Santa Barbara City Councilmember Das Williams flew to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to fund several “shovel ready” water projects with a combined price tag of $10 million. Williams has taken heat from some elected officials – such as Carpinteria Councilmember Joe Armendariz, a conservative Republican – of junketeering at taxpayer expense. The cost of Williams’s trip, $500, was not borne by city taxpayers but by the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board (COMB) on whose behalf he was twisting arms. Williams stayed with a friend, so no hotel costs were incurred.
While in Washington, Williams met with congressmembers Lois Capps and Lynn Woolsey, a liberal Democrat from Marin County. He also met with representatives of senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
Projects near and dear to come include plans to construct a parallel water tunnel connecting Lake Cachuma with the water agencies of the South Coast. Water planners worry that if an earthquake renders the existing tunnel nonfunctional, water consumers would be forced to rely solely on ground water reserves, which fluctuate with the rainfall. Additionally, Williams lobbied federal representatives to fund steelhead trout restoration efforts.