Hot Seat: Democrats roasted former mayor Marty Blum and outgoing City Council members Roger Horton and Iya Falcone Friday night, January 22, pelting them with cracks about Travis Armstrong, Iya’s new motorcycle enthusiasm, and Horton’s railroad obsession.
But the biggest laugh of the evening came when Blum donned a silver fright wig and told how, back when she still got the Santa Barbara News-Press, she’d trudge down the driveway every morning to pick it up.
Then she’d sit down to read Armstrong’s latest diatribe. But the poison pen editorial page columnist’s anti-Blum invective just “made me stronger,” she told partiers at the Democratic Central Committee roast at Carr Winery on Salsipuedes Street. Then, to cheers from the Demos, she donned a Valkyrie headdress, complete with helmet and flying braids, and threw her arms in the air triumphantly. The crowd cheered.
But all things pass. Blum has left her City Hall office to newly elected mayor Helene Schneider, and Armstrong resigned and decamped to Palm Springs in November. Blum says she and husband Joe plan a trip to Australia and then she wants to write a book. About what, I asked? “Being mayor.” Looks like she’ll have the last word.
Falcone was the target of jokes about roaring out of City Hall, figuratively, on a Harley Davidson. “Maybe she even packs a gun,” cracked one roaster, this writer. The two other roasters, Paul Berenson and Hillary Blackerby, added more motorcycle jokes, then turned to Horton’s long and earnest campaign for commuter rail. So far, it’s yet to happen. If Horton had been mayor, I suggested, the council would probably have met in a boxcar.
Horton somehow managed to serve two terms without making an enemy, at least that anyone’s noticed. And now it’s too late.
There were plenty of cracks about the controversial blue line public art project that was proposed, to show how high global warming might cause part of the city to become awash with ocean water. (Odd how seemingly innocent ideas generate a political firestorm.) The Democrats presented Blum with a crown festooned with tiny campaign signs, including one reading Yes on Measure B (the failed height-limit proposition) and one displaying a band of, yes, blue.
Although Democrats have a reputation for feuding, all was sweetness and light aside from the roasting. On hand were the two Democrats battling to win the June primary for Assembly, Das Williams and Susan Jordan, and two other politicos said to be at odds, 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who is termed-out and running for attorney general—and working to get his wife, Susan Jordan, elected.
TV newsman John Palminteri was scintillating as MC, as usual.
Barney Brantingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 965-5205, Ext. 230. He writes online columns and a print column on Thursdays