The City of Goleta’s five-member City Council has two seats going empty in December, as Tony Vallejo and Jim Farr’s terms lapse. Vallejo has filed to run again in the November election for the four-year seat, but Farr has decided against it. By email, Farr explained that a stroke last year “laid me low,” and his recovery has been slower than expected. He regretted leaving hoped-for projects unfulfilled but promised to “do what I can from the sidelines.”
In the first contested election in Goleta in six years, incumbent Vallejo is running alongside Kyle Richards, a budget analyst for the UCSB Academic Senate and Goleta Parks & Rec Commission member; Dave Haws, a real estate broker who worries about water, overdevelopment, and Old Town; Stuart Kasdin, a consultant on public policy and administration issues; and Aaron Swaney, a businessman who runs a print shop at UCSB and in Goleta. Vallejo, who is an accountant and past president of the Goleta Chamber, was chosen by the council to take the seat vacated by Ed Easton in 2014, and this would be his first run before the voters.
Also on the ballot is a measure to decide whether to vote directly for mayor, which would change the number of councilmembers to four. Usually, but not always, the mayor and mayor pro tem are nominated by fellow councilmembers at their first meeting in December based on who got the greatest number of votes, said Goleta’s community liaison Valerie Kushnerov. The ballot also asks voters to choose whether the mayor would be in office for two or four years. If the proposal passes November 8, the first mayoral vote would take place in 2018.
The Goleta Council seats nonpartisan members, but the state recently released figures dissecting voter enrollment, which has risen since January. In Goleta, registered voters went from 15,463 to 16,436, or up by about 6 percent, with Democrats registering the largest increase — about 12 percent compared to the Republican 3 percent increase. In Santa Barbara County, registration rose about 6 percent to 202,262 total voters, with Democrats increasing by about 13 percent, and Republicans about 4 percent. In both areas, Independent and Green voter numbers decreased.
Statewide, 72.89 percent of eligible California voters were registered as of July 7, the date for all these figures, with a total 18,084,999. More than 8 million voters registered Democrat, an increase of almost 10 percent since January, and 4.8 million registered Republican, up close to 3 percent. According to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Democrats hold an edge in the state over Republicans, 45 percent to 27 percent.