Saturday, September 5 , 2015, 7:43 am | Fair 61.0º

Randy Rowse: Reflections from a Political Neophyte

Santa Barbara facing issues far too serious to be sidetracked by partisan politics

By Randy Rowse |

It has been more than a little interesting to make the journey from out in the cold into the heated crucible that comprises our current political condition. I am heartened and humbled by the support and encouragement of so many individuals who want me to continue on the Santa Barbara City Council.

Randy Rowse
Randy Rowse

I am amazed and disappointed at the attempts by certain political interest groups to further their particular cause. In the Independent’s exhaustive election piece “The Mosh Pit and the Pendulum” on Oct. 27, it tells of how one player revealed motives that extend beyond the intentionally nonpartisan scope of City Hall:

“In January, (Daraka) Larimore-Hall began scouring the landscape last January (sic) for a slate of candidates to ‘take back’ City Hall. None of the typical schisms, splits and political personality disorders that have reduced the Democratic Party to a circular firing squad in the past would be tolerated. Early on, Hall found many of the more promising mainstream candidates reluctant to wade in unless one of the three seats was open. None were. Others begged off because of financial considerations.”

The idea that City Council seats should be leveraged to consolidate political power or can serve as a part of a greater career-path calculus for political aspirants is mind-boggling and a disservice to the city.

I spent the bulk of my adult life as a Democrat, having registered in the waning moments of the Vietnam War. Since then, I have eschewed party-line politics, which have deteriorated to the point that caused me to become an Independent a few years ago. Both major parties play to their extreme bases and, with the media’s assistance, have made reasonable and civil dialogue a quaint memory. Both parties are geared to “win” at all costs, the rest of us in the peanut gallery be damned.

Democracy should be closest to its definition and be at its most responsive in local municipal government. Individuals, and not groups, parties, corporations or unions should practice the most unbiased representation possible, with service to constituents as first, second and third priorities. I have been in the business world for more than 30 years. If you view your customers merely as dollar signs you won’t last long. You must provide value and service to retain your customer base. Voters expect and deserve no less. Citizens deserve service and not to be treated as pawns in some political chess match.

Perhaps my ideas are naive and corny. Maybe I’ve watched too many Jimmy Stewart movies. In any case, it is my hope that we can focus on the issues facing our city this election and leave the partisan silliness behind.

Thanks for listening.

Randy Rowse is running for re-election to the Santa Barbara City Council in the Nov. 8 election.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 10.30.11 @ 11:56 AM

I must say that I have been offended by the local Democratic party’s message that ‘we’ must vote their chosen selection or the City will burn in flames with the current slate of incumbants.  The local Democratic party is not giving us educated members of the voting population credit for our own brain to evaluate each candidate for their individual abilities. 
Based upon the Independent’s article we got into this mess because the City Council swayed too far one direction and was able to put into place policies and rules that offended many people.  Thus a correction occurred. 
From my position we govern best from the middle.  Change happens from the extreme positions but needs to be tempered by the middle thinkers to become effective and supportable by the community as a whole. 
The policies coming down from the City Council or the local Democratic party in a non-partisan election shouldn’t be perceived as dictorial commandments.  You won’t have citizens any more, only subjects.

» on 10.30.11 @ 04:43 PM

As another example of partisan politics, here is the email councilman Frank Hotchkiss sent out after Sharon Byrne announced her candidacy.

“Sharon Byrne, a former supporter in our campaign to elect Randy Rowse, Dale Francisco and Michael Self to the City Council this fall, yesterday decided to run for the office herself.
“This is particularly disappointing since all of us have supported Sharon for a long time with the goal in mind of electing her to the council in 2012, including nominating her to replace Das Williams when his seat became available in January.
“Sharon’s departure from the team can only hurt our candidates by drawing votes away from them. This will be a difficult race in any case, and her grave misjudgment, in my opinion, will help no one bent on changing the direction of Santa Barbara, including Sharon. Not surprisingly, prominent Democrats, including District Attorney Joyce Dudley, told her to run.
“So I urge you not to help Sharon in this mistaken course, and to help others understand how her strategic mistake could cost not just one seat, but perhaps all three come November.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call. And now, on to victory for Dale, Michael and Randy!”

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