by Nick Welsh

The four candidates vying for the 2nd District supervisor seat
struggled to define their differences on slippery issues of growth
control, congestion management, and maintaining the South Coast
quality of life at a Monday night debate hosted by the League of
Women Voters and the Citizens Planning Foundation. Das Williams
presented himself as the second coming of Bill Wallace — a former
county supervisor who was the godfather of Goleta’s slow-growth
movement — and promised to fight the pro-growth board majority. Joe
Guzzardi — the no-growth county emergency planner — countered,
saying the real future Williams envisioned for the South Coast
resembled Manhattan, replete with high-rise buildings, abundant
taxicabs, and buses that run every 10 minutes. Williams conceded he
supported the latter as a method of alleviating congestion.

Dan Secord — the sole Republican contender and a former Santa
Barbara city councilmember — sought to counteract his “Developer
Dan” tag; he pointed out that during his 17 years of public
service, he’d been culturally steeped in one of the world’s slowest
growth communities, and said he supported preserving the Gaviota
Coast, Goleta Beach, and More Mesa. But Williams interjected that
Secord — as a coastal commissioner — had voted for development on
More Mesa. Williams and Secord were briefly united in the belief
that growth and congestion are caused by the chronic imbalance
between jobs and housing.

Janet Wolf — a former Goleta School boardmember — plugged
coveted endorsements she recently secured from the County
Firefighters and Women’s Political Committee. Wolf was also the
most outspoken supporter of a controversial plan to build
affordable housing for firefighters, nurses, and other responders
on agriculturally zoned land in the Cathedral Oaks and Turnpike
areas. Guzzardi — who works for the County Fire
Department — charged Wolf’s endorsement was arranged by sitting
supervisor Susan Rose, and claimed he was the only candidate not
beholden to special interests. He said the South Coast’s political
leaders have rolled over for developers eager to cash in on
population growth. The election is June 6. Barring the unlikely
event that any candidate wins a simple majority, the top two
vote-getters will go head-to-head in November.


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