Plan 701 was the favorite for most councilmembers at the last meeting to evaluate new voting district maps for an election slated for November 2022. | Credit: Courtesy City of Goleta

As Goleta divides into four voting districts, it is also splitting the sitting councilmembers into those with a district and those without. Two members of the council — Kyle Richards and James Kyriaco — both live in Old Town, which is likely to be in a district occupying the city’s southeast quadrant.

Among the 53 maps submitted by the public, most split the city between north and south along Highway 101, and east to west at Glen Annie/Storke. A couple of innovators sliced Goleta into four segments following lines created by the watersheds; each went right across the highway, with one resulting in a population distribution that was about 112 percent out of whack.

To be considered, maps had to pass the minimum legal requirements of evenly apportioning 32,754 residents among the four districts, while retaining a contiguous boundary and also keeping neighborhoods and communities with common interests together. Each district could hold about 8,100 people, with a variance allowed of less than 10 percent.

The topic of who lived where did not arise during the City Council’s voting-map deliberations on February 1 and 3. It was public commenter Kevin Barthel who brought it up, and even then, he spoke of an area north of the highway, not Old Town. Not long ago, Barthel said, a majority of councilmembers had lived in what would be a district that contains Bishop Ranch. “That’s when the biggest developments were approved in Goleta and when our views got destroyed,” he said. 

Bishop Ranch, a great expanse of grassland that marks the Glen Annie exit from the northbound 101, is hallowed ground for Goleta, barred to development by a 72 percent majority of voters in Measure G2012, which requires the zoning for Bishop Ranch to remain agricultural. But Barthel’s comment led to discussions about having park or open space in each district, as well as some commercial development, to ensure they had representation.

Sign up for Indy Today to receive fresh news from, in your inbox, every morning.

The city’s Public Engagement Commission recommended four maps to the council after “hours and hours and hours” of study, said Councilmember Roger Aceves — looking at factors like age, income, homeownership, language, and education. In all four plans, renters make up more than 60 percent of two districts. The districting is the result of a settlement reached between the city and voting rights proponents, who argued elections by city districts were the only way to gain fair representation. 

The plan favored by most of the council by Thursday was Plan 701. In it, part of Winchester’s District 3 jumps the highway to contain Hollister Village and its shopping center. Unlike all other maps, Plan 701 was renumbered, at Aceves’s request, to be similar in orientation to the county’s district numbering system.

Credit: Courtesy City of Goleta

Very similar to Plan 701, which was drafted by the city’s consultant, National Demographics Corporation, is Plan 206. The major difference between the two, however, is where Bishop Ranch falls. In 701, it’s in the northeast quadrant; in Plan 206, it’s with Winchester, or the northwest quadrant. As the Bishop Ranch area has few residents, where it falls has a small effect on population distribution. Additionally, Plan 206 unites the shopping centers holding Target and Costco.

Credit: Courtesy City of Goleta

Also very similar to Plan 701 is Plan 226, with some changes down around Phelps Road. The big bite taken out of the midsection of the southeast quadrant — or what is District 4 in the above map — is the airport property that falls within the City of Santa Barbara due to an old high tide strip of land.

Credit: Courtesy City of Goleta

Plan 703 is the fourth of the maps chosen by the Public Engagement Commission and discussed at council last week. It wraps the Winchester quadrant around to encompass Bacara. Interestingly, Winchester — or District 1 above — is home to no councilmember, though Mayor Paula Perotte lives there. She noted that her office is one that represents the city as a whole, and that through 2024, two councilmembers will also be all-city representatives.

The November 2022 election will be the first in which councilmembers will be elected using the new districts, which the council will discuss again on February 24. Each of the maps also proposes an election sequence among the districts for 2022 and 2024: Aceves’s and Kyriaco’s terms end in 2022; Stuart Kasdin’s and Richards’s end in 2024. 

Richards told the Independent that he would not run against Kyriaco for the Old Town seat. “I will be giving him my full support,” Richards said. “As for 2024, my crystal ball is very fuzzy. I don’t have any plans at this time, but I will be considering all my options as it gets closer.”

Correction: The more than 60 percent in two districts referenced was for the renters subgroup, not Latinx population.

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.