Wolf on Board

Meagher’s hagiography on Janet Wolf’s campaign tortures journalistic ethics; muffled screams echo across the 2nd District. Puff pieces are common, but Meagher’s bias is so blatant even Wolf may choke on the odor [“Second District Déjà Vu,”].

Everywhere Wolf gets Meagher’s “more than” help: “more than three years … more than 1,500 votes … more than $20 mil … more than $10 mil … ,” while Dan Secord consistently gets “much the same as,” or “in agreement” with Wolf. Meagher squeezes in Wolf’s small-business experience; but Secord’s, twice Wolf’s, gets no mention.

Wolf in fact fails on economics, but to Meagher she’s a “fiscal champion,” reminding us “the county’s not the city.” Really? But as part of the county, we have the burden of its red ink, thanks to Wolf, et al. Meagher rates Wolf “very solid … given the county’s finances.” And all’s fine in Haiti, too, given the earthquake. What did Wolf do in her “very solid” first term that a more seasoned Secord couldn’t have done better and more efficiently?

Wolf gets Meagher’s free pass because the “economy” is tough. No kidding! We need a tough steward for our dollars, instead of reporters snuggling up to incumbents. Wolf says there’s “still … $20 million” in reserves. How much was there when she started? This sounds like “I can’t be out of money; I still have checks in my checkbook!”

Meagher’s article is so bent that his integrity appears forever smudged, and Wolf floats to the surface as an over-hyped nonentity. It seems the only edge Wolf needs are the three Ms: money, muscle, and Meagher.—Lance Mason

• • •

Last Tuesday’s candidate forum revealed Janet Wolf’s thorough knowledge of financial issues facing the county, her history as a fiscally responsible supervisor, and Dan Secord’s one-note baseless claim that he is the only one with fiscal experience.

The county’s financial problems result from a dysfunctional state government and a national economy crippled after eight years of George Bush. This county is in better financial shape than most, thanks in part to the careful management by the current Board of Supervisors. Wolf gets the credit for early budget workshops that involved all five supervisors, rather than dumping a huge decision-making process on them in the last few weeks of the fiscal year. This sort of involvement and careful planning have protected the county’s reserve, one that is the envy of many California jurisdictions.

Secord seems to be stuck in his past as a Santa Barbara city councilmember. The council may need a finance committee since the council has seven members who only work part-time; the smaller Board of Supervisors, however, deals with a much larger budget and needs each fully employed supervisor to be involved in and responsible for fiscal planning.

As for employee benefits and Wolf’s “friends”: The compensation packages Secord complains of were negotiated under the conservative-majority board of five years ago. Under the current board, and Supervisor Wolf, the employee unions have made huge concessions to help the county in hard financial times. This is hardly a case of giving them “more and more.”—Marian Shapiro


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