Backed by Mayor Marty Blum and Santa Barbara’s three living ex-mayors-Sheila Lodge, Hal Conklin, and Harriet Miller—Harwood “Bendy” White kicked off his bid for the Santa Barbara City Council. A land-use consultant by day and slow-growther by political inclination, White grew up in Santa Barbara and has served many years on the City Planning Commission, and, before that, on the Water Commission. He also helped hatch the lower-building-height initiative appearing on this November’s ballot as Measure B. White joins an exceptionally crowded field in which 11 council candidates are vying for three seats. Of the 11, Grant House is the only incumbent. Three have run once and lost: Frank Hotchkiss, Dianne Channing, and Cathy McCammon. The remaining six-Lane Anderson, John Thyne, John Gibbs, Justin Teavis, Olivia Uribe, and David Pritchett-are running for the first time. Of those running for the first time, only Pritchett has ever served on a city board or commission, as have Channing and McCammon.
Meanwhile, two new candidates have entered the race to become Santa Barbara’s next mayor, bringing the total to six. One, homeless activist Bob Hanson, has run in almost every mayoral election since the late 1980s. The other, real estate agent Isaac Garrett, ran for council in 1969 and 2001 without winning a seat. “The average person is tired of higher taxes, higher fees, and less service,” Garrett declared, “and afraid to go out at night because of gangs.” Garrett said he’ll promote campaign finance reform and won’t take more than $200 from any donor. He dismissed the notion that candidates won’t be influenced by large donations as “hogwash,” asking, “Who do they think they’re kidding?”
Leading the mayoral pack are current councilmembers Helene Schneider and Iya Falcone. Recently, the police and firefighters unions-who’ve endorsed Falcone—aired TV commercials, exhorting citizens to be safe, that prominently featured their candidate without mentioning that she’s running for mayor. Those commercials came in response to a blitz of TV ads taken out earlier by Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman, also running for mayor. Finally, music promoter and internet presence Justin Michael is running, hoping to inspire young voters otherwise alienated from the political process.