Monday, February 19 , 2018, 11:45 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

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Councilman Frank Hotchkiss Joins Race to Become Santa Barbara’s Next Mayor

2-term councilman claims mantle of law-and-order candidate, vows action on infrastructure, off-street parking and aggressive transients

Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss says he considers himself the law-and-order candidate for mayor, noting he’s running in part because he doesn’t view the other contenders as strong enough on public safety. “This isn’t going to be an easy climb,” he says. “We have a big, strong political machine that’s against us.” Click to view larger
Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss says he considers himself the law-and-order candidate for mayor, noting he’s running in part because he doesn’t view the other contenders as strong enough on public safety. “This isn’t going to be an easy climb,” he says. “We have a big, strong political machine that’s against us.” (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The race to be Santa Barbara’s next mayor expanded to three Saturday, as City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss threw his hat into the ring at an announcement event at the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Hotchkiss told a few dozen supporters at Chuck’s Waterfront Grill that his past council races were always won against formidable opponents.

“This isn’t going to be an easy climb,” he said. “We have a big, strong political machine that’s against us.”

So far, his competition includes his colleague, Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, and Hal Conklin, a former mayor and councilman.

Should Hotchkiss win, the real estate agent and former actor, who’s terming out this year after eight years on the council, would replace Mayor Helene Schneider, who is also reaching her term limit.

The two-term councilman, the most conservative member of Santa Barbara’s left-leaning council, told supporters that, “I’ve always been thought of as the law-and-order candidate, and I welcome that sobriquet.”

Of all seven on the dais, Hotchkiss has taken the toughest stance on addressing what he’s called “hostile vagrants and transients” on city streets who badger passersby.

“We should support our police in their efforts to curb bad behavior by transients who now act as if they own our streets and parks,” he said.

On his to-do list are developing more off-street parking, addressing the city’s backlog of deferred infrastructure improvements and “to put to bed forever this idea of rent control.”

“More off-street parking will make our city a nicer place to live, and rejecting rent controls will allow property owners to ask fair rents while keeping their properties in top condition to the benefit of renters,” he said.

Hotchkiss vowed to oppose water releases from Lake Cachuma for endangered trout — water he said should go to Santa Barbarans — and he took issue with what he said is the perception that Santa Barbara is a sanctuary city.

“We are a nation of laws, not a haven for people whose first act is to break those laws,” he said. “Santa Barbara is a sanctuary for people who want to work hard to achieve their hopes and dreams legally.”

In February, Hotchkiss, who has also worked in the fields of news media and public relations and recently released his first novel, told Noozhawk that there was “a 1 in 5 chance” he would run — and only if he believed none of the candidates could address issues as effectively as he could.

“I felt that none of the prospective candidates would be strong enough on public safety,” he told Noozhawk on Saturday.

Other ideas like making Santa Barbara a sanctuary city also drove him to run, he added.

He reiterated that the success of his campaign hinged on community support and getting in the race early enough to raise sufficient funds.

“Some of these people are going to be self-financed — not me,” he said. “I’ve always worked on the basis of ‘I’ll put in the time and effort, and if other people really want me to run and win, they’ll chip in dollars.’”

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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