Randy Rowse is “an adult in the room,” says former Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss, in the latest podcast episode of Santa Barbara Talks

Hotchkiss, a conservative who was elected to the board in 2009, served two terms, and was a steady moderate and conservative voice on the council. 

Hotchkiss is now retired, living in Savannah, Georgia, where he has worked as an Uber driver. He’s also the author of a well-received novel, “Playing With Fire,” about an older man who falls in love with a younger woman. 

In this podcast with journalist Josh Molina, Hotchkiss offers his assessment of Mayor Rowse, the performance of former City Attorney Ariel Calonne and State Street’s controversial outdoor dining plan.

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In addition, he talks about the state of national politics, his career as an actor, and his new life in Savannah. Hotchkiss also offers praise for former City Attorney Ariel Calonne. 

“It’s a very good thing that you’ve got an adult in the room in the form of Randy Rowse,” Hotchkiss said. “He has an even hand and doesn’t get wrapped up in an emotional stuff, political stuff. He tries to stay clear of that.”

Hotchkiss talks about how he helped increase the number of cruise ships to Santa Barbara, and led efforts to re-install a Christmas tree downtown.

“It would be nice if the State Street retailers got better support from the local community, but it’s not a big community, so how much can the locals even do?” Hotchkiss asked. “And now, of course, with Amazon one click away, you can get virtually anything within a few days delivered to your door. That’s tough competition, not to say one should give up.”

The former councilman said the restaurants on State Street are doing well, and he misses the food.

“When we left there, I told my wife, there are two things that you have to expect. The weather is never going to be as good wherever we go, and neither is the Mexican food, and that absolutely proved to be true.

Hotchkiss, a former actor and journalist, now writes a newspaper column in Savannah, and even signed up to be an Uber driver, taking people around town in his new Tesla.

“The people you encounter are really interesting,” Hotchkiss said. “You get injected into the middle of people’s lives. And being new to the city, you end up going everywhere.”

Santa Barbara Talks is a podcast created by Joshua Molina to help facilitate community conversation to find solutions to our community’s shared challenges. Consider a contribution to this podcast by clicking here. Subscribe to this podcast by clicking here. Josh Molina has been a journalist in Santa Barbara for 20 years. He also covered City Hall for the San Jose Mercury News. In addition to working as a reporter at Noozhawk, he teaches journalism at Cal State University, Northridge and Santa Barbara City College. Please subscribe to his You Tube channel for more content.