Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 8:12 am | Fair 47º


Incumbent Grant House to Seek Re-Election to City Council

The one-term Santa Barbara councilmember says his familiarity with council projects amid a turbulent time gives him the edge

As a host of newcomers have tossed their names into the Santa Barbara City Council race, incumbent Grant House announced Tuesday that he, too, will run for a council seat in November’s election.

House already has served one term on the council, and he served eight years on the city’s Planning Commission. The Ohio native came to Santa Barbara in 1974, and has been the owner of a small downtown business, Grant House Sewing Machines.

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Grant House

House got his start in politics as a member of the Merchants Association on Milpas Street, a group of eastside business owners that has since disbanded, but House said the group got him thinking about community involvement. “I learned a lot about being a community-engaged business guy from them,” he said. House eventually became the president of the organization.

He also started the Eastside Study Group after the Merchants Association disbanded, which House said spent an entire summer looking at issues important to neighbors and presented a report to the City Council, and then went to work on those issues. “Over a 10-year period, that organization did tremendous things,” he said.

House also has deep roots in the nonprofit community. He helped start Cesar Chavez School and served on the board of Casa De La Raza.

House’s announcement comes as a plethora of candidates have announced their intentions to sit on the council dais. Olivia Uribe, Lane Anderson, John Thyne, Frank Hotchkiss, David Pritchett, Diane Channing, Harwood “Bendy” White and others are eyeing the seats, which could amount to four seats. House said he welcomes the competition.

“When you have an election like this and a lot of people show up, that’s excellent,” he said. “It’s not a threat. I feel like there are some really great colleagues that are right in the wings. Participation is what makes the city work.”

For voters who might be hesitant, if not downright skeptical, of voting for an incumbent, House said he felt that a lot is a stake that needs to be continued by someone familiar with council projects.

“If you are concerned about the well-being of fellow citizens, if you believe Santa Barbara is an environmental leader in the world, if you think that the public’s resources should be used efficiently, you want to continue what we’re doing,” he said.

House said a great challenge in this election will be “communicating to the public the enormous amount of accomplishments from the last four years,” he said.

He’s proud of the projects for capital improvement and infrastructure the council has tackled in the past four years, and said it represented “millions and millions of dollars well spent.”

“It’s pretty cool, quite honestly, to look at the results of our work,” he said.

Working with the Teen Center has been important to House, and he said taking care of vulnerable community members is especially important to him. To House, working people, small businesses and people who rent their homes in Santa Barbara are especially vulnerable. House himself rents a home with his wife and said that caring for the young, the old and the homeless is key to him.

Caring for the vulnerable is not always easy when the city is facing a potential $10.5 million budget deficit. The city is in the midst of adopting a budget for 2010, and has had to talk about making some tough cuts in the past few weeks.

“My contribution to this is to make sure that we never forget our values as a community, even as we deal with this fiscal crisis,” he said. Maintaining services for seniors and people with mental health issues are just as important as maintaining public safety, he said. “These are easy ones to cut,” he said.

“We’re going to get through this budget crisis,” he said, upbeat about the city’s future. “I think the challenges make us stronger, and I think we’re more resilient because of this.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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