Mayor Cathy Murillo lost an appointment to a seat she coveted her first day in office. She had insisted that she be appointed to the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), which is a regional planning agency that includes representatives from the county and all the incorporated cities in the county. It distributes local, state, and federal transportation funds throughout the county and acts as a forum for addressing regional and multi-jurisdictional issues. Murillo’s peers voted to appoint Councilmember Jason Dominguez in a 3-2 vote. Councilmember Greg Hart abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest. He is a deputy executive at SBCAG.

When councilmembers are termed out, their assignments are redistributed by majority vote. Councilmember Dan Secord, not the mayor, served on SBCAG for years. His peers chose him over the mayor.

Mayor Murillo won’t be a team player and compromise. Instead she and Councilmember Eric Friedman are practicing party politics and are trying to remove Dominguez from SBCAG. Is this a good use of council and staff’s time and city resources?

The city faces urgent issues that demand a professional mayor. They include: the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslide, downtown revitalization, homelessness, affordable housing, and developer giveaways. These issues outweigh county issues and they should be the mayor’s priority.

Should Mayor Murillo be attempting to manipulate council appointments and play party politics rather than focusing on the top priorities of the city? Tell the City Council what you think:


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