In the past week, Iya Falcone and Deborah Schwartz — members of the slate of candidates endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee — held separate kickoff events: Falcone at Arnoldi’s, a venerable old-school Italian restaurant, and Schwartz at Killer B’s, a relatively new rib joint that opened on State Street earlier this year. Despite whatever differences their culinary body language might suggest, both were agreed that the council’s new conservative majority needed to go.
During her two terms on the council, Falcone said she became known as the council conservative — a label she never bought — because of her staunch support for the Police Department and the Police Officers Association. The new majority, she said, “has bordered on the verge of the inhumane and the unkind” when it came to policies to expand housing opportunities available to the middle class. Schwartz, a planning commissioner still in her first term, said the council majority was out of touch with mainstream environmental concerns, and threatened to take Santa Barbara back into the “dark ages.” Schwartz — who is backed strongly by former 1st District supervisor and her mother, Naomi Schwartz, not to mention Schwartz’s successor, Salud Carbajal —
said it’s not enough for her merely to win, but to win with a clear mandate. Schwartz said City Hall needs to do more to make small businesses feel valued and to work more with the school district to keep students from dropping out and getting sucked into gang life. To that end, Schwartz expressed an interest in ending Santa Barbara High School’s long tradition as an open campus.
The third member of the Democratic-backed slate, Cathy Murillo, has yet to stage her campaign kickoff. Schwartz, Falcone, and Murillo are challenging three incumbents: Councilmembers Michael Self, Dale Francisco, and Randy Rowse.