Mayor Candidate Cathy Murillo

Mayoral candidate Cathy Murillo

Mayoral candidate Cathy Murillo

AIDAN ANDERSON, Channels Staff

Democratic Cathy Murillo is the only female candidate and has been endorsed by Salud Carbajal, U.S. Representative for Santa Barbara’s 24th Congressional District, and Monique Limón, assemblymember for the state’s 35th Assembly District.

Murillo said that her top priorities as the potential mayor would be: job creation and economic development, public health and safety, and protecting our environment and the character of our neighborhoods.

“Rental housing production is part of economic development as many of our employers say they have trouble hiring and retaining good employees because of our housing shortage,” she said.

Murillo spoke of her advocacy for more units in high-density housing, as well as applying parking restrictions to ease congestion.

“As Mayor, I will continue to create housing policy that gives us new units on the ground – we need more ‘breathing room’ in our vacancy rate,” she said. “More rentals may translate to lower rents, but that will be a challenge with the city’s high real estate values.”

Murillo serves as the council liaison to the Metropolitan Transit District Board of Directors. She linked the decline in bus ridership to the decline in City College enrollment.

“It is the board’s goal to continue providing bus service to meet student need, and to make adjustments so that people who depend on the bus will have reliable transportation,” she said.

She also addressed bicycling and other non-vehicular transportation options as accessible means of transportation that would benefit the environment.

“We should encourage many options, so that people can choose something else besides a car, which creates parking demand and pollution from emissions.” Murillo said.

She mentioned that the problem in the job industry is caused by the rise of online shopping, hurting the downtown retailing businesses.

“Some ideas are to bring new kinds of activities and uses to fill the empty storefronts and commercial buildings, including housing, gyms and office space,” she said.

Murillo mentioned her work encouraging new entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with the Women’s Economic Ventures, SCORE and the Eastside Business Association. She also encouraged City College students to pursue their own small businesses through the Scheinfeld Center.

Murillo’s Restorative Policing program trains transients to be social workers as well as police.

The people make contact with homeless people, win their trust, and help them get services or housing. Officers bring a strong law enforcement response if an individual is disturbing the peace or committing a crime.

Murillo serves as vice-chair of the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness Policy Council, working to bring together the business community, law enforcement, the courts, and homeless service providers to assist those on the street with getting into housing.

“Addressing homelessness requires a commitment to creating more affordable housing and treating each individual’s problem with the most effective solution, whether it be mental illness, substance abuse, PTSD from military service or domestic abuse, or lack of job skills.”