Five candidates are vying for the two Carpinteria City Council seats up for election this November. Kathleen Reddington, an outspoken environmentalist, is the only incumbent, though former councilmember Greg Gandrud — who holds the distinction of being the only openly gay boardmember of the California Republican Committee — can claim previous city hall experience. Fred Shaw, a retired postal worker and a volunteer with a wide political spectrum of community organizations, has thrown his hat into the ring, as has Wade Nomura, also an extremely active community volunteer. Nomura has served on the city’s Architectural Board of Review and played a major role raising the funds for the Tomol Interpretative area, recently installed downtown. Also running is Tom Perry, who is not as well-known as the other four. Not running is incumbent Joe Armendariz, often the council’s only — and most combative — conservative voice; Armendariz was undone politically after getting arrested for driving under the influence and crashing his car.
On the ballot, as well, is a proposed bed-tax increase that will be charged to visitors spending the night in Carpinteria’s hotels and motels, though it remains unclear if any parties will mount a campaign for or against. Equally uncertain is the impact developer Jack Theimer’s proposal to build a luxury hotel on the Carpinteria Bluffs will have on the political valence of the race. While the land in question is zoned for hotels, big developments, no matter how skillfully rendered, can be hard for Carpinteria’s cadre of slow-growth activists to swallow. The council will hold a joint public meeting with the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board to tour and get public feedback. The most intractable raw-nerve issue is the size and width of the new Casitas Pass overpass to be proposed by Caltrans as part of the Highway 101 widening. Many Carpinteria residents have objected to what was first proposed as more suitable for Goleta and out of scale with Carpinteria’s “small town” character. Caltrans has made several changes, but it remains to be seen whether they’re enough for Carpinteria’s community activists.