Former Santa Barbara City Councilmember Lyle Reynolds died this weekend at the age of 94. A passionate tennis player, Reynolds took to politics after concluding a successful career as a UCSB administrator during the turbulent 1970s. As dean of students, Reynolds often waded into crowds of Isla Vista protesters, urging calm. In one celebrated event, he found himself toe-to-toe with Abbie Hoffman, then head of the national Yippie movement. Hoffman sought to humiliate Reynolds by putting a bandana on his head and a joint in his mouth, but Reynolds defused the moment by laughing along with the joke. In 1977, Reynolds – known for his warmth – narrowly lost the mayoral seat to the confrontational and conservative David Shiffman. Two years later, Reynolds won election to the City Council as part of the well-mannered slow-growth wave that still controls the levers of political power. Reynolds was part of a council majority that reduced the amount of city land zoned for commercial development in order to balance the city’s workforce with its housing supply.

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