District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

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District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts
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By Jerry Roberts

Key differences emerged among the four candidates for City Council in Santa Barbara’s Westside District during a one-hour Newsmakers TV roundtable discussion this week, over issues from rent control and granny units to how much population the city can support, at a time when each of them is calling to expand housing construction.

Each of the contenders also confronted tough questions that have been raised about their campaign: Oscar Gutierrez addressed charges he would be a puppet of Mayor Cathy Murillo; Elizabeth Hunter sought to explain how she could square the time commitment needed from a council member with the demands of being a full time college student; Ken Rivas explored reasons why he has not received major endorsements despite years of community activism; and Michael Vidal set forth some reasons why he has never voted in Santa Barbara.

At the same time, the rivals found common ground on immigration (they all think Santa Barbara should be a “sanctuary city”), State Street panhandlers (they don’t believe street people are a major cause of decline along the city’s main retail corridor) and the need to fight for more services and resources in District 3 (they say that City Hall has historically neglected the Westside).

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SBCountyLocal May 06, 2018 03:55 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

There are only two viable candidates, Oscar Gutierrez and Michael Vidal, and voters need to know a few things about them. Oscar Gutierrez's campaign slogan is Born and Raised and Cathy Murillo cleared the field of Competent candidates to get him endorsed by the Democratic Party. These ARE the only things he has going for him. His candidacy is that poor. It is apparent that he has been very coached and his talking points written for him. He doesn't understand the policies he even talks about, which is downright scary! If you watch the video or attended the forums you discover that once Gutierrez goes off script he is a Trainwreck! For instance, he thinks: 1) that voters voted to have District Elections, when the City was sued to get them, 2) economic development for the downtown includeds making sure they sign up for the Axxess Card and have Social Media, 3) that talking to Developers about inclusionary housing in their projects will magically ensure that housing for the middle class will be built and that it's affordable, and 4) that by talking to, and encouraging, police officers to move to Santa Barbara it will make it so. He is simply too naive and too uninformed to govern Santa Barbara. Can you imagine putting the City's budget of $350 million dollars in his hands? It is clear that Cathy choose to support him in order to get another vote for her Agenda and if Oscar wins he will simply be her Puppet. Michael Vidal, on the other hand, IS the right choice for the 3rd District. He is a financial advisor and understands debt, liabilities and cutting waste more than anyone on the current Council. He is committed to ensuring that the city does the right thing regarding affordable housing now, not later. The current state of affairs in our housing supply is terrible. Murillo is pushing the Westside and Eastside towards gentrification with her policies at the expense of the people who voted for her. They will soon be leaving town and be replaced by others, as rents rise due to the AUD Ordinance she refused to tweak for the middle class in order to protect the special interests of Developers. Michael Vidal is not endorsed by special interest groups and he won't put the wants of out of town developers ahead of residents. He also wants an honest to goodness economic plan for the City. That means a 3rd party consultant to help us re-envision the downtown and the City. Murillo campaigned for one in the Mayoral race, but has since dropped any ideas for one. Instead she just wants a rumoured 2,500 AUD units downtown without enough parking to fulfill the parking need or jobs that could afford what will be sky high rents. Michael Vidal seems to be doing his homework on issues ranging from parking to infrastructure to water and he has reasonable workable plans and ideas that make sense. Hopefully voters will see beyond the thin veneer painted on Oscar and realize they have a top notch candidate in Michael. Hopefully voters will realize Oscar will be Murillo's Puppet and choose an independent thinker, Michael.

a-1525649236 May 06, 2018 04:27 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

I've met 3 of the 4 at this point, as the girl isn't canvassing. Oscar is a nice guy. But he lives with his mom, in his late 30's. He's never done anything but run a film camera. I don't see any leadership or organizing skills with him. It's just not enough for me, as a WS voter, to hear, "I was born here. Therefore I deserve your vote." I need to see someone capable. I also don't like the way Cathy Murillo is leading him around by the nose. Didn't vote for her in the WS election in 2015, didn't vote for her as mayor, along with 3/4 of the city. She didn't do anything for us on the WS. She's been incompetent as mayor. Why on earth people gave her the keys to the city is beyond me.
I met Rivas, and he seems to have some good experience, but he was almost incoherent in the LWV forum I saw. So that leaves Vidal, and while he's young, I think he can do this job. He's the only one with experience on boards and commissions, and he's got financial acumen, which is sorely lacking on this council.
For me, this is coming down to core competency, and Vidal is the only one that has it. They're all Dems, though I think Oscar changed his registration recently. District Elections gave us homegrown candidates that wouldn't be viable in a citywide race, and that was the intention, but they're just not competent, except for Vidal.

a-1525649740 May 06, 2018 04:35 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Would Vidal be so independent? I see that Vidal has taken money from the short-term rental "king". SB fought hard for a reasonable short term rental policy. I would hate to think that might be re-considered if Vidal would win.

Factotum May 06, 2018 05:56 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

If this is the case, the short-term rental people are wasting their money. The people have already spoken - STR policy has been established by the past city council and it will not be changing. At some point the city has to stop working against itself. Eg: demanding more residential housing units while at the same taking housing units off the table for STR; spending and committing more than it can responsibly bring in; promoting the city's small town charm as a tourism revenue draw, while approving high rise, high density with high parking and traffic congestions, along with zero architectural compatibility to the prevailing aesthetics that made this city unique. STR's and high rise, high density infill development crowding out the Westside small residential family units is a loss this city cannot sustain. Nor is rent control the answer either- both will inflict long term and permanent damage to this down. There is no reason Santa Barbara alone must provide housing for Goleta's commercial growth machines, including UCSB. Which candidate can and will simply say no to these competing pressures And mean it..

Factotum May 06, 2018 05:21 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Looking at Roger's police blotter calls, keep in mind many of city-funded law enforcement calls go to the east and west sides of town, along with the downtown commercial area. When one asks for "more services" for their own district, keep in mind how much of the city budget funding is already going to various geographical districts already. Police and fire take up 50% of the city budget - so reducing the need for police and fire demands on the budget is the only way there will be more funding for other city services. Which is unlikely considering the increasing city pension demands that are escalating every year. Which candidate fully understands the city's current income and expense inter-relationship?

a-1525670757 May 06, 2018 10:25 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Pathetic! District elections resulted in 4 very weak candidates . Do I vote for the continued deterioration of SB? Vidal, the outsider by virtue of not being born & raised on the Westside, is the only candidate marginally qualified to read, understand, and address financial and public policy issues. The others seem hopeless. Isn’t it time to demand SB to include on the ballot ‘none of the above’? It’s outrageous to learn there’s no candidate knowledge that District 4 residents are SB’s primarysource of revenues while Districts 1 & 3 require majority of social services, public housing, public school meal subsidies, and costly law enforcement interactions. It’s shameful that 65% of children require publicly paid case management, to be fed and too many housed, at taxpayer expense with parents entitled to whatever City gives away at a cost to others - me - struggling to live here, too. None of the District 3 candidates get the big picture. Let’s hope District 6 delivers smart, wise, executive level, fiscal savvy candidates. With that said, Vidal seems best of 4. Perhaps folks don’t vote when there’s no stand out choice. I support ending sanctuary statehood that is unconstitutional and unlawful. Who do I vote for? Do I stay home because there’s no choice between the 4?
The best of available lousy options, after viewing this and attending a forum, seems to be Vidal. I’ll vote Vidal hoping to stop the other 3 from holding leadership positions way over their abilities.

Factotum May 07, 2018 09:39 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Let me repeat your key proposition: District 4 provides most of the city's tax base and Districts 1 and 3 consume most of the city budget. Yet, they get two votes on city council, based upon very low voter turn out while District 4 gets only one vote based upon much higher voter turn out. Yet the CVRA claims it insures "fairness" in our electoral process.

Factotum May 07, 2018 09:46 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Does Angel Martinez live in District 6? He promised he would stick around after playing the defeatist spoiler role in the last mayor election. I agree with the proposition that any candidate shortly vacating an elected position, that in turn requires a special election, must pay for it him or herself. Since District 6 voters had full knowledge Hart would soon be dumping that newly elected seat to run for county supervisor, don't pin any hopes a better candidate will emerge on city council for District 6 that can save this city. District elections are not living up to their promises.

a-1525708436 May 07, 2018 08:53 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

The fact that Mayor Cathy Murillo gave Oscar $5,000 is a red flag! Cathy does not have the personal financial resources to come up with $5,000 of her own money. Oscar should give this $5,000 back to Cathy and say "No thanks!" Oscar is a decent guy and political novice and Cathy has tried to co-opt him. This is a blatant attempt at vote buying! Cathy has been a lousy mayor and I hope that if he is elected, that Oscar will be his own man. Give back the $5,000 Oscar!

a-1525709061 May 07, 2018 09:04 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

This money and the $2,000 from Councilmember Hart probably came from their campaign funds; my understanding is that they are allowed to use this money for other candidates or ballot measures. It's a common and legal practice in politics. campaign donations from other elected officials doesn't seem any different to me than donations from developers, unions, etc.

a-1525709870 May 07, 2018 09:17 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

The idea of a sitting mayor giving $5,000 to a person running for a seat on the council makes for some serious concerns. I have lived here for several decades and I cannot remember a sitting mayor or council member contributing this relatively huge amount to someone running for a city council seat. I could understand a contribution in the hundreds from Cathy to Oscar, but $5,000? This is not a small matter!

Factotum May 07, 2018 09:33 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Taxpayers now pay Murillo nearly $100K a year as city mayor. She has long had financial resources ever since she got her seat on city council. See Transparent California to learn what all our city council members are costing us.

RHS May 07, 2018 10:28 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

A common and legal practice perhaps but it stinks. If I give money to a candidate it is for her campaign. No one has ever asked me for money to put into their slush fund to dole out to toadies in other races. I would never give money for such purposes and I do not approve of the use of money I gave to one for the campaign of another.

macpuzl May 07, 2018 11:09 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

"Transparent California" is just one of the many names used by the tax-exempt "free-market think tank" Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI). NPRI refuses to provide its own funding sources, stating, “NPRI respects the privacy of our donors, which includes the amount of a donor’s gift”.

NPRI's primary funding source, as determined by The Conservative Transparency Project, is Donors Capital Fund, a dark-money source of funding for conservative groups. Its donors also include The Cato Institute, co-founded by the Koch brothers, and organizations affiliated with the climate change denial movement.

NPRI spends 75% of its revenue on six-figure salaries and benefits. Its goal is to undermine support for employee unions nationwide, thereby decreasing salaries and increasing corporate profits.

22701015201 May 07, 2018 01:06 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Oscar = Puppet of Murillo, Unions & Hart - They gave him 58% ($9,000.00) of his campaign contributions to date. He could never win without their talking points, money or support. He has no experience that can be translated to the City Council unless he becomes their cameraman. You can't govern a City with nearly $1 BILLION Dollars in liabilities with his experience or inability to grasps the issues. If you want the City to continue to be run by the likes of Murillo and the special interests of Unions and Developers choose him. If you want experience, skills, and the drive to Fight for residents and change the AUD choose Michael Vidal.

a-1525727118 May 07, 2018 02:05 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

unfair criticism. candidates get money from other candidates, unions, real estate developers, everyone. no reason to give back a campaign donation. if you really object, then find a way for folks to run without raising any money at all.

Factotum May 08, 2018 03:46 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

How to run a campaign on little money? The old fashion way, particularly in these new small city districts - walk the neighborhood, set up tables where you can meet potential voters, get on the phone, write letters to the editor, hand out self-published flyers and use the various free online websites like "Smart Voter". You quite frankly should have already created a profile for yourself within your community with a history of other civic engagement activities before you run - the informal networks are there. You need to reach out to them and make your case. And these networks do not need to have a partisan or conflict of interest connection to make this pay off for you. This is a local district election - the area covered is very discreet and manageable. Know your district, talk to the businesses, the residents and understand how that district fits into the overall city structure. They used to call this shoe-leather and before instant communications and media advertising, that was how a lot of long-standing politicians got their start - Jack O'Connel for one - it was almost a long standing rule - you might have to lose two elections before you finally got elected on the third.

Factotum May 07, 2018 09:50 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

What do taxpayers pay our city council members: Cathy Murillo
Regular pay: $42,886.50
Overtime pay: $0.00
Other pay: $6,996.00
Total pay: $49,882.50
Total benefits: $25,031.86
Total pay & benefits: $74,914.36

a-1525715565 May 07, 2018 10:52 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

I don't live in this district but drive through it most days. I am exhilarated by the activity district elections has created here. Signs are out. Candidates are walking streets. People care for the first time in decades because for the first time in decades someone from the neighborhood will be elected by them instead of someone from elsewhere being elected by the downtown merchants.

a-1525727015 May 07, 2018 02:03 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

I know Oscar personally and think he would be as independent as his main opponent, Michael Vidal; Oscar has grown a lot during the campaign and is more conversant with policies than before. Yes, Ms. Murillo has supported him financially and in terms of issues, but almost all candidates have allies who help them along the way, both with funding and details.

SBCountyLocal May 07, 2018 02:40 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Being carried over the finish-line by Murillo doesn't = Independence. Why doesn't someone start looking into Oscar's campaign manager? She is not only a member of but very active on some boards that endorse candidates and give them money. That doesn't smell right to me when you get Paid by candidates to run their campaigns. Seems like it would be a conflict of interest to pitch candidates to organizations for $$, whether they are good or bad cadidates, to endorse or support. It reminds me of insider trading and political favors for hard work provided to organizations. - You scratch my back I'll scratch yours....

a-1525734477 May 07, 2018 04:07 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

Ah the infamous Mary Rose. Runs campaigns, is running Oscar's. Sits on the board of League of Women's Voters, Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee, Planned Parenthood, etc. Rigs these same groups' endorsement for her candidates and makes sure the League doesn't ask them any hard questions in forums. Democracy? No, more like a few people dealing themselves all the winning cards.

LocalinSB May 07, 2018 04:29 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

LWV Forum Rigged!?! Yes! Last week they said they had 1 more question. There was lots of activity in the back and suddenly there were 3 or 4 questions. The last question was: How many Council Meetings had the cadidates been too? Oscar totally LIED! People we're laughing in the back. He said he had been to HUNDREDS! He was a cameraman for Carpinteria's City Council they meet about 2x per month. Hunreds my axx! No way could he have been to hundreds. Overstating his experience, abilities and getting rigged questions! Apparently hiring a unethical (my definition) campaign manager and believing that he can, by osmosis, know what he needs to know about governing, bugets decision making is how he wants/thinks he can win... The LWV should be ashamed of themselves and boot Mary Rose and anyone too cosy with a candidate. The people that had the forum the week before did it right. I didn't see anything like this. No questions planted for any candidates. Ditch the LWV Forums!

Factotum May 07, 2018 02:57 PM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

People living in other districts are quickly learning it matters who wins in city districts other than their own. If you like a candidate and feel their presence on city council best serves the entire city, find ways to support them even if you cannot vote for them. Volunteer- donate money - help get out the vote on election day, walk the precincts.

Factotum May 09, 2018 09:34 AM
District 3 City Council Candidates Sit Down with Jerry Roberts

The material folly of district elections was was recently revealed when District Four Sneddon was forced to drop out of discussions that directly impacted her own district, simply because she owned property in her own District Four. That is a Catch-22. You cannot be elected unless you live in the district, but that residential status now automatically disqualifies you from representing that very same district when that district becomes a topic for city council consideration. The madness of the CVRA continues.

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