advertising.Bobkiewicz investigated and found that Santa Paula was unceremoniously dumped for Hesperia, perhaps the cruelest cut of all when you consider San Bernardino County weather.
A demonstration spearheaded by the City Council was organized outside the Ventura offices of the Los Angeles Times to demand that the city be returned to the weather map.Bobkiewicz also called for a one-day advertising boycott of the Los Angeles Times for Saint Paula’s Day, Jan. 26th.According to the St. Patrick Church’s Saint of the Day listing where St. Paula is listed right below Conan of Inoa – no relation to Governor Schwarzenegger – St. Paula is the patron saint of widows, hospices and hospitals. St. Paula was famous in Christian circles for not only her good works but also for being able to get along with the notoriously cranky and basically unlikable St. Jerome, a practice that should be mirrored more by modern day Santa Paulans.St. Paula must have been out to lunch instead of watching over the now closed Santa Paula Memorial Hospital but the city has a fine, volunteer model Hospice. Widows abound in the city needing her close attention.But a meteorologist St. Paula ain’t: Representatives of the Los Angeles Times noted that obtaining accurate weather information for Santa Paula is difficult and Bobkiewicz countered with an alternative source.A Los Times representative issued a press release noting that when the newspaper is “confident in the reliability of the weather information, we will include Santa Paula on the weather map when we make some design changes in the future.”It does not appear that there was a design change when Santa Paula was dumped and Hesperia added to the weather map and replacing Santa Paula’s dot doesn’t seem to be an artistic task that would replicate the work that went into the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.Be assured that St. Paula is closely watching over this issue and has only one request: “Bring back our dot. . .or I’ll cancel my subscription!”

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