City officials canvas to oppose recall, campaign for re-election
Ahead of the gubernatorial recall election in September and the City Council elections in November, a group of City officials, members of the county’s Democratic Party and community volunteers met Saturday morning to encourage residents to get out and vote in both elections this fall.
Mayor Cathy Murillo and councilmembers Kristen Sneddon, Eric Friedman and Meagan Harmon were present at Saturday’s campaign event, going door to door to talk with voters about the upcoming elections.
The campaign, which was organized by the Santa Barbara County Democrats, is known as the “Campaign for a Progressive Santa Barbara.” During Saturday’s event, volunteers and city councilmembers canvased in various neighborhoods around Santa Barbara, encouraging residents to vote for the Mayor and councilmembers running for re-election and vote “no” on the recall effort targeted at Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Spencer Brandt, the campaign organizer for the county’s Democratic Party, told the News-Press that the organization’s main goal in encouraging residents to vote in both elections is preserving progressive values in Santa Barbara. Mr. Brandt said the current recall effort targeting the governor is being led by “far right extremists,” and does not reflect the beliefs or interests of most voters in the state.
“We’re really encouraging voters today to reject this measure, in order to preserve progressive values in California because all of the people that are running to replace Gov. Newsom, the vast majority of them are very conservative people,” Mr. Brandt said. “And we don’t think that’s in line with Santa Barbara’s values or with the state’s.”
In addition to efforts aimed at trampling the recall effort, the local Democratic Party has officially endorsed Mayor Murillo and Councilmembers Sneddon, Friedman and Harmon ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Mr. Brandt said the Mayor and the council members have championed Democratic values like environmental protection, climate resiliency and supporting tenants through the pandemic.
“Our message to voters is really, we want to preserve that direction on the City Council,” Mr. Brandt said. “And we want to support our incumbents who share our progressive values.”
Mayor Murillo, who is running for re-election this November, canvassed on the West side of Santa Barbara on Saturday, going door to door and talking to residents on West Valeria Street.
Ms. Murillo encouraged residents to vote “no” to the recall effort against the governor, citing his efforts to raise the minimum wage, his climate priorities and his handling of the pandemic as reasons to keep him in his position.
“I can tell you, as someone who was in public service during the pandemic, it was a very challenging time, our people had a lot of fear,” Ms. Murillo told the News-Press. “And we had to be brave for them, and I believe Gavin Newsom has been a strong, courageous leader that gave people assurances that everything was going to be okay. And sometimes you just need that. That’s all people are looking for — someone that’s going to take care of their well being.”
As she campaigns for re-election this fall, the mayor said she feels honored to have the endorsement of the Democratic Party and plans to continue championing environmental protection, provisions for families and expanding housing opportunities if re-elected.
“I’m a hard working mayor,” Ms. Murillo said. “The job is not pretty cocktail parties and being an important person, it’s really doing the work that the city requires.”
As the Sept. 14 recall election date stands less than nine weeks away, Ms. Harmon, the City council member representing district six, told the News-Press that in order to overcome the recall effort, it will take communication on the part of local officials to help voters make an informed decision.
“I believe the governor is coming into this in a very strong position,” Ms. Harmon said. “Californians are smart, Californians read between the lines. We know that this is an effort by a small few to try to distract from the good work that’s being done.”
She continued, “It’s a matter of getting the message out there, it’s a matter of continuing to talk to folks about what their needs are, the options that are available for them through our state government, through our county government, through our local municipal government to help them through this challenging period. I think if we can get out there and communicate with people, you know, they’ll come to the same conclusion that I have — the same conclusion that so many of our neighbors have — that this recall is politically motivated and not in the best interest of our residents.”