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.
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.