Montecito Journal | May 5, 2016 –
The June 7 election ballots are being mailed to you this week. Sixty percent of you will choose to vote by mail between Monday, May 9, and the cutoff date of Tuesday, May 31. If you are not yet registered to vote, the last date to do so is Monday, May 23.
Arguably the most important choice on the ballot for Montecito residents is the selection of a replacement for Salud Carbajal, our long-term First District Santa Barbara County supervisor, who is exiting his position to run for California’s 24th Congressional District of the U.S. Congress as a successor to the soon-to-retire Lois Capps.
On Friday, May 6, the Montecito Association is sponsoring a Candidates Forum, pitting would-be District 1 County supervisors Jennifer Christensen and Das Williams in a spirited debate at the Montecito Union Elementary School auditorium, beginning at 4:30 pm.
June 7 is not a primary. The race is over when the residents of the First District, which includes Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Mission Canyon, and Cuyama, as well as the Eastside, Westside, waterfront, downtown, Riviera, and San Roque sections of the City of Santa Barbara, make their selections.
James Buckley, owner-founder of Montecito Journal, presented a strong case and has endorsed Christensen as the right choice to replace Carbajal, in his April 14 editorial “Our Choice for First District Supervisor.” As a follow-up to Jame’s editorial, I asked each candidate to give me the top 10 reasons why voters should support him or her:
Jennifer Christensen’s Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Her
10) I am a 15-year skilled professional who will bring fiscal sanity to the county. As the Santa Barbara County investment officer, I manage a $1-billion portfolio for the county, public schools, and special districts. I understand the county in line-item detail and the need for long-term financial planning that will address the unfunded pension liability and aging infrastructure needs of our county.
9) I am a municipal finance attorney with a B.A. in history from UCLA, and a J.D. and M.B.A. in finance from USC. I graduated with $120,000 in student loans – and I have paid those loans back. My skill set includes litigation, negotiation, and the application of good old-fashioned common sense.
8) I am a non-partisan independent – beholden to no political party or special-interest group, with no plans to run for higher office. My opponent sees this job as a paycheck after terming out of his current elected office and a stepping-stone to his next political endeavour, “Das Williams for Senate 2020.”
7) I know how our county government is funded, where it is weakest, and how to make it stronger and more effective. My opponent favors increasing taxes. I favor re-aligning county resources to provide essential services to our community like public safety, public health, and roads and parks maintenance.
6) I am committed to supporting the Montecito Community Plan and protecting the semi-rural character of Montecito. I am acutely aware of the lack of groundwater and can help craft regional solutions for long-term water security, including a fair seawater desalination program with the City of Santa Barbara. I can get the 101 widened on time, on budget, and without filling our neighborhoods up with traffic. As your First District Supervisor, I will listen to and support the Montecito Association, the Montecito Planning Commission, and the Montecito Board of Architectural Review.
5) I can fix the county’s unfunded pension liability. I serve as an elected trustee and chair of the Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System – the county’s pension fund with $2.5 billion in assets. I have earned the trust of county workers and union members. My opponent granted the unsustainable benefits that are putting a chokehold on the ability of public agencies to provide essential services to our communities.
4) As a long-term, first-district resident and homeowner, I am familiar with the problems created by inconsistent and uncertain land-use policy, and the frustrations of dealing with the county. I am committed to protecting and preserving the character of our community form over-development and providing good customer service at the planning and development counter.
3) I want to serve as your county supervisor because I can make a difference. There is no one currently serving on the board or running for the Board of Supervisors who has my background, education, and experience in Santa Barbara County government – and perhaps, more importantly, in county finance and operations.
2) I love Santa Barbara – who doesn’t? Is it the beauty, people, our coastline, our open spaces? It is all of these qualities – and I am willing to doggedly protect our quality of life.
1) I am not a career politician; I am a career professional. I can be trusted to protect our community and our financial resources. I intend to remain a part of this community. I’m here to stay.