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Comments by Matt

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Posted on October 16 at 2:04 p.m.

As we get to reiterate every year from those who don't read or believe the introduction, Best of Santa Barbara is entirely based on the meticulously counted votes of thousands and thousands of readers.

It is also the annual culmination of hard, generally thankless work by dozens of Independent staff members who have spent countless hours tallying the votes, interviewing and photographing the winners, editing, fact-checking, and proofreading the immense amount of copy, and laying out our biggest paper of the year.

Thankfully, many winners do choose to celebrate their victories by purchasing advertising once notified, but ad sales have zero to do with the voting or vote tabulation. The entire system would quickly fail if it did.

On Best of 2014: Eating

Posted on September 26 at 6:49 a.m.

It's primarily just a fun name for an award to honor a cool restaurant, so people are reading into it way, way deeper than it was intended.

But it implies that now there is a place on Milpas to find creative dishes that cross typical cuisine boundaries (there's certainly Asian and Mexican influence in the menu, plus Southern and Californian food, etc.) as well as a spot to find craft beer, decent wine, and an artisan vibe.

In no way does that discount any of the other great places on Milpas, some of which we have awarded in the past. We are just trying to shed light on one place doing things a bit differently for that particular neighborhood. Simple as that.

On The Fifth Annual Foodie Awards

Posted on September 25 at 11:24 p.m.

Hmm, except that the name of our lifetime achievement award is The Izzy, named after the founder of La Super Rica on Milpas, who we honored in our first edition of these awards.

We really don't mind legitimate criticism, but a slight bit of research and historical perspective would be appreciated. And using one's real name is always welcome. We use ours every day.

As for being a bunch of racists, we should at least get some credit for being open-minded in our prejudicial ways, as this year's list features establishments with Middle Eastern, Asian, and multiple Latino owners. It's probably our most multicultural collection yet, thanks to an increasingly vibrant Santa Barbara community that we are proud to showcase.

On The Fifth Annual Foodie Awards

Posted on September 25 at 3:17 p.m.

Sam, I wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment, and here is why.

In the past week, we have published about 130 items. Visible here: http://www.independent.com/news/2014/...

Of those, nearly 60 were what we would classify as "news," ranging from features to news briefs. Visible here: http://www.independent.com/news/all-n...

About 25 are various opinion pieces and columns representing a wide swath of viewpoints from the community at large, from liberal to conservative, neighborhood issues to national politics. Most of those can be seen here: http://www.independent.com/news/opinion/

The remaining 45 are what we classify as Arts & Living. Visible here: http://www.independent.com/news/arts-...

Perhaps that is what you are calling "Fluff Infotainment"? If so, your basic arithmetic is off, as there are less of these items than our news reports.

But more to the point, this derisively labeled "fluff" includes interviews with visiting performers, critical reviews of the arts, profiles on athletes, musicians, and other interesting people, and coverage of the food & drink scene. Perhaps that is "fluff" to you, but to most of Santa Barbara, it is vital and, yes, hopefully entertaining information. Without such content, our publication would fail overnight.

When it comes to our news section, we do stand for objectivity as much as possible. When it comes to arts, living, sports, food, and even news-related cover features, we hope that our writers present their vast knowledge and subjective experiences in a way that is useful to our readers. Graciously, more than 200,000 people per week enjoy our efforts.

As for your other points, I think you are confusing the much more broad foodie movement (which totally digs on the occasional diner) with the much more focused, although usually bigger tab-related SLO Food movement. That's a very commendable movement, but just a slice of the overall picture.

I would also encourage you to check out the other awardees in years past. I am certain these other establishments you speak of have been awarded already. If not, tell us who we've missed, because we've hit most of the top performers over the past five years. Being vague is easy, so be specific.

As to your clueless assessment of my personal motivations, I remain at the Independent because it is one of the strongest regional newspapers and websites in the country, and I've consciously and repeatedly chosen the Santa Barbara lifestyle over corporate ladder climbing in bigger cities. As well, it is one of the few publications that supports the freelance efforts of their staff, so my work for national publications continues every day, all here from S.B. Pretty ideal setup, if you ask me.

On The Fifth Annual Foodie Awards

Posted on September 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Why do I bother to engage with this silliness, but here i go again:

1) You were never threatened with being shut down Jarvis, so feel free to keep commenting. I and many others simply find your anonymous commentary spiteful and depressing, not particularly informative. It makes perfect sense why you hide behind a veil. Keep at it.

2) It felt proper to add the fact that sales reps do sometimes reach out to award winners. We do not hide the fact that we are a small business entity trying to make money and cut paychecks for 50+ Santa Barbara residents in a tough market and changing industry, but we also keep a solid wall between editorial decisions like this and the money-making side of the business. I figured that more transparency would be welcome.

3) Sam: Foodies come in all shapes, sizes, tastes, and budgets. I know many people, myself included, who enjoy both expensive dishes at upscale eateries and more affordable yet sometimes more memorable dishes from diner-cafes. One does not exclude the other and, in fact, many of what you seem to consider "foodie" elements are being copied straight from the menus of diners like the Cajun Kitchen, just gussied up with organic ingredients and sold for three times the price. It seems like you've missed the point of the whole foodie movement, which is inclusive, not exclusive. Thankfully it's also a happy and fun culture, not an angry and mean one.

4) As for your intentionally riling comments on my stature as a journalist, I can proudly point to my 15+ years of writing for the Independent on various topics, from hard news investigations to geopolitical pieces from the other side of the world to happily lighter fare like our food & wine section, as irrefutable evidence to the contrary. And then there are my years of freelance work for the NY Times, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Sunset, and a long list of other regional, national, and international publications.

If you are referring to the fact that we don't do food reviews, you are right. We don't have the budget for a proper food review process, which entails 2-3 clandestine visits to establishments before putting pen to paper. One visit to many eateries in town would cost more than we pay for the article itself, so the math doesn't work out. Hence, our food stories tend to be more restaurant profiles than critical reviews. Most people comprehend the difference, and both most certainly fit the basic definition of journalism.

5) Your comments about Starbucks and Brophy's refer to our Best of Santa Barbara issue. Those results are generated by readers, not by the paper's staff. Not sure why that's so confusing, though, for the record, I personally enjoy both Brophy's and, on occasion, Starbucks.

Hope that clears this all up. Now back to writing actual articles with my real name on them.

On The Fifth Annual Foodie Awards

Posted on September 25 at 11:38 a.m.

Thankfully, most people only laugh at the predictably immature and depressingly spiteful comments of the sad, anonymous trolls who regularly taint our otherwise popular website with their almost always hateful, usually way-off-the-mark opinions. Come out of the shadows, you nameless, shameful fraidy-cats, or be forever filed in the digital dustbin of Santa Barbara history!

On a more explanatory note, these awards are the result of a nomination process that involves the entire staff and freelance network of The Santa Barbara Independent, as well as a couple dozen community members who are fans of our regional food scene. We strive to cover various aspects of the culinary community, from newer spots to older ones, with various cuisines and price points represented as well. It is a careful and considered process, like most everything we do at the paper, and we are extremely proud of this year's list.

We also do not repeat awards to the same establishments year after year, although certainly many restaurants that have been awarded in the past are worth celebrating again. (I just added links to the past award winners, though perhaps we should run a list in future editions.)

And, as has been our policy forever, advertising dollars has no bearing whatsoever on the selection process, although sales reps may reach out to winners once the editors determine the awardees.

On The Fifth Annual Foodie Awards

Posted on August 12 at 1:21 p.m.

The time is clearly marked on the homepage as 9:35 a.m.

We often include time stamps in updates as well, but given the fluid nature of this situation, the ongoing reporting, and the fact that this is a deadline day with most of our staff also working on about 25 other stories at the same time, we did not include that this time, since it was very soon after the first post. We will include a time stamp on the next update.

The reason we don't include a time stamp as policy is because the time of posting is not relevant to 99% of the many dozen stories we create per week. Instead, as in this instance, we do include the time stamp on the homepage for stories posted since the previous midnight for those who are seeking a reference point.

On Multiple Murder Victims Found in Home Near Goleta

Posted on March 2 at 12:56 p.m.

We run all press releases that are submitted and have relevance to Santa Barbara. We don't "choose" what to run or not. It's a free, submission-driven service we offer to the community.

On Long-time Santa Barbara Resident and Political Activist Finishes Memoirs

Posted on February 11 at 1:32 p.m.

To address DancingBear's concerns, the error was rooted in a simple miscommunication between the reporter and Gerli. It has been amended and noted.

On Authentic Italian Restaurant in Isla Vista

Posted on February 7 at 3:25 p.m.

that's a mistake on the byline

On Oprah Visited By Local Pipeline Protesters

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