In a recent Independent article, Mayor Helene Schneider is quoted as saying, “It’s about damn time Santa Barbara elected a Latino to the City Council!” It is extremely difficult to take this statement at face value.
Last year, when the City Council was considering who to appoint to a vacant Council seat, no Latino was included in the final short list of potential appointees, even though nine Latinos had applied. I didn’t hear the Mayor, or any of the other Council members, express the need to have the more than 33 thousand Latinos that live in Santa Barbara represented in the City Council. And this in a country where the schism with England partly started with the refusal of the British King to seat a representative from the Colonies in the British Parliament.
Abraham Lincoln once said that by putting “the people’s business in their hands, we cannot be wrong. I am a firm believer in the people.” In firmly electing Cathy Murillo to the City Council the voters of Santa Barbara corrected the gross near-sighted vision of the City Council when they failed to appoint a Latino to the Council in 2010 because they were more interested in intra-council relations and, sub rosa, density, than in a truly representative government. The people knew better.