With the swearing in of two new councilmembers who won election this past November — Alejandra Gutierrez and Michael Jordan — and the two incumbents who faced no challengers at all — Meagan Harmon and Oscar Gutierrez — Santa Barbara City Hall is now run exclusively by registered Democrats. What that means in practice has yet to be seen, but not since 2006 has any one party held such absolute dominance on a board that’s nominally nonpartisan.
Despite this apparent political homogeneity, the council is now more diverse than ever before with four women, three persons of color — two of whom made remarks in both Spanish and English — four who have children living at home, and six of whom who work full-time.
Stepping down from the dais was one-term councilmember Jason Dominguez, who lost reelection by just nine votes but just had a baby daughter, and nine-year councilmember Randy Rowse. Both were given warm send-offs and gently roasted. Rowse — a decline-to-state and the only non-Democrat on the council — was described alternately as the “Gandalf” and “Grumpy Old Man” of the council. Rowse dished a little back, stating in jest, “On a really personal note, I’d like to close by saying, I never liked any of you all very much.”