The Santa Barbara Democratic Party announced its endorsement of Planning Commissioner Harwood “Bendy” White for Santa Barbara City Council in lieu of Olivia Uribe, who dropped out of the race three weeks ago after losing her job. The Dems have also endorsed Helene Schneider for mayor, plus Grant House and Dianne Channing for council. Vying unsuccessfully for the nod after Uribe’s withdrawal was David Pritchett, who’d quarreled openly with party chief Daraka Larimore-Hall for being passed over initially, and Cathie McCammon, a longtime party activist whom the party did not initially interview. Pritchett, knowledgeable about creeks, did win the endorsement of former 2nd District supervisor Susan Rose this week.
For the past several years, the Santa Barbara Finance Department was run by “the two Bobs”: finance czar Bob Peirson and his assistant Bob Samario. This week, the retiring Peirson passed the baton to Samario, who marked the occasion by delivering a detailed roadmap of City Hall’s $2.4 million deficit just two months after the City Council passed a “balanced budget.” Next week, the council will conduct three back-to-back meetings to find a way out of the hole, which only got deeper due to July’s bed tax numbers, 14 percent down from last year.
Despite pleas from neighbors to deny the application, the Planning Commission last week approved plans for a medical marijuana dispensary on the 500 block of Milpas Street. The Santa Barbara Patients’ Collective Health Cooperative was complimented by commissioners for a thorough application and heavy-handed approach to security, including promises of 14 cameras, licensed guards, and strict parking lot supervision. The approval-a 4-1 vote, with Harwood “Bendy” White dissenting-comes as the City Council is actively reworking the medical marijuana dispensary regulations they approved last year.
Santa Barbara City Councilmember Das Williams estimated he lost about 10 pounds while conducting a week-long hunger strike protesting recent cuts to public education pushed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and approved by the Legislature. Williams-who is running for the Democratic Party nomination for State Assembly-said the Legislature is starving public education. “The people should be angry,” he said. Williams claimed the Legislature could still raise $7 billion by passing an oil severance tax and imposing a 10-cents-a-drink tax on bars to help soften the blow to public education.
Santa Barbara philanthropist Alma Pearson, who died at age 96 last November, left in her will $1.8 million to the Santa Barbara Zoo. The Zoo will dedicate California Plaza, the center of the new California Trails exhibit, to the memory of Alma and Clifford Pearson. This new $7.5 million exhibit complex, featuring California condors and other endangered or threatened species from the Golden State, opened on Earth Day 2009.