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Last week, the Santa Barbara Independent published an article about the Grand Jury report that was released on June 30 blasting the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for its mismanagement of the county’s cannabis production, for dismissing public input, ignoring major environmental impacts, and allowing excessive production, among other criticisms. The comprehensive Grand Jury 26-page report on the county’s woeful Cannabis Ordinance underscores the many concerns we have urged upon the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for the last three years. An ad hoc committee, made up of supervisors Das Williams and Steve Lavagnino, was cited by the Grand Jury as the origin of our county’s cannabis troubles.
In February, prior to the March 3, 2020, primary election, the Santa Barbara Independent published an endorsement of incumbent Das Williams for 1st District Supervisor against challenger Laura Capps. This paragraph stands out: “But we also believe Williams will learn to admit his mistakes quickly and with compassion, and that he will strive to repair relationships with those who have been his past allies. Most importantly, we are convinced that as the 1st District Supervisor, Das Williams will continue to push home the legislation, programs, and solutions to the challenges confronting Santa Barbara County.”
Fast forward three months to the June 11, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting when:
• Das Williams rejected his very own Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to require CUPs (Conditional Use Permits) on all cannabis projects;
• Das Williams, along with Supervisor Lavagnino, were the only no votes on the Board to ban cultivation within EDRNs (Existing Developed Rural Neighborhoods).
• Das Williams, Steve Lavagnino, and Supervisor Gregg Hart killed a motion by supervisors Peter Adam and Joan Hartmann that would have required odor abatement at the property line.
Supervisor Williams has since only doubled down in his disdain for the majority of his constituents, casting devastating votes against residents, vintners, and school children. He continues to grow more insulting and contemptuous of his constituents — in person, from the podium and in his emails.
The proposals presented at the June 11 meeting are scheduled to return to the Board of Supervisors on July 14, 2020. Do we dare hope there will be a change in Das Williams’s blatant disregard for the opinions and basic needs of his own constituents? If past actions are any indication, don’t hold your breath.
We believe it is time for the Santa Barbara Independent to publish a retraction and apology to the people of the 1st District and to Laura Capps, and to rescind its endorsement of the clearly biased and possibly corrupt Supervisor Das Williams. It is sad that his supporters, propped up with cannabis money, succeeded in blindsiding the Independent editorial staff, whose endorsement likely gave him the winning edge in an unusually close election that he had no right to win. Since then, he has done nothing but re-commit to the cannabis lobby and gratuitously exacerbate division.
Signed, 1st District residents M. Athanassiadis, Valerie Bentz, Jennifer Brickman, Paul Brickman, Arnold Brooks, Anthony Brown, Joann Chase, Maureen Claffey, Eileen Conrad, John Culbertson, Brian Edwards, Linda Ekstrom, Paul Ekstrom, Sharen Eskilson, Joan T. Esposito, Les Esposito, Dan & Rae Emmett, Robyn Geddes, David Goodfield, Llewellyn Goodfield, Marilyn Goodfield, Cathy Henszey, Kim Jones, Pati Kern, Beryl Kreisel, Ron Macleod, Ken Manfred, Linda Manfred, Jim Mannoia, Sarah B. Mascarenas-Trigueiro, Mimi Mauracher, Carrie Miles, Maureen Murdock, Sandra L Nargi, Lionel Neff, Concerned Carpinterians , Langdon Nevens, Jim Neuman, Bobbie Offen, Merrily Peebles, Andrew Pfeffer, Christopher L. Reif, Tracey Reif, Lori Robinson, Zave & Pat Saragosa, Carla Singer, Jill Stassinos, Kaye Walters, Claudia Ward, Leonadi Ward, Al & Sandy Weil, Joseph Zicherman, and Martha Jeannette Zicherman