Two of the five plaintiffs who successfully sued the City of Santa Barbara to adopt district elections have indicated their intention to run for the one open council seat that will represent the city’s Eastside: Jacqueline Inda and Sebastian Aldana. Although potential candidates have until July to file their intention to run, there’s been a scramble among the activist base to identify possible competitors for what appears to be the only seriously contested race for the three council seats up for grabs this November.
Inda, who runs a business as a process server, became politically engaged in the fight against the proposed gang injunction. She’s also been outspoken in her opposition to the proposed Eastside Business Improvement District, participating in the PODER-led protest in front of El Bajio restaurant, whose owner supports the business district. “I was born in this neighborhood,” Inda said. “This is where I call home.” Strongly considering joining Inda in the fray is fellow litigant Sebastian Aldana, who has served on the Neighborhood Advisory Council for three years and was on the Franklin Neighborhood Advisory Council for five years prior. Aldana was founding member of the Milpas Community Association but was expelled by the board after he joined the district elections lawsuit.
This November, the Eastside, Westside, and Mesa districts will be up for election. Of those, the Eastside and Westside have Latino majorities. Incumbent Councilmember Cathy Murillo is seeking reelection from the Westside; incumbent Councilmember Randy Rowse, who lives on the Mesa, seeks reelection there. This Tuesday the council approved paying an additional $78,088 to Barry Cappello, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. Cappello had already been paid $599,500 in compensation for legal fees and expenses, and the new payment — described sardonically by Councilmember Randy Rowse as “a tip” — will bring the total to $677,588.