In 2001, I’d just opened a coffee shop in Summerland, and both lanes of the street in front of the business were closed without warning for repaving. I called the office of then-County Supervisor Naomi Schwartz and Salud Carbajal answered the phone, quickly promising to handle the situation. Within 20 minutes, one of the lanes was reopened to allow customers to enter the café. Later that afternoon, Salud himself showed up to apologize and to make sure things had been worked out. And that’s how I first met our current County Supervisor Salud Carbajal.
As the years have gone on, I’ve always known Salud to be responsive, to have lots of integrity, and to be very approachable — and he’s the proud owner of a broad smile and firm handshake.
He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
Who do you most admire?
My mother and father (Sofia and Salud), who immigrated to this country and despite the many challenges they faced, taught us the value of hard work, determination, generosity to others, and commitment of love for family, friends, and strangers.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the interaction with constituents from all walks of life and problem solving when challenges are brought to my attention. Most of all, I appreciate the privilege and responsibility of working toward improving our community’s quality of life.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Good health, harmony, and peace with family and friends. Good coffee, wine, truffle cheese, and scrumptious meals.
What is your greatest fear?
Failing and letting people down.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Traveling and learning about new cultures.
What is your current state of mind?
Very good, at peace, and ready to expand my horizons with new challenges.
What is the quality you most like in people?
Positive, can do attitude.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Mean-spirited, selfish, and uncaring individuals.
What do you most value in friends?
Honesty and a good sense of humor.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Responsiveness and follow through.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“We can find common ground.” “This is a win-win!”
Which talent would you most like to have?
Play a music instrument.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be more patient and less demanding.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My family and kids.
Where would you most like to live?
Here, Santa Barbara County.
What is your most treasured possession?
A few photos of my parents and family trips.
Who makes you laugh the most?
My wife, Gina.
What is your motto?
“Let’s do it — 5,4,3,2,1 you’re done!”
Which historical figures do you most identify with? Cesar Chavez, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and former Supervisor Naomi Schwartz.