After vigorously resisting public demands that he resign from the Carpinteria City Council after rolling his car in a drunken accident last December, Joe Armendariz announced this week’s council meeting would be his last, explaining he was moving to Orcutt to be closer to his adult children and to pursue new career opportunities. Always the council’s most outspoken conservative, Armendariz got in one last rhetorical dig, ridiculing council efforts to explore the impacts of rising sea levels triggered by global climate change. While deriding the issue in general, he noted that greenhouse gases were dropping worldwide in large measure due to fracking, a controversial technology by which natural gas is extracted from subsurface shale.
This triggered speculation that Armendariz will be taking a new job in the extractive energy industry. Although five meetings remain before the expiration of his term, no major votes are scheduled to take place between now and then. In a later interview, Armendariz said he had no job lined up but added, “I will be working closely with several dynamic entities with an economic interest in seeing more resource development up in the North County and elsewhere.” Before stepping down, Armendariz expressed gratitude at being allowed to serve Carpinteria for eight years, and his fellow councilmembers — even those with whom he has frequently sparred — complimented him for his intelligence, preparation, and passion.