Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kicking It Off With The Council Candidates

It's a field of a dozen, or more, with new names being tossed into the ring seemingly on a daily basis.

While most of us are just getting to know the candidates for Santa Barbara City Council, the News-Press has evidently already decided who among them it is going to anoint.

And surprise, surprise. For the newspaper who's readership has pretty much been reduced to the "get off my lawn" crowd, the two candidates whom the News-Press is putting its money on are "get off my lawn" politicians, Frank Hotchkiss and Michael Self.

The lead editorial in Wednesday's edition of the News-Press described the news that Hotchkiss and Self had entered the race as "refreshing." According to the News-Press, the good people of Santa Barbara have been "hoodwinked" for too long.

And this is who they think is going to lead us out of the wilderness?

The name dropping of the favored candidates hasn't been limited to the paper's opinion pages. Hotchkiss announcement that he was entering the race got him front page stories, complete with photos, in both Tuesday's and Wednesday's edition.

The Wednesday story on Hotchkiss' announcement came with signs of an impending identity crisis on the candidate's part. Within the first three paragraphs of the article, Hotchkiss was variously described as a "business man," "realtor" and "the author of three unpublished novels."

Three unpublished novels? Finally, Wendy McCaw can point to something that's read less than her paper.

Certain to draw far less attention from the News-Press than the candidacy of Hotchkiss is the plunge into the council race by David Pritchett, who announced his candidacy before a crowd of 60 or so Wednesday evening at Oak Park.

Once dubbed a "media provocateur" by Nick Welsh of The Independent, Pritchett, long a vocal opponent of the News-Press, told those who gathered to kick off his campaign that he was running because he wanted to "keep Santa Barbara as Santa Barbara."

Pritchett delivered a portion of his remarks in Spanish, spoken so slowly, even I could understand it.

As far as I know, no candidate for council had more people show up for their kick-off party than John Thyne. Of course, offering a bountiful buffet on a Wednesday right after work at Ruby's Cafe can't hurt. But free food or no free food, Thyne seems to be attracting an impressive cross-section of supporters.

I would be surprised though if anyone can unseat council member Grant House, the only incumbent in this race. House kicked off his campaign last Sunday at a home in the not-so-Hidden Valley.

When it came time for House to give a short speech he was introduced by fellow council member Roger Horton, and Mayor Marty Blum. Among those looking on were another council candidate Diane Channing, mayoral candidate Helene Schneider and Goleta Mayor, Roger Aceves.

House was one of three candidates for the council who received the endorsement of the county's Democratic Party late last week. The other candidates to receive the party's nod are Channing and Olivia Uribe, who is holding her kick-off event tonight (Thursday.) next Thursday.

The endorsement process was not without some controversy. Catherine McCammon, who's been active in Democratic politics before Uribe was born, was reportedly not even asked by the party to fill out a questionnaire. which was a prerequisite to being endorsed.

My guess is, we may not have heard the last of that.

And although I haven't yet encountered them on the campaign trail, I do want to mention the names of council candidates Bendy White, Lane Anderson and Justin Tevis. (Throw a party guys!)

And yes, I've still probably left some candidate's name out.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and