Gregg Hart

Paul Wellman

Gregg Hart

City Council Donations Flying In

Does the Santa Barbara Race Have More Money than Ballots?

Saturday, November 2, 2013
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Based on the slow rate of return for mail-in ballots just days away from the next Tuesday’s grand finale, this year’s Santa Barbara City Council race is not generating much heat at all. But based on the flood of campaign cash pouring into the candidates’ coffers, this year’s contest qualifies as a veritable forest fire. Although this year’s fundraising still lags behind the record set in 2009, when Texas billionaire Randall Van Wolfswinkel spent $750,000 to give City Hall a political makeover, this year’s contest will set a few new records before all is said and done.

Council candidate Gregg Hart, one of the eight challengers vying for a council seat, has generated $113,098, far more than anyone running for council has ever raised. That figure is somewhat inflated by the $10,000 Hart loaned his campaign and the $12,500 his campaign consultant Brian Robinson donated as an in-kind donation. But even so, Hart cleaned up with the major public employee labor unions, getting about $20,000 from the police, firefighters, and general employee unions.

Trailing Hart was fellow challenger David Landecker, who raised $88,447. Landecker received no money from public employee unions, nor did he loan his campaign anything.

Hart and Landecker are both former councilmembers hoping to make their respective political comebacks, and both hail from the liberal Democratic side of the political spectrum. Although the two used to attend the same Super Bowl parties, relations have been strained as the two have found themselves in competition. In the past, Hart was more of a political centrist with crossover appeal in the downtown business sector, while Landecker enjoyed support from the liberal environmental wing of the Democratic party. In this year’s election, the Democratic machine opted to endorse Hart as well as incumbent Bendy White and challenger Megan Diaz Alley.

This year, three council seats are up for grabs and two incumbents — Frank Hotchkiss and Bendy White — are seeking reelection. As of October 30, White reported raising $81,690 and Hotchkiss reported $63,315. Challenger Lesley Wiscomb reported raising $80,164, but of that, $15,000 came from her husband, Scott Wiscomb. Jason Nelson, the vet who served in Afghanistan, reported raising $55,822, and Megan Diaz Alley, the most progressive voice, generated $43,239. Challenger and planning commissioner Michael Jordan raised $14,720. Candidates Matthew Hunter Kramer and Cruzito Cruz did not raise enough to trigger campaign finance reporting requirements.

While the council race has generated more interest this year, Mayor Helene Schneider is running for reelection against challenger Wayne Scoles, a Mesa neighborhood activist and outspoken critic of city police. Although Scoles has managed to pepper the Mesa with campaign yard signs, he has not raised enough to trigger campaign reporting requirements either. Despite the apparent political cakewalk, Schneider raised $111,134, also a campaign record. Schneider explained she was especially aggressive in her initial fund-raising efforts in hopes of giving potential challengers serious second thoughts about taking her on. The strategy has clearly worked. Once that objective was realized, many donors eager to back an obvious winner jumped on board.

As of October 30, all candidates combined raised $652,079. How much that breaks down per vote has yet to be seen, but city election officials have reported that the mail-in ballots are coming in much slower than in the previous two mail-in elections. (If only 17,000 ballots are cast, as was the case in 2007, that would translate to $38 per vote.) Compared to the same time in 2009, 2,638 fewer ballots have been mailed in, and compared to the same time two years ago, the deficit is 1,564 ballots. Privately, some city officials worry turnout could be lower than 30 percent.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

The city operates just like your own paycheck, checkbook, credit card and home loan. Just add a few more zeros on the end of the same figures.

Money comes in … (from where?)
Money goes out ….. (to whom?)
Money gets borrowed …. (how much?)
Money gets paid back …. (when?)

Does it all balance? …… (why not?)

What candidate best answered all of these questions. Which candidate avoided answering any of these same questions.

City employee unions is the biggest reason we now are facing $400 million in unfunded liabilities and Gregg Hart and Bendy White are their paid henchmen. Vote for either of them at your own risk.

"Progressive" thinking got us into this mess - they are just concerned about the outgo of public funds, mainly to the same groups that ensured their election to council in the first place.

Today's vote needs to choose instead those most concerned about balancing city revenues with city expenses. Shop carefully. The city council majority and the direction of this city hangs in balance in this election.

More of the same deficit fiscal irresponsibility and insider croneyism past "progressive" council members have inflicted upon us? Then vote for Hart, White, Alley or Landecker

Or a city council majority dedicated to fiscal conservatism, pragmatic city management and just plain old common sense getting the job done. Then vote for Hotchkiss, Wiscomb and Nelson.

Grass roots for Santa Barbara to keep it local, or more Democratic machine, big money politics. You decide.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 9:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Voters need to ask of course, what do the city employee unions expect in return for all these last minute cash donations to their favored few?

Why did they wait so long to finally show their hand is an equally compelling question.

City cannot afford more business as usual any longer. Do not put city union friendly candidates on both sides of the bargaining table when it comes time to re-negotiate these very same city employee contracts.

Do not vote for Gregg Hart, Bendy White, David Landecker or Megan Alley who sold out to city employee unions or the Democratic union machine when they took their endorsements and took cash.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Will Hart ever say no to the unions after all the payola he took from them? Don't count on it.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Did Hart ever take responsibility or even acknowledge his role racking up this current $400 million (and growing) unfunded liability for city employee pensions and infrastructure back long the city now faces, due to decisions he made when last serving on the SB city council?

Can he show us his "no" votes on any of these prior decisions? If he was not aware of these looming problems then, how can he fix them today. He avoid these issues during his entire campaign.

All Hart wanted to talk about was widening Highway 101 for commuters. He walked away from all other pressing city matters with nothing more than superficial platitudes.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Makes you wonder who these people are "foofighter" "Grass roots for Santa Barbara to keep it local." The only candidates who grew up here and are true "locals" are White and Hart. Both have broad deep family ties to our community. foofigther's candidates are all out of town newcomers/carpetbaggars. I actually think Nelson and Wiscomb are well meaning but give them another 10-15 years living here before we make then our community's leaders.

sbreader (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Schneider has been here 20 years. She is originally from New York. Based on that rationale, we should be kicking her butt out of office, right?

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm boldly predicting a mail turnout of under 30%, despite the ridiculous ease of mailing the mail ballot in. This would translate to maybe $40 per vote, purchased in real money. Here's $650,000 of legal tender spent on ads and mailers and online ads, and some open comment periods (yes), but this still feels like a colossal waste of money. Change the City Council terms to follow all Congressional Rep. elections, or the Presidential Cycle, or... there is obviously a cheaper and more democratic way to schedule these little elections.
Anyway, every seems to acknowledge the 3 elected will be White (truly a local, he went to school here), Hotchkiss (yep), and one of Hart/Landecker/Alley. Not sure too many people really care.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting that DRDan is probably correct on his predictions but read the Edhat posts and those crazies over there sure don't agree. I actually think Hart will come second and Hotchkiss third but some in the know believe Landecker has a chance to come third and beat Hotchkiss because he has all the "old Dems" on his side and they always vote.

sbreader (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Botany, 20 is greater than "10-15" :)

A few days ago, there were 8,200 ballots cast from a pool of 45,000 registered voters. So we'd need another 6,800 votes to hit 30%. Seems like a tall order.

I remember when the Police union backed their candidates to the tune of $75,000 in 2009. That slate included Hotchkiss and Michael Self. I don't recall any conservatives complaining at the time.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 4:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Also noticed (the first?) negative campaign ad published in the Indy.

Would be interesting to find out who this group is. I noticed there was no filing on record at the City Campaign Finance Disclosure site, so they might be taking advantage of a reporting loophole?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Are you referring to the ad run against Gregg Hart sponsored by those opposed to the widening of 101? That seems to be their dog in this fight - most liklye Montecito residents who for the most part do not even vote in the city. But wanted to get their point out about Gregg Hart.

The police union money is a wild card since they apparently did not get what they wanted from either Self or Hotchkiss a few elections ago, as they backed neither of them on their second time around.

Police Officers Assocation (POA union) went with Schwartz and Falcone last time, and lost big time again in the last go around. Not a great track record for the amount of POA money spent.

It is a real horse race these days with the city employee union endorsements. They are now as toxic, as they used to be helpful Forecast hazy.

It is too bad too many of the candidates failed to grapple head on with the issues that apparently concerned most voters. Candidates themselves reported what voters wanted to talk about more than anything when they met them one on one were: gangs and vagrants. But few of the candidates even touched either issue.

In the privacy of the voting booth, these two issues may well determine the final outcome, far more than the old Democratic machine could deliver votes in the past.

The infamous "Golden Triangle" voters are no fans of either gangs or vagrants. So it will get down to which candidates do voters across this city think will best deal with both these issues, even though the city's economic woes should have been on the top of everyone's concerns instead.

More of the same that got us into this gang and vagrant mess; or change to take a new direction for this city. That will be Tuesday's cliff-hanger decision.

I personally would not be surprised to see a Hotchkiss-Wiscomb-Nelson sweep. People are that fed up with gangs and vagrants. But as projected earlier, forecast hazy.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of the things that I really appreciate with the Independent website is preservation of posts. Next Wednesday we get to see how foofighter did and he can't hide from it. He certainly is a prolific blogger but he is either uninformed or a wishful thinking wacko. We shall see. Of course he will have some conspiracy theory explanation for the result, that will not be the one he predicts here.

sbreader (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 7 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Final prediction: forecast hazy. Hold me to it. It is anybody's horse race. That's my final offer.

Some candidates have more money, more union endorsement, more mailers, more name recognition, more baggage, and some more common sense and independence.

Whoever wins still faces the same issues that have been created or kicked down the road by prior city councils: massive unfunded pension liabilities which are growing every year; massive unfunded city infrastructure repair and maintenance backlog; insufficient reserves; employee compensation reform; hiring new key city personnel; departmental accountability and reorganization; looming drought; gangs; graffiti; vandalism; vagrants; and declining downtown and revenue tax bases.

People actually want these jobs?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Come on dude....
You're endorsing the top money makers and all you have to say is well so and so spent a lot too!
I bet big poll analyst like yourself has formulas for money spent per vote
Think we see that bubble bursting any time soon?

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 8:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What does last minute city employee union money buy?

Another glossy mailer today from well-funded city employee union candidate Gregg Hart. But rather than talk about that major conflict of interests, all the sudden we now get a bullet point of Gregg's new "concerns"; one of which is "homelessness".

Is this code for even more subsidized housing, more high-density, more RV squatters and more handouts to all comers, like occurred under his last tenure on city council?

Or did his massive campaign war chest poll voters were most concerned about vagrants but he was too polite and obtuse to use the word so he just left it at "homeless". Which is now a term of utter meaninglessness.

Score another own for mindless platitudes - geared to use his union money to win; not actually do or solve anything. At least you know what you are getting if he gets your vote.

Greggs other "bullet concerns" to show he really cares were:

1. Public safety (more money for cops perks, benefits and pensions)

2. Widening highway 101 ( friend of out of town commuters; but not us)

3. Safe activities for our youth (code word he cares about the gang problem, but ignores totally how much we already do for young people in this town, which has solved no gang problems to date anyway)

4. Housing for working families (stack and pack density for more Democratic voters, and double code word "working families" means another government union employee benefit, while further sickening the economic base of our city. Get the city out of the housing business, Gregg. Let the market find willing buyers for willing sellers from now on. )

All of the above show only one thing: how very out of touch and how very disingenuous Gregg Hart actually is, as he warms this seat before taking a stab at Lois Capps pending vacancy, or any county supervisor or state office seeing term limits in his district.

Problem with Gregg Hart is there is no there there, but he is on his way somewhere.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 10:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Voters need to ask of course, what do the developers seeking a building permit and the corporations seeking a city contract expect in return for all these last minute cash donations to their favored few?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Waived parking requirements of course.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 8:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When the city employee unions and the Democratic Party throws down the gauntlet first and floods their favored candidates with cash, support and endorsements up front before the filing period even starts in this non-partisan race, don't blame others for having to play catch up to keep this a level playing field.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter, I really don't think the voters are as mindless as you paint them out to be. You're a minority in this region. Quit blaming people for their success.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 10:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Exposing candidates for their success raising city employee union donations and endorsements, is not blaming them. Only exposing them. The benefits of elections in the internet age.

This critical voter education message can now reach a wider group of people than those who were required to trot down to the elections offices and look this up themselves.

People are free to vote for this inherent corruption and conflict of interests if they want to or not. I only hope they are not surprised after the fact when nothing in our current city dysfunction changes. Admit up front you voted to protect the interests of the city employ unions; and little else more necessary or deserving in our community.

Though voting for candidates who fail to acknowledge or have a plan to reduce the $200 million city unfunded city employee pension liabilities is not voting in the union's best interests, now is it?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How come Hotchkiss all his time on the Council has never made any serious attempts to address the issues you address? Are they really only issues come election time?
Haven't both Hotchkiss and Wiscomb taken money from the Republican machine? Is it kinda nuts to criticize people whther you agree with them or not for accepting donations while turning a blind eye or donating yourself.

I say yes on transparency of donations, no on selectively criticizing people for taking them.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 11:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The "Republican machine" in this town is a three-wheeled trike with training wheels and ding-dong bell. Let them spend what little money they have where they think it will do the most good.

It is the scale and amount of donations, as well as the intentional ground troop support of city union members that should strike fear in all residents taxpayers in this city who think they are electing civic minded independent representatives. If you don't play, they won't pay the next time.

As Hotchkiss learned when the Police Officers Association (POA) union did not choose to support him, even though Frank fought for more police officers on our streets. The POA wanted more pay; not just more officers and gave Hotchkiss the hook.

This city has to stand for more than just being a city employee union protection racket. But that is how too many prior city councils have treated it, all endorsed and paid for by the very same city employee unions in campaigns up front, or after the fact.

Hotchkiss has done extremely well, considering the majority votes on council all belong to the Democratic union machine. I suspect he will be our next mayor. Job well done, Frank.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Like usual, Ken doesn't like Wiscomb's candidacy, so he assumes she's a Republican without any basis in fact. Like most of Ken's assumptions, he pulled that one from where the sun doesn't shine.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, KV did not assume Wiscomb is a Republican. He said:

"Haven't both Hotchkiss and Wiscomb taken money from the Republican machine?"

On that point, he is correct. Jim Westby, a well-known cog of said Republican machine, is backing and contributing to the Hotchkiss and Wiscomb campaigns

Westby was also a political strategist for Dale Francisco, Hotchkiss, and Michael Self in 2009 and has been a contributor to various Republican PACs and the McCain/Palin campaign. Westby is also behind the local mo' cars are better anti-bulbout crowd.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe it should be Westby for Mayor, if he is for all those people and all those issues. Good choices.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 5:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Does Westby share Francisco's bigoted views? And what's your opinion Foo of Greg Gandrud, local chair of the Republicans?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 8:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And if you think Francisco is a good choice Foo, do you share his bigoted views?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 12:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Keep an eye out for the vote of the deceased.

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Time to let go of the self-loathing, Volok. Spend some time thinking about this.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm betting the top money raisers all win, except for Landecker, who won't get past his shoplifting incident 20 or so years ago.

My bet is

1. Hart. Raised the most $$$ and will get the most votes
2. White Raised the most $$$ after Landecker
3. Wiscomb This one is close between Hotchkiss and Wiscomb but it looks like she raised a little more.

That's my bet. Win, place, and show. Remember candidates, it's not what you believe that matters, it's how much $$$ you have and how many baby's you kissed. Voters don't care what you do in office and the three story high-density apartment you put next to their backyard won't even be associated with you since the people who don't vote usually get all the development anyway. Remember it's the cash that wins elections.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter is Right. All those groups that endorse candidates, especially the democratic party, are so very rude to be endorsing before the filing period ends in mid August to become a candidate qualified for the ballot.

No one should be thinking about the city election before August 25th for an election when voting begins so very much later on October 6th. Those democrats and labor unions are very, very inconsiderate to organize their support base and fundraising more than eight weeks prior to the end of the 28 day voting window period. It's just not fair they do that. The democrats should be ashamed of themselves and apologize for running competitive campaigns.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pathetic response Foo, pathetic. Do you have any control over how trashy you behave?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My apologies to other commentators and webmaster for allowing myself to get dragged down to lower levels. The lines I was coloring within suddenly changed.

Go vote.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The real race will be between the new readers of the Sentinel and the old readers of the Independent.

Which SB weekly has the better fingers on the pulse of this city? We know which one is bringing in the better advertising dollars.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gregory, Why are you convinced the candidate who raises the most money always wins. (BTW: this is not true)

The voters don't get this money, so why would this amount change how they cast their one single vote? I can see money corrupting the candidate; but not the single voter.

What is the surrogate value to the voter that would make them choose to vote for the candidate "who raised the most money"?

How does this money-raising ability become a value to the voter? . Does it confer comfort to the voter they are making a good choice because they see money raised as a vote of confidence by others in this candidate?

Do they assume if the candidate can raise money for his or he election, they will raise money for the city itself?

Or that the candidate knows how to "handle money"?.

In fact, money raised when it comes from the city employee unions is the worst possible endorsement for any candidate because it compromises the candidate upfront, and actually makes the city's fiscal situation even worse.

Yet, you claim "they always win". Please expand a bit why you think this is reason enough to earn their votes?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The real race will be between the new readers of the Sentinel" HA -- the Sentinel's trivial coverage, the sophomoric jokes, the poor copy editing, and the obvious reliance on Montecito Journal all make it an extremely poor pseudo-paper. Yes, there are some good columnists, but not many.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The name is Georgy.

Get it right right Foo.

So why don't you tell me before the election is over who you predict will win, place, and show? For the non-gamblers in the house that means 1rst, 2nd, and 3rd.

And while your at it, give your theory why you think the candidates will place 1rst, 2nd, and 3rd?

After the election you can tell me all about why I'm wrong.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy, I am more interested to learn why you think you are right. Okay, you think top money getters not only win, but win proportionally. How does campaign cash raised equal votes? Serious question.

My own prediction is already out there: forecast hazy. And so goes the city, with whatever new majority emerges. Predicting winners is not as important as predicting outcomes for the city over the next few years with this new 2013 election city council.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 6:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Two things I don't like about the Sentinel and it's sister publication the Montecito Journal:

1. You have to use the proprietary Issuu digital reader. That is so 1990's.

2. Letters are subject to swarmy comments from the editor.

When you submit a letter or opinion piece to the Indy, they let your piece stand alone and don't try to have the last word.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 9:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the Sentinel has no pretensions of being a newspaper; more of a homey fireside chat between the editor and the readers who are drawn to it. His is a fresh take on our town. And has made a presence for himself. How this translates into changing voting patterns this election is anyone's guess.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The real race is to the bar across the street between tallies.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 12:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Sentinel is better than I thought it would be and doesn't seem to in 100% lockstep politically with its sister publication. I appreciate that they've provided another forum for candidates this election cycle. The editorial comments can be a bit smarmy at times and clearly its emphasis is on food and drink, the downtown and Funk Zone "scenes" and a somewhat relentless promotion of local businesses, the latter presumably accounting for all the ad revenue. The copy editing could definitely be better, but even there, it's certainly a vast improvement over the now defunct and laughably non-edited Daily Sound. More local media is a good thing in general, but I'm not sure anyone's endorsements or perceived leaning have all that much effect on voters these days. Does anyone really "clip and save" these things to take to the ballot box or the mail box in this case?

zappa (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

KV for the win!

Helene Schneider's election night shindig will be strategically located @Casa Blanca.

Where are the other candidate's parties?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bendy White - Casa Blanca
Gregg Hart - Arch Rock Fish
Megan Diaz Alley - Arch Rock Fish

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

But who will be floundering at Arch Rock?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good one, DD.

And who thinks they should be next heading to the White House at Casa Blanca? Gotta spend all that left-over campaign cash somewhere.

Is Landecker's shin-dig in the Home Improvement Center parking lot?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

After all that booze, everyone :)

For once I'd like to see John Palminteri plastered in front of the camera.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I predict all the bottom-feeders will be found at Arch Rock Fish. (!)

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I predict Foo will be doing a Streisand impersonation on State St. for change.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hope its not singing, can you spare me a dime's worth of difference between any of these people?

But still it's better to concentrate on the outcomes of the future city council policy decisions, no matter who makes them; not just on who is getting elected today.

Without another election hanging over some council members heads, who knows what they will finally end up doing for the long-range good of the city and their own political legacy.

Go long.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now that this past city council finally resolved the pressing paper or plastic matter, the new city council can start resolving the following matters still left on the table, no matter who wins today:

1. City employee compensation reform
2. $200 million unfunded city employee pension liability
3. $200 million unfunded city infrastructure maintenance back log
4. Audit of all city programs for mission and effectiveness
5. Re-evaluate city administration structure
6. Hire new city attorney and prepare for city administrator retirement
7. Resolve residents primary concerns about gangs and vagrants
8. Enhance city revenues; reduce city expenses
9. Develop city policy on oil development for enhanced city revenues
10. Revise city Municipal Codes for access, relevance and coherence
11. Prepare for looming drought
12. Meet usage expectations that justified new SB airport
13. Set upper limit for total units of fixed-price and/or subsidized housing units
14. Rescind inclusionary housing ordinance
15. Rescind bonus density zoning ordinances
16. Prepare an economic impact report (EcIR) projecting long range effect of current city housing and economic development policies
17. Set aside any further discussion regarding "climate change" as non germane to the official business of this city
18. Don't exceed the tipping point between a city for tourists to enjoy and a city tourists take over
19. Clean up State Street and bring back downtown retail for residents
20. Face down the ACLU when it is in the best interests of the majority of city residents; not allowing excessive rights be granted to only a minority number of city residents at the expense of other's health, welfare and safety.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I posted long ago in this thread, who is this foofighter? Clearly not someone who grew up here: "Develop city policy on oil development for enhanced city revenues." Not even your beloved Hotchkiss would try to get that Agenda item considered. And where in our relatively small City are you going to locate new oil development facilities? I guess we take the good with the bad in this Internet age but foofighter you are boring and apparently too bored with your life. The reality is City registered voters are something like 60% Dems and less than 30% Repubs (I am declined to state if anyone cares to know). Spitting at the wind as they say.

Anyone know what the City's plans are for releasing vote results?

sbreader (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 5:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't-cha just love it. A darn good list for all candidates to consider and I just get dissed personally. Bummer. I was hoping for a discussion of the issues any city council will still have to face.

But all I got was just more trash talk. No skin off my nose if city workers don't get their pensions as promised. But someone who cares, should be looking in to this.

Statewide Dems and unions are very much interested in new oil development, even the County of SB. Get on the gravy train because so far all I hear are more demands for city workers to get raises, and no way to support the new revenues to grant those.

Off-shore fracking or "enhanced extraction" as it is now called works, even in little Santa Barbara. Funk Zone just waiting to be turned into something productive. Heh, heh.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How dare someone other than the Queen of Personal Attacks-Foofighter make an observation of HRM's behavior.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Pot meet kettle. Kettle meet pot.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Outsiders who read this stuff must think we're all crazy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I posted long ago in this thread, who is this foofighter? sbreader (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.

Clearly, someone who likes fighting foo. They might even be a member of the band the Foo Fighters.

After all that booze, everyone :)

For once I'd like to see John Palminteri plastered in front of the camera.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.

Probably not gonna happen, but you can tune in the Today Show and watch Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda down their booze and act pretty bar-flyish.

The name is Georgy.

Get it right right Foo
Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 6:19 p.m. (

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 6:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No local hates the Funk Zone nor would question the productivity that has traditionally taken place there until the wine boom which is based on consumption, not production.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is why Democratic registration does not matter in city elections. Cities do not have the power to tax easily to fund their operations, like the state or federal governments.

If all local Democratic councils do is spend, and not tax like their state and federal counterparts, you end up finally with the $400 million dollars of unfunded promises and obligations the city of Santa Barbara is now facing.

But where is that $400 million coming from. What current city revenue streams can be squeezed to produce that much money?

So it doesn't matter if you elect the Democratic slate or independents or Tea Party republicans, (if they even exist here), whomever is elected has this growing list of problems to solve. The fact that most of them were foisted on this city by past progressive city council majorities does give one pause, if the solution to the problem is to elect even more of them.

But whatever, the problems won't go away. Voters were primarily concerned about gangs and vagrants - both huge drains on our local revenues. Those voters may not have seen both issues as fiscal problems, but certainly anyone who gets elected has to seem them as both: voter concerns and fiscal drains.

Progressive policies grew both problems. Will they choose this route again or will they find a way out of both of them; simply because they must. Party affiliation does not matter.

Same thing for union endorsements; you can't keep tapping the till for employee benefits if there is insufficient money flowing in to support them. We got to a crisis point with future employee pensions now as there is over $200 million short in the pension account to fund all the promises prior progressive councils handed out like Halloween candy.

So again, it doesn't matter if you elect Democrats, Independents or Republicans because the money is due, and the city does not have it and it does not even have a plan to get it.

Just go down the list of 20 and see every single one of these issues requires city council action; no matter who gets elected.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 7:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

City employee unions may find the Funk Zone is the perfect place to put in revenue-producing oil operations for enhanced city revenues.

Unless you can sell a lot of macrame and hand blown glass bongs in the Funk Zone to generate sufficient city sales tax revenues that will cover that $400 million in unfunded city liabilities. And it is growing every year.

Maybe you could pencil this out for us, knowing the retail potential of the Funk Zone better than I do and then compare your final numbers with enhanced oil production revenues the city could potentially generate from this area instead.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 7:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Do you think I am an out-sider because I ask you to do more than sleep, dream and spend money at the same time? That would be a reasonable conclusion based on past performance in this city.

Heck, even your beloved mayor went into panic mode and tried to fund a private city sales tax initiative on the upcoming ballot, until she got batted back for even trying to find a solution to the critical cash flow issues the city now faces.

No wonder Lois Capps seat coming up soon is looking better than sticking around on city council for both Schneider and Hart. Salsipuedes, as they say.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 7:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There's more to life, and a community than dollars and cents. Is there even oil under there or is this just a hope? I've never heard anybody claim there was. If so why wasn't it extracted in the 19teens, 20s, and 30s or before?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 7:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken, you will make a good team member for the city during the next round of contract negotiations with city, fire and SEIU. Just repeat what you just said. This is a message city staff unions need to hear. Progress is being made here.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 8:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

At heart Fooey you're a rank Progressive.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2013 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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