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Lanny’s Take: Rowse Off to Rousing Start

Column by Lanny Ebenstein, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Sentinel

Rowse Off to Rousing Start

sbview_election1-300x300In a business, civic, and political career extending for many years, Randy Rowse has developed many friends. This is why, no doubt, his race is probably the most settled of any of the three Santa Barbara City Council seats up for grabs this November.

There are a total of 12 candidates who have qualified for candidacy in the three city council districts. They are, by alphabetical order:

1st District (Eastside)Andria Martinez Cohen, Cruzito Cruz, Jason Dominguez, Jacqueline Inda, Michael Merenda

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.

Douglas Family Preserve Community Meeting

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.

EcoFacts: The State of Recycling, Part II‏

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

recycling_symbolSafe to say that recycling takes a back seat in public consciousness.  So many issues are of greater importance, but overall, resources must be an issue of primary concern – how we humans use the planet, not only how we live with each other!  Towards Resource Wisdom is a phrase that moves me.

We can only handle increasing needs of an increasing population if more materials are recovered than currently are, and if we are much more efficient in our use of them. Every product we use requires energy and water besides the other resources needed. For example, recycling one aluminum can  saves enough energy to power a 100 watt lightbulb for 4 hours, uses far less water and emits much less pollution, than making one from mined bauxite. Plastic is another version of oil, and most of it is not recycled.

A glimpse at the state of recycling:In the U.S. in 2013 about a third of all MSW (municipal solid waste) was recovered/recycled.

34% of glass bottles, 14% of all plastic packaging, including 30% of plastic bottles,  55% of beer and soda cans, 67% of papers of all kinds. Of the waste that is generated, 44% of it is packaging!

In California, AB 341 will require us to recover 75% of all MSW five years from now, we are currently at half. This will mean getting us down to less than 2.7 lbs of garbage per person per day.  Source reduction will be a key method of achieving this. The more we have, the more we toss!  And for business, extended producer responsibility makes both economic and environmental sense.

Cheers to that other 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which supposedly came from our Earth Day 45 years ago!

Santa Barbara Twilight Glow

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Santa Barbara Twilight Glow
The cool breezes lately in the evening have welcomed the return of an absent friend! This year more than most I have really missed the beautiful blanket of fog that rolls in over Santa Barbara. No two nights are ever quite the same. Sometimes the boundaries are less defined, but other evenings, like this amazing night, the marine layer has a distinct boundary making look like a slow gentle wave washing over the city. There is no better place to be when that happens than just above it watching the glow of the city lights peek through.

-Bill Heller

Saturdays with Seibert

Local views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Having lived down here on the lower west side for ten years I have seen more than my share of petty illegal activities. Most of the time I ignore it, if it doesn’t directly affect me I turn the other cheek. Then last year I woke up at 1:30am and saw a guy standing on my patio. Called 911, the Santa Barbara Police Department showed up and arrested the guy for prowling.

Yesterday morning I took this photo of eight men hanging out at JJ’s Liquor on the corner of Castillo & Montecito. Late in the afternoon I walked to 7-Eleven to get my Lottery ticket and the guys were back. As I walked home one of them had jumped the fence of the Winchester Adobe property and was looking around. I don’t want to think why. Hanging out is one thing, trespassing just down from my apartment is another.

So I called the non-emergency SBPD phone number and reported it. I like to live and let live, but eight sketchy looking characters close to my place is a bit unsettling.

Watering Trees During Drought

California ReLeaf, Save Our Water, and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered together to take the “Save Our Water AND Our Trees” message to the next level, creating two how-to videos to show California residents how to best care for their trees during this historic drought.
How To: Watering Young Trees

How To: Watering Mature Trees