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Santa Barbara newspaper vandalized, protest organizers not involved

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The Santa Barbara News-Press office building was vandalized sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

He says comments were spray painted on the building and pink paint had been splattered on it. This comes after the paper released a headline Saturday which used the word 'illegal' to describe people applying for undocumented licenses under the new AB 60 law.

Isabel James is a member of the community group PODER Santa Barbara, an advocacy group for equal rights. She helped organize a protest for Thursday night in front of the newspaper's office.

James calls the vandalism 'irresponsible' and says that PODER and her fellow organizers were not involved in the vandalism but that they recognize the act as an effort to express frustration.

She created a public event on Facebook for the protest in which more than 600 people pledged to attend. She wrote that they were 'shocked' to see the paper's headline and urged the paper to stick to AP Stylebook rules.

The AP stylebook says, "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person."

James says there will be several people speaking on this topic at the protest tonight.

"Different community members [and] past Santa Barbara News-Press employees are going to speak. They're going to be speaking on the reasons that our community is not going to tolerate this sort of blatant racism and the reasons that our community is going to ask the article and front page be rewritten and we're asking for an apology," James said.

She said she expects a larger turnout to this event than events they have organized in the past.

James said her group had not heard from the paper before the protest Thursday.