I have never been a political person. But having recently moved to Santa Barbara from Honolulu and as a new member of the business community, I feel that it is my responsibility to speak out in support of Dale Francisco for Mayor.

Over the last several months I have worked diligently to obtain the necessary permits to open my new antique and furniture gallery. It has been a long and formidable task, but the end is near.

However, one obstacle, of which I wasn’t aware of when I signed my lease, was that my gallery needed to have more parking; my building was built over 50 years ago and only had a driveway. This obstacle placed my business in jeopardy and I didn’t know where to turn for help.

A friend suggested that I call City Councilman Dale Francisco. Dale answered his own phone, and was kind enough to schedule an appointment to see me just a few days later. He came early, spent about half an hour making suggestions on how to resolve my parking issue, and said he would get back to me the next day with some suggestions. He did.

As a businessman, I appreciate the fact that he took time out of his hectic schedule to meet a new member of the community to offer his help. This is the kind of person we need to help businesses thrive. Santa Barbara needs someone who takes the time to care about a small business such as mine.

As he left I offered to volunteer to help his campaign, but he said that it wasn’t necessary because he was only doing his job.-Thomas Chock, Design Infusion

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Having recently moved to Santa Barbara as a student of political science, I have become intrigued by the current mayoral campaign. I have struggled to find independent information on each of the candidates. Further reading into Francisco showed that he is already an elected city councilman, willing to relinquish his existing standing in return for the mayoral position. I wonder whether this shows more personal ambitions toward higher office, than it does a genuine concern for Santa Barbara itself? I simply cannot find an alternative motivation for his candidacy. Francisco’s campaign is very critical of the current City Council. Yet, this is the same Council that he has sat on for the last two years. His quest for power seems questionable, given that he has yet to prove himself and fulfill the pledges he made back in 2007. If he really cared about Santa Barbara, Mr. Francisco should honor his commitment to its citizens and finish his remaining two years before seeking higher office. Would moving from council member to mayor bring about the change he says the city needs? Or would it be a step towards fulfilling Mr. Francisco’s future career ambitions of a higher state office?-Miss C. Widdison, Goleta

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Like so many other citizens, I am struggling with the choices of mayor and city counselors in the election that is underway. I am looking for candidates who

1) Understand our system of local government — a city manager system. We have highly qualified and highly paid executives who administer our programs. The City Council represents the residents and directs the city managers. As a result, we do not need and do not want full-time counselors or a full-time mayor.

2) Have broad and deep experience with all areas of city government — planning is important, but there are many other important issues, such as public safety, recreation, facilities management, public housing, harbor, water, waste treatment, and youth programs, to name a few.

3) Have broad and deep experience working with all segments of our community, including neighborhoods, not-for-profit organizations, and businesses. Our success as a community depends on a wide variety of individuals and institutions, each performing its specialty and all co-operating with each other.

Fortunately, we have a candidate for mayor whose entire adult life has been contributing in these areas. His only motivation in running for mayor is to bring us all together to work out our differences, design action plans to achieve our goals, and implement those plans effectively to reverse the decline of our community. He knows every segment of local government, every business, and every neighborhood. He seeks no personal gain, and he seeks no higher office.

I am tired of politicians who have all the answers and promise to ram them down out throats, who promise to “fight for us”. Fight who ? I want a mayor who will bring us together, focus on our local issues, help us to listen and hear, and tap the creativity of all of the community to solve problems. There is one candidate who can and who will. He is Steve Cushman.

I have known Steve since he was recruited to serve as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce-which was in financial difficulty at the time, although on a much smaller scale than our city today. He immediately pulled together a strong Board of Directors, expanded programs and memberships, and built a robust Chamber which serves all segments of our community. He has the leadership to encourage the best ideas, the ability to listen to new ideas, and the tenacity to see initiatives through to their success. He has served on a plethora of boards and commissions, and contributed to addressing every important issue that the city has faced for more than twenty years. {His advice has not always been taken by the powers that be.}

We cannot find a better candidate, and I urge you to vote Steve Cushman for mayor.-Peter Naylor

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This letter is to support Michael Self for Santa Barbara City Council. In recent years, she has led the effort for effective transportation planning in the City of Santa Barbara. Were it not for Self’s participation in the transportation planning process in the city, even more intersections would have mini-roundabouts, bulb-outs, and other counterproductive “traffic calming” devices.

Michael Self will be a strong independent voice for fiscal restraint in the tough budget decisions the city will have to make in the coming years. She understands that money wasted in one area of the city budget means that fewer funds are available in other areas. She opposed the recent $3 million plan for vast expansion of bulbouts and traffic impediments west of State Street.

Self is also a preservationist who supports Measure B to limit building heights in the City of Santa Barbara. She understands that to have a financially solvent community that appeals to tourists and residents, the historical small-town charm of the city must be preserved.-Ashleigh Newton

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Why should the overtaxed taxpayers vote for Schneider & House to the silly council. The expenses went up 70 percent in the last few years, and the only sane council member who said no was Dale Francisco. The city of Santa Barbara is bankrupt, and Helene Schneider and Grant House both deserve to lose with their blue line wacky left agenda. They are both soft on gangs & crime, and love to spend our money with higher fee’s and taxes.

Why are they both against gang injunctions? This means gangs can no longer hang around each other or wear gang attire-no more clown outfits intimidating the community.These two probably don’t have kids? Vote them out. Change is needed.-Kevin O’Connor


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