SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The normally festive inside ceremony for the swearing in of the mayor and council at Santa Barbara City Hall will take place outside Tuesday. This is due to COVID concerns and safety.
Outgoing Mayor Cathy Murillo will receive a special recognition as the meeting begins at 2 p.m. on the steps of Santa Barbara City Hall in De la Guerra Plaza.
Newly elected Mayor Randy Rowse and Council members Eric Friedman, Meagan Harmon and Kristin Sneddon will be sworn in. For Rowse, a former council member, he now takes over the city's top spot after time out of the government in a brief retirement from politics and restaurant ownership. The other council members were reelected in November 2021.
They will serve five year terms. The city is in the process of going from odd to even year elections.
The event is open to the public with safety protocols in place.
Former Santa Barbara City Council member Dale Francisco says Rowse is a veteran leader at the right time. "He's really in touch with this community. He's honest and he works with people. He will bring the council together. They are not going to be fighting with each other as they have in the last several years.
One resident said she moved here from Santa Monica because it is a safe city and wants it to stay that way.
Libby Udelson said, "that's the most important thing. Everything else falls in place once safety is secured. People are more likely to want to come and support the economy."
The overall economy especially in downtown, was also mentioned by many people as a priority.
Tim Gorham said, "I've lived here 20 years and I have seen the deterioration of downtown and it is very upsetting because it was the highlight of what the city was all about when I moved here and it doesn't seem like it anymore."
Issues with the homeless continue to be factors for safety, and economic success.
"The homeless thing is definitely is something that needs to be addressed radically," said Ty Tharp. "I have noticed a lot of things have been happening towards that moving towards helping that or at least efforts have been and people are starting to change their views on what is going to fix it. Chasing them away doesn't fix it. And taking away their resources doesn't make it better."
When it comes to design and development regulations, that can sometimes be controversial, but one resident sees the benefits. Gorham said, "regulations are there to keep the city beautiful and that's what there should be and if that is a problem for businesses you shouldn't be here."