A recent op-ed appeared at independent.com about how “this election matters … ” That sentiment is spot on, and while I have deep respect for the author and his academic and political credentials (although Frank Hotchkiss was never chair of the local GOP as stated), I have a different perspective on the premise of his letter.
City Council, by nature and definition is a nonpartisan body that, for the most part, performs pretty mundane tasks like keeping the lights turned on, the water running, the streets safe and clean, and acting as responsible stewards of the treasury. The work isn’t always particularly glamorous, but it is satisfying in that we have the opportunity to represent individuals who live and work in our community and help them with issues in their day-to-day lives. Political party, ethnicity, gender, or any other type of prejudicial divide should never drive this type of service, nor should this office be seen as a requisite or convenient stepping stone to an ambitious political career. It is ad hoc; you work for the citizens of this community, period.
Our current City Council represents a broad spectrum of political affiliation and ideological diversity, yet we remain, for the most part, functional in terms of service to the community. This council passed the General Plan Update, which took many years, debates, compromises, and dollars to ratify. A few of the challengers for council seats want to reopen this process as they are not satisfied that this plan fits their particular ideology or vision. This council, with due credit to the mayor’s ability to referee, passed this plan 7-0, hardly a partisan result.
Our current public employee contracts involved sacrifice on the part of our bargaining units, but the results reflect the times, are fair, and are more sustainable. The future has promise and the trends are positive, yet budgetary caution needs to remain the watchword into the foreseeable future.
To provide sustainable programs that preserve our city and ensure public safety, cleanliness, and the fiscal vitality of Santa Barbara, I encourage you to join me and vote for Frank Hotchkiss and Lesley Wiscomb for City Council.