An extended portion of the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, July 14, was spent discussing what direction should be given to the delegation headed for the Statewide Local Government Summit on Governance and Fiscal Reform in Sacramento. The delegation, made up of 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray, will represent Santa Barbara County’s interests at the summit taking place Friday and Saturday. The summit host—Cities Counties Schools (CCS) Partnership—is a combination of the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and the California School Boards Association (CSBA).
Taking center stage Tuesday were a list of suggested principles of reform, as well as the options for discussion, provided by CCS. However, many individuals showed up at the meeting with specific concerns that they hoped would be relayed to the summit by the delegation, as did 5th District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, 1st District Supervisor Joseph Centeno, and 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr.
The CCS topic “Local Tax Structure” struck a nerve with the public, eliciting many comments. Joe Armendariz, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Taxpayers’ Association, argued that taxes are the one thing that should not be changed and that, according to his “unsolicited advice,” the Board should encourage the delegation “to take it off the table.”
Supervisor Centeno expressed his own concerns, saying, “I will vociferously oppose anything to do with [changing] the 2/3 [majority required to pass legislation],” and calling moves to change the requirement “insidious.”
Though there were some differences in opinion about which specific arguments should be relayed—to what Supervisor Farr dubbed “the most important meeting of government and local government in the last 100 years”—ultimately Grey, with no dissent from Wolf, declared that the delegates “know where Santa Barbara is coming from.” Farr closed the discussion by saying to Wolf and Gray, “I feel very comfortable that you two will go to Sacramento and represent Santa Barbara County.”