Goleta’s below-the-radar race for the mayor’s seat just got twice as interesting. Councilmember Roger Aceves will face off with Mayor Paula Perotte for the office, he announced on Monday. The two could not be more different.
Aceves, a four-term councilmember, has been backed by the Chamber of Commerce in his past races and expressed a strongly conservative economic message in his announcement. Perotte was voted into the two-year office in 2018 and has worked to slow growth in the city and address grassroots issues. She announced her candidacy last week.
First joining the City Council in 2006 when there was no mayor, Aceves took the gavel twice in rotation with the other councilmembers. A former police officer, Aceves most recently voted against a controversial one-cent increase to the city’s sales tax. He stated the economic recession from coronavirus made such a tax too great a burden on Goleta residents, many of whom were out of work.
Aceves was more in step with the makeup of councils previous to 2016 when real-estate-backed candidates dominated Goleta’s growth-oriented government. The results were the massive housing developments that both satisfied state requirements and electrified Goletans to vote in the growth-opposed members of today’s council.
Perotte was chosen mayor by her council two years in a row in the mayoral-rotation days, becoming verklempt with surprise at the honor. She became the city’s first mayor and has remained oriented toward her constituents, running even-handed council meetings. She’s already received endorsements from the three other councilmembers, state and federal officials, and Goleta’s influential Goodland Coalition.
Perhaps with the upcoming race in mind, Perotte made it “crystal clear” at the sales tax hearing two weeks ago that her “yes” vote was simply to put it on the ballot to let voters decide. (Aceves was joined by Stuart Kasdin in opposing the idea.) She agreed with Kyle Richards and James Kyriaco that the timing was bad but that the city needed the funding in order to continue essential services for its residents.
Little daylight shines between either candidate’s support for children’s programs, parks, or their obvious pride in and love for their city. Aceves has for the first time emphasized his Mexican-American roots, stating he’s the first person of color ever elected to the council. Perotte emphasizes her support for controversial issues like the conservation of Bishop Ranch and creek setbacks, and a familiarity with small-business life through her family.
The election on November 3 will also hold a referendum on whether the mayor’s term should change to four years, instead of the current two, as recommended by the city’s Public Engagement Commission. The four-year term was voted down in 2016, but the commission noted it was a short time that included too much campaigning.
A loss would put Perotte out of work, but a loss for Aceves would leave him with two more years on the City Council.
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