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Former Santa Barbara Mayor Hal Conklin dies at 75

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Former Santa Barbara mayor and visionary Hal Conklin passed away on Friday. He was 75 years old.

Conklin died at the Serenity House on Miramonte Drive in Santa Barbara where he lived while battling brain cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease in September 2020 and immediately had surgery to remove the tumors, according to Noozhawk.

Conklin served on the Santa Barbara City Council for almost 15 years, from 1977 to 1993. He became mayor of Santa Barbara in 1993 and ran again in 2017.

He was also a leader on the Community Environmental Council after the 1969 oil spill.

Community members visited the garden below the El Encanto hotel on Saturday to leave flowers in his memory.

Conklin had once planted a tree from Oklahoma in that garden in honor of the Oklahoma city bombing.

"They placed it here and it was only this big in 2000," said Santa Barbara resident Jenny Stafford. "I have pictures of it, it was just tiny. It was a little tiny tree and in twenty years, it's amazing."

Representative Salud Carbajal shared his memories of Conklin in a tweet on Friday.

"Saddened to hear former mayor Hal Conklin has passed away. He leaves a remarkable legacy as a trail blazer who transcended partisan politics and executed big, innovative ideas with great vision and creativity. He was a mentor to many, including myself, and will be dearly missed by a grateful community for his public service, environmentalism, and advocacy. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones as they grieve," Carbajal wrote.

Conklin's legacy also includes preventing large developments along the Santa Barbara beaches and pier.

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