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Friday, February 22 , 2019, 2:40 am | Fair 42º


Politics in the Air at Democratic League’s Labor Day Barbecue

Health care and Measure B are hot topics as politicians and candidates gather at Oak Park

Local politicians and candidates came out in force Monday for the Democratic League’s annual Labor Day barbecue at Oak Park in Santa Barbara, and many of them spoke to the large crowd about the issues facing Santa Barbara, the county and the state.

Santa Barbara City Council candidates Cathie McCammon, David Pritchett, Dianne Channing, Bendy White and Grant House talked about labor, city planning, the budget and housing as important issues.

“The future begins at the local level,” said House, who is running for re-election. “Our enemy is a low turnout.”

For the first time, the city’s election will be mail-in only, and ballots will be sent to voters Oct. 5. “The ballot has a stamp on it — send it in!” House said.

Santa Barbara Democrats have endorsed House, White and Channing for council and Councilwoman Helene Schneider for mayor.

Schneider, the only mayoral candidate at Monday’s event, said the community needs to make sure Santa Barbara stays true to its values. She and many others acknowledged the importance of holding the barbecue on Labor Day.

“Today we honor the workers,” Schneider said, “and tomorrow we get to work.”

Measure B supporters and opponents gathered at the barbecue. Many organizations in attendance have openly endorsed No on B, including the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County Central Committee.

Activist Mickey Flacks spoke out against Measure B, saying it would hurt affordable housing and “handcuff” the next generation of development.

Mayor Marty Blum urged the crowd to consider voting yes for all of the local measures on November’s ballot for the sake of the city.

For instance, she said Measure B would help keep downtown one that residents love. “(Architects) can build some very nice buildings with 40 feet,” she said.

County candidates also made appearances Monday, including District Attorney candidate Joyce Dudley, 35th District Assembly candidates Das Williams and Susan Jordan, and county Supervisor Janet Wolf, who is running for re-election in 2010.

Dudley announced her candidacy last week, and District Attorney Christie Stanley reportedly will announce on Tuesday her intent not to seek re-election.

Dudley said she would make the office more transparent to the public and the media, work on preventive measures and create relationships with local institutions of higher learning.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who is running for attorney general, on Monday pledged to continue his strong opposition to offshore drilling.

Challenging Elton Gallegly for control of the 24th District congressional seat is Tim Allison. He helped run the local campaign for President Barack Obama and wants to turn the district blue so that it will stop canceling out Rep. Lois Capps’ vote, he said.

Capps, D-Santa Barbara, spoke about the bills that Obama has signed thus far and spoke out in favor of the controversial federal health-care reform bill, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.

“We are going to pass it in the House,” she said. The status quo — with health care and other issues — is unsustainable and unaffordable, she said.

Capps said she will fly to Washington, D.C., early Tuesday and plans to vote for health-care reform that includes a “robust public option.”

Representatives of the local chapter of Health Care For All California attended Monday’s event and said they support Senate Bill 810, which champions a single-payer, publicly financed system.

Shannon Miller, who lived in Japan where health care is covered, said she finds aspects of domestic health care “absolutely criminal.”

Bart Woolery of Health Care For All agreed. “The portability here is wretched,” he said. “It’s not tied to any condition in your life. If you have a pulse, you’re in. If you don’t, they’ll administer CPR and cover that, too.”

The Democratic League has been hosting an annual barbecue for 60 years, chairman Bob Handy said.

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

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