Fifth District Supervisor: Steve Lavagnino

Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Given that Steve Lavagnino is running unopposed yet again — for the third time — this endorsement might seem superfluous. But we’re endorsing Lavagnino anyway to make a larger point: Intelligence, heart, and humor matter. The entire county has benefitted considerably from the levity, candor, and consideration he unfailingly brings to supervisorial deliberations. Until Trump was elected to the White House, Lavagnino was that rare Republican who believed that government could do good. He has since re-registered as a Declined-to-State. Either way, he has consistently represented a remarkably pragmatic brand of pro-business conservativism without getting doctrinaire, aggrieved, or personal about it. Yes, Lavagnino — along with Supervisor Das Williams — has worked to create a thriving cannabis industry, a little too quickly and with too broad a stroke. It resulted in numerous problems and controversies, but Lavagnino has been blunt about why he pushed it forward: If oil revenues are out in Santa Barbara, other sources of revenue are necessary if the county can expand programs for mental health and those facing homelessness. Lavagnino, a former stand-up comedian, has used his wit to make his case, elevating the tone and tenor of board discourse. At a time when many elected bodies find themselves rendered dysfunctional by personality conflict, the board of supervisors has achieved a remarkable degree of functionality and collegiality. It has been refreshing.

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