Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Williams, Schneider, Francisco win Council seats


Standing on plush red chairs at Pascucci on State Street, Councilmembers Das Williams and Helene Schneider embraced in celebration of their one-two finish in yesterday’s Council election.
“Number one and number two, and that’s a good thing,” Schneider said, pointing first to Williams, then to herself. “…We’re really proud to be continuing our work for the next four years. There’s so much we need to do to keep Santa Barbara the amazing place it is.”

Halfway down the street at Left at Albuquerque, challenger Dale Francisco, surrounded by campaign supporters, friends and family, reveled in his third place finish, good enough to take one of the three seats up for grabs.
“I feel great, but I’ve been feeling great for days,” Francisco said. “I came into this as a complete novice. I knew that if I didn’t get elected this time, I would definitely be elected in two years.”
Williams led the semi-official tally with 7,315 votes, followed by Schneider with 6,539 and Francisco with 6,290. Challenger Michelle Giddens took fourth position in the polls, while incumbent Brian Barnwell finished with 5,725 votes.
“I don’t think the middle of the road is working,” Barnwell said, offering his explanation for the election results. “I was a middle of the road kind of guy.”
Frank Hotchkiss filled in the sixth place position, garnering 5,319 votes, while Dr. Dan Litten pulled in 1,874 votes. Bob Hansen finished with 724 votes and Dr. Michael Cooper, who dropped out of the campaign race early on, still collected 694 votes.
As the celebration party wore on at Pascucci, Williams credited Schneider for keeping him from being marginalized on the Council and in the campaign.
“I really appreciate Helene being there, backing me up on so many issues,” Williams said.
“I want to see us continue to be involved,” he continued. “In this town, when people don’t participate, bad things happen. We’re going to make good things happen in the next four years.”
Francisco, who will take his seat at the Council dais in January, said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I hope to do all the things I said I would do,” he said. “I want to focus on real city problems.”
Although he will have to relinquish his seat come January, Barnwell said he still plans to be involved in local government.
“I’m still interested in the city of Santa Barbara,” Barnwell said. “I’m violently interested in it.”
With about 1,500 absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted, city officials estimated about 32.6 percent of registered voters came to the polls or sent in absentee ballots.
“It’s an odd-year election,” Marcelo Lopez, city administrative services director, said. “The turnout is lower in odd years.”
At the Presidio Springs Senior Center recreation room, poll workers said of the 900 potential voters in that precinct, only about 100 trickled in during the day.
“I’ve been a poll worker for the County of Santa Barbara for the last 12 years, and this is the slowest I’ve ever seen,” Kimberly Goldstein said.
When voters walked through the doors and heading toward the ballot table, the five poll workers cheered, Goldstein said, glad to see someone coming in to cast their vote.
Gordon Forbes, who filled out a ballot at the senior center, said he cast his vote for Williams, Schneider and Francisco, the three victors. When asked why he picked Francisco, Forbes said, “I don’t know too much about him, but he seemed to favor keeping the town within its limits.”
Yesterday’s proceedings marked the first city-run election in decades. The County of Santa Barbara had hosted the municipal elections in recent years, but prohibitive cost estimates had city officials looking for a less expensive method.
Lopez said the ballot counting machines had been calibrated earlier in the morning and ran smoothly as deputized election workers began counting absentee ballots beginning at 4:30 p.m. Semi-official figures came in at just before 10 p.m.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am happy that Dale won a seat on council! I am really anxious to see if he can actually do something. All i have seen from him is being a squeaky wheel that has done nothing but protested the City and wasted many hours of hard working City staff. His negative platform was everything he is against, offering no viable solutions. His hard work and negative energy can now be put to good use, and with a crash course in how things really work in government, he may learn how do great things or at least what can even be accomplished! From a "civic thorn" to a position of accountability...he got what he asked for....Good job Dale, have a beer, take a deep breath and go in there and drive some runs in for the team!!