I have known Sebastian Aldana Jr for what seems like my whole life. He was my Best Man and is God Father to my oldest son Manuel. I have to admit that while reading the Daily Sounds article today I was very pleased for Sebastian and very proud of him as well. It was especially nice to see that current elected officials praised his hard work even if they were unable to endorse him. I have seen the effort that Sebastian has given to the East Side Community and I hope they respond by voting him to the City Council.
Good luck Compa Jr. let me know how I can help.
I have one other thought about the Daily Sound story today. I find it odd that while Mr. Aldana and his community service was praised. Sharon Bryne’s success was credited more to the corporation of the City Council than her hard work. This quote by political activist Jim Westby was a bit harsh for me.“My feeling about Sharon is that she is running against the people who supported her,” said political activist Jim Westby, who supports the conservative slate. “Those were her friends and supporters and now she is turning around and running against them.”
I feel like the people who spoke out against Sharon and her candidacy would have never supported the community service she was providing. If they had known in advance she had future political aspirations.What if her political aspirations were new to even her? What if Sharon is wanted by the people and can perform the duties of City Council at a higher level than the others? With all the turmoil in Santa Barbara with our Courts, Police, and Youth we need more involved people like Sebastian and Sharon not less.
I have only met Sharon once and I was impressed with the fact that she had knowledge about some of my concerns without even knowing me. It left me with a feeling that she is open to looking at all views regardless of where they originate from.
Sharon Good Luck to you and please let me know if I can be of any help.
Larry “Magic” Mendoza
CONSERVATIVE COLLISION: Byrne, Aldana shake up landscape of Santa Barbara City Council race
By JOSHUA MOLINA — AUG. 11, 2011
A year ago, the Milpas Community Association began to shake up Santa Barbara City Hall from the outside.
This November, the neighborhood advocacy organization could shake it up from the inside.
The group’s top two leaders, Sharon Byrne and Sebastian Aldana, are both running for Santa Barbara City Council, in a move that could have major ramifications for the outcome of the race.
Already, the conservative incumbents and their backers are coming apart at the seams over Byrne’s entry into the race. Aldana on Wednesday submitted 195 signatures to the City Clerk’s office in an attempt to qualify for the ballot. Byrne plans to submit her signatures today.
Aldana’s entry into the race is the latest challenge for the conservative slate of incumbents.
Dale Francisco, Randy Rowse and Michael Self are all running for re-election. The three, Self and Francisco in particular, have spent much of the last year working with Byrne and Aldana on Eastside problems, such as rampant homelessness, gang crime and graffiti.
Byrne and Aldana have been closely aligned with the incumbents, but they also they believe City Hall has not acted fast enough.
They want their chance to lead. But their political ambitions have sparked a panic in conservative circles.
Some conservatives believe that Byrne and Aldana may take votes away from the incumbents, and allow the liberal Democrat slate to swoop into office.
“My feeling about Sharon is that she is running against the people who supported her,” said political activist Jim Westby, who supports the conservative slate. “Those were her friends and supporters and now she is turning around and running against them.”
When the council was interviewing candidates to replace Das Williams, who was elected to the State Assembly in November, Francisco, Self and Frank Hotchkiss, another conservative councilman, all backed Byrne.
This time it’s different.
“Let the chips fall where they may,” Councilman Francisco said.
“Obviously I feel I have been very supportive of Sharon,” Francisco said. “When we were doing the Das replacement she was one of the people I nominated. There’s no question that I feel that we are in alignment on policy issues or I wouldn’t have nominated her. If she feels that things aren’t moving fast enough, I guess that’s a reason to run.”
Conservatives have pressured Byrne to get out of the race. Hotchkiss recently sent a letter to supporters blasting Byrne for running for office too soon, and for allegedly being a pawn in conspiracy to hurt the conservative incumbents.
“Sharon’s departure from the team can only hurt our candidates by drawing votes away from them,” Hotchkiss wrote. “This will be a difficult race in any case, and her grave misjudgment, in my opinion, will help no one bent on changing the direction of Santa Barbara, including Sharon. Not surprisingly, prominent Democrats, including District Attorney Joyce Dudley, told her to run.”
Hotchkiss added: “So I urge you not to help Sharon in this mistaken course, and to help others understand how her strategic mistake could cost not just one seat, but perhaps all three come November.”
The incumbents face a challenge from the Democratic Party slate of Iya Falcone, Cathy Murillo and Deborah Schwartz.
Byrne called the conservative tactics “thuggish.” She said the Milpas Community Association has been pressured to remove her as president.
Byrne said of the conservative incumbents and their supporters. “There is definitely some pressure going on. There are some tactics they are using that are very much a turnoff.”
Still, Byrne said she has received more support than anything else from liberals and conservatives who aren’t happy with either slate.
“The phone has been ringing and ringing and ringing,” Byrne said. “It has also made me dizzy.”
Aldana, 50, could also play a big role in the race.
Even though he won’t be supporting him, Westby said that Aldana was a “a good guy.”
“I think he has the community at heart,” he said.
Francisco called Aldana when he heard that he was running. Francisco said he just wanted to learn more about why he was running for office. Even though he won’t be supporting him, he had good things to say about Aldana.
He said he has a record of service to the community and that he is “a hard worker.”
“I have a lot of respect for Sebastian,” Francisco said.
Byrne signed Aldana’s nomination papers. She also encouraged him to run.
Aldana, a retired painter, was born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He attended Harding Elementary School and Santa Barbara High School.
With the exception of a time when he moved to Ventura County, Aldana has lived in Santa Barbara. He raised three kids here. A little more than a year ago he became frustrated with the lack of attention on the Eastside. The streets were full of trash; the neighborhoods lacked lighting and gangs were out of control.
He worked with members of the City Council to attend neighborhood meetings. He became a key influence on the Eastside.
When medicinal marijuana dispensaries opponents held a press conference about a year ago, they did it in front of Aldana’s house, where some signs had been stolen. Byrne and Francisco were both there.
Aldana eventually became the vice president of the MCA.
He said he simply wants to take his successful work on the Eastside and do the same citywide.
“I have nothing to lose,” Aldana said. “I have zero to lose.”
Aldana said he is not concerned about taking votes away from the conservatives.
“If the people of Santa Barbara believe the incumbents did a good job and that they trust and believe in them, they will get their votes,” Aldana said. “This middle-aged Sebastian is not going to be stealing their votes away.”
Byrne is planning to formally launch her campaign next week. After a year of organizing rallies, clean-ups, calling for more funding for police officers on the streets and forcing City Hall to pay attention to the Eastside, Byrne said she is fired up and ready to win a seat on the council.
Next week, she will interview with the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, in hopes of getting the union’s endorsement – a highly coveted badge of support that would further boost her campaign.
S.B.C.C.C. The place where COMMON SENSE never goes out of style!