In Santa Barbara we knew that Liberals control the Senate. But most of us were surprised to find out that Conservatives had control of the House. Make that, Grant House.
While I seriously doubt that House was under anyone's control, the vote that he cast with the conservative bloc to make Randy Rowse the newest member of the Santa Barbara City Council surprised and even outraged some Liberals in town.
I, like a lot of people, had figured that if anyone from the Liberal bloc of the Council was going to cross over and cast their vote with the Conservatives it would most likely be Bendy White.
But White never wavered. Instead of voting for Sheila Lodge, who on a couple of early rounds had three votes, he stuck with candidates who weren't getting any love from the three Conservatives on the Council.
With the prospects of selecting a successor to Das Williams rapidly going nowhere, House suddenly became the compromiser. The first sign that he was going to cross over to the other side is when he put Rowse's name into nomination. After all, if he wasn't going to vote for him, why would he nominate him? Once that occurred it was quickly over.
Sometimes people want to wind up meetings because they are getting hungry. House apparently wanted a Paradise Burger.
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Grumbling among local liberals and Democrats immediately began to percolate on the Internet. Hillary Blackerby, a local who describes herself on her Facebook page as a "Democratic Hack for Lyfe" posted this comment, which appears to be a reference to House, on her wall shortly after the vote : "Um hello giant disappointment in person I love(d)."
Sounds like Blackerby's Christmas gift list just got a little bit shorter.
Another Democratic party activist, who did not wish to have his name used, told me that House "caved" and will be hearing about it for a long time, "especially after every vote that keeps Santa Barbara the home of the rich car guys and no one else."
The fear seems to be that not only did Franscisco, Hotchkiss and Self get another player for their team, they got a strong player.
Although the office of city council member is officially non-partisan, you can understand why Democrats and Liberals might be wary of Rowse. After all, as recently as late October his restaurant was the site of a meet and greet event for Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor.
On his Facebook page, Rowse lists his political views as: "Disgruntled."
That would appear to also describe how a lot of local Democrats and Liberals feel about Grant House right now.
By the way. The newest item on the Paradise Cafe breakfast menu will be the Grant House Waffle.
© 2010 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com