Don’t be Bullied
By Anna Marie Gott
The Democratic Central Committee (DCC) and Santa Barbara's County Democratic Party (CDP) began their party endorsement process very early this year. Both organizations chose to endorse Cathy Murillo for Mayor of Santa Barbara. Undecided voters should be aware that the premature DCC and CDP endorsements, among others, were not based on the merits of the candidates but instead were an attempt to play Kingmaker or in this case Queenmaker.
To give everyone some perspective on the timing of the endorsements, voters should note that Murillo was the only announced candidate when the DCC voted in March. When the CDP made its announcement there were only two announced candidates and one had only announced the week before. Unfortunately, those endorsements were a naked attempt to discourage worthy candidates such as Bendy White from entering the race.
With the endorsements secured, other Democrats and organizations fell in line behind Murillo. This committed the Democratic establishment to a candidate who has shown she can't secure support from moderate Democrats and is unable to build bridges with fellow City Council Members after 6 years in office. Murillo, as Nick Welsh from the Independent noted last week, "has had little success translating her fearless advocacy into compromise and consensus building."
These organizations effectively shut out the majority of the electorate, and for me it's a reminder of last years race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. We now know that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was completely under Clinton's thumb in a secrete takeover of the DNC that happened 15 months before Clinton became the nominee. This allowed Clinton to rig the Democratic nomination process before a single vote was cast and it effectively shut out Bernie Sanders who many believe would have been elected President rather than Trump. - Instead, our Democracy was hijacked when the process was rigged to favor a single candidate before others entered the race.
Thus far, the decision of many Democratic groups to endorse too early seems to have backfired spectacularly. Democrats now fear that Santa Barbara may end up with a Mayor who is the antithesis of all they hold dear. With 3 candidates splintering the Democratic vote, many Democrats are panicking and easily bullied by the same organizations who created the problem with their attempt to anoint a candidate who has alienated so many.
The best course is to stay the course, and vote for the best candidate. I won't vote for a divisive and ineffective Mayor out of fear of a Republican victory. A Mayor in Santa Barbara has little formal power. So, a Mayor must build coalitions and consensus to be effective. Murillo has shown zero ability or interest in coalition or consensus building, and no tolerance for opinions other than her own. She also drives away people who should be natural allies and dose not seem to be prepared at meetings and often gets the facts wrong. While I won't vote for Hotchkiss, ironically even the lone Republican in the race would be a more effective leader of City Council meetings than the intolerant and dogmatic Murillo.
There is no good polling in this town. People should vote for the best and most qualified person, and have faith that the electorate is wise and not so easily bullied. Vote for a Mayoral candidate with an unsurpassed knowledge from decades of service, unquestionable ethics, unparalleled skill at building consensus, willingness to change his mind when the evidence warrants it, and vote for someone who is independent from the political machinery which ran amok in the endorsement process this year. Vote from someone who is a policy wonk. It is what Santa Barbara needs right now. But more importantly, vote for a Mayor who will go to bed with Cachuma hydrolgy reports on his nightstand, not Machiavelli.