Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

Mayor Cathy Murillo and challengers James Joyce, Randy Rowse, Deborah Schwartz and Mark Whitehurst all have accepted an invitation for a Santa Barbara mayoral debate co-sponsored by Newsmakers and the "Santa Barbara Talks" podcast.

The event, the first meeting of all the top candidates in the city election campaign season, is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27. It will be recorded and available on video on Newsmakers' You Tube channel, and on Santa Barbara Talks, shortly after, through the Nov. 2 election.

The debate, to be produced by Hap Freund and co-moderated by podcast proprietor Josh Molina and our own genial host, also will be broadcast on the TV Santa Barbara public access channel through the election, as well as available through other news organizations,..

Among the issues to be covered: economic development, homelessness, housing and other critical policy matters.

Newsmakers and Santa Barbara Talks also is co-sponsoring similar events for the City Council races in Districts 4 and 6, and we'll have more information on those soon.

Thanks to the candidates for agreeing to share their views with our audiences, and for putting themselves out there to run for public office.

Who is Larry Elder

Less than four weeks before the Sept. 14 recall election -- mail ballots are arriving this week -- embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom has switched messages, cutting back on touting his own record, in favor of drawing sharp contrasts between himself and radio talk show host and conservative heartthrob Larry Elder, who has been leading many polls of potential replacements. As Politico reported:

“Larry Elder is an anti-vax conspiracy spreader — not the guy you want in office while Delta rages,” Newsom wrote in a recent fundraising email entitled “Larry Elder.” “Now hear this: Larry Elder is just 2 points from being our next governor. Sorry to scare you, but it’s true.”

Elder, a Black Republican, has a long and checkered career on radio in L.A. including a stormy stint on KABC in the 1990s, when he was the target of a well-organized community effort to get him fired for being the "White Man's Poster Boy" because of espousing positions such as minimizing racism, bashing affirmative action and proclaiming O.J. Simpson's guilt.

The best piece we've read about him - which details Elder's opposition to abortion rights, gun control and the minimum wage, among other issues - comes from veteran political writer (and Friend of Newsmakers) Carla Marinucci and her partner, Jeremy White, Politico's chief California correspondents. Highly recommended.

One more thing: Here's Elder on "The Morning Answer," on L.A.'s AM 870, explaining why Joe Biden didn't really win the 2020 election.

We regret the whole thing.

Sure, forgetting things is one of the crummy features of getting old. Remembering things that never happened is even worse, however.

So it was that Newsmakers "remembered," and so reported in Tuesday's post, that SB mayoral candidate Randy Rowse had once been a Republican, a non-Actual Fact that we should have checked before publishing but didn't.

"Jerry - I have to give you a hearty WTF? this morning," Rowse emailed bright and early on Wednesday. ".I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Republican...Most of my adult life was spent as a registered Dem, until I switched to Decline to State some years ago."

False memories, indeed.

For our perspective, it seemed an especially untoward factual error, because one of Rowse's key arguments in the mayor's race is that purportedly non-partisan office in city government have largely been overtaken by partisan politics. So we invited him on for a quick hit segment to set the record straight. Check it out on YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

We get letters

A selection of other feedback to yesterday's "Power Rankings."

"Good for Ed St. George: A claim of misogyny in the event of concern for the development of children seems misprioritized. Minors have little leverage in pursuing a superior up-bringing when dealt an over-committed parent.

If the upward mobility of women takes a backseat to the development of children, call me a misogynist. And no, children and parenting won't be a closeted topic. If you see something, say something."

-- Matt McLaughlin


"I have noticed- since I am a sentient being- that every gain that women have fought so hard for, in my lifetime and before - including bodily autonomy- is under assault. I think men have altogether lost their "right" to run their mouths on these topics unchallenged and unchecked.

I am sorry you were triggered by the word "platform". With the First Amendment right to practice journalism comes a certain responsibility- dont you agree?- not to let unadulterated bullshit go unchallenged? Otherwise, what is the journalist, "old school",- or complicit?"

-- Jana Zimmer


Re Item #6 ("Montecito Journal"):

"You like to tell it first. I like to tell it best."

-- Gwyn Lurie, Editor in Chief, Montecito Journal


There were no injuries.

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Show Comments
Babycakes Aug 20, 2021 06:42 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Larry Elder is definitely in the fast lane to Sacramento. Arnold did it, and now it's possibly Larry's turn. No matter what, we all need to pledge support for whoever prevails in this recall election. Like my good friend used to sayvback in the day, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!!!"

YepSB Aug 20, 2021 07:19 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Babycakes, I'm so very glad to hear that you will fully support Governor Newsom when this recall fails and he remains our governor. That is very reasonable and level headed of you. Thank you.

Babycakes Aug 21, 2021 03:29 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

YEPSB: Let's hope that the recall fails because it is ridiculous thing to do even if Gov. Newsom has not done such a great job with this COVID fiasco. Unfortunately, quite a number of polls out this week are showing support for recalling him. The amount of advertising he is doing has increased exponentially in the last two weeks with Elizabeth Warren as one of the main spokespersons for his campaign to remain in office. Love him or hate him, Larry Elder is quite popular and has gained quite a bit of momentum, which means that he very could well be our next governor as I mentioned previously. Newsom should have really played down his relationship with his "fav" aunt (Nancy Pelosi), and his ultra-Trumpian ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle. As we all know, polls can be completely wrong, so he just might squeak out a big win!

dukemunson Aug 21, 2021 08:02 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

The newsome radio commercial is horrible… he took the complete wrong tone. The recall is “anti-Vaxxers and people who stormed the capital”… ???? Nutty… nutty!!! Can we please get a moderate dem who isn’t a lunatic in 2022 on the ballot instead of newsome??!!!

sbsunshine Aug 20, 2021 11:15 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Let's start a thread on the question we would like asked at the debate.

1. When are you planning to clean the sidewalks and corridors of all the urine and poop stains?
2. When are you going to address business where their exteriors look worn, windows cracked etc...there are a few on Chapala downtown that are awful. Hard to believe there isn't an ordinance to address this and if there isn't let's write one.
3. Will you be writing an ordinance to address cell towers like the city of Calabases did?
4. Do you have any beautification plans for downtown such as adding hanging baskets?
5. What are you planning to do about Franceschi Park? It was once a botanical gem and the city hasn't taken care of it. And, who from the city has the free digs on the property as the watch person? Anyone's relative?
6. Are you. going to put an end to the high density contemporary building that is happening? What happened to the guidelines when the Marc was built?
7. What are your plans for LaCumbre Plaza? Yes, its private property but do you have a relationship such that it will advance redevelopment in a positive direction?
8. What is your plan for old Macy's building understanding that it is privately owned and you have zero say on the matter?
9. Do you have any business experience? Did you go to school for business? If not, what makes you qualified to manage people, lead, balance a budget, develop strategic plans and engage in 3-5 year vision planning?
10. Will you be getting rid of the layers of friends and family working in the city who are not qualified for their positions and only received them because of who they knew?
11. Will you create an ordinance that requires Pool Service companies to be licensed and have proper training?
12. Have you taken public speaking and leadership development courses?

a-1629531054 Aug 21, 2021 12:30 AM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

I would ask some of the same questions, and some different ones.
1. Are you aware that fed / state / county governments have access to resources you need to advance the cause of your city? What is your understanding of those resources, and your ability to navigate and harness them, to our citizens' benefit?
2. Are you willing to outlaw VRBO units? Because they are taking housing units off the market and destroying neighborhoods. Prior administrations are ok with that. How are you different?
3. Senior City Staff is heading for the door. Current council and mayor lean on far them too much for direction in difficult situations, like climate change, homelessness, etc. How are you different? On what subjects are you willing to do the work to research the best solutions and lead?
4. People should not be building and living in high fire zones. We have multiple such zones and many of those can't get homeowners insurance. The California Insurance Commissioner does not support giving California resources to these zones. The City Council voted ADUs into these districts in 2018, AFTER the Paradise Fire. Randy Rowse and Cathy Murillo voted for that because they think ALL districts need to eat ADUs. What are you willing to do to protect citizens in these zones?
5. The state is planning to pass SB314, which would make parklets permanent. Given that, how do you feel about the current Mayor and Council appointing Dem Party hacks, without any experience, to the State St Advisory Committee?
6. The Delta variant has changed the COVID19 game. It's a new frontier, and it appears we will be trying to run ahead of variants with vaccines / boosters / masks, with brief windows opening up, but dealing with COVID for awhile. What can you do, as mayor, to keep businesses open in this world, kids going to school, and our city running, given this new world we're moving into?
7. Some downtown property owners choose to let properties lie fallow, seeking the highest rent they can get, vs letting a popup or startup make a go of it. They keep sales taxes from the city, while driving up city costs in policing / fire / ambulance responses. Are you supportive of a fine / tax on these property owners for vacant storefronts? Such a fine / tax could be used to fund services for the homeless, who tend to colonize vacant storefronts.
8. Are you in support of paying people who work here a living wage, vs driving them to seek our housing further, which means subsidizing businesses by getting us all to pay road and gas taxes? Or forcing them to live in their cars?

a-1629527034 Aug 20, 2021 11:23 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Jerry THANK YOU for covering local politics so closely, and raising questions all citizens should be asking. EVERYONE in SB should watch the mayor's debate. It's not enough to hang out here and gossip. You've got to stay on top of what they're up to. And you've got to vote! Not just your values, but who can really deliver at this time, in the circumstances we now live in.

Byzantium Aug 21, 2021 09:41 AM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Auditing nepotism is a critical issue to raise. Excellent list SBSunshine. Recipe for third world status, be it nations, cities or school districts: (1) raid the treasury and (2) hire the relatives.

Ahlia Aug 21, 2021 12:07 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

Thank you Edhat, for your correction re: Randy Rouse political affiliation. I've noticed that people of both parties tend to assume that if you are not registered in the same party they are then you must be "the enemy". I agree that the City council positions should not be about partisan politics. This constant Us vs. Them mentality only leads to gridlock. I did the same thing Randy did after having been registered most of my life w/ the same party. I got fed up with the divisiveness and changed to "Decline to state". I base my vote on my best effort at critical thinking and not what either party "dictates" I must do.

Byzantium Aug 21, 2021 08:59 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

There is a problem when virtually all government employees vote, donate and campaign exclusively to the Democrat Party. Like it or not, this infects non-partisan city budget allocations and public school curriculum bias. Only voters can change this current one-party domination of non-partisan public institutions. Or the majority voters need to own up to what they keep voting for.

Taras Aug 22, 2021 03:52 PM
Santa Barbara Mayor and Top Rivals Agree to Debate

All commercials for Elder should just simply state the Democrat party cannot protect you! Show the southern border show the riots and show Afghanistan. Game set match.

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