The special election to fill Mayor Cathy Murillo’s Third District Council seat has the ability to Manhattanize Santa Barbara by zoning the downtown for high density residential housing. The plan, now championed by Murillo’s faction on City Council, calls for 2,500 AUD (Average Unit-size Density) units in buildings that are five stories or taller while planning to use our public parking structures to satisfy the parking demand for these residential units. No parking will be required or provided.
This plan is outrageous and will simply create more housing our residents and workforce cannot afford while it props up the over inflated property values downtown where vacancies are increasing at the same time rents are rising and well over market rate already.
To accomplish Murillo’s plan to gentrify and redevelop the downtown, a single vote on City Council is needed. Oscar Gutierrez, if elected, will hand that vote to Murillo because he will be indebted to her. Murillo will be solely responsible for getting him elected. She lobbied the Democratic Party for him, locking out other more competent candidates, has given speeches at what were supposed to be candidate-only interviews, written a $5,000 check to his campaign, and is now walking the precincts for him. It is almost as if she is running for City Council and not him.
If voters want to elect a leader who understands economics and who will fight to create housing policies that will ensure that affordable housing is built and prioritized there is only one choice. That choice is Michael Vidal. Vidal has the experience the city needs to make decisions that will benefit residents not push them out. By choosing Michael Vidal on June 5, voters will get an independent thinker who will put their needs over investors and give all residents a voice and a seat at the table.