Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Last Round-Up for Preserve Our Santa Barbara?

A half-million dollars, and only two city council seats to show for it. Did the negative campaigning work?

Heck, Randall Van Wolfswinkel couldn't even save Measure B's bacon.

I would argue that Michael Self and Frank Hotchkiss, the two council candidates backed by the Texan's Preserve Our Santa Barbara PAC, won in spite of Preserve Our Santa Barbara. They were lucky to have had the backing of the Santa Barbara Police Officer's Association, something that the rest of the POSB slate did not have.

On the other hand, another seasoned political observer told me that with Self and Hotchkiss joining Francisco on the council, there is now a three-member conservative voting block that the other four council members will have to deal with. That's something that this town hasn't seen in a month of Texas Sundays and may be reason enough for Van Wolfswinkel to celebrate.

Just the same, those two council seats turned out to be very expensive at over a quarter of a million dollars apiece.

While there may be a debate about whether Van Wolfswinkel has anything to kick up his heels about, there is no doubt that Helene Schneider has plenty to celebrate.

Tuesday night at Dargan's, the site of her victory party, the mayor elect, dressed in a black pin-stripe suit with a green collar, posed with her proud mother, Diane Sadowy, who flew out from New York City for the occasion.

Schneider was running about 2,000 votes ahead of the second place finisher Dale Francisco, who was backed by Preserve Our Santa Barbara, and 5,700 votes in front of Steve Cushman. Perhaps the biggest story of the election was how poorly Cushman did. After all, this is a guy who had plenty of money and plenty of commercials. The only thing Cushman had that was lacking in abundance was voters willing to darken the circle next to his name.

It wasn't exactly a throw out the rascals kind of night either. The lone incumbent running for reelection, Grant House, was the top vote getter in the council race, followed by the de-facto incumbent, Bendy White. Although he's new to the council, White is a city hall insider having most recently, served as a planning commissioner.

David Pritchett, the council candidate that the Santa Barbara News-Press did its best to defeat, had 2,000 or so more votes than Justin Tevis, whom the paper endorsed along with Self and Hotchkiss.

Pritchett may return to another council race to ride again. The question is, whether Van Wolfswinkel and Preserve Our Santa Barbara will?

Latest election tallies are here.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and