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American Institute of Architects hosts mayoral candidate forum

Institute of Architects hosts mayoral candidates forum with focus on housing


The American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara Chapter hosted a virtual mayoral candidates forum.

Incumbent Mayor Cathy Murillo has five challengers.

The challengers include former council member and restaurant owner Randy Rowse, James Joyce III, who served as Chief of Staff when Hannah Beth Jackson was Santa Barbara's State Senator.

Other candidates include longtime planning commission member Deborah Schwartz, Voice magazine publisher and Downtown Organization board member Mark Whitehurst and boat dealer David "Boat Rat Matt" Kilrain.

The forum focused on housing and development and ways to make Santa Barbara more welcoming.

Each candidate had a minute to answer questions and two minutes to make a closing statement.

Kilrain made the first closing statement and said a cornerstone of his plan was to make Santa Barbara a safer place for kids to grow up.

Another cornerstone is to "Stop the middle class squeeze and actually resolve the housing crunch."

He said he would also like to make Santa Barbara the green power capitol of the world.

Kilrain said he amended his agenda to prevent people from getting discriminated against for using marijuana and refusing to get vaccinated. He also said he would like to create a currency to be used by "Santa Barbarians."

Mark Whitehurst started by calling Santa Barbara an architectural gem. "I believe it can sparkle even more."

He said that will require the collaboration of architects, planners and artists and the community.

He hopes to be green and advocate for housing answers.

Mayor Cathy Murillo said she makes $65,000 a year as mayor and considers it a full time job.

During her closing comment she said," I am proud to have led the charge to make Santa Barbara a more equitable and just and progressive city where everyone has the opportunity to succeed."

In a second term she said she hopes to build on relationships. She considers tenant protections and helping reduce the impacts of homelessness as some of her accomplishments.

Randy Rowse said quality of life is the main job of local government. He said the city has to maintain local control.

"We don't have a real plan to keep State Street clean, we don't have a plan that is new and different about how to deal with our homeless population."

Rowse said the the city needs leadership that will improve collaboration and teamwork.

James Joyce said we need a change of direction in the city. Joyce said he offers a change from the status quo.

"I'm not beholden to special interests and I have a skill set that can be very helpful."

Deborah Schwartz said she has been working 7-days a week to find out what small business owners think.

"It goes beyond listening." She said decisive action can make a difference for quality of life.

She said she will be ready day one.

A similar forum will be held for city council candidates on Wednesday.

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Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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