ANALYSIS: Mayor a No-Show, But Plans Her Own Show as Council to Mull State Street Future

How can the chamber of commerce have a “State of the City” event without the incumbent mayor attending the June 19 virtual event? 

Ironically, the mayor will preside over a city council meeting June 22 where key decisions on the future of State Street may be decided regarding pulling back on the future of outdoor seating on the county’s most popular commercial corridor. 

Santa Barbara incumbent Mayor Cathy Murillo did not join other candidates in a June 19 virtual event reportedly because some of the sponsors were from the oil industry, and she said she had a family issue to tend to. 

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the City event without Murillo’s joining in the gathering. Usually, this type of event is a dog-and-pony show. 

With the mayoral election coming up Nov. 6, the three other mayoral candidates participated, but Murillo reportedly did not attend because the sponsors included oil and gas companies. Instead, Santa Barbara plans to hold its own State of the City event in July. 

“Without local businesses, there is no city of Santa Barbara, plain and simple,” said former councilman Randy Rowse, who used to own the Paradise Café, who attended the June 19 virtual event. 

Also attending that event was Planning Commissioner Deborah Schwartz who also chastised the mayor for not participating. A third mayoral hopeful, former state Senate aide James Joyce III, participated after having his own business roundtable the day before. See: 

President and CEO of the South Coast Chamber Kristen Miller said she does not want to prevent any businesses from participating in the event in response to the mayor’s refusal to participate.

Posted June 21, 2021.

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