Like many Santa Barbarans, I moved to the area for college, fell in love, and then made the uneasy transition from college student to young professional in one the most beautiful and expensive parts of the U.S.
Santa Barbara is an easy town to love, but a hard one to stay in, even for lifelong residents. When I learned in 2017 that our new mayor, Cathy Murillo, the first Latina ever elected to the office, was a renter, I was pleasantly surprised. I have continued to be pleased with Cathy’s tireless service to renters and young people in our community. Cathy has been an advocate for renters and prioritized building new affordable housing.
As someone who just moved from San Roque to the Westside, I can personally attest that there is a desperate need for more affordable housing, both for recent transplants and generational Santa Barbrarans.
During a historically loud four years, some of Cathy’s accomplishments have been drowned out, but that does not make them less important. I’m proud that during Cathy’s first term as mayor, our City Council voted to adopt the clean energy initiative, a statewide program to get our city off of fossil fuels by 2030. I’ve lived in the area for less than 10 years, but I’ve already seen more oil spills than I care to remember.
Finally, and call me biased, but I want a democrat to be mayor. Santa Barbara is a majority Democratic city and it would be absurd for us to allow a Republican (even one who won’t call himself that) like Randy Rowse into the Mayor’s Office. I won’t speak ill of other Democratic candidates but a split ticket amongst Democrats is the most certain way for a candidate who has accepted money from Trump donors to become our mayor.
We are living through a crucial period in Santa Barbara’s history; the revitalization of State Street, a dignified and real solution to homelessness, and the very ability of residents to continue to live here are all at stake.
While not always perfect, Cathy Murillo has been an exceptional and highly accessible mayor through very difficult times, she more than deserves our votes for a second term.