Grateful, and Now We Move Forward

By James Joyce III   |   November 30, 2021
James Joyce on Election Night in Santa Barbara (Photo by August Woolner)

As a community, we sit days away from the certification of our recent mayoral and city council election and I wanted to take a few minutes to address my city: It was an honor and a privilege to serve as a catalyst for change and to truly hold to my campaign motto: “A New Day. A New Way.” To that end, 7,170 votes — more than our current mayor was elected with — were in support of that vision, and for that I am most grateful and humbled. 

Unfortunately, that was not the majority of the votes cast; that distinction goes to mayor-elect Randy Rowse, who captured just more than 38% of the votes. I have connected with Mr. Rowse to congratulate him and offer my support toward his success. It is my belief that his success is our city’s success, and that success cannot happen without you: the people of Santa Barbara. Those of you who may be disappointed by the outcome of the election, do not despair, there will be future opportunities for you to get involved in helping shape a better future for our community.

There was a lot of excitement around the idea of change that my candidacy provided and that was an excitement that transcends me as an individual. I implore you, those who were inspired to harness that excitement and become that change that we seek. At the end of the day, all politics are local, and it’s our duty as locals to push forward.

Rest, regroup, but don’t give up. Find your entry point to advocate for something that encouraged you to engage in my candidacy. For instance, if you were encouraged by me raising the issue to campaign finance reform, I’m not essential for that change to happen. If you feel strongly about that, reach out and meet with your district representative on the council. Ask them to introduce or support an ordinance that would implement such reform. Use that same model for whatever your issue of passion is. Seek out opportunities to serve on local commissions or boards that are aligned with your interest or expertise. 

Now, that campaigning is over. Thank you to everyone who shared time and energy with me throughout, including the other candidates. Thank you to the Santa Barbara Independent and the Montecito Journal for the glowing and aspirational endorsements. A special thank you to outgoing mayor Cathy Murillo for her service to our city and the people of Santa Barbara. Despite the difference of approach expressed during the campaign, serving as mayor of this special city is no small task. I applaud all your hard work during your service to our city.

Finally, to answer the recurring question I have been getting from the community since election day: what’s next?

For now, it’s back to running my business, Coffee with a Black Guy, facilitating conversations for communities, companies, and organizations. I remain dedicated to holding space for authentic conversations about the often-difficult issues associated with race in our nation.

I look forward to staying involved in our community while being a voice that holds our elected leaders accountable. I have met thousands of people, and I will continue to amplify their voice as we build toward a safer, more prosperous, and more inclusive city.

I still believe in the potential of this incredible community, in the caring people who I am proud to call my neighbors and the better future ahead. I’m not done, Santa Barbara… and neither are you.


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