Bonnie Donovan and Natasha Todorovic
Relationships are more important than following the money? A triangle of trouble lies in this equation = Money + Relationship + Special Interests. Let’s revisit district elections, which were meant to give voice to residents. Shouldn’t locals reasonably expect their electeds to stand by them? Instead, imagine a handful of outsiders contributing the lion’s share to a candidate. To whom would this person be beholden? The triangle of trouble has District 1 in its nepotistical sights. Here’s the pedigree of contributor connections: DCC Chair Gail Teton-Landis + the S.B. Women’s Political Committee/SBCDCC + politicos/Mayor Murillo, Oscar Gutierrez, Gregg Hart, Goleta City Council members. Next layer: Mayor Murillo + her BFF’s husband, Richard Flacks + their son, Chuck Flacks, conveniently holding the position as director of PATH, the former Casa Esperanza, all in District 1. Keep it in the family, right? Oh, and the mayor’s sister. Collectively, they contributed 40%+ of the political pot to Alejandra Gutierrez. Why is this candidate, who loves the controversial homeless housing project at 15 S. Alisos St., the mayor’s favorite horse in this race? Will she be added to the flock of flying stooges carrying out the bidding of special interests? More homeless shelters, marijuana dispensaries and halfway houses to come? District 1 residents contributed a mere 7.3% to her piggy bank. Over 90% comes from outside developers, marijuana growers, Westside, Ventura, Isla Vista, Camarillo and Goleta. Go to www.santabarbara.gov, click on the “government tab,” then “elections tab” to track it. Financials are much easier to see than the relationships hiding in plain sight, as donors weigh down the scales.