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Local News

10 People Apply for Vacant Santa Barbara City Council Seat

City Council will interview candidates Tuesday and make an appointment Jan. 30 for person to fill District 3 council seat of now-Mayor Cathy Murillo

Ten people have applied for the open District 3 Santa Barbara City Council seat.

The seat opened up when the former Westside representative, Cathy Murillo, was elected mayor with two years left on her four-year council term.

Those who applied for the seat by the Jan. 16 deadline are: Patrick Burns, Oscar Gutierrez, Chelsea Lancaster, Brianna Lane, Robert Looney, Beebe Longstreet, Whitney O'Malley, Kenneth Rivas, Laura Smith and Michael Vidal.

City staff is currently evaluating eligibility of the applicants, and those who qualify will be interviewed during an open session by the Santa Barbara City Council on Jan. 23.

The council plans make an appointment at the Jan. 30 meeting.

Council members will decide at the Jan. 23 meeting whether to hold a special election on June 5 to allow Westside residents to elect a representative directly.

District election advocates want the city to fill the seat through a special election rather than the appointment process because they believe residents, not a panel of council members, should elect the person. 

The last time there was a vacancy on the City Council was in 2010, when now-First District County Supervisor Das Williams vacated his seat when he was elected to the California State Assembly.

At that time, before district elections, 45 people applied for the seat. The council appointed Randy Rowse after several rounds of voting.

With district elections, only a District 3 resident (the Westside neighborhood) may serve in the seat. 

If the City Council decides to hold a special election, the winner would replace whomever the council appoints.

Without a special election, the person appointed would serve the remainder of Murillo’s two-year term, and would then be allowed to run for the seat during the next election.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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