Here is the final installment of The Independent’s 2016 Election Endorsements. To see the rest of our endorsements, visit independent.com/election2016. As always, we urge you to vote, whether you agree with us or not.
Carpinteria City Council: Fred Shaw and Wade Nomura
Carpinteria is frequently dismissed as Mayberry-by-the-Sea, but the reality of maintaining a low-key, beachfront community that’s of genuine human-scale is a lot more challenging than meets the eye. Real estate values and the demand for hotel rooms are going through the roof. The candidates best suited to respond to such pressures are the two Carpinteria City Council incumbents Fred Shaw and Wade Nomura. Together, they gently manifest what the whole nation would like to see in politicians. Shaw is an avid volunteer, nature lover, and community activist with passionate ties to what’s morphed into the Democratic Party machine; Nomura comes more out of the Chamber of Commerce tradition with ties to the Republican Party. Both have deep roots in their respective communities. Both are widely accessible to all. And both are deeply enmeshed in the marrow of Carpinteria. It’s hard to ask for much more.
Measure B (Bed Tax Bump): Yes
Guests visiting any of the 25 hotels and motels operating in Santa Barbara County’s unincorporated land mass pay 2 percent less in overnight bed taxes (a k a transient occupancy taxes) than guests staying overnight in any of the county’s cities except Santa Maria. That translates to $1.8 million a year in possible revenue. Then there is the soon-to-be-opened Miramar, where estimates have suggested the five-star hotel could generate by itself $1.5 million in new bed taxes. Given the county’s mounting needs and costs associated with mental-health care and infrastructure repair, voters would have to be crazy not to approve Measure B. It’s been 26 years since the county last amended its bed tax rates. The money collected goes into the general fund, meaning the supervisors can vote to spend it on the needs they deem most pressing.
Goleta and Montecito Water Boards
Goleta: Bob Geis, Lauren Hanson, and Bill Rosen
Montecito: Charles Newman And Tobe Plough
Of all the races in this year’s election, it has been the most difficult to decide among the candidates running for the water boards in Goleta and in Montecito. Our endorsements might mystify some as they do not follow traditional coalitions, but we believe they will bring a mix of new energy and skills to work with seasoned incumbents. We think that together they will put the common good before all else.
Goleta Water Board: Challenger Bob Geis served 26 years as the county’s audito- controller. He brings an independence of judgment and keen analytic mind to the table. He served as chief financial agent for the County Water Agency—which holds the contract for Lake Cachuma with the federal government—invaluable experience for the tough times ahead. Smart, tough, and hardworking, Lauren Hansen and Bill Rosen helped stabilize and professionalize the district. Under their leadership, Goleta’s residential customers have learned to conserve the most and use the least. Vote for Geis, Hanson, and Rosen.
Montecito Water District: We are endorsing one candidate each from the rival camps vying for two seats, incumbent Charles Newman and Tobe Plough. Newman is a liberal Democrat—and attorney—backed by his party’s machine; Plough is a conservative and a boardmember of COLAB. Despite their political differences, they sing the same tune: more long-term planning, more recycled waste water, and a deal with the City of Santa Barbara to share desalinated water. Appointed to the board 15 months ago, Newman has pushed for all the above. Plough, though a relative newcomer to water board issues, has been actively engaged in community affairs nearly 40 years and is smart and professionally steeped in the minutia of the bureaucratic permitting process. Plough ran on a slate with Floyd Wicks, an experienced water-industry executive. However, Wicks’s current work as a consultant makes for a potentially contentious situation—the very thing this district does not need. We have confidence that Plough and Newman will bring the responsible, civic-minded determination to work together and to help direct the current board toward achieving a long-range vision.