Responsive & Accountable Government
For many of the residents of the 3rd District, the County is their only local government. Those who have a city government can call their city representatives, but for those who do not, county government can seem far away. I will help connect people to their government and provide responsive service to all areas of the district. Government accountability is important to me, and I will have a 24-hour response time for those with concerns or questions. I will personally hold office hours throughout the district. I want to listen to and respond to the needs of our residents.
I have a history of working on measures that hold local government more accountable to the people it represents. In 2008, I spearheaded the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary initiative, which requires a vote of the people before the City of Buellton can expand its boundaries; this was the first such initiative in Santa Barbara County. I also advised the Goodland Coalition, which successfully campaigned for a similar initiative in Goleta.
Jobs & the Economy
Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the State. But, as other counties have done successfully, we need to take action and capitalize on this great opportunity to create better-paying “clean jobs” and promote small, local businesses. I want to build on our County’s renowned agriculture and wine industries, Goleta’s high-tech boom, and our world-class educational and health-care institutions. This will allow our children to find well-paying jobs without moving away, and we will be able to preserve the County’s tax base and fiscal health.
I am well recognized as a creative problem solver and advocate for government working collaboratively with the private and non-profit sectors. One of my most significant achievements was helping to found the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a novel public-private partnership among government agencies, business, and environmental interests that has secured over $628 million to restore rivers and wetlands from Gaviota to San Diego. My efforts increased water supplies, restored habitats, and created jobs.
Protecting and enhancing our County’s special character requires a deft approach. We must not surrender to any single interest group, but must strive to balance sometimes-competing interests. We have done well in preserving the rural character of the Gaviota Coast, our inland valleys, and our small towns. But there is constant pressure to exploit their charm for profit, and, if we are not thoughtful, we could lose that charm. Residents, visitors, and the County would be losers in that scenario.
Our residential neighborhoods and agricultural lands face increasing calls to be commercialized for the entertainment of visitors. We must protect our neighborhoods for our residents and promote visitor services that do not compromise or threaten our enormously successful agricultural production and traditions.
Our County is blessed with relatively clean water, but it will take continued diligence to maintain and improve the safe, economical, and reliable sources of water on which families and agriculture rely. The drought is an important reminder that we have work to do to manage our water resources more intelligently in both the short and long term.
As a Planning Commissioner, I worked hard to protect the Gaviota Coast and the rural character of the Santa Ynez Valley. I will continue to do the same as a County Supervisor.