By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers
Santa Barbara City Council member Mike Jordan disclosed on Wednesday that he is supporting commercial developer Barrett Reed’s challenge to colleague and District 4 incumbent Kristen Sneddon in her bid for re-election.
Jordan’s public statement of support for Reed, who serves on the Planning Commission, is the first flare that signals what is likely to become the year’s most high-profile political conflict in the city, after the mayor’s race.
“I am in support of Barrett,” Jordan said in a one-on-one Newsmakers interview. “I find Barrett very intelligent and conversant in ways that resonate with me, on forward-looking, future generation presence in the city of Santa Barbara.
“Way better than me, he can balance that, and talk about that, in a manner that talks about what my children will be able to do, and how they will live in Santa Barbara, and at the same time balance that with protection of the cultural or historical or the small town community type of thing,” he added.
More than seven months before the Nov. 2 election, Jordan’s public support for Reed suggests that Sneddon faces a significant, and no doubt well-financed, test of her effort to win a second term representing the Riviera, East San Roque and other District 4 neighborhoods.
More than any other member of council, Sneddon’s political sensibilities and approach to development reflect traditional concerns for neighborhood compatibility and scale, historical and aesthetic concerns, as well as limits on water and other resources. Reed is a partner in the Miramar Group, the developer of The Waterline in the Funk Zone, as well as several major projects downtown.
As a political matter, Jordan in the interview was far more elusive in discussing the mayor’s race than the council contest. He confirmed what Mayor Cathy Murillo told us a few weeks ago — “she’s working on me” — but also acknowledged that he has discussed it with challenger Deborah Schwartz, with whom he previously served on Planning Commission.
Jordan said he has not yet heard from two other announced mayoral candidates – entrepreneur James Joyce III and former Councilmember Randy Rowse, claiming that in any case the matter at this point is of interest only to a small “group of insiders” — a clear dis of the vast Newsmakers audience.
Also in the conversation, Mike:
Defended the controversial financial “flip” of one of the city’s three retail cannabis licenses, saying the transaction, which netted original licensee Golden State Greens a profit estimated in the millions of dollars, was entirely legal and vetted properly by the city. Golden State sold the license without ever opening a business, however, and Jordan expressed displeasure with the “speculative” nature of the deal, adding that he would be open to amending existing law to require a firm that won a license to hold it for an established number of years.
Described as “way too long” the nine-block stretch of State Street that the council closed to cars at the beginning of the pandemic in order to provide a boost to restaurants and other businesses. Noting that the council recently approved a process to develop a long-term plan for State Street, he said current conditions represent “a work in progress,” defending City Hall against complaints it took a “duct tape approach” resulting in what now looks like “a yard sale.”
Criticized the newly-adopted, pro-union Project Labor Agreement, governing public projects of $5 million and above, for lacking an effective process to track and measure the number of construction workers who live in the city employed on taxpayer-financed developments. Jordan was the only member of council who voted against the PLA, saying it did not do enough to protect locals.