If for no other reason, Abel Maldonando—who until recently represented Santa Maria in the State Senate—should be elected because he’s one of the only genuinely moderate Republicans to be found in all of state government. As such, he qualifies as an endangered species. More than that, Maldonado effectively brokered his vote for last year’s budget—some might call it extortion—by getting the open primary on this June’s ballot, which voters—sick of Sacramento’s business as cruel-and-unusual punishment—overwhelmingly approved.
Democrat Kamala Harris promises an innovative approach to many of the insurmountable law enforcement issues that have dogged the state, and we appreciate that creativity. Her actual performance as San Francisco District Attorney, however, has given us serious pause. By contrast, Republican Steve Cooley has run a tighter ship at District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles, but we need more than the hard-line law-and-order gospel he’s been preaching.
For the number one money man in state government, you need someone you can trust. John Chiang, by all reckoning, is a stand-up operator—tough, smart, and unafraid to deliver the bad news to either party machine. By contrast, his opponent, Tony Strickland—a hard-core conservative and Republican Party stalwart—knows little about what the job of comptroller even entails.
GOLETA CITY COUNCIL
Roger Aceves, Michael Bennett, Paula Perotte
Everyone agrees that the past two years of life at Goleta City Hall have never been peachier: The existing council represents an enviable balance between resource protection and business development, and the level of discourse—even when there’s disagreement—remains polite, civil, and constructive in running the young city.
In that regard, it’s quite easy to endorse the incumbents running to retain their seats: Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett. A lifelong civic servant, Aceves is refreshingly independent and beholden to no one, a politician who truly does his research, scours the often dull piles of documents, and then pushes hard on the tough questions. Bennett, meanwhile, is Goleta to the core, and while we may not always agree with his ultra-pro-business agenda, we do believe that he represents the everyday resident as well as anyone in City Hall, and that point of view must endure.
For the third seat, we endorse Paula Perotte, a strong progressive candidate with the hometown support and legislative experience to get the job done. Perotte’s years building up a community around Brandon School teamed with her considerable roles within the PTA—where she now serves at a statewide level—have provided the perfect training to both bring greater civic involvement in Goleta City Hall and wade through the intricacies of planning. It’s only an added bonus that Perotte also boasts the endorsements of the regional leaders we admire for keeping the South Coast a wonderful place to live.
The fourth candidate, Reyne Stapelmann, will prove a formidable player in Goleta politics in the years to come. Sharp on planning rigmarole, pleasant in demeanor, and serious about fostering business growth in the Good Land, Stapelmann will likely win a seat on the council one day, but we feel that a couple more years on the Planning Commission—where we hope she’ll come to better understand why environmental protection is a solemn duty—would do her well.
CARPINTERIA CITY COUNCIL
Gregg Carty, Al Clark, Brad Stein
While the cities of Bell and Vernon have been grabbing headlines around the world for the municipal greed, corruption, and incompetence practiced there, precious little is heard about the quiet efficiency with which Carpinteria has run its affairs for the past 20 years. This small town is conspicuously not awash in red ink, budgets are balanced, and special pains have been taken to preserve Carpinteria’s small-town charm and character, especially in the face of Venoco’s unsuccessful power grab this June. So why mess with success? The three incumbents: Brad Stein, Al Clark, and Gregg Carty, all have demonstrated they deserve another term. Should Venoco come back, they’ll know how to respond. And when Caltrans seeks approval for the two expanded freeway overpasses, they’ll push hard to keep the state agency’s currently oversized plans in sync with Carpinteria’s character.
CARPINTERIA VALLEY WATER BOARD
The Carpinteria Water Board is in sore need of some serious housecleaning, but not all the proverbial “bums” need to be chucked out. Incumbent Matt Roberts is sensible, accessible, and has served the community well. Fellow incumbents Fred Lemere and James Drain, however, have served long enough. They endorsed Measure J, a city initiative that would have approved Venoco’s Paredon project. It was defeated this June by more than 70 percent of the vote, no surprise considering that the preliminary environmental review had said that the project could have posed a serious risk to Carpinteria’s groundwater supplies. For the two remaining seats there are three candidates: Clay Brown, Lynne Ducharme, and Al Orozco, any one of whom would be an improvement over Lemere and Drain.