We are writing to announce that we, representatives of the Santa Barbara Tenants Union, have decided to endorse Cathy Murillo for Mayor as well as Meagan Harmon and Kristen Sneddon for Santa Barbara City Council.
Santa Barbara needs renters — we are the people doing the daily jobs that make it possible for local retail, restaurants, and grocery stores to operate. We work in schools and nonprofits. We are public safety employees and medical providers.
The Tenants Union was formed in order to build mutual solidarity, education, and political power amongst all of us struggling as tenants in our city and region, because we face increasingly unaffordable housing and a crisis-level shortage in places to rent. We are a membership funded and led Union for and by tenants, and we maintain independence from big foundations, wealthy donors, government grants, and political parties. This independence gives us the ability to make decisions that come from membership rather than special interests, which means that we can endorse candidates if we choose and maintain the ability to denounce them later if they break campaign promises.
Cathy Murillo, Meagan Harmon, and Kristen Sneddon have been powerful advocates for renters’ rights, helping to pass no-cause eviction protections and an early pandemic eviction moratorium. These candidates’ strong record on renters’ issues makes sense because over 60 percent of our neighbors in the city are renters. This is a refreshing example of representative democracy — an elected official representing the issues that matter most to their constituents.
Sadly, the darker side of politics has reared its ugly head in these campaigns. A number of property management companies and major property owners are spending tens of thousands of dollars to defeat them. These corporate special interests don’t want Meagan, Cathy, and Kristen to continue their work on behalf of renters. They want others they know will side with their financial interests at the expense of the access to local quality housing that our neighbors need.
We urge voters to elect Cathy Murillo as our Mayor and urge Sixth District residents to vote for Meagan Harmon and Fourth District residents to vote for Kristen Sneddon for City Council.