Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments title=
Ed St. George at City Council. (November 19, 2019) | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee is taking developer Ed St. George to task for what the organization called “egregious and sexist” comments he made about City Councilmember Meagan Harmon and her political ambitions. 

During a recent podcast interview with journalist Josh Molina, St. George, a frequent critic of Santa Barbara’s elected leaders and City Hall staff, suggested Harmon, now running for reelection to District 6, was overextending herself by serving on both the council and soon the California Coastal Commission while also working as an attorney and raising young children. As talented and well-liked as Harmon is, St. George said, referring to her as “the girl we all had a crush on in high school,” she ought to take a five- to seven-year “pause” from politics to focus on her family.

In a prepared statement of solidarity, the Committee lamented that St. George was “given a platform to share offensive and sexist viewpoints” and “condescendingly urge” Harmon to step aside. “Women belong at every table where decisions are being made,” the statement reads, “and it is not up to men to be the arbiters of a woman’s personal decisions or ambitions. … Misogyny, in any form, has no home in Santa Barbara County. And no, the women of Santa Barbara will not take a pause.” The statement has since been signed by dozens of government and community leaders, both men and women.

In response, St. George took a defensive tone, referencing comments made at one time by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that being a full-time mother prepared her well for politics and explaining that his suggestion for a hiatus had nothing to do with Harmon’s gender. “I encourage everyone to have a healthy and balanced life that includes time with their family,” he said, “and if that offends people, they can certainly do otherwise, and I wish them luck in finding happiness.” Some members of the Committee have since privately wondered if St. George would give the same advice to Barrett Reed, a new father and fellow developer also running for council. 

George also went after the Committee itself, criticizing it for not speaking out when Mayor Cathy Murillo compared approaching Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez with an endorsement request to “asking your wife for a favor” and “waiting until she’s in a good mood.” He also wondered why the organization wasn’t commenting on the pending sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a female city employee against former finance director Bob Samario.

Harmon herself stayed mostly out of the fray, instead expressing her pride in being part of Santa Barbara’s legacy of “strong, feminist leadership.” On the council, she said, she “fights for working families because I understand the challenges they face trying to make it in our community. As a woman and a working mom, I understand it because I live it.”

Harmon made her statement while at the same time trying to wrangle her daughter. “Oh, the irony,” she said.

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Byzantium Aug 19, 2021 10:31 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

A number of years ago the city charter was amended to provide greater compensation packages for city council members, expressly to make this position more of a full time job, assuming this increased time dedication would be good for the city at large. The amendment also included an automatic COLA increase, so future increases no longer needed to come before voters for approval. I find it abusive to now see city council persons continue with their own private full time employment time which materially compete with their chosen full time duties to be our elected representatives. I also find it inappropriate we offer pensions for elected officials - this is a public service commitment during the time of official office; not a position for permanent financial gain for the rest of their lives. They now permanently receive benefits for their time in office; while we taxpayers are stuck with the liabilities of their fiscal neglect during that same period of time.

4theloveofstbarbara Aug 19, 2021 09:47 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

All around, I think the interview was great. I love how Josh was able to conduct a CANDID interview with Mr. St. George, which is very refreshing given how guarded and subdued most interviewees present themselves. It's a real reach to derive the inferences of sexism from St. George's opinions and advice given to Ms. Harmon. I think that if people READ the interview, as opposed to viewing or listening to it, and without the context of the interviewee's gender, there wouldn't be this absurd sense of outrage and cries of sexism. Simply put, there's nothing wrong with what was said because it was clearly meant to be a caring narrative. However, like bullies on the streets, the people driving this narrative of sexism are simply looking for a problem because they want one to exist, most likely because they have personal issues with St. George as a real estate developer. I find this to be remarkably obtuse and contrived. If anyone gets further outraged by my comments, let me tell you the following: Yes, I'm a man. Yes, I work in a high-ranking position. Yes, I'm a father with daughters. Yes, I know Mr. St. George personally. But allow me to share something else... When I had my kids, Mr. St. George offered me the EXACT SAME ADVICE AND OPINION - Take time off to be with your family. Take in the experiences. Take more pictures than you think you need. And don’t forget to take time for your wife and relationship. He put it in builder's terms, "This is the foundation of your life. If you don't build it right, you won't be able to live the house that sit's on top of it very long." The saddest part of this situation it's very apparent that the local "pundits" are coercing our community, most of whom have never even met Mr. George, to rebuke and turn on someone that has done far more for our community than the vast majority of his contemporaries.

Randy Parks Aug 20, 2021 12:26 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

WINNER: Most Accurate Comment of the Day! (goes to: 4LoveSB).

His statement is the truth (and most readers know it, even the "woke" bunch): "the people driving this narrative of sexism are simply looking for a problem because they want one to exist..."
==> And, like most edhat commenters; they pull one or two sentences from an article (in this case, from an interview), and push an erroneous narrative.

a-1629392482 Aug 19, 2021 10:01 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

It would be ideal if US policies and businesses supported parents being with and taking care of their children. Instead, parents are required to be just as competitive as those without kids. Women face this far more than men. So when a man who can hire multiple nannies tells a working woman maybe she ought to think more about her kids and take some time off, it IS sexist and condescending as hell.

dukemunson Aug 19, 2021 08:43 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Just to play devils advocate here for a second...is it that bad to question a politician who has a full time job, in addition to their government job taking on another government position? I mean if you actually take a step back (and completely disregard sex and family situation) there is a reasonable question there to wonder if this public employee can adequately do a job when they already have 2 other jobs. Not sure what the hour/time commitments are for city council and coastal commission are...but at what point is it OK to question someone's time and commitment to a specific public service job? If someone goes for a third position is then OK to question (and again, this is regardless of sex) or at what point are we allowed to question the commitment to a public position a person has?

MMS Aug 19, 2021 09:13 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Pitmix, in the interview, he said that his greatest regret was not being around more when his son was little. It was in this vein that he made the recommendation to “take some time off and enjoy your family”. He wasn’t being condescending or hypocritical, he was speaking from his personal experience, and yes, he did stop working for an extended period … he moved his family to Italy for several years.

SantaBarbaraObserver Aug 18, 2021 07:59 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

St George can say anything he pleases. He is not an elected or even a public official. He is private citizen free to take any position, state any statement, and say anything he chooses. And there is NOTHING you can do about it! Well, not exactly. You can form a committee, clutch your pearls and write a strongly worded letter. And boy oh boy, if there is one thing that gets people to change its a strongly worded letter. lol

ZeroHawk Aug 17, 2021 04:44 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Ok, i'll play. I find nothing wrong with what he said. He stated an opinion and his perception of fact. If we are this watered down and thin skinned, we are doomed. yeah she was probably quite pretty in school and i'm sure a lot of guys had a crush on her. What is so horrible about that? Also noting she should take a pause and focus on her family rather than spreading herself so thin. What is wrong with that? I too have issues with the entire city council, and I really do not know this guy, but I just can't see the wrong in what he said and certainly can't see it as so bad that it would generate some of these responses. Are you guys such snowflakes that this disturbs you? I mean really? LOL we have so many bigger and frightening things going on but some of you cry foul because a well known and not very well liked devloper notes a fact and also states an opinion. Big deal...

ZeroHawk Aug 18, 2021 09:20 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

so what. he's entitled to his opinions and words just because you or others don't agree, doesn't make it right or wrong. all opinions. nothing more. so you think you have some power over others and can dictate what they say? grow some skin. you people are such watered down wimps. oh hey said i should care for my family. omg this is devastating! seriously?

SBLetsGetAlong Aug 17, 2021 04:28 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Is it ok for some to make comments, but not others? Seems like you all think so. Does a “D” make it ok to take advantage of women? Look at how little we heard from the Cuomo investigation. Zip.
Why is there not more press about all the sexual predators hired by the SBUSD that pray on children? Honestly, kids being abused but it usually barely gets a mention.

As to Dario, do you think his tenants could afford to pay market rent? If so they wouldn’t have stayed. If he did improve the properties he’d be accused of gentrifying neighborhoods.

If the tenants complained of items like Keanu g faucets, Dario fixed them. His tenants did t complain & didn’t take care of their property. They were happy to have a roof over their heads.

Why don’t you talk to people, not just read a few bad Yelp reviews.
You think you have the whole story? Then you do as much investigative journalism work as the Independent Rag.

Transparent Aug 17, 2021 04:19 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

No fan of Ms. Harmon here.... but hey, y'all remember when Ed (St.) George illegally and knowingly destroyed monarch habitat in Isla Vista knowing the fine was peanuts? (link below)

Well, the monarchs are near extinction now. (link below) Some kinda guy we got here...

https://www.edhat.com/news/settlement-reached-for-illegal-tree-removal-at-beach-city-apartments

https://ktla.com/news/california/monarch-butterfly-population-moves-closer-to-extinction-as-number-wintering-in-california-hits-record-low/

edney Aug 17, 2021 06:04 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

I think Eucalyptus are dangerous, fire hazards and they suck up a tremendous amount of water. They drive out natives species, their bark and leaves are messy and the trees are allelopathic (they kill the shrubs under them).
But the stats on death from ALL trees not just Eucalyptus in Austraia is minimal.
59 over a 12.5 year period.
They do recommend not camping under a Eucalyptus in a tent

https://arboriculture.org.au/getassets/a2bd3064-7acd-ea11-90fb-00505687f2af/A%20Review%20of%20Deaths%20in%20Australia%20from%20Accidental%20Tree%20Failures.pdf

Eucalyptus are not native and crowd native plants and animals out, which makes me ask:
Where did the Monarchs rest before Eucalyptus? Maybe we should plant more of those.

Babycakes Aug 17, 2021 04:19 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

He's all about ripping off students per YELP reviews? Someone actually believes reviews??? LOL! Ridiculous! He could cut the rent down 50% and the lil' bitches still be bitchin' and moanin' about "My rentz 2 HIGH!" Funny how when someone who's self-made gets torn down by those who know everything there is to know, but for some reason decided to get degrees in art history, dance theater, philosophy, or <fill in name of useless degree>. Self-made people are tough as nails and don't get bowled over by the weak....that's just how it is peeps.

Byzantium Aug 17, 2021 02:36 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Ed St George has only one vote - out vote him. Anyone can do it. Power of the American system - big bad developer or lone environmentalist - both are equal voices at the ballot box. If you don't like elected officials that bow down to this guy, then use your one vote to cancel his one vote in their favor.

dukemunson Aug 19, 2021 09:46 AM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

The problem with Yelp is, for things like tow truck companies or landlords, is who is going to positively review their landlord (or the company that towed their illegally parked car). In an expensive town everyone is somewhat antagonistic towards the company they hand 2-4K every month to for a 1-3 bedroom built in the 1960’s apartment. It’s kind of silly… especially for companies that aren’t so goes up as a paying Yelp business.

a-1629246210 Aug 17, 2021 05:23 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Well based on the actual Yelp comments, it looks like Ed is running the classic Isla Vista / Santa Barbara landlord keep the security deposit scam. Many property managers and landlords do the same thing. They just keep the money hoping that the former renter will forget or not have the time to take legal action. If they absolutely have to, they pay up. This racket is as old school Santa Barbara as it comes and it can be quite lucrative.

195930 Aug 17, 2021 01:08 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

The conversion of the apartment complex into “Beach City” actually displaced many local working families and the elderly that had lived there for years. George booted out locals and created party housing for non local city college kids at a premium price. Glad he looked out for the one woman, but really just a feeble attempt to “look” like he cares.
I am happy to see he’s being called out.

Roger Aug 17, 2021 12:29 PM
Women’s Political Committee Calls Out St. George for ‘Sexist’ Comments

Alot of Good things were said of Ed St. George when he let an elderly woman stay in her apartment at Beach City she would have otherwise been homeless and most likely would have died homeless when her time came. I don't see many others taking people in but I hear alot of talk, alot of bark but no bite...

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