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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Janet Calling It Quits - Kudos New Grandma

It’s a strange but true feature of the political beat that reporters tend to get on hot streaks, just like ballplayers, and right now Kelsey Brugger’s on one over at the Indy.

Following her big scoop last week about the election night homophobic meltdown on State Street of I.V. landlord James Gelb, which every other reporter in town had to chase, and which led directly to charges filed by indefatigable D.A. Joyce Dudley, Kelsey’s out today with first confirmed word that Supervisor Janet Wolf is calling it quits.

We hate to say “toldja” (okay, not really), but this is exactly why we pressed Gregg Hart so hard in our recent Newsmakers TV interview in his shuck-and-jive performance of refusing to commit to another full term on council, as he was in process of winning a walkover in the 6th District last week. The way we look at it, Smilin’ Gregg now emerges as the projected early front-runner in what could be a highly entertaining three way 2018 race for Janet’s seat.

From Kelsey’s yarn:

Hart could use his $144,000 to run for another office. Wolf said she “doesn’t know about Gregg’s plans” and she has not decided whom to endorse. Goleta school board member Susan Epstein and Goleta City Councilmember Roger Aceves ​— ​both Democrats ​— ​are also rumored to want to run for the seat.

Domino descension. One scenario: Wolf’s retirement next year, coupled with Hart’s potential election, would trigger the domino effect of creating a second early opening for Cathy Murillo, our 28.4 percent mayor-elect, to consolidate power, following the new City Hall gang’s opportunity in January to fill the remaining two years of her current term.

Situational awareness alert: We hear that a prominent attorney in town is mulling the possibility of mounting a legal challenge to council’s right to replace Cathy that, if successful, could force a special election for the 3rd district post. More political junkie entertainment!

Meanwhile, as Josh reported this week, the incumbent council has begun the process of moving city elections from off-year to even-year affairs. That surely would increase turnout, but do nothing to ensure we have at least a semblance of majoritarian representation at 735 Anacapa.

That will require either a run-off system, as we’ve suggested, or institution of a complex ranked voting arrangement, as the always sharp-witted Dale Francisco suggested on last week’s show.

P.S. Newsmakers mega-kudos to Janet, not only on a job well done, but also more importantly on becoming a new grandma, as Kelsey reports. Take it from us, it’s the greatest gig going.

More anon.


Images: Supervisor Janet Wolf; Kelsey Brugger, pundit; Gregg Hart cozying up to Wolf during her 2014 re-election race; the joys of grandparenthood (

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