Friday, October 19, 2007

The Political Name Game

Some things just sneak up on you. Between covering the News-Press/NLRB hearings, working on a big project for one of my teaching jobs and spending a long weekend on the east coast, I lost track of the fact that the Santa Barbara City Council election is less than a month away.

Since I’m familiar with the three incumbents, Brian Barnwell, Helene Schneider and Das Williams, who are running for re-election, I embarked on a crash course this past weekend trying to learn about the challengers. After all, one wants to be an educated voter.

And since none of the challengers have much in the way of name identification, I’ve been trying to come up with my own monikers to keep track of who’s who. It hasn’t been easy.

One of the candidates, Dan Litten, was quoted in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound as suggesting that eliminating the use of air conditioning in city owned buildings might be a way of saving money.

I get it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of City Hall.

Presumably Litten wouldn’t implement any policies that would jeopardize the health and well-being of city workers, after all, he is a physician.

I’d call him “the good doctor” except for the fact that at my age the only good doctors are the ones whom I can ask about whether Viagra is right for me.

Too bad Litten is an internist and not a urologist.

Then there’s Bob Hansen, the “experienced” candidate. Experienced in that this is about the umpteenth time he’s run for either a seat on the council or for mayor, all without success.

I find it hard to get excited when the only advantage to be gained by voting someone into office is to get them off the unemployment rolls.

A newcomer to elections is Michelle Giddens, otherwise known as “Ms. McMansion.” It’s rumored that she got into the race for city council when her efforts to enlarge her Mesa home were rebuffed.

Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned, or one that’s had her application for a building permit rejected.

Then there are the two car guys, realtor Frank Hotchkiss and engineer Dale Francisco. On the issue of traffic congestion both have pooh-poohed the idea of encouraging residents to take alternative forms of transportation such as buses, walking or riding a bike.

Local videographer Larry Nimmer has done a series of video profiles that are running on Channel 21 about each of the candidates. Each video starts with a tour of the candidate’s home. Sort of like a local version of “MTV Cribs” the popular show where rock stars and athletes take viewers on a tour of their pads.

With the two car guys in the race maybe Larry should have opened his profiles of Hotchkiss and Francisco with a version of “Pimp My Ride.”

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