Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Steve Tells Dale: "I Think You Ought To Bail"

Political campaigns have a way of becoming contentious and nasty. Perhaps feeling that he was in such a race with Steve Cushman as they competed for the hearts and minds of the same voters, Dale Francisco wanted to talk with Cushman and remind him that the day after election day, no matter whether it was himself, Cushman or Helene Schneider who was the mayor elect of Santa Barbara, they would both have to wake up and look in the mirror.

So, last Thursday, at Francisco's suggestion, the two of them met.

"I had asked Steve to get together to see if we could smooth some things out. I said that I'm the only one on the council that gives a damn about business and that when all this is over we're still going to both be here," is what Francisco told me just before the start of Monday evening's mayoral forum at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Cushman himself would later characterize the meeting as "productive." Many people in Cushman's position might have followed-up on the meeting with a short e-mail. If you're old school, you might have expressed your appreciation for getting together in a handwritten note.

Cushman responded by shooting off a two -page letter to Francisco suggesting that he get out of the mayor's race.

Cushman started the letter by talking in terms of "working together." But he quickly explained what his idea of teamwork was: "And, by working together," Cushman wrote, "I mean that you drop out of the Mayor’s race and support my campaign."

At first, Francisco said, "no comment," when I asked him if he had a response to Cushman's letter.

I asked him if there had been an expectation on his part that whatever was said at the meeting would remain private. "Yes!" He said with a laugh.

With that, Francisco turned and walked away. And no, he didn't look like he was headed over to Cushman headquarters to pick up a bunch of "Steve for Mayor" lawn signs.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com