Twelve individuals have taken out papers to run for the four seats up for grabs in this November’s Santa Barbara City Council elections. Five have run for office before, and three are incumbents. With August 9 as the deadline for filing, that number could easily grow.
District 2, which encompasses the Mesa and City College, has drawn the most attention with six potential candidates looking to fill the seat of termed-out Councilmember Randy Rowse. Of the six, 10-year Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan has the most experience; only one — attorney Luis Esparza — has run before. Joining the fray are first-timers Tavis Boise, a young, environmentally minded candidate whose parents started Island Seed & Feed; Teri Jory, a black belt fitness instructor and motivational speaker who is president of Our Mesa Neighborhood Inc.; real estate agent Brian Campbell; and harbor boat merchant Matt Kilrain, who goes by the colorful sobriquet “Boat Rat Matt.” Jordan has won the endorsement of the Democratic Party, Campbell is a registered Republican in a nominally nonpartisan race, and Jory has a shot at getting support from prominent women activists who don’t always see eye-to-eye with the Democratic Party.
In District 1, which encompasses the city’s Eastside, incumbent Jason Dominguez is seeking reelection to a second term. Running for the first time is Alejandra Gutierrez, who runs the Franklin Service Center and has been endorsed by the Democratic Party. Cruzito Herrera Cruz, who has run for council numerous times before, is jumping into the fray once again. Cruz was among the plaintiffs who successfully sued City Hall to switch from at-large to district elections, but not before having a falling out with his fellow litigants. Also running is Ajay Patel, who is a musician and Ayurvedic doctor.
Two of the council seats appear poised to have uncontested races. Incumbent Oscar Gutierrez of District 3 — the Westside — has been endorsed by the Democratic Party and is thus far facing no opposition. The same is true for Meagan Harmon, who represents downtown’s District 6 and was appointed just months ago to fill the vacancy created when longtime Councilmember Gregg Hart was elected to the Board of Supervisors.