Government has no money beyond that contributed in taxes and fees by the citizens it governs, so every citizen has an interest in the allocation of those taxes and fees.

By far the largest share of taxes paid goes to the federal government. The district congressional representative is generally the lead person who works to achieve a fair reimbursement for the district. During the upcoming election, this representative becomes a most important elected official since recovering the funds is mandatory for a community to function properly. Santa Barbara County is part of the 24th Congressional District

What are the choices for this position? The most visible include on one side: Salud Carbajal and Helene Schneider. Supervisor Carbajal, supported by Lois Capps and Nancy Pelosi, will probably toe the line set by Pelosi just as Capps has done during her tenure. This means servicing the ideologies of the party leaders rather than looking after the needs of the constituents. Mayor Schneider is more ideological than practical: She has not controlled the growth of pension costs for unions. She and Carbajal have created major delays and cost increases in the project to widen the 101 freeway.

The political opposition offers the choices of Katcho Achadjian and Justin Fareed, and they appear to be more practical than ideological. Assemblymember Achadjian represents part of the 24th District in the state with both financial and policy responsibilities, and he has experience in private business. Justin Fareed has served as a congressional aide in Washington, and also he is a successful businessman. Both represent the type of new public servants who are concerned with the requirements of their constituents rather than the political party mandates.

The competition for Representative for the 24th District will, no doubt, be intense, but I hope voters will choose the candidate who is pragmatic and not driven by personal or political ideology.


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