It was another SRO crowd on the mayor’s race campaign trail Wednesday night, but more than 200 tree huggers, energy geeks, birders and bike freaks who packed the Santa Barbara Women’s Club encountered only 60 percent of the field.
Angel Martinez had planned to participate in the Community Environmental Council’s event, but
withdrew late in the day, after a close friend suffered a family tragedy, and he decided he should be with his friend.
Frank Hotchkiss, a climate science denier who was not going to find any votes among the serious-minded enviro audience for the “Santa Barbara’s Sustainable Future” affair, declined an invitation with thanks, and just wimped out.
That left Bendy White, Cathy Murillo and Hal Conklin on the stage, seated beside the empty chairs and name cards of their colleagues.
As it happens, that liberal trio on the natural carries the most appeal for the CEC crowd, which was replete with environmental heavyweights, from Lois Capps (who once again was happily surprised by the size of the crowd and forecast voter turnout might exceed 50 percent) to landscape architect and iconic recycling hero Isabelle Greene (who got a shout out from Cathy for having reduced the amount of her to-the-curb household waste to one pint a week).
By the time the deal went down – after Bendy and Cathy snarled at each other over housing and budget spending; after Bendy and Hal clashed over SoCal Edison’s role in Santa Barbara’s energy dilemmas; after all three awkwardly answered a question suggesting that two of them drop out; and after more than two hours of wonky talk about honeybees, Israeli drip irrigation, sewage water reuse, steelhead trout, tiered water marketing, toilet rebates and the By God wildland-urban interface – two things were clear:
1-Your Newsmakers Campaign Correspondent came underprepared to the forum, sporting rubber waders that rose merely to his hips, and so proved of little use as the conversation swiftly led into the high, high weeds of the deep and murky environmental and green energy policy swamp.
2-A glorious Near Full Moon arose while debate and discussion ensued inside, delighting those who looked to the sky as they streamed from the auditorium to the parking lot, and offering an early glimpse of the astronomical curiosities and zodiac mysteries of the full Harvest Moon, due to arrive Thursday at 7 p.m.
Please watch this space tomorrow for more on the CEC forum, including our full Winners and Losers report. Hint: Bendy won the night.
A personal note: On behalf of the Newsmakers team, sincere condolences to Angel Martinez, his friend and his friend’s family on their loss.
Images: Harvest Moon 2016, Phish.Net; (L-R) Bendy White, Cathy Murillo and Hal Conklin on stage at the Community Environmental Council forum, adjoining empty chairs and placards for Frank Hotchkiss and Angel Martinez.
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