Santa Barbara mayoral candidate Justin Michael announced Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek election to the post in November’s race.
Michael turned in 160 signatures but only 79 were validated, disqualifying him from a run, he told Noozhawk.
“Everyone told me they were registered,” he said, adding that many of the signatures came from Goleta residents or people living within Santa Barbara County limits, not Santa Barbara, forcing them to be disqualified.
Michael, who will turn 30 this month, was one of the youngest candidates in the mayoral race. The youngest candidate for the Santa Barbara City Council, Olivia Uribe, 24, withdrew her candidacy late last week.
As he met with people to gather signatures, Michael said he was surprised by how little most people knew about this fall’s election.
“I was shocked by how few people seemed to care and know about the race,” he said. “There’s an apathy at a municipal level. If you want to make a difference in this city, if you’re young and disempowered, it’s because you’re not voting.”
Michael said he takes everything in stride after his father, Reed Slatkin, was arrested in 2001 for running a Ponzi scheme of about $600 million. He said he also was dogged by a 2007 domestic violence case with a former co-worker and was sentenced to 75 days in Santa Barbara County Jail, 20 hours of community service and a year of counseling at Zona Seca.
Michael said he’s going to court Wednesday to have his record expunged, an event he said will mean a fresh start. “It’s tremendous closure,” he said. “I’ve come a long way. I want to reach out to people that want to change their lives.”
He said he supports John Thyne in his run for Santa Barbara City Council, but said he didn’t wish to comment on any of the other candidates. He said he’s going to put his focus back on some of the charity boards and nonprofits he worked with before launching his campaign.
He also said he’s not ruling out a future run for a City Council seat.
Although he wants younger people to get more involved in public service in Santa Barbara, Michael said he has been impressed with mayoral candidates and councilwomen Iya Falcone and Helene Schneider. “We need to respect our elders and their wisdom,” he said. “People like Iya and Helene have proven their experience.”
He added: “I truly entered this race with my heart in a paradigm of public service. This is just a little bump. I’m going to keep reaching for the stars in Santa Barbara and beyond.”