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8 Tuesdays to Go: A Facebook Fake News Endorsement for Cathy; Kristen-Barrett Preview; Elder to SB

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

This just in. Mike Stoker, erstwhile Trump Administration official and Santa Barbara's favorite Republican provocateur, has arranged for a local campaign appearance this week by Larry Elder, Gov. Gavin Newsom's chief GOP rival in the Sept. 14 recall election.

"Let's send a message to Larry that Santa Barbara is Larry Elder for Governor Country ! (sic)" Stoker wrote in an e-blast invitation for a Sunken Gardens rally at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, identifying himself as a "Senior Policy Adviser for the Elder for Governor campaign,"

Which is kinda like being "Chief of Staff to the Angry Poodle."

Putting aside that Elder is wayy old news (Newsmakers Las Vegas Bureau Chief Nicky (Knuckles) Parmagiana has set the point spread for a Prince Gavin victory at 8.5. percent), he managed to produce considerable evidence in the past few days alone that SB may not, in fact, be Elder for Governor Country.

Amid national outrage over severe new restrictions Texas has placed on abortion, among those who support a woman's right to choose, prominent anti-abortion activist Lila Rose tweeted her endorsement of Elder, along with a laundry list of actions sought by the pro-life movement which she said he had agreed to take as governor; when Sacramento Bee reporter Lara Korte later attempted to ask him about it, Elder's security team manfully blocked her from doing so.

The motor mouth candidate also handed Newsom a fundraising bonanza when he promised, if elected, to appoint a Republican to replace Senator Dianne Feinstein, flipping control of the Senate; of course, there's not a vacant seat just yet, but Elder nonetheless slimed the 88-year old Feinstein to suggest there would be soon, claiming she is "in even worse mental condition than Joe Biden" and that "nobody's seen her in weeks" (secret memo to Larry: they got this thing called "C-Span" now, which airs committee, floor and other business of the Senate; Newsmakers sez check it out).

Over the weekend, it also was reported that Elder had argued in another interview that slave holders should receive reparations "because slavery was legal and their property had been taken," while CNN unearthed past comments in which he claimed, after being accused of sexual harassment, that it couldn't be true because his accuser was too ugly.

In a piece headlined, "Is Elder Torching the Recall?" Politico reporters Carla Marinucci and Jeremy White pulled the threads together and sought reaction from several of the original leaders of the recall campaign:

Said one, former Yolo County sheriff's sergeant Orrin Heatlie, “I rejected his candidacy from the get-go, because he’s so far outspoken on the extreme.’’

Hey, welcome to Santa Barbara anyway, Larry.

Kristen vs Barrett, Round 1. Lock up the kids, Maude, the first throw down between Kristen Sneddon and Barrett Reed will be live-streamed on Wednesday evening.

The Santa Barbara City Council District 4 campaign between incumbent Sneddon and challenger Reed offers the only one-on-one matchup in 2021's last-time-ever odd-year municipal election.

It is the third candidate event co-sponsored by Newsmakers, SB Talks and TVSB, following forums in the mayor's race and in the District 6 council contest. Check TVSB's Facebook page for more on the 5:45 p.m. livestream.

Eight weeks before the Nov. 2 election, the choice between Sneddon and Reed offers some intriguing contrasts (beyond gender: a Reed victory could flip the council from majority-women to majority men).

Kristen is the elected city official closest in sensibility to the traditional Sheila Lodge slow-growth Santa Barbara preservationist, while Barrett is a developer, so it will be intriguing to hear from the rivals about their respective visions of future Santa Barbara.

Plus: the money. Sneddon had a perfectly respectable $50,000 in her campaign account at the first reporting deadline a month ago, while Reed had already raised more than $160,000, much it from the real estate industry. As we reported previously:

Four years ago, when Kristen Sneddon was elected to represent District 4, there was a total of 6,298 votes cast for all three candidates in the race, with the incumbent prevailing on 3,237 ballots.

If those numbers are roughly similar this year, developer Reed already has raised $25.64 per voter, or just under $50 (that's $49.90 for those keeping score at home) per winning voter.

Additionally, this will be Sneddon's first chance to respond in public to a critique Reed offered in an interview a few months back, taking her to task for alleged serial "inconsistencies," and over a controversial and still-confidential City Hall investigation involving transportation chief Rob Dayton, which he said Kristen triggered when she allegedly "attacked Rob Dayton's religion."

Plus: homelessness, housing, economic development, State Street, equity, governance and the overall state of the city.

Beast mode on. Gloves up. Champions are made in the ring.

Facebook''s fake Cathy endorsement. Some hands aboard the James Joyce for Mayor juggernaut were shocked, then downright annoyed, to discover on the campaign Facebook page of Cathy Murillo a cheery photo of the incumbent next to Santa Barbara's favorite former state senator, festooned with these words:

"Thank you for your endorsement Senator Hannah Beth Jackson," it read above white script reading "By Cathy Murillo for Mayor 2021."

Alerted to this shocker, and mindful that Jackson long ago endorsed James, her longtime aide and one of Cathy's chief rivals in the mayor's race, Newsmakers launched an immediate wide-ranging, take-no-prisoners investigation..

"It's completely false," Jackson told us, when we called to ask about the endorsement. "I don't believe I've given her any permission to use any photo."

Armed with this categorical, what-are-you-going-to-believe-me-or-your-lying eyes denial, we next asked Cathy to explain this apparent bit of false advertising.

And the Mayor, via email... blamed Mark Zuckerberg.

"I have one campaign page on FB and I change the name with every new election cycle. It was the page for previous council races, the Assembly race, etc. "HBJ has supported me in the past, so the post was from a former election and is dated as such."

Huh? But it's not dated "as such" -- it's clearly dated, "Cathy Murillo for Mayor 2021," we wrote back, in a state of spiraling, social media Luddite confusion.

"It was originally posted under a prior election, then I changed the page name to Murillo 2021," she told us, "The solution is to delete the image so no one mistakes it for current election."

"Deleted," she emailed a few moments later.

There were no injuries.


Images: Larry Elder and Gavin Newsom (LA Times); Screen grabs from Cathy Murillo for Mayor 2021 Facebook page; Pinterest.

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