In responding to a call about whether former campaign contributions would influence his opinion of the proposed Bishop Ranch re-zone, Goleta City Councilmember Eric Onnen told The Independent on Wednesday that he will not be running for reelection in November.
“I have done my job,” said Onnen, who said he came to the decision after much “soul-searching and prioritizing” and that he intends to remain “productive” during his remaining months. “I’m still a full-time businessperson, and I don’t think I can do it for another four years and also maintain a reasonable, healthy balance in my life.”
If he was already retired from his job as owner of Santa Barbara Airbus, Onnen said that he would probably run for the chance to continue the progress that he believes the council has made. “The work is good and what’s going on in our community is really positive,” he explained. “It’s not about anything negative as far as the work or the responsibilities. I just don’t have enough hours in the day.”
Onnen expects to make a more official announcement sometime soon, explaining, “I think I owe it to the community to allow potential candidates to come forward on a reasonable timeline.”
Councilmembers Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett, whose terms end this year, do intend to run for office again in November. No word yet on who might step up to try and take over Onnen’s soon-to-be-open seat.
In regard to the initial question about the whether the 2006 campaign contributions would affect his opinion of the Bishop Ranch re-zone application, Onnen called the allegation “far off-base.” He explained, “Campaign contributions for me never have an impact on decision-making. You never cross over to say that this decision could somehow benefit me. If you’re a prudent decision-maker, you don’t ever go there.”