Today is election day for the city of Santa Barbara and with Megan Harmon’s seat in District 6 and Oscar Gutierrez’s District 3 seat uncontested, eight candidates are running to become City Council representatives for Districts 1 and 2.
This year’s ballot tally has been contracted out to the Los Angeles County elections office. Eligible voters must return their ballots to one of several official drop-off locations or mail them. Letters must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Wednesday. Voters can turn in their ballots at City Hall, the Franklin Neighborhood Center, and Holy Cross Catholic Church.
Alejandra Gutierrez and Cruzito Herrera Cruz are challenging incumbent Jason Dominguez in District 1. The district encompasses Santa Barbara’s Eastside.
Ms. Gutierrez is an educator and community organizer running for City Council for the first time. She is director of the Franklin Service Center, which she co-founded to help Franklin School provide translation services, tutoring, health insurance services, health care, a food bank, and other services. She has worked with many city organizations, including the Santa Barbara South Coast Gang Task Force, Santa Barbara City College, and the Emerging Leaders Program.
“I have spent almost two decades supporting and educating youth and working families. I am running for City Council because I know Santa Barbara can do better. I understand the needs of the community and I continue to be passionate about ensuring the Eastside has a voice that is heard.
“I know the challenges residents are facing, and have faced many of those same challenges in my own life. This shared experience will inform the decisions I make that impact our city: to ensure that our streets are safe; to create a better business climate that creates jobs and supports our local economy; and to find affordable housing solutions that make sense. Together, we can move Santa Barbara forward to the future this beautiful city deserves.”
CRUZITO HERRERA CRUZ
Running for the sixth time, Mr. Cruz has embraced the unorthodox on the campaign trail. The income tax preparer does not raise money for his campaign, and does not have an official website. Mr. Cruz is an avid political activist, which he said comes from his higher education research at Santa Barbara City College and UCSB, community work ethic, and from the principle of “equalitarianism” for all Santa Barbarians.
“Our citizenry can expect from my civic candidacy a three-point plan. First, as a public steward, make increases in city budgets to adult, youth, & educational services. Second, work in improving & supporting our city’s public infrastructure in District 1. Third, be fiscally responsible in the financial management of our city’s operating budget.
“From past elections, my political campaigns focus has always been the ‘economic & social revitalization’ of our Eastside District 1 because of the historical political marginalization of past council members. Cruzito Herrera Cruz would be honored to earn your vote.”
With degrees from Stanford University and UC Berkeley, Mr. Dominguez has had a robust career working with the Los Angeles City Attorney, the California Attorney General, the Santa Barbara County Counsel, and as a United Nations war crime prosecutor.
Mr. Dominguez is also heavily involved in nonprofits. While on the City Council he has been a member of 17 committees, agencies and liaisons, including the Housing Authority Commission and the Single Family Design Board.
“Please vote for Jason Dominguez for his experience as a prosecutor, a city attorney, and his ability to hold people accountable. He has done a great job fighting back against the broken housing plan which has not delivered what we want. In fact, it has made things worse: increased rents, increased traffic, and parking congestion.
“He supports innovative, results-oriented programs to help reduce homelessness and he has fought to protect our neighborhoods and parks from criminal and nuisance activity. He voted for a new park ranger position, and as chairman of the finance committee, he has held the line on new taxes and brought in a budget surplus.”
Five candidates are running to represent District 2. Councilman Randy Rowse has termed out of his seat, leaving the position open for a fresh face on the council. District 2 encompasses the Mesa area and Santa Barbara City College.
Mr. Campbell is an attorney, real estate agent, and family man who likes to remind people that he is not a politician. Mr. Campbell has made housing and homlessness a central issue of his campaign. Mr. Campbell bills himself as an outsider who will hold Santa Barbara’s government accountable, and is the only registered Republican running.
“Let’s work together as a community to protect our neighborhoods. Public safety & homelessness are top of everyone’s list. We need to ensure the safety of our families and of the homeless, we are all part of this city.
“Global warming is occurring and sea levels are rising. We need to stop supporting countries that pollute more than the U.S. and Europe combined.
“Cliff Drive traffic needs to slow down and we need crosswalks! Farmers Market, let’s have it on State Street, like the Tuesday markets. Housing and affordable housing, the city has not allowed organic growth, let’s do something before the city allows housing like Alisos Street in our single-family zoned neighborhoods. Your voice counts!”
Running for the second time, Mr. Esparza is an attorney whose campaign has highlighted Santa Barbara’s fiscal issues. As a new board member of Earl Warren Showgrounds and having served on the city’s pension review board, Mr. Esparza believes he brings unique experience to the race.
“My service will entail increased cooperation, coordination and civility. It will provide for representation of our fellow neighbors whom we see and interact with on a daily basis — using the same land, sharing the same roads, intertwined economically. Policy will pivot to creating revenue pursuing new avenues with emphasis on paying down pension liabilities. Enhancement of renewable energy and water conservation, refocus on youth and senior programs, and reduction of unnecessary expenditures while increasing efficiency and effectiveness of existing services with utilization of technology. Together, let us preserve the preferred quality of life in the City of Santa Barbara.”
A fitness instructor and motivational speaker, Ms. Jory is a fixture of the Mesa community. With organizations like Our Mesa Neighborhood Inc., Ms. Jory has worked to keep the district safe and thriving. She has also worked to empower survivors of human trafficking by serving on the District Attorney Human Trafficking Task Force as well as counseling survivors of sexual assault at Standing Together To End Sexual Assault.
“I am running for council because we need a leader who will listen and act on your concerns. As a parent, small business owner, and president of Our Mesa Neighborhood, I bring diverse viewpoints together, generate consensus, and make things happen. I’m proud that together we have improved public safety through the Mesa Safe Disaster Preparedness Program, and advocated for crosswalks and pedestrian/bike paths improving safety, health and environment.
“I will make sure residents’ voices are heard as we face the issues before us: revitalizing State Street, protecting existing and enhancing affordable housing, preserving our environment, and addressing climate change.”
A 30-year Mesa resident, Mr. Jordan brings civic insight to the race with more than 20 years of experience in city and regional agencies. Mr. Jordan is a current city planning commissioner and city water commissioner and serves on the board and executive committee of Hospitality Santa Barbara. He has also served on the boards and executive committees of Downtown Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Family YMCA and La Mesa Neighborhood Association.
“I’m ready to immediately work on our district issues such as protecting our neighborhoods and their quality of life, improving safety along Cliff Drive for pedestrians and bicyclists, and maintaining and improving our parks and coastline.
“I’ll also work to improve the look and feel of our downtown, focus business and housing development in locations that clearly benefit and do not negatively impact the community, address wildfire safety reforms and the ongoing drought, and position the city financially and environmentally for the future.
“I’m focused on listening to the community and using common sense in situations with competing tensions. I would welcome your support and vote.”
Mr. Boise has focused on climate change as the election’s primary issue. Mr. Boise is enrolled at Cal State Channel Islands, where he is working on a master’s degree in business administration. He hopes to bring a youthful perspective to the council, and said that his family’s history of public service has shown him the value of independence and the duty to serve and protect the public and the environment.
“I am running to represent the future of Santa Barbara, because the policy we create now in regards to Climate Change, water security, waste management and affordability will have profound and lasting effects. Your kids and grandkids deserve a seat at the table and that’s why I’m running for Santa Barbara City Council’s 2nd District.”