Buellton’s Council Choices

A Look at Apparently Self-Serving Politicians

Our local government is becoming addicted to power. Certain members of the Buellton City Council appear to be serving themselves rather than our community. Here are facts on public record. You be the judge.

When Judith Dale was on the school board, she tried to appropriate the land of a private citizen in our community. This went to the Grand Jury. That person was obliged to take the school board to court. By the time it was over (2004–2007), the court ruled that the school board had to pay $1,000,000 to that person. Not a good use of taxpayer money and not helpful for the future of our children and our community.

Years later, now 2013-2014, this same injured party came forward with a project called Meritage Senior Living Project, to be developed on the land he owned within the city limits. The project would bring jobs and visitors to our town; all on the Planning Commission and the City Council passed the project, except Ms. Dale, who did everything in her power during the meeting to make it fail. It would certainly appear that she is using the council for a personal agenda rather than considering the good of our community. I attended the meeting and watched the unpleasantness. Good politicians will not dwell on defeats of the past; they will set aside personal grudges and forge ahead for the good of the community. Setbacks and criticism go with the territory, and a good leader is quick to learn and move forward.

Ms. Dale wants to turn the Zaca Creek Golf Course into a sports field. She has talked about this for years, but she has never, to my knowledge, taken the time to research that undertaking. A few days ago I contacted California Fish and Game, now Wildlife Management, and found that the project would not get off the ground because of the amount of earth that would need to be moved in proximity to the Santa Ynez River. It would also require a CEQA review, which is very expensive and takes time. One would hope that a good community leader would examine what might be involved in a project before bringing a proposal to the council. It just took me two emails.

On February 28, 2013, during a City Council meeting, Ms. Dale is on record as being in favor of digital signs being used to advertise the city of Buellton. “Why are we limiting it to one sign?” she asked. “They have some great digital signs.” Ms. Dale, along with Tom Widroe and Mark Preston, are now distributing fliers that state they are against the installation of these signs. What the fliers fail to mention is that this project was tabled by the Chamber of Commerce back in July and is moot. Why are they using their position on this issue to garner votes when it is no longer an issue? During the Buellton City Council Candidate Debate on October 6, 2014, Ed Andrisek questioned them regarding the use of this flier. The next day Ms. Dale denied being part of it, even though all three names are on the flier with her return address on the envelope. In my opinion, this is a scandalous way to run a campaign.

On May 23, 2013, the figure $300,000 was discussed regarding the allocation of funds from the Transient Occupancy Tax. On June 12, 2014, Ms. Dale said they were not given a dollar amount. The figure is on record. It is very important to me that our representatives are able to recall the fiscally important parts of the issues they are dealing with — or at least are willing to double check to see if what they are recalling is accurate.

There has been lots of discussion about walkways and bike paths along the river. For this project to go forward, two easements are being negotiated through private properties next to River Park on the west-side of 101. The council is in favor of expanding the paths to include the east side of Highway 101. Ms. Dale is in favor of the project, but she has made it very clear that no easement will be allowed on her property, which is located east of Highway 101 between the Ford dealership and the ostrich farm. Sadly, it is all too common for politicians to ask cooperation and sacrifice of others while exempting themselves.

A little about Tom Widroe: he was manager of operations for Bargain Network in Goleta. The Better Business Bureau’s president, Rick Copelan, stated, “We’ve been around and around with this company since the year they opened … I can’t say we are sad to see them go.” Bargain Network had 416 consumer complaints in 36 months, and the company earned an “F” with Better Business Bureau. The company used false advertising and unsolicited credit card charges. One person who worked for the company for two years said, “It was great money if you had a knack for it, but at the end of my shift, I always felt like my soul was dirty.”

Let us be fair, many politicians are good and strong leaders with high ethical standards and are there to help the community. They put their constituencies first and seek to serve the people. They understand and are loyal to their constituents and have an abiding belief in decency. That is what we need to elect for the future of Buellton. I would hope all of us want someone who will tell the truth; someone who will not deflect responsibility; someone who will walk the talk and not spin it — which it is just a polite form of lying. We need someone in office who will lead by conviction, not by popularity. I hope we can elect someone who understands that to work together over the course of years, you must level with your colleagues. Too many politicians, and unfortunately I count Ms. Dale among them, show us by their words and actions that they can be deceptive and self serving. This year, let’s vote for honesty!

Please vote for one of the candidates below: I am!

I trust Ed Andrisek, Dan Baumann, Joe Padilla, and John Connolly

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