David Pritchett, UCSB alumnus and husband of KCSB News Director Cathy Murillo, will run for the Santa Barbara City Council this November.
Pritchett currently works as chair for the city of Santa Barbara’s Transportation and Circulation Committee and is a member of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee. In the past, Pritchett has worked with the City Creek Committee.
While Pritchett has cited transportation and the environment as key issues for his campaign, he noted that the budget and public safety are currently the highest priorities for voters.
“I agree that the biggest concerns are public safety and fiscal discipline – or budget balancing,” Pritchett said. “To balance the budget, what has to come out? People are concerned about keeping up their public safety, their maintenance in the public parks and the basic services that everyone’s accustomed to. The real challenge is how to do that with less revenue. Everyone has to get really creative about efficiency.”
Although Pritchett admitted that he doesn’t “have all the answers right now,” he said that his experience in city government would give him an edge as an elected official.
“I’ve been on two city advisory committees for more than eight years so I know the good, the bad and the not-so-pretty inside aspects of Santa Barbara City government,” he said. “I know what works well and what works not so well. I care about my city and I want to make sure it’s planned well.”
If Pritchett is elected, he will make decisions regarding the city’s general plan update in late 2010. According to Pritchett, the update will outline city development for the next 30 or 40 years, and he said he hopes to see the moderate expansion of downtown areas as a part of that plan.
“[I’m hoping for a] modest rate of urban growth with a focus on downtown growth and bus route. … There should be a choice for [public] transportation,” Pritchett said. “These are big choices that are raging in debate with the people around Santa Barbara.”
He also believes that extension of bus services in Santa Barbara will reduce both traffic and pollution. Pritchett, who has an environmental studies degree from UCSB and a Master of Science in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has worked on a number of environmental issues in the past.
“Another big issue with the public is environmental protection, and things have been going on that I think should continue,” he said. “The Watershed Management Action Plans went dormant in 2005 and they should be finished so the next group of projects will have a little more thought behind them.”
With the help of his wife Cathy Murillo of KCSB – who he calls his campaign’s “best asset,” – Pritchett will hold his “Campaign Kick Off and Rally” on June 10 in Santa Barbara’s Oak Park.
Pritchett said he chose the location because the park, aside from being in a centrally located, exemplifies a number of social issues – such as homelessness and the need for environmental improvement programs – that will be fundamental to his campaign.
And if elected this November, Pritchett said he hopes that his presence on the board will improve City Council’s relationship with the public.
“I want the city to be part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” he said.