Friday, September 11, 2009

Thyne On The Rebound?

Regardless of whether he is successful in his bid to win a seat on the Santa Barbara City Council, John Thyne can at least say he's created one new job in the community; that of a driver to transport him around.

Thyne's well publicized admission of violating his probation for driving under the influence has left him without an operator's license. But a candidate has to get around town somehow, so Thyne has someone else drive him when he needs to go someplace.

Last night I ran into Thyne, and his driver, down in Ventura at a local hamburger joint. He and I both teach at Ventura College of Law on Thursday nights and like me, he was grabbing a quick bite to eat before class.

He came over to where I was sitting to say hello and when I asked him how the campaign was going, Thyne was notably upbeat.

He told me that he has stopped drinking altogether and although it was tough to take what was being said about him by commenters on the blogs (and presumably from wise guys like myself) in the aftermath of his recent trouble, he said many people had reached out to let him know that they were still supporting his candidacy. People let him know they appreciated his candor and his willingness to accept responsibility. Campaign contributions were continuing to come in, if anything, in larger amounts than before.

He mentioned one person who had seen the TV ad for his campaign and wanted to purchase additional airtime for the ad on his behalf.

I asked Thyne if he had been walking precincts and he confirmed that he indeed was and running into a lot of people he already knew as he went from door-to-door in the neighborhoods. I got the impression that Thyne feels that his campaign is gaining momentum.

Thyne could very well be fighting it out with for the third or fourth place slot in the race with David Pritchett. A day earlier at a city council candidates' forum Thyne and Pritchett disagreed over the need for a gang injunction. Thyne pointed out that gang injunctions have been successfully used in Lompoc and Oxnard and therefore ought to be tried here. Pritchett countered that gang injunctions are a "cheap sound bite" and would not be effective.

On Labor Day, I headed down to the Santa Barbara Democratic League's Annual BBQ, for a little Q'ing with the candidates.

I thought it was interesting that Pritchett seemed to get more applause from the audience when introduced than fellow candidate Cathie McCammon. McCammon has been a long-time member of the party and she and her late husband Mike have been very active over the years in the Democratic League. But many of the party faithful seem distrustful of the fact that she's a part of the Preserve Our Santa Barbara Slate of candidates that includes, Frank Hotchkiss, Michael Self, and Dale Francisco.

(BTW, I found it amusing that as of midnight, Preserve Our Santa Barbara only had four followers on Twitter, and two of them were David Pritchett and myself. I guess the Preserve Our Santa Barbara crowd is not into the social media sites.)

I also had a chance to talk with council candidate "Bendy" White, who told me that the next four years would be "ugly" in terms of dealing with the city budget.

Biggest "no show" at the Labor Day BBQ was mayoral candidate Steve Cushman. Cushman claims "Democratic" as his party affiliation. Cushman's absence meant that Helene Schneider was the lone candidate for mayor who got to speak to the large crowd that came out on the holiday.

I'm sure Cushman must have had something better to do, I just can't imagine what it would have been.

If you haven't had your fill of listening to me talk about local politics you're in luck. I'm part of the next episode of "Real Talk" which features a panel discussion on the upcoming election. Nick Welsh of the Independent and Lara Cooper of Noozhawk are the other members of the panel which is moderated by UCSB Publications director and Calbuzz blogger, Jerry Roberts.

The program will have its first airing at noon today, and will be shown again tonight (Friday) at 8:30 pm on Channel 21 in Santa Barbara. It will re-air Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm and Monday at noon and 8:30 pm.

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If you are into Twitter or want to learn more about how to Twitter you might want to attend Friday night's Twestival on the rooftop of the Canary Hotel. It's a benefit for Direct Relief International.

And of course, you can always follow me on Twitter.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and