Clinton, Carbajal, Hartmann, and Dems Sweep County

But Trump Victory Overwhelms All

Salud Carbajal
Paul Wellman

For Santa Barbara Democrats, Tuesday night’s election results proved to be an excruciatingly mixed message. The area candidates for whom the party “machine” revved its engines won big and won convincingly.

County Supervisor Salud Carbajal ​— ​heir apparent to 18-year Democratic Congressmember Lois Capps ​— ​will be representing Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and a portion of Ventura County, in Congress next year. Joan Hartmann, similarly backed and embraced by the Democratic establishment, beat out rival Bruce Porter for the all-important 3rd District supervisorial seat, maintaining a Democratically inclined environmental tilt on the Board of Supervisors. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson cakewalked into another term, and school boardmember Monique Limón ​— ​pegged as the next rising star in the left’s political firmament ​— ​trounced an opponent for the State Assembly whose name is known only to friends and relatives.

Joan Hartmann
Paul Wellman

All this was achieved by systematically and exhaustively strip-mining the political idealism of young students densely packed into Isla Vista’s overwhelmed and overpriced rental stock. Democrats led get-out-the-vote efforts in Isla Vista, which generated no fewer than 13,080 ballots cast, a new all-time record. Isla Vista voters approved a limited form of self-government by overwhelmingly voting in the creation of a new Community Services District, though landlords kicked up enough of a fuss that the revenue-generating measure needed to fund this entity went down in defeat.

<b>HOTBED:</b> As she has done for two decades, Rep. Lois Capps (left) took to the streets of Isla Vista in the hours before the polls closed to encourage students to vote for county supervisor Salud Carbajal in his bid for Congress.
Paul Wellman

Voters approved $193 million in two new school bond issues that will be used to repair and replace aging buildings and infrastructure. More critically, the bond issues will provide the $20 million needed to buy Santa Barbara’s downtown armory, placed on the market by the California Army National Guard last year. The armory ​— ​on 4.7 acres of property strategically located between Santa Barbara High School and Santa Barbara Junior High ​— ​could provide more playing fields, not to mention a new venue for vocational education run in partnership with City College. The fact that the armory was included in the new bond issues was in itself the product of quick, deft political maneuvering by the likes of Assemblymember Das Williams and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider. Schneider, who lost to Carbajal in the Democratic primary, also spearheaded the successful effort to tax marijuana sales, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Monique Limón ​ ​getting a hug from school district boardmember Kate Parker.
Paul Wellman

Goleta’s leadership not only has two new councilmembers ​— ​Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards ​— ​but 68 percent of voters opted to elect a mayor starting in the 2018 election, for a term of four years. Kasdin and Richards, who endorsed each other last week, each gained close to a third of the 15,186 votes cast; incumbent Tony Vallejo was about a thousand votes short.

Kasdin, who was heading out to take his car to be serviced Wednesday morning ​— ​“That’s one thing about a car appointment; it won’t start without me” ​— ​came in first with 4,641 votes. During his campaign, he’d knocked on doors to meet voters and to talk about the pace of development and the need to preserve open space ​— ​but then he ran into renters. “There was one woman who described her life as living like a slave to pay her rent. There was real anguish,” he said. “Affordability matters. We want to preserve the character of Goleta.” Richards said he was excited that he and Kasdin will be able to make a difference in the City Council and the direction of the city: “It’s clear that sustained growth and living within our means are important to Goleta.”

<b>GOLETA’S NEW GUYS:</b> Stuart Kasdin (left) and Kyle Richards congratulate each other on their elections to the Goleta City Council.
Paul Wellman

In the race for Goleta’s Water District, boardmembers Lauren Hanson, Bill Rosen, and Rick Merrifield retained their seats. Similarly, at the Goleta Sanitary District, incumbents George Emerson and John Fox, who have held office since the 1990s, and boardmember Sharon Rose held onto their seats.

In Montecito, the drought gave rise to the first contested water board race in many years and two challengers — Tobe Plough and Floyd Wicks — running as the “Keep Montecito Green” slate bested incumbent Charles Newman and Tom Mosby, former water district manager, who were decidedly not running as a slate. Plough and Wicks were backed by a collection of successful former business executives impatient with the district’s inability to negotiate a contract with the City of Santa Barbara to buy water from the desal plant when it comes on line early next year.

Raising substantially more than their opponents, Plough and Wicks lambasted the incumbents for not submitting an urban water management plan for the past 10 years that’s required by the state every five years. On election night Plough said the first order of business would be to get that plan submitted. District managers have said they’ve secured a time extension for submitting the plan and that it will soon be turned in. They disputed allegations the district has forfeited any state loans or grants because of this delinquency, arguing the district’s high per capita water consumption rates has hampered Montecito’s chances to secure such financing already.

Newman and Mosby took exception to the slate’s campaign slogan, calling it irresponsible to call for keeping Montecito green in the worst drought in decades. During the campaign, Newman called for more conservation efforts as well as using recycled water. Newman was endorsed by the Democratic Party, but the Machine’s grasp in Montecito was not nearly as firm as it proved to be in the Goleta Water District race, where the slate of party-backed incumbents swept back into office.

Paul Wellman

On a normal night in a normal universe, all this would be cause for deafening jubilation. But Tuesday night was anything but normal as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ​— ​whose campaign to “Make America Great Again” has been a nonstop extravaganza of the impossible, the improbable, and the as yet unbelievable ​— ​beat out Democrat Hillary Clinton for the White House. In Santa Barbara, Democrats stumbled and shambled across the floor of The Mill, a new high-ceilinged, industrial-hipster wining and dining emporium on Haley Street, in a collective daze that would not burn off in the morning or even the next 1,200 after that. “Hoo-boy!” exhaled Democratic Party chief Daraka Larimore-Hall, eyes bleary with exhaustion and disbelief. “It’s been a great night for local Dems but an unbelievably crappy one for the nation.”

The victory celebration had the air of a wake; the word “bubble” floated around the room from one set of lips to the next, as those attending sought to reconcile the new political reality they’d just created locally with the new national fact of life that is Donald J. Trump backed by a Republican Senate and a Republican Congress. Heads shook. They shook some more. Santa Barbara voted against Trump; so did California. If California Democrats are living in a “bubble,” noted assemblymember-elect Limón, it’s a pretty big bubble with major ramifications for the national economy and culture.

Isla Vista voters mark their ballots.
Paul Wellman

Congressmember Capps chalked up Trump’s victory to a “loss of hope.” The solution, she suggested, was “education.” Capps served 10 terms in Congress, and for seven of those, Republicans were in control. She knows firsthand how hard it is to be a member of the party out of power. “Oh, it’s bad,” she said. Asked if she had any advice for Carbajal ​— ​to whom she lent her name, her campaign donor lists, her experienced political operatives, and the totality of a bona fide political machine developed over 22 years ​— ​she said: “You have to try to fix things. You have to find someone on the other side of the aisle and find issues where you both have a stake in seeing a positive outcome.”

Carbajal was exhausted and depleted after a grueling and punishing campaign. His opponent, Justin Fareed, had pummeled him relentlessly in negative television commercials, attack mailers, and social media hit pieces. Carbajal’s story gives local rebuttal to Trump’s national narrative about marauding Mexican immigrants against whom “the wall” must be built. Born in Mexico, Carbajal emigrated to the United States at age 5. His father, he said during his Tuesday night victory speech, was a farmworker. His life story, he has said, proves that the immigration system can in fact work. Carbajal was too tired and cautious to explore any deeper meaning of Tuesday night’s results. “I know this sounds silly,” he said, “but I have two months left on my term as county supervisor, and I’m going to do the best job possible.”

<b>BACK TO SAC: </b> State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson earned a convincing win over her Republican challenger.
Paul Wellman

Carbajal will be the first Latino to ever represent Santa Barbara in Congress, a historic precedent he and his campaign made a strategic point not to highlight during the campaign. In fact, allies and advisors privately worried Carbajal might experience subterranean voter blowback because of his ethnicity. Carbajal ​— ​a middle-of-the-road, let’s-make-a-deal Democrat with an uncanny ability to raise funds ​— ​has never identified himself as a Latino politician so much as a politician who happens to be Latino.

Clinton supporters Nicole Ripley (right) and Erin Khodabandehlou pray for a last-minute miraclE.
Paul Wellman

To the extent he struggles to reconcile his success Tuesday night with the raw nationalism espoused by Trump when it comes to trade and immigration, Carbajal sought refuge in small answers rather than sweeping proclamations. “I’m just focusing on the folks on the Central Coast who elected me and the issues that matter to them.” Likewise, when asked what he thought Trump’s victory might mean for him as a first-term congressmember ​— ​or whether there might have been anything lacking about either the Democrats’ message or its messenger, Clinton ​— ​an exhausted Carbajal retreated into vows to concentrate on his new district.

<b>FAREWELL, FAREED:</b> Republican congressional candidate Justin Fareed, who held an invite-only election-night party at Benchmark Eatery, fell to Salud Carbajal by a healthy margin.
Paul Wellman

Carbajal wound up beating Fareed by 7.6 percent, which is pretty much how many more Democrats are registered in the 24th Congressional District than Republicans. Fareed did not return phone calls or emails requesting comment, nor did his campaign advisor, Christiana Purves. Fareed hosted an election-night party at Benchmark Eatery ​— ​with its inviting, open, outdoor patios ​— at State and Anapamu streets, separate from the Republican get-together at the Endless Summer bar-café populated by party stalwarts, Trump supporters, and even a handful of Tea Party adherents. The Republican gathering, nominally a private event, was open to anyone who showed up. In stark contrast, Fareed’s event was an invitation-only affair. Reporters seeking entry found their way blocked by two very large men who politely and regretfully explained that no one could go inside unless their name was on the list. Fareed sought to embrace the spirit of Trump’s anti-status quo, the-system-is-broken message while not embracing the candidate’s more combative, insulting, and incendiary language.

At the Endless Summer, the mood was surprised and celebratory. A Trump piñata leaned against the patio wall, clutching an American flag in each hand. An organizer explained that Trump supporters were embracing the piñatas the same way they’d taken to wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Clinton’s characterization of them as “deplorables.” As the night wore on and Trump emerged victorious, the mood grew rowdier and more confrontational. Jim Worthen, longtime party activist, chanted, “Lock ’er up.” When Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly ​— ​now famous for challenging Trump for his personally insulting remarks regarding the appearances of women ​— ​came on-screen, Worthen chanted, “Fire her.”

Daraka Larimore-Hall
Paul Wellman

Dale Francisco, former Santa Barbara city councilmember and now head of the area Republican Party, expressed optimistic caution about Trump’s election, noting his lack of actual governing experience. “We had Governor Schwarzenegger in California, and he wasn’t very effective,” Francisco said. “There are many unknowns with Trump, but I prefer those to the knowns of Hillary. I hope it plays out well.”

<b>3D:</b> Joan Hartmann, who was favored by the Democratic Party, beat Bruce Porter, supported by Republicans, by eight percentage points as of press time.
Paul Wellman

Democratic Party leader Larimore-Hall, a California delegate who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, was more expansive in his reaction. “We are living in a bubble,” he declared. “There is racism driving this boat, for sure, but you also have to see that the solution to it can’t be calling them [Trump supporters] ‘deplorable’ and expecting all the urbanite women and people of color to save us. Nope ​— ​you have to give them something to vote for. What the hell does our party give to an out-of-work factory worker in Ohio? We sent their jobs overseas. And we told them we wouldn’t.” Larimore-Hall said Clinton’s free-trade, open-border policies simply did not jibe with the economic realities experienced by rust-belt voters. “It’s really hard to run someone so intimately tied to Wall Street and so unpopular in so many ways and say, ‘Overcome your sexism and your racism.’ We give them nothing.”

Kamala Harris
Paul Wellman (file)

Throughout the campaign, Trump relentlessly harpooned the “political correctness” of his opponents. To the extent that attack connected with voters, Sen. Jackson was inclined to take a second look. “If politically correct means that we try to treat people with dignity and respect, then that’s a good thing,” she said. “Anger and fear are very strong and powerful emotions that keep people from thinking. That’s my fear. People are making decisions based upon emotion rather than logic and reason.”

<b>GOOD SPORT: </b>Despite losing to Joan Hartmann, Bruce Porter (left) made friendly conversation with his supporters.
Paul Wellman

To the extent any Democratic politico sought to put anything but the most dismal spin on the night’s national news, that honor belonged to former Santa Barbara mayor Hal Conklin, who will be coming out of a long political hibernation to run for mayor again. Conklin recalled the rush of historic optimism he experienced in 1968 when casting his ballot for then-Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. “Two hours later, he was shot and killed,” Conklin recalled. “Worse yet, we got Richard Nixon as president. How bad can things get? But one year later, we have Nixon walking on our beaches after the oil spill [of 1969], and out of that he signs legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency. Nixon! So you just never know.”

Paul Wellman

Election Results

Results are as of November 9, 10 a.m. (Updates are available online at

At press time, voter turnout in Santa Barbara County was approximately 55 percent.

President (statewide results)

Hillary Clinton – 5,471,662 (61.4%)

Donald J. Trump – 2,962,589 (33.3%)

Gary Johnson – 280,975 (3.2%)

Jill Stein – 152,051 (1.7%)

President (countywide results)

Hillary Clinton – 72,605 (60.06%)

Donald J. Trump – 38,973 (32.24%)

Gary Johnson – 4,216 (3.49%)

Jill Stein – 2,180 (1.8%)

U.S. Senate

Kamala Harris – 4,854,120 (62.5%)

Loretta Sanchez – 2,909,343 (37.5%)

U.S. House of Representatives, District 24

Salud Carbajal – 114,270 (53.8%)

Justin Fareed – 98,214 (46.2%)

State Senate, District 19

Hannah-Beth Jackson – 152,233 (62.4%)

Colin Walch – 91,854 (37.6%)

State Assembly, District 37

Monique Limón – 89,221 (63.9%)

Edward Fuller – ​50,405 (36.1%)

Goleta City Council (2 seats)

Stuart Kasdin – 4,641 (30.56%)

Kyle Richards – 4,526 (29.80%)

Tony Vallejo – 3,559 (23.44%)

Aaron Swaney – 1,769 (11.65%)

Dave Haws – 658 (4.33%)

Carpinteria City Council (2 seats)

Wade Nomura – 2,504 (40.69%)

Fred Shaw – 2,462 (40.01%)

Bob Franco – 1,161 (18.87%)

Goleta Water District Board (3 seats)

Lauren Hanson – 15,108 (27.98%)

Bill Rosen – 12,899 (23.89%)

Rick Merrifield – 9,297 (17.22%)

Jean Blois – 8,553 (15.84%)

Bob Geis – 7,936 (14.70%)

Montecito Water District Board (2 seats)

Tobe Plough – 2,207 (30.13%)

Floyd Wicks – 2,166 (29.57%)

Charles Newman – 1,912 (26.10%)

Tom Mosby – 1,022 (13.95%)


Measure B (Bed Tax Bump)

Yes: 56,491 (51.87%)

No: 52,418 (48.13%)

Measure D (Santa Barbara Marijuana Control Act)

Yes: 18,629 (69.57%)

No: 8,147 (30.43%)

Measure E (Formation of Isla Vista Community Services District)

Yes: 3,627 (87.52%)

No: 517 (12.48%)

Measure F (I.V. Community Services District Utility User Tax)

Yes: 2,612 (62.46%)

No: 1,570 (37.54%)

Measure I (Santa Barbara Unified School District Bond)

Yes: 40,483 (68.55%)

No: 18,575 (31.45%)

Measure J (Santa Barbara Elementary School District Bond)

Yes: 17,954 (70.38%)

No: 7,555 (29.62%)

Ballot Initiatives

Prop. 51 (K-12 and Community College Facilities)

Yes: 4,654,929 (54.0%)

No: 3,970,587 (46.0%)

Prop. 52 (Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program)

Yes: 5,940,975 (69.6%)

No: 2,595,479 (30.4%)

Prop. 53 (Voter Approval of Revenue Bonds)

Yes: 4,060,598 (48.6%)

No: 4,302,487 (51.4%)

Prop. 54 (Legislative Procedure Requirements)

Yes: 5,370,717 (64.3%)

No: 2,982,529 (35.7%)

Prop. 55 (Tax Extension for Education and Health Care)

Yes: 5,341,159 (62.1%)

No: 3,259,711 (37.9%)

Prop. 56 (Cigarette Tax)

Yes: 5,540,932 (62.9%)

No: 3,267,438 (37.1%)

Prop. 57 (Criminal Sentences and Juvenile Crime Proceedings)

Yes: 5,491,955 (63.6%)

No: 3,145,986 (36.4%)

Prop. 58 (English Proficiency. Multilingual Education)

Yes: 6,235,057 (72.4%)

No: 2,372,750 (27.6%)

Prop. 59 (Corporate Political Spending Advisory Question)

Yes: 4,285,594 (52.3%)

No: 3,906,086 (47.7%)

Prop. 60 (Adult-Film Condom Requirements)

Yes: 3,882,861 (46.1%)

No: 4,546,447 (53.9%)

Prop. 61 (State Prescription Drug Purchase Standards)

Yes: 3,926,274 (46.2%)

No: 4,563,523 (53.8%)

Prop. 62 (Repeal of Death Penalty)

Yes: 3,964,862 (46.1%)

No: 4,643,413 (53.9%)

Prop. 63 (Firearms and Ammunition Sales)

Yes: 5,442,011 (62.6%)

No: 3,248,611 (37.4%)

Prop. 64 (Marijuana Legalization)

Yes: 4,948,877 (56.0%)

No: 3,882,873 (44.0%)

Prop. 65 (Carryout Bag Charges)

Yes: 3,817,615 (44.6%)

No: 4,732,827 (55.4%)

Prop. 66 (Death-Penalty Procedure Time Limits)

Yes: 4,203,801 (50.9%)

No: 4,051,749 (49.1%)

Prop. 67 (Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags)

Yes: 4,465,872 (51.9%)

No: 4,130,735 (48.1%)


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