Democrats Back Expected Slate of Council Candidates, with One Notable Exception

Eric Friedman Ran Afoul of Party Activists by Endorsing His Mother in Last Year’s SBCC Trustee Election

Councilmember Eric Friedman still has questions after six months of renting out the Rose Garden Inn to homeless people. How should success be defined? Would money be better spent by converting low-rent motels into permanent low-income rentals? And what’s the best way to deal with meth addicts on the streets? | Credit: Courtesy

The Democratic Central Committee endorsed all Democrat incumbent candidates in this year’s Santa Barbara City Council race, with the notable exception of Eric Friedman, also a Democrat, who has run afoul of some party activists by endorsing his mother, Celeste Barber, in last year’s election for the City College Board of Trustees. 

Barber, a former City College instructor, enjoyed a brief moment on Fox News when she spoke up last year in favor of keeping the Pledge of Allegiance, which board chair Robert Miller had castigated as an expression of white supremacy. During the campaign, Barber also spoke out against the resolution in favor of Black Lives Matter by the board majority. Barber was soundly defeated in her race by Anna Everett.

Friedman, a moderate on the council, defended his mother, noting that over the years she had been an ardent supporter of unions and an equally fierce defender of abortion rights and had marched against the war in Iraq. In addition, he cited her work in opening a halfway house, where women of color facing drug charges could get treatment for addiction instead of jail time. 

During last week’s Central Committee meeting, Friedman exhausted his allotted time defending his mother and the issue of his endorsement has been tabled until next month’s convocation of the party faithful. 

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