Paula Perotte and her supporters
Paul Wellman

Goleta City Council candidate Paula Perotte got her first taste of made-for-media showcases on Monday, as more than 25 supporters — including two councilmembers and a county supervisor — stood behind the former PTA president as she “officially kicked off” her campaign before the watchful eyes of two reporters, two photographers, and one videocamera-toting citizen journalist.

Held outside the Goleta Valley Community Center, where the successful campaigns for Councilmember Ed Easton and former councilmember Jonny Wallis have begun over the years, the brief event came one month after Perotte’s candidacy was announced in the media. (The Independent broke that story here, and then followed up with a more detailed account here.) As such, the noontime press conference seemed more designed to remind Goleta voters that there is indeed a city council election this November. (Read about why Goleta might be more apolitical than its neighboring jurisdictions here.)

Paula Perotte
Paul Wellman

But it also served to strategically lift Perotte’s campaign above that of Reyne Stapelmann, a real estate agent who announced her candidacy a week before Perotte. Both women are in the running with councilmembers Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett for the three open Goleta City Hall seats; conventional political wisdom predicts that — due to fundraising headstarts, name recognition, and lack of council controversy — Aceves and Bennett will likely retain their seats, leaving the race for the third to be a showdown between Perotte and Stapelmann.

On Monday, Perotte, a 27-year Goleta resident, stuck to her message of keeping Goleta the great place it already is and showed that she has the hefty support of the progressive Democratic machine to do so. Among people lining up behind Perotte were Supervisor Janet Wolf and Goleta councilmembers Margaret Connell and Ed Easton, and she’s also already bagged the additional endorsements of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, former mayor Marty Blum, former supervisors Susan Rose and Gail Marshall, the Democratic Party of S.B., the Democratic Women of S.B. County, the S.B. Women’s Political Committee, and the Los Padres Sierra Club.

Promising to run a “very energetic grassroots campaign” that will “do whatever it takes to get the message out,” Perotte — who works for the Community Action Commission as an advocate for special needs children and their parents — said, “I’m confident we can meet our challenges the old-fashioned way, by working together.” When asked afterward about the proposed Bishop Ranch development (read about that here and here) by government watchdog and citizen journalist David Pritchett, Perotte said that she will stick with the city’s general plan that calls for the property to remain agriculturally zoned.

As the crowd moved to the Community Center’s front steps for a group shot, Goleta Mayor Eric Onnen — whose decision not to run sparked the campaigns of Perotte and Stapelmann, which The Independent first reported here — was spotted watching the festivities. Explaining that he had endorsed Stapelmann and Bennett, Onnen said that he was there to see what Perotte was all about, noting that he had a third endorsement to give if so desired. When asked if Aceves had sought Onnen’s endorsement, Onnen answered, “No, no he has not.” He did not share any further thoughts about Perotte, so it remains to be seen whether the endorsement of Onnen — who is considered to be a more pro-business politician than the more environmentally minded progressives — will come Perotte’s way.


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