Frank Hotchkiss
Paul Wellman

November’s mayoral race just got a little more crowded and a lot more interesting with Santa Barbara City Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss announcing his candidacy this Saturday to a few dozen supporters gathered on the outside patio of Chuck’s Waterfront Grill. Hotchkiss, by margins the most conservative member of the left-leaning council, challenges Democrats Cathy Murillo and Hal Conklin for the center seat on the dais. “This isn’t going to be an easy climb,” warned Hotchkiss, now serving his second term on the council and terming out this year. “We have a powerful political machine opposing us.” But, he continued, that same machine opposed him four and eight years ago, and he beat it both times. “So guess what we’re going to do this year? We’re going to win again!”

With characteristically direct delivery, Hotchkiss rattled off his accomplishments on the council: He took credit for increasing the number of cruise ships visiting Santa Barbara from two in 2009 to 29 this year. “No other candidate for the office of mayor can boast of this.” And he highlighted how the police force has grown by 16 positions in that time. “Some people call me the law-and-order candidate. Well, I’m happy with that.” Hotchkiss also talked about opposing the installation of parking meters in the downtown historic district, removing RVs from Cabrillo Boulevard, and rallying support for the State Street Christmas tree when Edison threatened to pull the plug. “We saved Christmas!”

Looking ahead, Hotchkiss said the city should upgrade its police station, support efforts to curb bad behavior by homeless “who now act as if they own our streets and parks,” and mend its aging infrastructure. Though that would mean new sources of revenue, Hotchkiss was clear none of it should be levied on voters without their personal approval — a clear reference to the sales-tax-increase measure that will likely appear on the November ballot — and it should be carefully controlled so the funds go toward their intended purpose, “not some errant project that favors political favorites.” Hotchkiss also promised to provide more off-street parking and forever put to bed any hope for rent control. “And we’re not going to pour huge amounts of water meant for Santa Barbara from Lake Cachuma into the ocean in the unlikely prospect of saving a few fish.”

Hotchkiss ended by issuing a stern message to anyone who might consider Santa Barbara a “sanctuary city” that protects its undocumented residents from enhanced federal immigration policies. “We are a nation of laws, not a haven for people whose first act is to break those laws,” he said. “Santa Barbara is a sanctuary for people who want to work hard to achieve their hopes and dreams legally.”


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