As Santa Barbara voters in 2017 confront the most wide-open and consequential mayor’s race in years, there’s just one big hitch:
“Two thirds of the voters don’t know there’s an election,” explained one of the five mayoral hopefuls, who has diligently been walking precincts door-to-door.
Given the high stakes of critical election issues to everyone who lives in Santa Barbara (from the workforce housing dilemma and the future of State Street, to taxes and public employee pension liabilities, for starters) and the current low profile character of the campaign, TVSB’s “Newsmakers” program launched a special project aimed at bringing as much information about the race to as many voters as possible.
Over the last several weeks, the Newsmakers team produced five shows featuring Jerry’s one-on-one interviews with contenders Angel Martinez, Bendy White, Cathy Murillo, Hal Conklin and Frank Hotchkiss.
The interviews are now available on our You Tube channel by clicking here . Also TVSB will televise them in a block on Cox cable Channel 17 at the following days and times:
Fridays at 4:30 pm
Sundays at 5 pm
Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
How the deal went down. Organized by veteran public media producer Hap Freund, the five shows present each of the candidates, not only discussing the key public policy issues facing Santa Barbara, but also answering questions about their personal beliefs and life experiences.
As a political matter, we asked each of the candidates a series of questions about five critical issues:
• Housing: Does the city face a “housing crisis”? What, if anything should the next mayor and city council do to increase the supply of rental housing, manage the new state mandate about “granny units” and regulate short-term, vacation rentals?
• State Street: Given the current physical and economic state of State Street, what should City Hall do about the local impact of the global transformation of the retail industry, current storefront vacancies, the vacant Macy’s building and aggressive panhandlers and other homeless-related problems in the city’s most important commercial area?
• Taxes: Do you support the proposed 1-cent increase in the sales tax on the November ballot? Why or why not?
• Pensions: Is the city doing enough to protect itself financially against the huge and growing fiscal pressure of $250 million in unfunded liabilities for pensions for retired public employees? What more should be done, if anything?
• Immigration: Do you support or oppose legislation in Sacramento to make California a so-called “sanctuary state” that resists cooperation with federal immigration authorities? Do you support or oppose the Trump Administration’s conduct of federal immigration policy?
A veteran political reporter, who has covered local, state and national candidates, campaigns and policies for four decades, Jerry believes strongly in this journalistic idea:
What people who hold or aspire to public office say is fundamentally important; for that reason, his interview style is informal and conversational, aimed at providing candidates a platform that offers time and space to express their views in depth and detail.
In this space, in days to come, Newsmakers will present regular analyses and commentary about the race, as well some special reports drawn from our interviews.
Thanks for watching – and for reading.