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Paul Wellman

Bill Brown


Endorsements: Measure M and 2nd District Supervisor and Sheriff

Vote Janet Wolf, Bill Brown, and No on Measure M


Thursday, May 8, 2014
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Voters who choose to sit out this June 3 election do so at their own peril. And we might add, ours, too. The ominous Measure M gets this year’s award as the Trojan horse with its too-good-to-be-true language. The 2nd District showdown pitting incumbent Janet Wolf against challenger Roger Aceves — and his oil-industry-financed campaign — threatens to tilt the fundamental balance of power at the board of supervisors. And in the race for Count Sheriff, we have a candidate in Bill Brown who actually did what he promised in his campaign. So here is the second installment of The Santa Barbara Independent‘s endorsements for the June 3 election. You don’t have to agree with us; just consider our points, and then vote — by mail or in person. Just vote!

Bill Brown for County Sheriff

Sheriff Bill Brown isn’t Superman. But he did secure $120 million in state funding to build a new North County jail, and by Santa Barbara County standards, that qualifies as the next best thing. As much as this paper abhors America’s unsustainable appetite for “lock-’em-up” laws, the reality is that Santa Barbara’s South County Jail has been in serious need of replacement for decades. Not only is it crammed to the gills, but it is unsafe for inmates and staff alike. That qualifies as inhumane.

For nearly 30 years, the construction of a new North County jail has been one of the holy grails of Santa Barbara politics. Brown’s predecessors ​— ​some of whom were blessed with remarkable political gifts ​— ​all thrust their shoulders to this wheel; all failed to deliver. That Brown managed to acquire the land and talk $120 million from state agencies headquartered in Sacramento needs to be recognized as the remarkable accomplishment it truly is. And he was able to achieve this in the middle of the Great Recession. When Brown first ran for sheriff nine years ago, he pledged to get the new jail built. How many elected officials make good on campaign promises?

About $80 million will be spent to build a traditional 376-bed facility in North County, which will be completed in 2018. Another $40 million will be used to build a 228-bed facility designed to prepare inmates for the life skills needed when released. If all this seems expensive, it is. And these numbers only tell part of the cost. For example, the county will have to spend roughly $20 million a year to run the larger facility. That money has already been snipped out of the general fund. But as the state was forced to relocate thousands of less-threatening prisoners to avoid the wrath of federal judges, the Santa Barbara County Jail, already overcrowded, was compelled to absorb a whole new population — 150 on any given day. The court system ​— ​itself egregiously underfunded ​— ​has failed to process its criminal caseloads in a timely fashion. As a result, the number of county prisoners held behind bars while awaiting trial has nearly doubled. Add to the mix prosecutors who file “commercial burglary” charges on simple shoplifters, and you get system overload. We need a North County Jail. But we need more.

Although public-safety departments were spared the full brunt of budget cuts when the economy tanked, Brown’s department took a major hit. Sixty-four full-time positions were eliminated. Restorative-justice and community-policing initiatives ​— ​which Brown championed early in his career ​— ​were never able to expand effectively. The County Jail has been the site of large-scale hunger strikes, multiple lockdowns, and other incidents. It is urgent that Sheriff Brown focus far more of his considerable talents on addressing these pressing problems now and not wait until 2018. We are confident that, when reelected, he will do so.

By Paul Wellman (file)

Janet Wolf for 2nd District Supervisor

The most immediate and obvious reason to re-elect Supervisor Janet Wolf to a third term is the resolve she demonstrated in protecting county air-quality standards in the face of a political onslaught waged last fall by Santa Maria Energy. The company’s proposal to operate 136 onshore wells near Orcutt would have generated about 88,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year. While that’s not enough to singlehandedly melt Greenland’s ice sheet, it is far more than Santa Barbara County ​— ​and many other jurisdictions ​— ​traditionally allow. In years past, the county’s line in the sand has been to require environmental mitigation and offsets for oil and gas projects generating more than 10,000 metric tons. But this was no traditional project, and county energy planners and the county planning commission both were persuaded the project should be given greater latitude to pollute, raising the maximum emissions allowed to 62,000 metric tons. With Wolf’s vote, however, the county supervisors insisted that the tougher standards be met despite theatrical lamentations ​— ​over the 62 cents a barrel of additional costs ​— ​by the energy company and its supporters. Wolf did more, however, than merely vote the right way. When she discovered that Lompoc’s representative to the Air Pollution Control District was a paid publicist for Santa Maria Energy, she blew the whistle about a possible conflict.

That was classic Wolf: prepared, determined, and willing to ask the tough questions. Likewise, we agreed with her key vote to maintain the status quo with regard to the rocks and boulders protecting the sands of Goleta Beach from being swept down shore. In that instance, Wolf parted company with many in the environmental community ​— ​who instead promoted a program of “managed retreat” when it came to the single most popular park in Santa Barbara County. In this, she displayed another laudable trait: independence.

Wolf is currently facing a serious challenge from Roger Aceves, Goleta’s former mayor and longtime member of the Goleta City Council. In years past, the two were closely allied. While we’re somewhat mystified by Aceves’s entry into the race, it is a free country, and he’s certainly entitled. More troubling by far, however, is his strong support for Santa Maria Energy and, likewise, the company’s generous financial support for him. His election would not bode well for county air-quality standards. Aceves, a passionate partisan for all things Goletan, remains convinced his city got a raw deal from the county when it first incorporated. He may, in fact, be right, but the Goleta contingent signed the deal with their eyes wide open. To renegotiate the terms now, as Aceves has demanded, would bolster Goleta’s bottom line, but only at the expense of the county’s coffers. Why county voters would choose to elect someone clearly advocating against their best interests is beyond us. By contrast, Wolf has done exactly what she’s pledged to do: work hard, come prepared, speak her mind, and ​— ​on occasion ​— ​step on toes. She’s earned a third term, so please give it to her.

Vote No on Measure M

Measure M reminds us how for every complex problem, there is always a very simple solution, which, invariably, is flat-out wrong. In this case, it’s even worse.

Measure M, hatched by 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam, would require the County of Santa Barbara to spend whatever it takes each year to keep county roads, county buildings, and county parks from deteriorating any further. How could anyone argue with something so seemingly benign, innocuous, and sensible?

Because it’s none of the above.

With Measure M, Adam ​— ​a passionate believer in limited government ​— ​has launched what appears to be a frontal assault on the machinery of government but is in fact an act of political sabotage. If Measure M were to pass, it would drain $18 million-$44 million a year from the county’s general fund. The question that Adam and his allies have thus far declined to answer is where that money will come from. What existing programs will have to be cut and gutted so that the county’s rural roads are maintained at their current levels? Fire protection? Public safety? Mental health?

To put this additional financial obligation in proper perspective, voters should understand county supervisors enjoy limited budgetary authority. Of the county’s $850 million budget, about 75 percent comes with state and federal strings attached that cannot be legally snipped. Of the remaining 25 percent, over which the supervisors possess any discretionary authority ​— ​slightly more than $200 million a year ​— ​60 percent is currently allocated to public safety.

And the timing could not be worse. In the wake of the Great Recession, the County of Santa Barbara has already cut 580 positions. There is precious little wiggle room left in the budget.

As a practical matter, not one cent of the money mandated by Measure M will pay to fill a single pothole on any of the busy city streets. Instead, it will be spent exclusively fixing county roads, which happen to be some of the least-traveled thoroughfares in the county. But city dwellers ​— ​as well as everyone else in the county ​— ​will suffer when important public services get the ax.

We do not dispute the importance of maintaining our roads and county properties. And certainly our county roads need help. But this problem is not unique to Santa Barbara. The system by which road repairs have been traditionally financed for decades is falling apart everywhere throughout the United States. New solutions urgently need to be found, but Measure M ​— ​which would straitjacket the spending decisions of elected officials for decades to come ​— ​is decidedly the wrong way to go. It’s just that simple.

Prop. 41: Yes

You can’t save money without spending a little up front, and Proposition 41 — a k a the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act ​— ​allows the legislature to sell $600 million in general obligation bonds to build new multifamily housing for homeless veterans. Given that all experts agree providing health and mental-health services to people on the streets is exorbitantly more expensive than providing it to those in fixed housing, passage of this urgently sensible measure should be a no-brainer. Given that California is home to one-quarter of all homeless vets in the United States, it’s even more justified. Lastly, the state legislature recently disbanded all California redevelopment agencies, the entities traditionally most responsible for funding such housing. With these agencies gone, Prop. 41 is needed to fill the breach.

Prop. 42: Yes

If you think it costs government a lot to keep public records open to the public and that the people’s business gets conducted by light of day, consider the alternative. Proposition 42 would amend the state constitution requiring that local government agencies maintain public records and open meetings regardless of the compensation level provided by the state legislature. To some extent, we sympathize with local governments. In response to the recent recession, the legislature has shifted the financial burden of state open-government laws onto the local agencies responsible with carrying them out. We get the gripe. Regardless, such laws are both essential and fundamental. As such, they cannot depend upon the precarious whimsy of funding formulas.

Endorsements

State

Governor: Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown

Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla or Dan Schnur

Controller: John A. Pérez

Attorney General: Kamala D. Harris

Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones

U.S. Representative 24th District: Lois Capps

Member of the State Assembly 37th District: Das Williams

School County Superintendent of Schools: Bill Cirone

County

County Supervisor 2nd District: Janet Wolf

Auditor-Controller: Robert W. Geis

Clerk, Recorder and Assessor: Joseph E. Holland

District Attorney: Joyce E. Dudley

Sheriff-Coroner: Bill Brown

Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator: Harry E. Hagen

State Measures

Proposition 41: Vote Yes

Proposition 42: Vote Yes

County Measure Measure M: Vote No

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Verb of the day: HATCHED

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2014 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Agree and disagree. Measure M is from the simple teatard mind of a man that hates government, especially local government. It's also no secret he hates Bill Brown. Peter Adam would love to be the reason for laying off deputy DA's, deputy sheriffs, probation officers, and on and on due to budget cuts. he doesn't give a damn about the general public.

Janet Wolf on the other hand is simply Salud Carbajal's puppet. She's also made so many ignorant comments about the very services she votes to fund I wonder how she remembers to breath. This county has serious debt and we're not going to get there with anymore cuts and only on TOT taxes. What string do we pull to remove her head from her ...

Validated (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While we are on the subject of puppets, let's note that Aceves is not only the puppet of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, siding with them on every issue. He is also the puppet of:
- Peter Adam, by refusing to oppose Measure M
- The Oil interests that have given him thousands in campaign donations
- The Tribe Gaming monopoly, that has given him thousands in campaign donations
- Developers like Towbes, who have given him thousands in campaign donations.

To keep on your theme, these mega donations come with strings attached.

Yes, Wolf has some big Labor donations. But instead of giving something TO big Labor, Wolf got major salary and benefit concessions FROM them.

I'm just sayin'...

RobertRich (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2014 at 10:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Robert Rich. Aceves is not endorsed by a single colleague who serves on the Goleta City Council with him. All the City Council members who are endorsing candidates in this race are endorsing Janet Wolf. They have worked with Aceves and they know he is NOT the one they want on the Board of Supervisors. I don't know what Aceves could have been thinking when he said all kinds of lies about Wolf, who is so respected and admired by a large segment of our community. I think he did himself in by those attacks. Then he runs his commercials trying to sound like Wolf. "I supported the environment and Goleta Beach." Pitiful.

Shira (anonymous profile)
May 9, 2014 at 1:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The opinion of anyone who favors corporate shill Aceves over Wolf is in-validated.

JayB (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 4:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What about sheriff? Tomorrow's edition?

ahem (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 8:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If Measure M passes will the jail go unfunded? That would be a step in the right direction.

Janet will win. An incumbant with plenty of campaign cash.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 1:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No, the jail will not go unfunded.

This is a scare tactic put out by the county unions who want to sabotage Measure M so they can keep the money for themselves instead of having it allocated to county infrastructure.

Why does money mean a candidate will win. Do they actually sell votes someplace? Tell us more.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foo: Why does money mean a candidate will win.

You have a point. Nobody with money ever wins. This is why there are no fundraisers, and why candidates always return money when anyone contributes.

ahem (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I asked you the how - How are votes for sale , since each of us has one. How do voters collectively gravitate to the candidate who often also raises the most money, but not always. Regardless of fitness for office, or even proven track record of poor decision-making if an incumbent.

How does more money buy an election. This is an essay question - no right answers.

Technically one cannot sell more than their own one vote. Therefore, how do the animal spirits of capitalism work when each person makes their individual decision to cast their ballot, in secret, one way or another?

If the collective political meme is hate the rich, hate big business, hate income inequality, hate Wall Street, hate fat cats, hate banksters, hate capitalism, hate America, and hate politicians, how is it those with the most toys still wins?

Perhaps money still has magical totem powers that confers benediction, power and competence, even among those who spout the above hatreds.

If XYZ raised that much money, somebody must think XYZ is worthy. Who am I to go against the benediction of campaign cash.

If XYZ can bombard me with mailers, robocalls, and media assaults, XYZ must be doing something right?

Do ya think?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 7:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How unbiased are even newspaper endorsements, since political ads from the flush candidates pay their bills too.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 7:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Measure M would RAISE property taxes. No on M.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Measure M does not raise taxes. It merely changes the allocation of county revenues to balance infrastructure needs on par with other county expenses.

Not passing Measure M would require voters later to pass bond issues in order to cover neglected county infrastructure maintenance. Not passing Measure M is what will later raise taxes.

Claiming Measure M will raise taxes is a lie put out by the county employee union member forces. Just like saying it will halt the North County jail project.

County residents deserve better treatment from the county employee union member forces than this current misinformation campaign.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 8:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting. Those dying to raise taxes with prop 30 are calling deriding measure M for being a tax increase, which it isn't.

Even if it was an increase, I thought you guys loved higher taxes.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 8:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a question. When was the last time the Independent was, well, independent, and didn't endorse the entire slate of the local Democratic party cabal? Seriously, it's become the Fox News of the county with Salud, Daraka and Das all filling the roles of Hannity, Glen Beck and Bill O'Reilly.

We need some new ideas people. Stop being sheeple and shake things up a bit!

Indyholio (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2014 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is this a joke? The Independent is as jail-obsessed as Bill Brown. Did he write this???

ooshea (anonymous profile)
May 15, 2014 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill Brown, really? Seems suspicious that the Independent's endorsement is so jail-centric, apparently we don't care about Deltopia and Isla Vista issues, sexual assault and battery allegations inside the SBSO or the Johnny-come-lately-address (and total abandonment of the issue ever since) regarding mass entrance of panga boats to SB County.

Well that's the end of my Independent news reading days. Back to Noozhawk.

GoodlandGreg (anonymous profile)
May 15, 2014 at 8:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE GREG! THANK YOU FOR LISTENING WHILE THE MEDIA TURNED A BLIND EYE!

Bigger jails, no matter the cost....
Endorsing career politicians in bed with the unions....
(Without thinking of the cost we'll pay in taxes!)
Then tell us we don't have the money to fix roads and parks...
(Even though you're well aware money towards infrastructure would raise property values!)

THE JOKES ON THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL....
AGAIN!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2014 at 6:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As I stated in my previous post, the Indy is nothing more than a shill for the local Dem party these days. I think many of you are starting to see that, which is good.

I'm a Dem, but don't like being told what the party wants me to do. In fact, I believe our local, state and federal governments would be much better with fresh ideas and new blood. Something we never get to see in local politics. It's all Salud, Das, Daraka, and the public employee unions.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me up when some new ideas and thinking are allowed in.

Indyholio (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2014 at 11:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sadly the Indy endorsements are the way voters in this town vote.
Imagine Capps for another 2 years? We should save expenses, leave her at home and just give her vote to Pelosi.
The spend, tax and union front still running the city and county.
I am still waiting for SB to wake up!

loneranger (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They will wake up only when the GOP runs a sensible, qualified candidate. Bobble Head Dale and the cracked actor Chris have hitched their wagons to the usual low information ignorant Republican party line. They will soon join the long line of foolish losers that have challenged Capps.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dale Francisco is an excellent candidate to replace Lois Capps. And Justin Fareed is waiting in the wings so there is good depth in the local conservative field.

We can't afford any more progressivism. Not sure why the Independent finds this so appealing, yet have eschewed unions for their own workers.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes there are plenty of future losers lining up to challenge Capps. Bobble Head's big agenda is to repeal "Obama care" even though it is very popular on this district. Francisco is tone deaf and all the US flags in world will not get him the votes he needs.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It'd be great to see Capps cut Francisco down to size in a debate.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

if foo likes Dale well.... tells us plenty. Fareed is quite wet behind the ears.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Take a look at Francisco 's Web site. On the issues it reads like a GOP template, one size fits all. Energy? Drill baby drill. Immigration? Secure the borders. Jobs? cut taxes. Health care? Repeal Obama care. Someone needs to let Dale know that Santa Barbara is not in Oklahoma. Why would anyone believe that he is a serious candidate?

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 3:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Capps-Stoker debate was mutual embarrassment. No contest with Francisco who is bright, clear, intelligent and quick thinking. And plays politics with a very kind hand. He is the whole package. And and excellent choice to be our Wash DC representative.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 4:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I checked Francisco's website, gorgeous beach photos and very professionally [and expensively] done [campaignprofessionals.com]. HG's right that Dale's a dinosaur on ACA/Obamacare, his website states
"ACA every day: Full-time jobs reduced to part-time, millions of individuals thrown off of existing health plans, and increased premiums and deductibles for everyone from the lower middle class up. To encourage job creation and business expansion we must get government out of the way and repeal this misguided, overreaching legislation."
Too bad he's NOT running in Oklahoma or Idaho, he's have a chance. Poor Dale, recent data show the RATE of health insurance premiums has slowed due to ACA and will continue to slow: this will help our economy.
Not a serious candidate; Lois would eat him alive in debate just by allowing him to spout off his antediluvian nonsense. But he's get foo's vote.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're probably right Dan. Dale would probably be more welcome in a state of productive taxpayers. 1/3 of the nation's welfare recipients are here in California. Why would the people that live in a welfare state vote to cut off their government funding? The influx of new welfare recipients is the only thing compensating for the exodus of productive taxpayers.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2014 at 5:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I could determine my vote by looking at Andy Caldwell's recommendations in the News-Press and selecting the opposite.

ahem (anonymous profile)
June 1, 2014 at 9:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Meg Whitman spent 160 million and couldn't beat JERRY BROWN! California has had enough of the conservative backwards bullsh* and unless they trot out something new they're going to keep on losing. The tide is changing.

sbbob3 (anonymous profile)
June 4, 2014 at 12:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How is the tide changing?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 4, 2014 at 12:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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