Das Williams election to the State Assembly on Tuesday means that he will be vacating his seat on the Santa Barbara City Council. So who will replace him?
Look for everybody and their mother to be applying to take his seat. After all, how often do you get the chance to jump onto the City Council without having to walk precincts and buy those pricey TV spots?
One political sage in town, who doesn't want his name showing up on my blog, told me: "About 12 usual suspects who actually know how City government works will apply to be appointed, plus no doubt at least 10 non-credible candidates." Well, at least my source is diplomatic about it.
The body that gets to do the appointing is the present Council, which without Williams will be evenly divided between progressives (Helene Schneider, Grant House and Bendy White) and conservatives (Dale Francisco, Frank Hotchkiss and Micheal Self).
While each faction on the council would probably like to see someone cut from the same cloth that they are get the appointment it doesn't seem likely that one side would be willing to appoint someone who could be predictably relied on to give the other side the controlling vote on the council.
I'd imagine that wouldn't bode well for David Pritchett, who finished just out of the money a year ago when he ran for council and garnered 5,000 or so votes. Pritchett would undoubtedly be aligned with the liberals on the Council.
Although he got fewer votes than Pritchett, John Thyne, who is believed to still be interested in becoming a council member, might have a chance as he perhaps could not be counted on to vote consistently with one side or the other.
And then there's Pedro Nava, the termed-out member of the Assembly who Williams will be succeeding. Soon to be without a job, the Democrat was recently seen standing next to Republican Francisco at a hastily called press conference denouncing the burning of a "Yes on Measure T" sign. He's been critical of the Council recently which could be an indication of his interest in joining it.
Of course the irony there is that Nava's wife, Susan Jordan, lost to Williams in the bitterly fought primary race to be the Democratic party's candidate for the Assembly. Who would have thought that a loss for Susan might mean a job for Pedro?
Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if the next council member is someone who is relatively obscure. Given the politics, the best route to get onto the Council may be under the radar.
© 2010 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com