Montecito Journal | April 14, 2016 –
Her name is Jennifer Christensen and she’s running to replace Salud Carbajal as Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor. The outgoing Mr. Carbajal hopes to win the soon-to-be-retired Lois Capp’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms Christensen’s opponent is Das Williams, the charismatic and extremely liberal California State Assemblyman representing California’s 37th District. Mr. Williams is being termed out of office but is expected to run for Hannah-Beth Jackson’s California State Senate seat in four years, as she’ll be termed out in 2020. Mr. Williams has already opened a “Das For Senate 2020” account. “I think we deserve better than that,” Jennifer says.
Ms Christensen’s current position is that of Santa Barbara County Investment Officer, a perch from which she manages a billion-dollar portfolio for various county agencies. She’s a Southern California native who went out on her own at the age of 15 (“conflicts at home,” she says) but nevertheless achieved a high school degree, then attended Pierce Community College in Woodland Hills mornings and evenings and worked during the day. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 20th Century American History at UCLA, a JD and MBA in finance from USC, and racked up student loans “of well over a hundred thousand dollars.” The best thing about that from our point of view is that she has paid back the full amount. She admits, however, that “There were times after graduation, when I was thinking, ‘Why did I do this?’ Why didn’t I apprentice to become an electrician, like my grandpa?’ ”
She came to Santa Barbara after seeing an ad for a position with the County Counsel in The Daily Journal. She was then hired by then-counsel Shane Stark and has served in various county positions over the past nearly 16 years.
Jennifer Christensen’s top three priorities are:
- Financial sustainability. “We have got to stop doing things that don’t make any sense,” she says. “The four extra vacation days, for example, that were granted to all [County] employees between Christmas and New Year’s. This one will cost a few million dollars. The statement that was made at the board hearing was that this will have no fiscal impact is absolutely false. You know it’s going to cost. A lot. Most employees are already accruing ten, fifteen vacation days, not counting holidays. It’s things like that that just have to come to an end.”
- Environmental sustainability. She mentions the solar project at County Sanitation that cut energy usage by 90 percent and the solid waste materials recycling facility project at the Tajiguas Sanitary Landfill as examples of the kinds of things she would promote more of.
- Infrastructure repair and maintenance. “Fixing it before it gets more costly,” is another thing she’d tackle almost immediately.
Another high priority is seawater desalination for Montecito in conjunction with the City of Santa Barbara (“It would be a great partnership”), along with wastewater reclamation. She would also – once desalination is in place – support selling Montecito Water District’s (MWD) “paper water” that MWD has committed to purchase from the State Water Project.
If Jennifer Christensen is elected First District Supervisor, she is likely to stay as our supervisor. It’s a position she wants and will be taking a $50,000-a-year pay cut to achieve. As far as we can tell, Das Williams has no interest in sticking around beyond the first four years. Besides, turning over budgetary authority to someone such as Das is likely to prove disastrous; he wouldn’t even be around to assess the damage.
Jennifer Christensen can be trusted, we believe, to maintain both integrity and non-partisanship throughout her tenure on the board of supervisors. She has garnered the support of Sheila Lodge, Michael Towbes, Bob Collector, Dick Nordlund (14 past Montecito Association presidents in all), Bob Hazard, Morrie Jurkowitz, Dick Thielscher, Judy Ishkanian, Sally Jordan, and many more whose political persuasions are as varied as their last names.
We heartily endorse Jennifer Christensen for First District Supervisor and urge you to add your name to her long and growing list of admirers and supporters.