For City Council: Brian Barnwell, Helene Schneider, Das Williams

Vote No on Measure A

When you go to the voting booth on Tuesday, November 6-or cast your absentee ballot-The Independent strongly urges you to vote for Brian Barnwell, Helene Schneider, and Das Williams for City Council. We also urge you to vote no on Measure A.

Brian Barnwell, Helene Schneider, and Das Williams bring unique sensibilities to the job. Barnwell is a centrist Democrat and a passionate planning wonk, given to brilliant-if at times anguished-soliloquies. Williams is a progressive Democrat who embodies an intriguing blend of evangelical Christianity, surfer-dude environmentalism, and economic populism. And Schneider is endowed with rare administrative savvy, which she deploys to tackle seemingly insoluble social problems, like chronic homelessness. On their individual merits, these three incumbents richly deserve to be reelected. As a group, they’ve developed a fruitful working rapport throughout the years that would be foolish to throw away.

All have worked energetically and creatively to address the stiff challenges confronting both City Hall and the broader Santa Barbara community. They’ve struggled to address the social violence inflicted when working families find themselves evicted so luxury condominiums can be built. We trust they will bring wisdom, insight, and good faith to bear when balancing the need for maximum housing affordability and neighborhood preservation. The rise of gang violence defies simple solutions and cheap slogans, but we’re confident these three will not shirk from finding the best combination of carrot and stick. When it comes to traffic congestion, we’re not so utopian as to believe the automobile can be rendered obsolete within our lifetime. But as a society, we clearly need alternatives right now. Improved mass transit, better bike lanes, commuter rail, telecommuting, staggered work schedules-all of these will be part of the solution. And these three have demonstrated a commitment to making this happen. Finally, when it comes to sustainability, the City of Santa Barbara is now committed to walking the walk, not just talking the talk. This did not happen overnight, nor did it happen by accident. Were it not for the three incumbents-Barnwell, Schneider, and Williams-it’s doubtful it would have happened at all.

In recent months, City Hall has approved two major solar installations on its own structures, and eliminated many of the design guidelines that have inhibited its citizens from going solar on their own. City parks use far less pesticide today than they did four years ago, and steps are being taken to make Santa Barbara’s creeks more accommodating and hospitable to steelhead trout. Not only that, but City Hall is leading the charge to convert South Coast trash into cleaner-burning fuels, and changing its architectural design guidelines to ensure maximum energy efficiency in the future. There’s still much work to be done. Reelect Barnwell, Schneider, and Williams, and let them finish the job.

Measure A would change the timing of city elections from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years so city elections would coincide with state and federal contests. Close, but no cigar. This is a fiscal quick fix designed to save money (which it would) masquerading as political reform (which it’s not). Call us parochial, but we like the fact that when Santa Barbara voters cast their ballots, they’re focused solely on matters concerning Santa Barbara. We don’t want to give that up. We see little benefit to hitching the outcome of Santa Barbara’s debates about growth, traffic, gentrification, or crime to state and federal elections, which are driven by such hot-button issues as gay rights, abortion, capital punishment, or the Iraq War.

Reelect Brian Barnwell, Helene Schneider, and Das Williams to the City Council, and vote no on Measure A.


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