Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
I always love the reflections of the lights on the water, and there are no better highlights looking back at the shore than the lights of La Playa Stadium at Santa Barbara City College.
In the spirit of equal time for candidates I posted Cathy Murillo’s campaign sign, the editor posted Sharon Byrne’s, so here’s the other sign I have seen on the west side. Christina Cardoso is using both sides of her’s, one side in English, the other in Spanish.
Earlier in August, Dan Seibert spotted about a dozen Cathy Murillo campaign signs. Yesterday, the first political yard signs for Sharon Byrne were seen around town, squaring up what should be the most hotly-contested race of the season.
Santa Barbara City Council elections heat up around Labor Day, so we thought we’d get a head start with the first straw poll of the year. Granted, many Viewers may not represent District 1, however it could give some insight into momentum and community awareness:
Column by Lanny Ebenstein, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Sentinel
Rowse Off to Rousing Start
2nd District (Mesa) – Robert Burke, Luis Esparza, Missy McSweeney-Zeitsoff, Randy Rowse
3rd District (Westside) – Sharon Byrne, Cristina Cardoso, Cathy Murillo
However, notwithstanding that there are four candidates for Rowse’s Mesa district seat, only Rowse appears to be engaging in fundraising at this time. As of June 30, together with his campaign’s beginning cash balance, he had $13,302 on hand. Look for Randy to be re-elected with as much as 70 percent of the vote in his district.
In the Westside district, Murillo has a big fund-raising advantage. As of June 30, she had raised $32,931, with $21,630 on hand. Murillo’s donors include many prominent liberal and Democratic supporters, including the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County ($500), Friends of Salud Carbajal ($500), Mickey and Dick Flacks ($500), and a bevy of union support, including $2,270 from SEIU.
By way of contrast, Byrne – also in the race for the 3rd District – had raised about $8,900 as of June 30, all of which was on hand. I have projected that each of Byrne and Murillo will raise about $75,000 in the race for this council seat, and I stand by this projection.
However, complicating the race in the Westside district is the candidacy of Cardoso, who has worked in local schools. Cardoso is expected to appeal to low-income and Spanish-speaking residents, and her candidacy will probably take votes away from Murillo.
Who the eventual winner will be in the 3rd District is currently an open question. The endorsement of public safety unions will probably be crucial.
If the outcome in the Westside district is uncertain, the race in the 1st District is completely wide open, with three candidates – Cohen, Dominguez, and Inda – appearing to have some chance of being elected.
Cohen has raised $10,310 in contributions and loans, with $8,591 on hand, and Inda has raised $8,404, with $3,027 on hand. As of June 30, Dominguez had not raised sufficient funds to file a campaign report, but with community leaders such as John Thyne behind him, he is expected to run a serious campaign. It should be noted that more than half of Cohen’s contributions and loans were from herself or family members. The biggest contributors to Inda’s campaign are Leo Martinez and his wife, who contributed $2,000, and Frank Banales, who contributed $500.
Gregg Hart, who has one of the savviest political minds locally, was the first to point out to me that the winner in the 1st District may require as few as 700 votes or so to win. Although I could not quote Gregg exactly at this time, during the district elections discussion earlier this year, he commented something along these lines (using ballpark numbers): “There are about 5,000 registered voters in the 1st District, perhaps 30 percent of them will vote – or 1,500. If there are a number of candidates in the race, it could take as few as 700 votes to win.”
Gregg is right. The Inda campaign, in particular, is confident that it will receive 700 votes. According to Banales, Inda will win “in a landslide.” She certainly is winning the yard-sign war at this point. The number of yard signs for her in businesses on Milpas Street is truly impressive.
So, where the 2015 Santa Barbara City Council race now stands is that Randy Rowse is the almost certain winner in the Mesa district; Cathy Murillo and Sharon Byrne are in a tight race for the Westside district, with an insurgent candidacy by Cristina Cardoso; and the Eastside district will face a battle among Jacqueline Inda, Andria Martinez Cohen, and Jason Dominguez. No one can say that district elections are not making local politics more interesting – that’s for sure.
This Thursday, the City of Santa Barbara will be hosting a community meeting to discuss trail restoration options at the Douglas Family Preserve, 5:30 pm, map below. Public input will be considered as part of a grant application to restore 1.7 miles of the Preserve’s three miles of trails, including a one-mile accessible route along the Middle Loop Trail.