What was probably the most widely known secret in Santa Barbara County politics was confirmed on Thursday with a press release announcing that longtime Goleta city councilmember and the city’s current mayor, Roger Aceves, is considering a run for 2nd District County Supervisor. That the former police officer aspires to a higher office isn’t surprising to anyone, but that he’d be running against the incumbent and fellow Democrat, Janet Wolf, is causing both ruffled feathers and scratched heads.
“What I will be as a supervisor is one who will work closely with the cities, not only Goleta but Santa Barbara,” said Aceves on Friday, making it clear that he has not yet decided to run officially, only that he filed with the state to form a political committee to further investigate the opportunity. “The financial sustainability of the county is critical,” he explained, “so that’s my number one priority.”
Aceves believes that Goleta has not been properly represented at the county level, particularly related to plans for fixing Goleta Beach and the controversial revenue neutrality agreement, the tax-sharing deal struck with the county when the City of Goleta was formed more than 10 years ago. “Our city has contributed $75 million over 11 years,” said Aceves, who believes he would have the political will as a county supervisor to renegotiate that deal in favor of Goleta. “That’s money the city could have used.”
Though not surprised by the news, Wolf — who defeated another fellow Democrat Das Williams as well as popular Republican and former Santa Barbara City Councilmember Dan Secord in past elections — is wondering why Aceves is even considering this campaign, and sees him grasping at straws for issues to run on. “There is not a groundswell of unhappiness,” said Wolf, who prides herself on returning consituent calls quickly despite having the leanest supervisorial staff. “I think the community really appreciates someone who listens to them and who responds to their needs.”
Wolf was “disappointed” in Thursday’s announcement. “It causes a lot of unnecessary chatter in the community,” she said. “We both have so many important things we need to be doing, and that’s what I am continuing to do.” But Wolf looks forward to the challenge of running against Aceves next June should he enter, pledging, “I would never be afraid of Roger Aceves.”
No other candidates have yet filed paperwork to run. The deadline is March 2014.