jpReporter Ethan Stewart at The Santa Barbara Independent has a front page story this week on the life of John Palminteri and there is an event being held downtown Thursday, July 24th, in his honor.

“JP” has been a big supporter of this blog since it launched in 2007 and supplies The Restaurant Guy with a never ending stream of news tips, that often become my lead story. I always try to return the favor and send news his way but 9 out of 10 times he already knows about it.

I first met Palminteri during the 2005 La Conchita landslide while he was, of course, covering the story. At the time I was running a web site to help raise funds for survivors and families of the victims. When I approached him to talk about the tragedy I was surprised by how nice he was, even while the cameras were turned off, and by how deeply the events had affected him. I had wrongly assumed that reporting stories was just a job for him, and that someone so well-known would be dismissive of people around him. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have had the good fortune of being invited to many events with JP and repeatedly see him take a genuine interest in people around him. When an event is over, and most people have left, John is invariably still there talking to, and listening to, locals young and old.

Come have a drink and share a laugh with Santa Barbara’s most beloved newsman. The Independent will be hosting a “Primetime” Happy Hour today, July 24, at one of the Palm’s favorite haunts, Joe’s Café. The fun starts at 6 p.m. at 536 State Street.

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