Janet Wolf

Paul Wellman

Janet Wolf

Wolf Collects Another $20,000 From Labor Union

Donation Came One Day After Aceves Made Allegations of Donation-Disclosure Misconduct

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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Supervisor Janet Wolf, who is battling Goleta city councilmember Roger Aceves to hold onto her 2nd District seat, added $20,000 to her campaign coffers, courtesy of the Local 721 branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on April 10. That donation — which raised her total SEIU donations to $80,000 — came one day after Aceves called Wolf out for not disclosing her SEIU donations prior to the board’s recent discussions on SEIU-related matters. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission states that such disclosure rules don’t apply to local bodies like city councils and county supervisors.

Wolf’s latest $20,000 came from the Los Angeles–based Local 721, which represents more than 500 Santa Barbara County employees, including those who work in the Public Defender’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Public Health Department. The supervisors voted 5-0 in December to award that union a new contract through July 2016; the contract ends freezes on merit step increases and institutes minor wage increases.

On February 14, SEIU Local 620 gave Wolf $20,000, and several days later, Wolf and three of her fellow supervisors voted to approve a new contract for that union. On March 6, the union’s statewide organization wrote her a $40,000 check; on March 11, the supervisors discussed outsourcing the lab services unit of Public Health, which includes SEIU employees, but postponed a decision until last week’s budget workshops, during which the department said it could wait another year to discuss the outsourcing.

In addition to her SEIU contributions, Wolf has garnered financial support from the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Government Committee ($15,000) and smaller donations from current and former area politicians. As of the end of March, Wolf’s war chest weighed in about $60,000 more than Aceves at approximately $215,000 versus Aceves’s $155,000.

Recent significant contributions to Aceves’s campaign include $14,081 from Santa Maria Energy on March 26; the oil company previously gave him $10,000 in February (plus another $919 in catering costs) and $2,000 from the president, David Pratt, in December. On April 5, Aceves netted $9,500 from ERG Operating Company, LLC, which is based in Bakersfield but operates wells in the Cat Canyon Oil Field near Santa Maria. On April 9, Aceves received $6,000 from the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians, adding to the $5,000 the tribe gave him in early March and the $8,000 in catering costs the Chumash Casino Resort picked up in November.

Other recent donations to Aceves include $2,500 from Jamal Hamdani, the chair of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara — for which Goleta City councilmembers unanimously approved a mosque last year — and $5,000 from Kevin Kinyon of Kinyon Construction in Santa Maria. Over the course of his campaign, Aceves has received $10,000 from the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.

The two candidates are set to speak during two forums in the next two weeks. The first is on Wednesday, 4/16, at the Bacara Resort from 9-10:30 a.m. The second is set for Wednesday, 4/23, at the Goleta Valley Community Center from 6-9 p.m.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Got to love the hubris of SEIU - just to let you know they have money to burn before, during and after county contracts are signed, by those very same elected officials they continue directly benefit.

Since the point of county government is the full employment of county union members, this is a reasonable investment by SEIU. They know Wolf is their go-to gal, who keeps the board majority handing out the bulk of the county revenues directly to their own members.

So dear voters, now you know why it takes so much money to run for office. Who can even begin to compete when the county employee unions call the shots like you are just witnessing right now.

But you don't have to vote for Wolf. SEIU paid you nothing but more debt and grief. Think about not voting for the SEIU candidate next time, and the next and the next until you get this inherent conflict of interests out of our local government.

Try not voting this time for the SEIU candidates. Let's see what happens next.

Send a message to SEIU that you want your own government back and not let the employee unions run the show and the county into the ground at the same time.

It would behoove county workers to decertify SEIU and go with a more independent collective bargaining unit, because right now they are in very bad company.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Another bought and paid for politician. Just what SB needs…..

Priceless (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you don't like your politicians pre-purchased by large self-serving special interest groups, stop voting for them.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Supreme Court of the United States says that this is free speech. So the Koch brothers get free speech with their money and SEIU gets free speech with its money. I don't necessarily agree with the SCOTUS on this issue, but it is currently the law of the land. Personally, if I had a choice between an SEIU candidate and a Koch brothers candidate, I'd go with the union every time. Call me pink, it's just the way I role.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 9:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let me know when the Koch Bros get a payout like the county employee unions get from our county tax revenues. Not even close.

Donating large amounts of union member cash to their chosen candidates is about as corrupt as anything you will see in our local political scene.

Let's see: county workers claim they are under-paid, over-worked and under-appreciated. Yet they fork over $1000 bucks or so a year for their union dues. And now close to $100,000 to keep their favorite union-friendly supervisor in office (Ms Wolf).

If employee bargaining was really arms-length, fair and square for all concerned which includes county residents, there would be no reason whatsoever for the unions to spend a dime electing anyone. They would come to the bargaining table as an equal player, without having to grease the skids ahead of time like they are doing now.

But that is not case. County employee unions want to make sure the bulk of county revenues is dedicated only to them, and the heck with the rest of the needs of the county. This is what they pay for and this is what they get from Ms Wolf. And this is what Ms Wolf calls "hard bargaining."

The rest of us get the current one billion in unfunded county pension liabilities and $200 million in unfunded county infrastructure repines Ms Wolf refuses to acknowledge, let alone find the means to fund.

Try not voting for such a clear union shill this time. Take the county back for the residents and not just for the county employees. The more money the unions spend on Ms Wolf, the better Mr Aceves looks all the time.

Time to ditch the incumbents and make the county unions take a second look at their attempted political buy-offs.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 10:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foo, ever the disappointed candidate (yeah, we know), raves on... I'm with Eck, "if I had a choice between an SEIU candidate and a Koch brothers candidate, I'd go with the union every time." Gotta fight big money with big money. foo always falls into his pension-fear frenzy, get over it.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 2:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If the Koch brothers have so much influence how come they haven't been able to me to vote Republican?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 4:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Have any of you seen the list of contributions the Koch brothers have given to democrats? Even the skeleton Harry Reid has received money from them. So much for a one side story huh!!!

Priceless (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 7:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A candidate with significant contributions from two SEIU locals and their statewide organization, representing tens of thousands of public and private service workers, plus the county firefighters; versus a candidate with significant contributions from oil & gas companies and construction interests, including the Chumash, and the Deputy Sheriffs' Assn. It's definitely a classic battle drawn along the traditional Santa Barbara County lines, and one that'll be repeated over and over until big money from every source is taken out of political campaigns.

In the meantime, I support Ms. Wolf. As I've said before, she's voted contrary to my preferences many times on many issues, but is thoughtful and honest. I can say the same thing about three of her Second District predecessors: Bob Kallman, Tom Rogers and Susan Rose. As did they, she serves the Second District and the entire county very well and capably.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Government is no longer by the people, of the people, for the people. It's a massive self-propagating entity for career politicians and entrenched bureaucrats to further their careers enabled by those with sufficient time and money to lobby them.

In other words, the SEIU and other unions pay for the politicians, like Janet, that will keep giving them large salaries and lucrative benefits far better than exist in most private sector jobs.

We get the government that we deserve if we keep voting for these shills.

art (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Greg Mohr previously he is/was an employee of SEIU - no surprise his vote is for Ms Wolf and in defense of county employee unions maintaining their incestuous political influence..

The county took a wrong turn after too many years of a progressive, free-spending, employee-union dominated politics: Susan Rose, Gail Marshall, Naomi Schwartz, Janet Wolf, Salud Carbajal and Doreen Farr.

(So much for the value of electing women ………. $$$$$$$)

These are the people who left the county with its now billion (BILLION) dollar unfunded county pension liabilities and $200 million back log of unfunded county infrastructure projects.

Transparent California shows you where this money when instead. Read the list of Santa Barbara county salaries, benefits and "overtime" by name and position. No wonder these people make material donations to ensure friendly supervisors continue to keep voting their way.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While you contemplate the local incestuous state of public sector unions and their campaign contributions, please take a look at this US Census report comparing the numbers left in this country who still work compared to those now receiving public benefits:

86 million FT private sector workers sustain 148 million benefit takers:

We are losing this battle by inches. It needs to shift back by inches. Do not vote for public employee union-endorsed candidates this year.

Do not vote for Janet Wolf. Don't let the unions buy your vote again.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This woman is an outstanding example of what is wrong with California politics. Gov Brown should undo all the damage he did in his previous reincarnation and eliminate the right of CA gov employees to bargain for compensation with those they help to elect. Fat chance of that. I fear in any case that SB county is too far gone - too many people that benefit from irresponsible government spending. Perhaps anyone that gets a gov paycheck should not be able to vote for the members of the body that grant that paycheck?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And Aceves is a saint?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While I regret the lack of campaign contribution and spending limits, here is the bright side.

My mom used to say that we are known by the company we keep. The list of contributors to this and other campaigns at least are helpful in more clearly defining the differences among candidates.

If you believe that all the problems of this county could be solved by lowering the total compensation of union serving the county, sure vote for Aceves (who is collecting over $80,000 pension secured by his own union.)

But if you believe that oil, developers and "gaming" interests wield too much power, affecting our environment, crowding, traffic and such, then you want to vote for Wolf.

Note that for all the alleged SEIU influence, Wolf was one of 5 who negotiated reducing the raises that unions had been given by the Firestone-led Republican majority.

But in this day of too many "me-too candidates", a benefit of this too sad avalanche of campaign donations is that they bring into focus a clear choice for voters to consider. I think we can agree with even foo-bird on that.

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 9:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wolf has a BILLION dollar county pension debt staring her in the face.

So she tosses a few crumbs, and then merrily passes another raise and puts her own hand out for even more public employee union donations.

Good candidates go bad, no matter who you elect, when the county employees claim their "morale will suffer" if you don't keep feeding them more money and make more promises to them after you run out of money.

Unions and politics should stay away from each other. Period. Wolf should have told SEIU she did not want even the appearance of a conflict of interests accepting campaign money from the very people she is later going to negotiate compensation with.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Brooks Firestone served one term as third district supervisor - 2004 - 2008.

Janet Wolf is now going for her fourth term and has failed to clean up the county billion dollar pension mess for during her 12 years, even while serving in a solid majority county progressive voting block along with Supervisors Carbajal and Farr.

Not one serious discussion has taken place during Ms Wolf's entire term to consider conversion of the county pension system from the unsustainable defined-benefit plan (one billion now in debt) to the more predictable defined-contribution plans, similar to what private industry offers their employees.

This is unconscionable.

With a growing one billion dollar county pension debt, the county cannot wait another minute to make this conversion, or another term for Ms Wolf and her progressive cronies to keep delaying this necessary move.

Yes, the county employees will have to shoulder more of their own pension duties. Yes, they will call it a "pay cut". But voters and taxpayers, what do you call a billion dollar unfunded obligation that is now landing on your laps?

If you do not demand the county make this conversion now, you can face nothing but more growth and more development to feed the county pension beast. There is no other way around this. Unless you want to hand over more of your money as tax dollars to let the county continue its spendthrift ways.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 12:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Brooks Firestone elected not to run after observing what a poisonous illiberal (see today's NP) atmosphere exists in the BoS - definitely not conducive to rational financial planning and problem solving.

Wolf is the anti-Firestone and possibly the antiChrist :-) No concept of long term implications of decisions, no apparent objective but to shovel ever more money down the gaping union maw, not even honest on the Goleta beach front - could she have waited ANY longer to change sides? Not a moral bone in her body. Apparently not very smart. And that's the good things I can say about her.

@K_V: I certainly don't think that Aceves is a saviour, but breaking Wolf and the Demachine's hold on the office would be a step in the right direction. Since I can't vote in that district, my opinion, as always, is only that - an opinion.

@foo: keep it up buddy. Don't let the illiberals get you down. Remember, the majority of people in this county make their living off the government - kinda makes for a pro leftie big spending bias. Not to mention the long term effect of too many UCSB grads not moving away.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1. Make sure Wolf does not get reelected.

2. Make Aceves a one-term supervisor if he doesn't enact pension reform.

3. Keep District Three musical chairs until a new fiscally conservative majority takes back the BOS.

4. Make sure Peter Adams gets reelected.

5. Level with county employees what the fiscal realities of this county are.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, you cannot complain about commenters here who post under their real name when you remain pseudonymous. We know that labor unions make you go batchit crazy, but don't be a richard. Nine comments in two days you have here, sometimes sequentially.

So, Free Speech here shows us that labor unions that represent a few hundred low and middle income workers support Wolf.
And oil corporations, land developers, and drunk-driving-inducing gambling monopolies financially support Aceves.

Vote accordingly.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 3:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you foofighter and dprince for making this such a clear choice. Much as I'm not wild about unions and their donations, I am plenty afraid of the effects of oil companies and developers and what they are doing to our county. And don't get me started on the devastating effects Chumash so-called gaming, has had on our county. Never mind the drunken driving. Gambling is taking money from addicted gamblers and sending their families to beg for welfare.

For all of Wolf's union donations, she and her board negotiated concessions from the unions. Yes, a nice, clear and easy choice for me to support Wolf.

I appreciate foofighter helping put all this in perspective.

RobertRich (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Total pay and benefits for SB county workers, for the most part all represented by unions:

Time to drop the "few hundred low and middle income worker" misrepresentation about SB county compensation. These are well-paid workers. The unions did their jobs well and got a good return for their campaign donation investments in the current BOS majority.

Don't embarrass your self trying to make county workers into underpaid underdogs, grateful for the few bones Ms Wolf passes their way. This is also no longer an argument about county workers.

It is time to break up the employee union ideology lock on the county decision makers, and that means getting rid of Wolf, and her insider union cronies along with her.

No other way to do this. County needs some new blood, new ideas and new faces. Sorry the employee unions only response is a misinformation turf war. Voters however need to see this in action to understand the depth and scale of the problem.

One billion dollars in unfunded county employee pension liabilities is apparently too abstract. No traction. But county employees pulling their little "poor morale" stunts to protect their well-guarded turf will be a far better way to get this point across to the voters. Bring it on, SEIU.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 5:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are you framing the choice between the county employees unions or the Chumash and over-development? This is exactly the lack of imagination found among the Janet Wolf supporters we need to toss out.

Nope, this is not a false dichotomy election. No matter how hard you try to draw those phony red lines. This is a change in direction election. Breaking up the Wolf-employee union dynasty is the necessary step one.

Voters are beginning to understand this unholy alliance between the amounts of employee unions cash now stuffed in to Wolf pockets is not in their own best interests. This is a good lesson.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 5:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agreeRRich, and also
1. Make sure Wolf gets reelected.

2. Make Aceves a no-term supervisor

3. Keep District Three solidly liberal ensuring a free-market fundamentalist majority never takes back the BOS.

4. Make sure Peter Adams gets defeated in his next election.

5. Level with county employees what the fiscal realities of this county are.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 7:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Seriously, DrDan, do you think a union-owned self-serving politician is the answer? Read the NP article today on "illiberal" - very interesting view.

If everyone thought like you we'd still be on dial phones owned by The Telephone Company. What advances in science and standard of living have been made entirely by government (except, of course, for increased standards of living for the "government class")? I watch the Hunger Games and see your vision of the future - self-appointed special people holding onto power by threat of force and being supported by the masses. Kinda the old Soviet model.

The answer, I suggest is neither "conservative" nor "liberal" but thoughtful and selfless. Did you know that State Senators in NH get a salary of $100 per year? Sounds like a fine idea to me. Means that they have to have a real job and ensures that the legislature cannot be full time causing trouble for the citizens. Worst things ever to happen to this country are the two party system and the unthinking mind.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2014 at 8:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, let's all do what foo says: ignore the donations going to Aceves and the people behind them. But instead, focus only on donations going to Wolf. A monochotomy is SO MUCH BETTER than a dichotomy (or a lobotomy).

Foo prefers we ignore the first rule of politics: follow the money. Because foo knows where it leads.

foo, we can't praise you too highly for your self-serving lesson in politics.

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 8:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Funny dprince but you seem to be taking the same approach. foo is no more self-serving than any other poster herein - he (she) simply has a rather different view than yours. Yes, by all means, follow the money, ALL the money, to ALL the candidates.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 8:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Janet has been a disaster for this County. Aceves is not a perfect candidate, but it's time for a change. A billion (with a B) dollars in unfunded pension liabilities and no solutions EVER offered by Woeful Wolf. When is enough enough?

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Follow the money on all candidates. If candidates cannot generate genuine grass roots support, we should not be swayed by the the sheer volume of their campaign war chests.

Agree, Aceves is no more or less a perfect alternative. He will be scrutinized by the exact same criteria as Wolf needs to face. This is not a personality issue; it is a procedure issue. The county has to change and Wolf has shown she is not up to the task staring her right in the face.

The current county 3 vote union deadlock Wolf represents needs to be broken up and the county needs to refocus its mission to be more than merely an employee-union protectionist operation.

Burying the Biliion (yes, Billion with a "b") county pension deficit the string of lock-step progressives like Wolf have built up is not erased by allusions to "balanced budgets and county "surpluses".

How can you have a "surplus" when you still have $200 million in backlog infrastructure needs?

Next year government accounting rules will require carrying unfunded pension and health care liabilities on the books, so they will finally be staring our elected officials and voters in the face.

But right now, Wolf and her friends can still dance around the debt they placed on our county's future for one more election cycle.

I am sorry Wolf dropped the ball for so many years on this issue, and left a legacy making it even worse with every pay raise she approved. This is not responsible behavior, nor does it deserve re-election. Clean house and start fresh.

How do you pay off a billion dollar county debt.. Run the numbers - where does this money come from?

First you have to stop digging the hole any deeper. (Wolf flunks).

Then you reform the structures that got you there in the first place. (Wolf flunks).

And then you don't give politicians a third chance to get it wrong again. (Re-electing Wolf for another term would fatally flunk again)

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Quote from NOOZHAWK:

……. "Wolf spoke first and acknowledged the tens of thousands of dollars she’s received from local labor unions in this and previous elections. She’s honored to receive money from the thousands of local employees who work in this county and they get no windfall from their support, she said, pointing to the $50 million in employee concessions to the county since 2008." ………

Key words: Wolf points to $50 million in employee concessions since 2008.

A concession means the employee unions can demand $200 million in compensation increases, and accept only $150 million additional funds after Ms Wolf's "hard bargaining". Voila - a "$50 million concession".

Cuts in the budget is what the county needs to show; not "concessions". Das Williams pulled the same stunt in the city, where they too face a $200 million unfunded employee pension liability. "Concessions" don't put money in the bank. They just make the debt grow at a slightly smaller rate.

As it stands, Ms Wolf's claim of fiscal rectitude is 100% meaningless.

Nor did she take the opportunity to voice any concern about the one billion ("B" as in billion) county employee pension liability she continued to let grow during her past two terms.

BTW: every raised granted to Wolf's "family" of employees means higher pension payouts, making the county' pension debt grow larger every year. Direct consequence of Wolf's defined-benefit pension plan that got us into this mess in the first place.

This woman has to go. Time to stop lying, Ms Wolf.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 11:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So she's to be damned for acknowledging and thanking her supporters publicly?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Concessions" consisted of loss of salary through mandatory, unpaid furloughs, giving up raises that had already been agreed to in multi-year contracts, and laying off workers. Real money, not the situation foofighter posits.

discoboy (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 1:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Doesn't seem like union support or absence of it distinguishes these two candidates much.

Aceves, according to the pension database, gets $82,084.40/year from CalPERS.

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 2:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If Aceves was a government employee under a union contract, that is what he gets. What point are you trying to make, Ms Sharp?

Do you like this? Do you think this is fair? do you think he should forfeit it. Do you think the system should continue the way it is going? Do you like the county running a billion ("B" as in billion) employee pension debt.

Does receiving a bargained for pension now disqualify any candidate from reforming a bankrupt system? Why would that be the case?

The county pension system must change for all concerned, so it is sustainable and not bet he current Ponzi scheme we have now. The system need to be more secure and more predictable for all concerned.

Wolf failed totally in the task. As you point out, does this make Mr Aceves unfit for duty too? When and how are you going to get the necessary county pension reform. For sure it will not happen under Wolf. At some point a new majority of county supervisors must face this task.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 5:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A furlough means doing less work for the same money, and not getting a raise to do the exact same work.

It is not like the county can increase its production or revenues. It is a static closed system that does exactly the same amount of work, but for ever increasing amounts of union-negotiated pay. It is voodoo financing.

Clue county worker: you will be getting less money and will be asked to still do your job because you now have a county budget that is over a billion dollars in the red.

Where is that billion dollars going to come from? It is your pension we are talking about. You might want to wake up instead of just whine.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Disco boy - the only real money is the increase in county revenues that actually come in, offset by county liabilities that are real and actual.

You might have picked the wrong place to work because the county does not produce anything and is dependent upon tax revenues to survive, which are paid by willing taxpayers.

The county cannot print its own money nor should it go into more debt to pay for its ill-advised promises. You have to get in line behind the One Billion

Plus that is already on the books as bad debt for the county right now. Explain where the county is going to get "real" money from so you can have a "real" raise. Is "tax rich people more" the best answer you can come up with?

Not getting a raise is not taking a" pay cut". Let this sink in, please. Think this one through on your own. And stop letting your union bosses brainwash you because you are making the taxpayers very nervous about the talent we are allegedly paying for in this county.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 6:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think neither Wolf nor Aceves will push for any type of pension reform.

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 6:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, we know for sure Wolf wasted the past two terms and did nothing to get pension reform. That is hardly a ringing endorsement for her re-election.

Breaking up the three vote Wolf-Farr-Carbajal block on all other county matters is critical as well That is where Aceves experience and independence puts him well ahead of Wolf, so Aceves is the better choice.

The county needs a shake-up. And the unions have to get a new message. Aceves is the only choice to make that happen.

These are not twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum choices. They are actual choices between these. Turn the clock back for more malfunction or try to break-up this current log-jam.

Public safety background versus social justice money suckers is another consideration. Lock 'em up, works for me. Tried of being on the crime merry-go round in this county.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 10:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter, what kind of "shake up" do you have in mind? If it's more North County right wingers agenda - anti-regulation, let the tribe do whatever it wants, let's have as much oil development and fracking as possible - no thanks.

People flock to SB and our property values are so high because the county is well managed and the environment is protected. Agriculture is our top revenue producer. Crime is low.

You can spin it any way you want but Aceves police experience coupled with his command of a budget 1/40th the size of the County budget is pretty unimpressive. He's just the latest Pappas, Willy Chamberlin wanna be. Just admit it.

RobertRich (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 10:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is tweedle-dee and dum with respect to public pensions.

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here are the issues:

Out of control public pension costs erode present services. Present civil service salaries are disproportionately bloated, with little to no accountability for work product or mission. Union control of local elections means more of the same, with no possible reform of failing compensation systems.

20% of Santa Barbara city housing now dedicated permanently to low-income residents with no discretionary income, with plans to increase these numbers even more. This has killed local retain sales tax since most of this subsided housing circles the downtown retail district.

More swaths of land taken off property tax rolls or now officially label toxic also diminishing their market force valuations. Recurring parcel taxes and bond issues use to permanently supplement union-dominated public schools budgets, with no improvement in educational outcomes.

Flat city revenues, but continually rising city budgets is a sure fire path to municipal bankruptcy.

You falsely frame the issues, which means you really don't have any.
Fracking is safe, but why increase oil tax revenues to support out of control public spending?

Chumash have their own issues and need to live within existing regulations. No one is giving them a blank check. Except all the gamblers who give the Chumash plenty of money to pay to play.

Crime in SB is chronic and out of control compared to the past - gang stabbings on a weekly and monthly basis increase every year. Vandalism, graffiti and intimidation, drugs, alcohol and vagrants are crime have all increased in the past years. Vast amounts of county resources are drained out to fund the legal process for these revolving door gang-banger crimes.

RichieRich, you need to wake up and pay attention to where you money is coming from and where your money is going. Too many terms of the three vote progressive free-spenders but low revenue producers created a billion ("B" as in billion) dollar county debt with no means to pay this down.

Run the math and let's talk more. Time to take the unions out of our local governance decisions and put them back only on one side of the bargaining table. Wolf has to go. And so will Aceves, if he blows it too.

Voters always get to define the issues. You need to do a far better job because you are clueless about the fiscal realities this county and city face.

Anyone who has a direct beneficial relationship with this current city/county Ponzi scheme will easily come here and declare everything is fine. Case closed. Point made.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How do you pay off the current billion ("B" as in billion) dollar county employee pension liability run up by union-pandering progressive-majority board of supervisor members?

You take $50 million dollars out of the county budget every year, for the next twenty years.

That is how you start. Assuming you stop running up more than the one billion dollars currently at stake, and not a penny more.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 9:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, 2 better questions are:

1. Why do you attribute pension deficits to "union-pandering progressive-majority board of supervisor members" when the last raise given to unions was by a Firestone-led north county conservative majority?

2. Why not give Wolf at least some credit for negotiating give backs from SEIU?

How about a little intellectual honesty, without changing the subject and without the name calling?

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

1. Firestone served one term, over 10 years ago.

2. It doesn't matter who you claim started this county pension free-fall. (One billion dollars currently unfunded, and growing)

3. It matters who fixes it.

4. Minor operational wage concessions do not fix long-term systemic county pensions deficits.

5. This is not a blame game; it is a solutions game.

6. Wolf in her two terms flunked the test.

7. Next?

How will you fund the $50 million dollars a year for twenty years it will take to make up the current one billion dollar county pension liability?

What has Wolf done to meet that $50 million current pension deficit gap this year? How will she meet it next year?

Wolf gets no points for her come to Jesus 11th hour wage "concessions. Seeing this as a sustained commitment will bring kudos, but not as a one time campaign stunt. Nor does it address the current unfunded billion dollar pension deficit.

I wouldn't try to make much of these minor "concessions" because you only expose how incestuous this system has become.

"Union-pandering progressive board majority" is an accurate description. Another short-hand is "Democrat". Take your pick. Only trying to be non-partisan in this non-partisan election with the more verbose description.

Deal with this, and get the unions out of the political process and back to only one side of the bargaining table, where they belong. The re-election of Wolf puts the county employees back on both sides of the bargaining table, and the current billion debt will only gets worse.

Tell Wolf to practice saying in front of the mirror "I support conversion to a defined-contribution county pension plan, because it is the right thing to do …... for all concerned."

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

baloney, foo! All you DO is play the blame game, dude. " It doesn't matter who you claim started this county pension free-fall" -- but you always say it matters and you're after Wolf. Rant on, failed candidate, rant on...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For the past 7 years or so, Aceves has drawn about $80,000/year from CalPERS, according to the state data base. Over $500,000 total increase in the pension debt from Aceves alone...

Hard to see how that is any better than Wolf.

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Janet, do the right thing. Turn the money back and go out to the grass roots and win the hearts and minds of the voters; not just the unions.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Was Roger Aceves 51 or 52 when he retired with a public pension?

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 5:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are not going to get any points attacking Aceves pension. That was the contract he signed and that is what he gets.

We have to stop giving out such contracts in the future, because that type of retirement plan is now bankrupting us. That is the point.

Wolf has failed to reform county future pension plans, so that is why she is out. Which is also why she never should have taken all that union money in the first place, because she never even saw this as her primary problem to solve.

I had no idea Wolf was that dumb about money. Nice lady, but fiscally dumb. She probably still believes she can buy employee morale just by tossing them a few more bucks.

Ad nauseum. Nope, that won't work either Ms Wolf.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

`Points?' Don't have any idea what you are talking about.

As for facts: Roger Aceves retired at 52 with an extremely generous (3% at 50) pension, and has personally caused a debt of over $500,000 to the state pension system, CalPERS.

Maybe now that he got his, he wants to prevent anybody else from getting the same deal he got. In that case he is a hypocrite.

Or, if he really cares about the public pension issue, he will pay back all the pension funds he has drawn from CalPERS. If he did that, it would show that he is not `dumb' about pension issues.

Most likely he won't pay CalPERS back and indeed, on pension issues, Wolf and Aceves are peas in a pod.

MrsDoverSharp (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2014 at 7:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you for pointing out the problems with the current public pension system, Ms Sharp. You appear to be in agreement this system needs major reform. And Ms Wolf has not lifted a finger to bring this reform about.

Other than that, you are getting incoherent. You are not going to plug a systemic billion dollar hole in the county asking one person to give back their earned pension.

Please can you provide working solutions to the county issues at hand, rather than campaign attacks that should be beneath you. Maybe you can't, but I had to ask.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2014 at 10:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I have a better idea. If you are so all fired sure that Aceves shares your ideas for County pension reform, please let us know when and where he has stated his position.

So far he has been silent on this matter. Let's get his position on the record. Because he is running and you are not, though you seem very eager to defend him and tear down Wolf.

As for your solution, there may be some legal impediments to changing the terms of pensions for CURRENT employees. We'd all be glad to hear how you suggest Aceves or Wolf can deal with that, legally.

I hope you will keep your response civil, as I know you can. Thanks.

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2014 at 10:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Point is prince, Wolf had two terms and did nothing other than make the problem worse.

Wolf is out. That is step one. Holding Aceves feet to the fire is step two.

You keep making this a choice between Wolf and Aceves, when in fact it a decision about the direction this county needs to take starting now: changing the old ruinous progressive guard and break up the union-dominated deadlock on county governance we have had too long.

(Rose, Marshal, Schwartz, Wolf, Farr and Carbajal = One billion dollars in unfunded county pension liabilities)

Stand back a bit and ask more from your county government management than just making this a personality fight. You are taking a far too shallow approach on this critical matter.

The point is to take the unions out of the BOS election equation.

Wolf played her hand. She willingly took employee union money to the tune now of over one hundred thousand dollars. There has to be zero tolerance for supervisors making those kinds of unethical and misguided of choices.

Wolf should have said no. But she did not and even now zealously defends her actions. That is the stain on the office that has to be removed first. Deal with Aceves later. And hold him to exactly the same standards until you get this problem fixed.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 9:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You can't take the unions out of the elections but unuion members are voters and taxpayers; same as the people/groups who donated to Aceves.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

*because union

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 9:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, union members are taxpayers. So let them decide who to support with their union dues instead of letting the union bosses do it for them.

The unions should just charge their members less in dues and let the members decide who (if anybody) they want to support .

The quid pro quo in the money with strings attached given to Wolf and others by the union bosses is just plain old graft.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 11:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Based on what I can tell (I'm not in a union) SEIU members decide on whether or not they want to contribute to their political endorsement program (COPE - Committee on Political Education). They are not required to make any contributions.

In addition, the SEIU holds candidate forums and votes. Vote results are passed on to an endorsement committee. This process is clearly spelled out (even to non-members like me! and members who choose to donate money know what they're getting in to:

Compare this with the Koch brothers (two guys) who are funneling vast sums of money into dark organizations and Swift-boat lying campaigns. The Koch's are masquerading as a plethora of voices to buy elections. That strategy is clearly intentional and one designed to obfuscate. If it wasn't, why go through the trouble?

If the SEIU were the Easter Bunny, their egg hunts would be no fun because the eggs would all be out in the open. At the Koch's hunt, you'd never find any of the hidden eggs.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

False, false, false! The contribution page is for those that want to donate in ADDITION to their regular dues. Their regular dues go to the politicians that the bosses want them to. Please note that the forums are for expressing opinions ONLY. No votes are taken on who the money is to be contributed to. That's strictly up to the bosses. Often, where that money goes does not reflect the views of the union membership.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And as far as the Koch Bros. go. I don't agree with much of their political agenda either, but it's their money, they can spend it anyway they want. That's more than you can say for SEIU members. Their money goes where ever the bosses decide to spend it.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Your point is it is okay for a candidate to take money, lots of money, from a group that she/he is then going to later be in direct negotiations with?

You are getting mixed up in your examples. Dragging in the Koch Bros shows you don't get the point. Unions can spend any amount of money they want and the Koch Bros can do the same thing. That is not the issue.

The issue is the candidate taking this money, that carries such a direct conflicts of interest. Don't digress from the issue here.

Wolf willingly and without a shred of concern took money, lots of money, from the very same employee groups she now going to be negotiating with on behalf of the taxpayers.

Wolf not only took the money with no hesitation she told us she was proud to accept this money. She doesn't get it. Which is why she has to go.

Aceves will be held to the exact same standards. Not to worry. The issue is electing candidates who understand this is a willful and blatant conflict of interests for the office they wish to hold on behalf of all the residents and voters in this county.

Not just the residents and taxpayers who stand to benefit directly from the county employee contracts.

Voters are not off the hook either. They need to learn an employee union endorsement and support is toxic and stop voting for candidates who don't know the difference. Happens in the city too. Or school boards. Or the legislature. Or Congress and President of the United States.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The unions are sending out talking points after this block-buster pension debt story broke. You see the same party lines on all the blogs who broke this story. Same pattern of responses.

The unions know their hands are dirty and they are giving their cronies their marching orders to: dismiss, digree, deflect, deny, denigrate and ultimately destroy anyone who goes against them.

Carry on. But keep calm. It is about the candidate's values; not the Koch Bros or really even the unions.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"False, false, false! The contribution page is for those that want to donate in ADDITION to their regular dues. Their regular dues go to the politicians that the bosses want them to."
-- Botany

Your link does not contradict any of the info I referenced.

Many people opposed to the SEIU claim that member dues are spent on endorsing political campaigns without their approval. I have clearly shown that SEIU has a *voluntary* process for contributing to endorsements that are separate from dues.

What is the basis for your assertion that "dues go to the politicians"?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"And as far as the Koch Bros. go. I don't agree with much of their political agenda either, but it's their money, they can spend it anyway they want."
-- Botany

It's not the spending of their money as much as it is the way they do it. When they fund (with huge amounts) shadow groups whom the public can't identify, that is not good for democracy. Transparency in campaign finance is a fundamental problem in this country that causes many problems down the road.

"That's more than you can say for SEIU members. Their money goes where ever the bosses decide to spend it."
-- Botany

As I cited in my first post, SEIU members invite candidates to forums and town hall meetings where they can decide on who they want the SEIU to support. The results of their vote are then sent to an endorsement committee. How much weight does the endorsement committee place on the members vote? I don't know (do you, Botany?). And there will surely be some SEIU members whose wishes are not reflected in the vote or final endoresements.

But the point is those members knew what they were getting into when they decided to participate in COPE. They were not being strong-armed by any "union bosses". I don't see a problem with that, legally or morally.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think there's too much misinformation (some intentional) about the SEIU out there. Because I'm not a member and I don't know any members, I know only as much as I have time to research.

The problem I have with the anti-SEIU posts is not that they're anti-SEIU. It's just that there are so many claims made with no informed/objective backup. Even though he's got an AM radio spot, Lanny Ebenstein doesn't count either.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 3:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

EB - COPE is only a small portion of the amount spent on campaigns be the SEIU. In 2012 COPE spent $13.7M. The grand total for ALL SIEU political spending in 2012 was $68.3M. I'll give you one guess where the other $54M is coming from.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Factcheck,org is an excellent source ... but you still haven't provided any data to back your original claim that members' dues are being used to finance political campaigning.

My employer has a PAC and invites employees to contribute. It's optional. Nothing ever gets funneled out of my salary to fund the PAC. In addition, most PACs have multiple donors. It's entirely possible that the SEIU PACs have such donors (e.g. Democratic Party of CA, Grandmothers for Peace, etc.). You haven't excluded that possibility.

So again I ask ... where is the evidence that SEIU member dues are being siphoned off for political campaigns?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 8:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You know, you could be right. The SEIU may have anonymous shadow group PAC donors that want to hide their identity. Of course the SEIU won't divulge the source of the $54M whether it is from shadow donors or from union dues. Please explain how this is different than the tactics that you attribute to the Koch Bros. and say is bad for democracy. Inquiring minds want to know.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Unions use their political action committees and can set up automatic payments from "individuals" who just happen to also be union members. Be there or be square.

The means of the money transfer are not the issue. It is the acceptance of this money that is the issue. Wolf should have turned this money down as a clear conflict of interests and a violation of her own personal ethical code; even if not an official county code of ethics violation.

Wolf should have know better and should be generating far more grass roots support from county voters across the board; not just from a single special interest group with whom coincidentally she will be directly bargaining future wages and perks with.

Wolf showed extreme lack of judgement, especially when she claimed she was proud to accept these tainted donations. She forget she works for the people of this county; not just the county employees.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 10:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wolf was financed by a big time loan/gift by Salud the last time around.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 3:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And the primary donors to Salud's campaign, so he had extra cash to hand out to Wolf were exactly who?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The SEIU may have anonymous shadow group PAC donors that want to hide their identity."
-- Botany

Political parties, PACs, and Super PACs are required by CA and Federal law to identify donors. The laws aren't perfect but they're there:

The "dark money" is at the federal level n the 501(c)(4)'s. One of the best examples is Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS "social welfare" organization.

85% of anonymous dark contributions to 501(c)(4)'s in 2012 were from conservative groups.

So far, none of what you've written about SEIU members being strong-armed against their will into donating for political expenditures has had any basis in fact.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2014 at 12:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And nothing you've said hasn't ruled out that the SEIU is being used to hide shadow group donors from identification.

The SIEU donated $54M outside of COPE. That's a fact. If it's not from dues, then it's shadow donors, right? You don't know where the money's coming from and the SEIU won't say.

So either dues money is going to political cronies or shadow groups wanting to remain anonymous are using the SEIU to launder their contributions. You can't have it both ways.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2014 at 6:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

SEIU members are probably quite happily giving their dollars and support to Wolf because she has shown them she is willing to cut them the best deal with our tax dollars.

And Wolf has shown over and over again she has been willing to ignore what this sweetheart arrangement with the SEIU county employees has done to the rest of the county budget, services and needs.

You keep overlooking the direct relationship beneficial Wolf has with these county employee groups that she is supposed to be treating at neutral arms-length.

Raising the spectre of Karl Rove, the Tea Party, the Koch Bros, Big Oil or national "conservative groups. has absolutely no bearing on local decision-making in this county, compared to what Wolf has been willing to corrupt here in our home county with the county union workers themselves.

Point is, you have an unethical situation here with Wolf and no valid argument can defend it. So you trot out meaningless bogey men that play no role in our local political scene.

It is unethical for Wolf to take large amounts of campaign money from the very same groups she later directly bargains with spending our tax dollars.

Sorry, but you can not escape this inherent conflict of interests that has to stop. Wolf has to go. Or, she has to stop taking dirty money.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2014 at 8:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Our tax dollars" would include the tax dollars of union employees.
You can't cry foul on one candidate and not the other for the same LEGAL actions.

There's no shortage of real issues but Foo seems preoccupied with getting Wolf re-elected.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2014 at 9:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are only a few county employees paying taxes in the county when compared to the numbers of non-county employee residents.

So yes, county workers contribute somewhat to the overall tax dollars the BOS spends, but not in any weighty or significant way. They are the takers; not the makers.

I can't believe this point escaped you. But whatever. Yes, they are voters too but not in significant numbers to single-handedly change an election just on their own. What is it, about 350,000 residents in the county and about 10,000 county workers? (Fact check needed here)

So the message needs to go out to the non-county union residents who see their taxes go up and their services go down and have not yet stopped to think why this has happened.

Wolf thinks she has a blank check from the taxpayers to pay off her county union friends, and does not even blink at the incestuous role she has taken for herself. That is the kind of thinking we have to get off the BOS.

It will be a good breakthrough when the new government accounting standards will demand all unfunded liabilities the county has undertaken be part of the annual financial statements.

A little sunshine on this serious dilemma the county is will go a long way to preventing even more deficit spending than already racked up by Wolf and friends. This whole county pension mess does need to yes staring all of us in the face.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2014 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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