Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 4:16 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Frank Hotchkiss Announces City Council Campaign

Businessman details plans for State Street panhandling, gangs, De la Guerra Plaza and strengthening tourism

Santa Barbara businessman Frank Hotchkiss, who won nearly 6,000 votes in the 2007 city election, announced Monday he will run for city council this fall with the goal of reducing the cost and size of city government.

“We’re spending way beyond our means,” Hotchkiss said. “That’s a recipe for disaster. Let’s live within our limits.” He cited the recent council vote boosting pay and benefits for city employees. A hiring freeze and elimination of city jobs through attrition would be the first step, he suggested. “Then roll back the number of employees to levels we can afford.”

Hotchkiss also said he would target aggressive panhandling and gang violence if voters put him on the city council.

“People tell me they want to come to grips with aggressive indigent panhandling on State Street and other places. We can’t just say, ‘Anything goes,’ anymore. We should make certain places off-limits for asking for handouts,” he said. “A family should be able to eat lunch in peace at a sidewalk table on State Street.”

He lauded a pending ordinance which restricts times and places for panhandling, and predicted the elimination of these sources of indigent revenue would reduce the number of homeless. That in turn would free up police to be more active in their anti-gang work.

“Police spend up too much time dealing solely with the homeless,” he said. “Freeing up police from this work will effectively add more officers on the beat to ‘surge’ every time and place we have gang activity – without increasing our costs. That worked in New York, and it will work here.

“And we have to let parents know they are responsible for their under-age kids’ conduct,” the candidate added.

Hotchkiss’s campaign announcement Monday came on the steps of City Hall. Looking around De La Guerra Plaza, he added, “It would be a real shame if the vistas we see here were cut off by 60-foot high buildings. It would change the ambiance of our city. Eleven thousand people signed the initiative that will be on the ballot to lower building heights to 40 feet in El Pueblo Viejo. I am proud to say I was one of them.”

Other items on Hotchkiss’s agenda include:

» Halting the proposed $1 million reconfiguration of the State and De la Vina streets intersection and other non-essential street modifications. “There hasn’t been a pedestrian accident there in 40 years,” Hotchkiss said. “A crosswalk light would help pedestrians – and it wouldn’t cost $1 million. A completely new intersection we just don’t need – particularly when money is scarce.”

» Preserving De La Guerra Plaza: “The proposal to pave over the historical heart of our city and remove easy access to City Hall is ill-conceived, and it would make it harder to come to council meetings. It’s hard enough to find a parking space nearby,” he said, adding that he hoped to develop plans to bring more constructive activity to the area, which is now a frequent homeless hangout.

» Encouraging tourism in Santa Barbara: “Tourism is the lifeblood of the city. Pristine beaches and clean ocean water benefit both residents and tourists.”

» Returning Santa Barbara’s main public library and its environs to the general public. “Right now it’s a vagrant haven. Let’s make it a place where families can come without worry about who they might encounter.” Restricting bathroom access to legitimate library patrons with the use tokens, as fast food restaurants now do, would be one step, Hotchkiss said.

Hotchkiss has lived in Santa Barbara with his wife, Sandra, for 12 years. They have been married for 36 years and have a daughter, Lisa, who lives in Hawaii.

Hotchkiss served on the Pacific Palisades Community Council, where he lived prior to moving to Santa Barbara. He was a board member of the Riviera Association, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Collectors’ Council and most recently, Santa Barbara Safe Streets. He is a graduate of Yale University and was a Navy PBR (River Patrol Boat) Commander in Vietnam. He worked with the mayor in the early stages of improving Santa Barbara’s creeks, and recently suggested changes to the proposed city ordinance for sprinklers, which the Santa Barbara City Fire Department has said will be adopted.

Hotchkiss can be reached at 805.403.0668, and the website for his campaign is www.HotchForCC.net.

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