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New Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse takes office with a call for a clean, secure and vibrant city

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Even admitting he is old, new Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse is taking the helm of the city with a burst of energy and an action plan.

He left the council two years ago and is back after a victory in the November 2021 election.

Rowse previously ran the Paradise Cafe restaurant for 37 years.

The swearing in ceremony took place on the steps of Santa Barbara City Hall Tuesday afternoon instead of inside due to COVID-19 concerns.

Rowse was flanked by re-elected councilmemembers Kristin Sneddon and Eric Friedman for the oath. Meagan Harmon who also won, was sworn in remotely.

The event was broadcast on Santa Barbara City TV and on KEYT.com.

Many people came to see the event in person and filled the sidewalk. Rowse was handed the gavel by outgoing mayor Cathy Murillo.

Mayor pro-tem Oscar Gutierrez was among those to speak and thank Murillo for her service over the last four years and her work to help the city during both the post-mudflow disaster period and the COVID-19 crisis.

Rowse gave Murillo flowers and they hugged.

Murillo thanked the city staff and recalled how often the city workers would see her and wave around town. "I look forward to continuing to be a neighbor to our wonderful residents in the city. All of the work we do at city hall wouldn't be possible without their support," she said.

She pointed out her key project towards climate resiliency, reinventing downtown and housing security.

For Rowse, he will hit the ground running with his understanding of the city's moving parts. He said he has a rapid response plan to get his term started.

"Some of the path to success must start by being clean, secure and having well-lighted spaces," he said.

Rowse also says he will have a solid focus on youth services.

"Our children should be able to grow up and thrive in an environment of clean parks and beaches, safe and stimulating public libraries and free from exposure to substance use and abuse," said Rowse.

Going forward, Rowse revealed his style which he says will help with accomplishments even on tough topics.

"I'm old, real old and that always helps," Rowse said. "I really think listening is the trick. It's really easy to think you are going to lead by talking and talking, but, sometimes it's best to lead by listening and that's what I'm going to bring to the table and it is going to take some patience."


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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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