I am compelled to run because this City Council lacks clear mayoral leadership and continuity. Last week, that was highlighted in a rather unfortunate way. This leadership void has led to the sudden announcement from our city manager, Paul Casey, that he will be stepping down effective September 10. This swift departure is unprecedented for this position.
Tone, direction, and decorum is the mayor’s primary function in leading City Council. It is vital for the mayor to work in sync with the city’s lead executive. Lacking that teamwork, the city manager’s job becomes difficult, if not impossible, to perform well. Staff and uniformed public safety have not been supported by the mayor in these critical times, and we face a period with an interim police chief and city administrator, two of the most critical factors in the continuity of the city’s organization. The mayor’s status as the head of council also was diminished when she diverted her energies to run for State Assembly in the middle of her first term as mayor.
Santa Barbara has always thrived at the crossroads of treasuring our history while embracing progressive new ideas, values, and environmental quality. Currently, we can’t locate those crossroads. Policy and direction are adrift with no forward momentum, and we are scrambling to fill the two most important positions in the city. We can no longer afford to fall subordinate to a mayor’s personal ideologies and political ambitions.
Santa Barbara’s future depends on clear, assertive direction, and so does the success of our next city administrator. Simply put, we must make a change in the position of mayor this November.
I spent 37 years as a business owner and employer with a bird’s-eye view of City Hall. I worked with every mayor and city administrator during that period. I served on council for the last nine of those 37 years. During that time I had one foot in the private sector and the other in the public sector. I know what it takes to balance competing interests. I understand what trials small business goes through. I lived that cooperative synergy, through good times and bad and came to understand that party politics and personal ideologies have no business in city governance. The focus must be local, the stewardship taken seriously, and the teamwork robust.
This November’s upcoming vote is critical. If we can prevail, and, quite frankly, we must, I see a bright future ahead of us.
Join me in bringing leadership and common sense back to City Hall.