OWNS A CARP LOT: Ex-gov and soon-to-be ex-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger just might become our neighbor here on the South Coast. But I kinda doubt it.
The other day I drove up to look for the 25-acre plot he and Maria bought in Carpinteria’s Rancho Monte Alegre development in 2008 for a cool $4.7 million. That’s just for the dirt, you understand, but beautiful dirt it is, and the sweeping ocean views from the foothills off Foothill Road.
It’s part of a 2,800-acre development where he wouldn’t be allowed to build a home any smaller than 4,500 square feet or any larger than 8,500 square feet — roughly the size of the Santa Barbara Mission (just kidding).
Why he and Maria wanted to be so far from their jet-setting L.A. lifestyle I can’t imagine. Now it’s moot. With the secret-son scandal, California’s former First Couple going splitsville, and the former gov’s resumption of his movie career on hiatus, it’s likely that the Schwarzenegger property will soon be flying a for-sale sign.
Stogie-puffing, Hummer-driving Schwarzenegger was a rotten governor. But he was a master of the sound bite, the quip, and the staged event, according to Indy columnist Jerry Roberts, the longtime political editor and managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle who now runs the political Web site Calbuzz.com with Phil Trounstine.
“I never succeeded in getting an interview with him,” Roberts told CNN. “He was always surrounded by an entourage, always had a lot of black SUVs, like, ‘Make way for the king!’ But he didn’t really engage people, and the legislators got furious with him. They were just props in ‘The Arnold Show.’
“As a practical matter, [the secret-son affair] doesn’t have a lot of effect, but among California voters and people in politics, it was just a huge ‘F-you’ from him.”
HUGUETTE’S HOME: With Huguette Clark dying at 104 in New York on Tuesday, the question is what will happen to her estate on East Cabrillo Boulevard. A few years ago, there were unverified reports that Ty Warner had offered her $100 million for the hilltop property but was turned down, or that he looked into it and decided against it. For years there has been speculation that her father, the late U.S. Senator William A. Clark, and her mother were never wed, as he claimed they were.
NEVER MIND: We gave an end-of-the-world party and no one came. The end of the world didn’t come either. So Sue and I just uncorked a bottle of French sparkling wine (not from the holy Champagne region and therefore not worthy of the capital “C” Champagne). We sat on our deck, munched chips, watched the (last?) sunset, and talked about how much good that wacko telepreacher Harold Camping could have done with the estimated $100 million he spent spreading word of The Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus, etc. With that kind of money, you can sell hamburgers, religion, or anything else, apparently.
BALLOT CLASH: Next November’s Santa Barbara City Council election figures to be the most incendiary one in years, a clash between ideological forces battling for council control.
Saturday night the Democrats threw a fundraiser for their anointed trio, who’ll take on three conservative incumbents expected to announce soon. If they do, Demo-endorsed Iya Falcone, Deborah Schwartz, and Cathy Murillo will be lined up against incumbents Dale Francisco, Michael Self, and Randy Rowse, plus any others joining the field. Figures to be intense. Got to wonder if Texan Randall Van Wolfswinkel, who spent $750,000 in the 2009 city election, will be back with his Tex-bucks. The former Montecitan backed Francisco for mayor and the building height-limit measure but both lost. He also supported Frank Hotchkiss and Self for council seats, who won, and Cathie McCammon, who lost.
Self just got her knuckles rapped when California’s Fair Political Practices Commission issued a conflict-of-interest warning because she voted in favor of a traffic study that might work to her benefit by diverting traffic from the street where she lives, Tallant Road, to other streets.
It’s way too early to handicap this race, but liberals are determined to win back a council they held for a generation or more. Complicating the election is the issue of downtown housing density: Even though Democrats hold a registration lead over Republicans, will Democrat status-quo homeowners rebel against liberals who seek density hikes in order to provide affordable housing downtown? Will they (gasp!) cross over and vote for the slow-growth conservatives?
Even though all three of the endorsed women were introduced to hearty applause at the annual Santa Barbara County Dems’ Roosevelt-Hamer fundraiser at the Rockwood Women’s Club Saturday night, it was less a pre-election pep rally than a gang’s-all-here schmooze-fest.
Rep. Lois Capps was there to hand out awards to 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and leadership awards to Jim and Charlotte MacMillan, county Democratic Party chair Daraka Larimore-Hall, and the California Labor Federation. Larimore-Hall, recently defeated as $37,000-a-year head of the statewide union representing University of California graduate students, gave a barn-burner of a go-Democrats pep-rally speech.