Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, November 04, 2007

POLITICAL PLAY of the WEEK: Ball is in Your Court

The Political Player this week is you, Gentle Readers.
What are your predictions for the Santa Barbara election results Tuesday night?

Bonus Play of the Week: Helene Schneider cold-shoulders, with liquid nitrogen, News-Press-Less-Mess-Suppress Editorialist Travis Armstrong, who reacts through a pathetic attempt to take his dwindling readers out for a snipe hunt via his fabricated, factually-challenged, and less-than-candid wishful conspiracy theory he dubbed "Helene-Gate." His written temper tantrum early in the week so far has marked his lifetime editorial nadir and spanned two days of Travistorials, which only inspired more sympathy for Schneider and should gain her far more votes than would be lost. Thinking (if that is what it is) that he was hurting and insulting her, the Travisty quoted a dry, nearly bureaucratic, but polite email message from Council Member Helene Schneider:
"Travis -- I am sorry to say that I will not appear on AM 1290 with you at this time. While I would like to communicate with your listeners, I cannot trust that an interview (or its subsequent reporting in the News-Press) would be fair and unbiased. I'm also willing to respond (as I have been in the past) to News-Press reporters when they write stories on city-related issues. Helene."
Translation: Travis, you are full of shit and never can be trusted, but if you send a real reporter who cares about facts and will be allowed to publish them, then I might give an interview. (No such article about Schneider's "Gate" has been published anywhere.)

Now, back to the varsity game. What, Gentle Readers, are your realistic and serious predictions for the outcome of the City election to be final 46 hours from now?

For reference, here are the City Council election results from the past four Council elections, information from Smart Voter.

2005 (8 candidates)
Roger L. Horton ....... 13070 votes 20.05%
Iya Falcone .......... 12318 votes 18.89%
Grant House .......... 10914 votes 16.74%
Loretta Redd .......... 9316 votes 14.29%
Dianne Channing .......... 7075 votes 10.85%
Terry J. Tyler .......... 6574 votes 10.08%
Charles Quintero ......... 3091 votes 4.74%
Bob Hansen .......... 2565 votes 3.93%

2003 (9 candidates)
Helene Schneider ......... 8597 votes
Das Williams .......... 8169 votes
Brian B. Barnwell .......... 7955 votes
Babatunde Folayemi .......... 6933 votes
Scott Burns .......... 6622 votes
Michael Magne .......... 6557 votes
"Carlos" Quintero ....... 1337 votes
Bob Hansen .......... 1011 votes
Robert B. Cawley ......... 721 votes

2001 (12 candidates)
Iya Falcone .......... 8359 votes 17.33%
Roger L. Horton ...... 7954 votes 16.49%
Dan B. Secord ........ 6982 votes 14.47%
Babatunde Folayemi ...... 6755 votes 14.00%
Michael Purvis .......... 3419 votes 7.09%
Keith Coffman-Grey ........ 2717 votes 5.63%
Isaac Garrett .......... 2596 votes 5.38%
Joseph Luke Appleton ........ 2579 votes 5.35%
David Esparza, Jr. .......... 2142 votes 4.44%
"Carlos" Quintero .......... 1840 votes 3.81%
Marcia C. Sherman .......... 1410 votes 2.92%
Michael Faeth .......... 1339 votes 2.78%

1999 (7 candidates)
Marty Blum .......... 10,413 votes 21.5%
Gregg A. Hart .......... 9,652 votes 19.9%
Harold P. Fairly .......... 7,525 votes 15.5%
Joseph Guzzardi .......... 6,665 votes 13.8%
John C. Strawn .......... 6,546 votes 13.5%
Bruce Rittenhouse .......... 5,164 votes 10.7%
Robert Allen Hansen .......... 2,474 votes 5.1%

For past information about voter turn out and absentee vs. polling place ballots, our friends with Measure A provided a nifty table of the past 12 years of voting results.

PREDICT THESE, realistically and seriously:
  1. Council Member Election Ranking (first, second, third... through eighth)
  2. Number of votes per Council Member (absolute number or percentage)
  3. Results for Measure A (absolute number of votes or percentage)
  4. Total voter turn out (absolute number or percentage)
  5. Absentee vs. polling place voter numbers (absolute number or percentage)
  6. Time of night when all the ballots are counted from the polling places
Make your predictions and place your bets if you dare, Gentle Readers.


Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

1. Schneider (18%)
2. Williams (17%)
3. Barnwell (15%)
4. Francisco (14%)
5. Flamethrower Frank (12%)
6. Hansen
7. Giddens
8. Litten

Measure A: Yes = 52%
Voter turn out = 28%
Absentee ballots = 59%
Time for final count = 11:15 PM

11/05/2007 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Eat my shorts said...

Measure A Yes: 33%

1. Schneider 21%
2. Williams 19%
3. Francisco 16%
4. Barnwell 15%
5. Hotchkiss 10%
6. Giddens 9%
7. Hanseen 5%
8. Litten 5%

Chance that Travis will claim city "fixed" the election on behalf of incumbents?
100% if all three incumbents prevail.
98" if Francisco or "Speek Inglish" Frank sneak in.

11/05/2007 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The incumbents will all win. Despite the fledging attempts to change the make-up of the candidates through giving councilmembers a salary (not a bad thing in itself), we still find ourselves voting for incumbents and or an eligible few who have earned the privilege to run by serving the public on any number of city boards and commissions. Measure A (although I’m agnostic about it) won’t change this, district elections won’t change this.

The number of type of candidates is a function of those who are ABLE to run and serve (which typically means can afford to devote their time to public service). The ability to win is typically a function of those who have had the time to devote to any number of public service activities and thus earned the respect of the average voter.

Until someone finds a way to change this dynamic (a dynamic I’m not sure needs fixing) we will ourselves voting for a few retired folks who some feel are puppets of the system and others consider qualified.

This election in particular is full of challengers who are running on fringe issues that do not resound with the average voter. It’s as simple as that. How can you expect to draw a distinction between a known entity (the incumbents) when you are campaigning on issues most people aren’t inspired by? I suspect if you talked to the average voter about any number of issues floating around (the Blue Line, Eastside traffic calming, etc.) they wouldn’t be very high on their list of issues about how they choose a candidate.

Polling has shown the issues voters in Santa Barbara care about most are primarily regional issues with traffic and transportation topping the list. No single candidate or municipality is going to solve this alone but the ones who have shown experience in these areas is going to have a leg up.

11/05/2007 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put the last election's Tyler and Redd votes together and you have 15,000 enlightened and conservative votes out the ready to see some change. And not a moment too soon.

Two things to watch for this time:

1. How many former liberals in this city got mugged by this current city council in their own backyards and are now voting to turn the bums out, literally and figuratively? Lots of them. Social policies only work in someone elses back yard. This council starting putting them in the Golden Triangle. Big mistake.

2. What is the fate of the Golden Triangle? Did this current city council buy enough votes with their housing and social programs outside the Golden Triangle to finally break its power to make up for having mugged them in their own backyards these past years?

3. Predictions: the incumbents lose the Golden Triangle; Barnwell out; Williams maybe out or very low scorer stopping any future political agenda; Schneider showing signs of getting it sfinally and may position herself for mayor over Falcone who is desparately trying to show she is getting it too.

4. Progressives will wake up to a very large conservative change in voter sentiment in this town and the NewsPress will win its lawsuit and our town will be saved.

5. We will not turn into the next degraded Santa Monica. Our city lax management will get cleaned up at last. Falcone is catching on to this shift. Barnwell remains clueless. House will be gone at next election.

6. If the shift on the city council is deep enough (3 out of 7) we will see a new police chief, new city manager and new city attorney. And staff will be back working a 5 day week. And liking it.

7. Francisco most likely in; Barnwell most likely out, or maybe Williams out. One incumbent will be gone.

8. There is a strong anti-incumbent mood out there among former liberals. This will be measurable in the precincts and will be built upon for the next election, if it does not take a few down this time.

9. Progressives and their agenda will be marginalized into obscurity after this election.

10. The NewsPress will stage a comeback as our community conscience.

11/05/2007 8:06 AM  
Anonymous New Math Error of Commission said...

HA HA, Anonymous number 2.

Your top 9 points seemed slightly plausible and rational as written, then you wrote the sarcastic punchline with point no. 10: "The NewsPress will stage a comeback as our community conscience." Very funny.

And, please, Do The Math: the Council election in 2005 was Vote For Three. Thus, you cannot add together votes for Tyler and Redd to reveal some big swell of 15,000 conservative voters. The only hint of that may be Tyler's 10% share of the votes as some indication of a small and consistent conservative voting base for anyone but the incumbents.

11/05/2007 9:11 AM  
Anonymous citywatcher said...

Thank you for the stats!

I think it will be a low turnout, around 15.000 voters.

1. Schneider, Williams, Francisco, Barnwell, Giddens, Hotchkiss, Litten, Hansen.

2. I think it will be quite close, among the top 4 and low numbers for the bottom 4 but can't guess. Williams and Schneider maybe 8,000.

3. Measure A will lose heavily.

4. as above, about 15,000 or less than a third of the registered voters.

5. 60% absentee; 40% polling place

6. All ballots from polling places counted by 9:30.

11/05/2007 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Measure A will go down big time and take the incumbents with it.

11/05/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I predict Giddens will do better than expected and probably get elected. I see a lot of flyers for her on parenting things. They don't mention the McMansion issue. I think a lot of moms will vote for her because she's a mom and people say she's "nice". A lot of people who usually vote aren't reading any local press, since the NP is lousy and they are too lazy to keep up with local news online.

11/05/2007 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a funny comment I heard from a friend. She said she opened her ballot and all there was on it was a city council election. "I'm not going to bother to vote if that's all they can put on the ballot," she said. Then she said, "Oh yeah, and there was some measure about posponing the next election a year. I think those people just want longer terms." Since she's a Republican, I didn't bother to point out the inconsistency in her thinking...

11/05/2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous The Predictor said...

1. Hotchkiss 8,500 18%
2. Francisco 8,000 17%
3. Gidens 7,500 16%
4. Schneider 7,000 15%
5. Williams 6,500 14%
6. Barnwell 6,000 12%
7. Litten 3,000 6%
7. Hansen 1,000 2%

Measure a will be defeated 65% against, 35% for

11/05/2007 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do the Police and Fire Departments support Measure A?

I know it must be self-interest rather than any true belief that local elections shouldn't be mixed with others, but I'm not sure exactly how Measure A affects them. Do they think they'll get higher pay from a differently aligned City Council?

11/05/2007 4:02 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...


1. Schneider (17%)
2. Williams (16%)
3. Francisco (14%)
4. Barnwell (13%)
5. Hotchkiss (11%)
6. Hansen
7. Giddens
8. Litten
9. Cooper

Measure A loses 55% to 45%
Turn out = 23%
Absentee ballots = 55%
Final vote count Wednesday morning, due to computer glitch.

11/05/2007 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you pundits make have overlooked Bob Hansen's refreshingly direct approach... I say he scores 4th or 5th.

11/05/2007 6:27 PM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

Helene doesn't deserve a seat on the council if she is not willing to speak candidly and answer tough questions.

If she has nothing to hide, then why hide? As an elected official, she should be more than willing to stand up and explain her side of the story.

Like it or not, bloggers, Travis is a respected and appreciated man in this town, in spite of the anti-NP war that was waged by unhappy employees and pissed off ppoliticians. Many people are glad that he keeps the tough questions on the table. An elected official who disregards his invitation to have a public dialogue with tough questions is avoiding a part of his/her job.

Maybe Helene would like a nice little soft and cozy interview with easy questions. Is that how we are supposed to cater to her?


11/05/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense a trend: Barnwell out; Francisco in.

Will Barnwell demand a recount? How neutral will be the donut-eating city staff doing the recount?

11/05/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Golden Triangle (Riviera, San Roque, Upper East) lawn signs predict: (1) Francisco - (2) Hotchkiss - (3) Williams.

Pundit predicts Williams moves on in less than next term for Nava's seat. Seat opens appointment for Redd or Tyler or next highest vote getter Giddens, who then runs for term as appointed incumbent.

11/05/2007 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the love for DAS?

WILLIAMS:9000 votes
SCHNEIDER: 8300 votes
FRANCISCO: 7100 votes
BARNWELL: 7050 votes
GIDDENS: 6000 votes
HOTCHKISS: 5800 votes
COOPER: 2300 votes
HANSEN: 1400 votes
LITTEN: 890 votes

MEASURE A: 39% YES, 61% NO

11/05/2007 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police and Fire OPPOSE Measure A as does the Independent.

A will fail.

Barnwell loses.

Francisco wins second or third slot.

Schneider top vote getter.

Das will live another day.

11/05/2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous No on A said...

4:02--The Police and Fire oppose Measure A because it will bury local elections. They have run countless radio ads and sent out a mailer with opposition to Measure A on one side and candidate endorsements on the other. How you could think otherwise is quite surprising.

11/05/2007 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most here surprisingly see Barnwell failing? Why?

11/05/2007 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Independent does not want Measure A because they get to stretch out the campaign ad dollars rather than consolidate them once every four years, rather than every two years.

11/05/2007 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never sell the appeal of a Yale graduate short in this town. This is as good as the number of votes that will still go to Cooper, simply because he is identified on the ballot as a dentist.

Uniformed voters like ballot designations for doctors or dentists. They think they are smart. And if it is widely known Hotchkiss is a Yale grad, this gets big points too.

We need more professionalism and critical thinking discipline among our elected officials. Professional and Ivy League educations still count for a lot in modern America.

11/05/2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I sometimes wonder how much of a bubble those of us that are politically active and aware live in. Our opinions are shaped, molded and bolstered by the originating circle we choose to place around us...people mostly of the same ilk.

With that in mind -- I wonder too whether Das should get more love than CS and the rest of you give...mainly because he ran in a recent election and has strong support in high turnout areas.

I also wonder whether Barnwell won't do better than the expectations game because most voters just haven't heard that much from the alternatives and we always go with what we think we know rather than what we do not know a thing about.

I say Williams barely ahead of Schneider at closer to 20%, Barnwell close to 17% and then Hotchkiss at 15% or so. Everyone else will only make the teen digits if the Mesa and San Roque is so fogged in that no one can find their polling place...

11/05/2007 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SDLG, you are right. Politically active people live in not only a bubble, but an echo chamber bubble.

More people make last minute decisions when they vote than we would like to believe.

Incumbents win when voters feel okay about themselves first, and only secondarily about the candidates. And when they don't feel okay about their own lives, they vote to toss the incumbents out, no matter who they are or who the opponents happen to be.

Elections are often not about the individual candidates at all; but about the voters own lives.

I sensed some time ago even before the current opposition filed their papers that this election was going to be an upset of the status quo because I heard many unpolitical complaints about what people were seeing happen to their city: gang violence, grafitti, blight, traffic, tall buildings, dense housing, vagrants, population pressures.

Something was going wrong in paradise. Something needed to be done. Life here was getting more and more stressful.

This was not pro or con any individual council member or any individual opponent. It was these individuals sense that something was going wrong in their own lives.

These voters, not political junkies like ourselves, who feel something is going wrong in this town probably don't even know who their city council members are or would even recognized them if they were in the same room.

But they do know incumbents brought on this malaise, and non-incumbents no matter who they are are the only chance for a change.

Sorry, but that is how a lot of voters vote. Which is one reason to keep city elections separate to encourage as many caring voters, rather than mere rubber stamp voters.

No one is keeping anyone away from the polls, so just encouraging artifical voting numbers when no barriers other than disinterst exist today, is not a sure fire good thing.

I think caring voters understand this and that is why Measure A will be soundly defeated. City voters care and they don't want their votes diluted by adding just sheer numbers who vote in national elections more by sheer lazy opportunity than thoughtful and informed commitment.

If you noticed, most of the candidates talked about their own accomplishments and what they would do, but none of them made the voters feel good about themselves and their lives today.

Maybe Das as an evangelical came closest to inspiring lives, but he was also way too focused on himself and not the voter. Francisco tapped into this, and Helene tried and at least came across as earnest and honest.

What was the standards complaint heard in opposition to the incumbents: they don't listen. This is true.

They don't listen because they are too busy talking about themselves and are too isolated from the general population to really have their fingers on this pulse of malaise so many people of both political stripes are currently feeling.

Something good is being lost in this city, and those in power play games and use symbols in place of substance. When voters talk about loss of small town ambiance, it is not time to talk about taller, denser affordable buildings crowding every neighborhood.

It is time to listen to the pain coming from those very neighborhoods. It is time to know that the answer to all city problems is not more housing. It is deeper than that. And no candidate addressed that.

Tomorrow will be very interesting. No one will get a mandate to continue on this current build-out reckless course. All the winners will win by only a mere squeak. But change will happen because the malaise is deep.

11/05/2007 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das is “evangelical inspired” how boring is that. If nothing else his association with that hurts him with the progressives. I’m astounded by him and his political missteps considering he has the best campaign manger around – Das. What’s up with all the bible thumping and carpet bagging?! He alone should know that no one cares how “spiritual” he is accept for the folks at Ricky’s church and they are all Republicans. This is a city council race, not a battle for who is most pious. You’d think this was a battle between the Republican candidates fighting for the conservative right. Frankly, as regular folk who are more concerned about the issue of the day, I’d rather hear what Das is doing to make Santa Barbara better rather than hear how much he’s “put all spiritually” (read his post at SantaBarbarsBlog), please, it’s just silly.

11/05/2007 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Rubber Stamp Voter? said...

Quite a lot of bluster here by people in a double bubble.

Regular folks get the basic point about the benefits of Measure A, and they are quite offended by the elitist 'tude that some voters are more deserving than others.

Try looking outside your bubble for a change.

11/06/2007 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then those lazy voters who don't vote on off-year elections need to get out and vote on this off-year election if they want their ballots handed to them next time at their convenience. Because those of us who do vote, rain or shine, are not going to do it for them.

These lazy voters are the elitists, not those who actually choose to vote whether it is on-year or off-year. And if those elite lazy voters can get off their tails and vote this year, then can keep doing it every off year because city elections are always in their best interests.

How hard is it to put a stamp on an envelope? The rest of us are tired of being scolded and too many of the incumbents spent too much time scolding us for not buying into their elitist agenda sold for their own good, and not for ours.

11/06/2007 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barnwell is failing here because he failed as a council member. For him to walk around this city pointing out buildings that don't fit in as if it's a total surprise to him is beyond comprehension. What was he doing for eight long years on the Planning Commission except approving these monstrosities while claiming there was no other choice. After four long years on City Council--while championing viturally every development that came before them--now he figures out what neighborhood advocates have been saying all along. But does he give them credit? No, just acts like he's the only enlightened one saying, just before election time, we need height limits (uh, what about setbacks, reduced bulk, scale and compatibility?). That's why he's failing here.

11/06/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

Few people in this town know that Das is an evangelical because he doesn't make a big deal about it.

All those people so concerned about the possibility of the city spending $12,000 on the Light Blue Line don't seem to care about spending over $200,000 unnecessarily on elections. The coupling of Measure A with the council incumbents is bizarre since it would affect whoever wins, incumbent or not; Frank Hotchkiss saying that it makes council members dictators for life is, well, as intelligent as anything else he has to say.

To a large degree, the challengers have been campaigning against positions taken by people who aren't up for reelection this year. Of course it makes sense for them to do that -- they want to be elected; but it's foolhardy for citizens to be suckered by such tactics.

11/06/2007 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Armstrong insert himself into Schneider's election in such a manner? McCaw decries the lack of civility, but can't keep any control over Armstrong.

11/06/2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barnwell spent much of these last 8 years never showing up. Often when he was on the Planning Commission there was an empty seat. Perhaps that is how he snoozed through the tall building permits.

11/06/2007 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pufnstuf or McCheese by acclaimation.

11/06/2007 7:17 PM  

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