Goleta City Council member seeks re-election, opposes sales tax increase
Editor’s note: This is part of a series on local candidates in advance of the Nov. 8 election.
Fiscal responsibility has been a top priority for Roger Aceves, who is running for his fifth term on the Goleta City Council.
Mr. Aceves, who opposes the Nov. 8 ballot measure to increase the sales tax by 1%, has served on the council since first being elected in November 2006.
“I have been the one council member who has always acted fiscally responsible,” Councilman Aceves told the News-Press. “I am also the only council member opposed to the 1% sales tax. Everything is going up, and we want to add 1% on top of that. I don’t think that is fiscally responsible. I also wrote the ballot measure against the 1% sales tax.”
Councilman Aceves cited his focus on fiscal responsibility as being one of his accomplishments during his 16 years on the council.
“Not only have we adopted balanced budgets, I have advocated for specific needs in our community and moving them forward,” he told the News-Press.
“We accumulated the money for the Cathedral Oaks repavement, which was a multimillion dollar project,” Mr. Aceves said. “Another accomplishment is the pension trust fund, which provides for future pension and medical increases. Previously the increase would come out of the general fund. Being that the city is only 20 years old, this is the perfect time to prepare for future increases.”
Councilman Aceves discussed another accomplishment that has made him proud. “I was in law enforcement for 32 years. So I have always focused on maintaining strong public safety. As a result of the prioritization of these efforts, we are constantly recognized as one of the safest cities in the county.”
Councilman Aceves also recommended the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, overseen by the diversity, equity and inclusion officer employed by the city. Mr. Aceves serves on the council’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee alongside Councilman James Kyriaco.
“I have been the only Latino elected to the city council in 20 years,” Councilman Aceves said. “That is why diversity is so important. I am very proud I am the only Latino ever elected. I am also bilingual.
“However, I am not proud that it has taken 20 years to get other people of color running,” said Councilman Aceves.
He noted he comes to council meetings prepared. “I have been in every single vote for the last 16 years because I have never missed a meeting. I am very proud of that.
“There are three issues that come up every year: roadway conditions, park maintenance and public safety,” Councilman Aceves said. “Those will remain my priority.”
The News-Press asked Councilman Aceves what his goals are if re-elected.
“I will still focus on citywide issues including building the fire station on the west end of town,” he said. “The need was first identified as a need in 1958. I was 3 at the time ,and we still haven’t built it. We have plans moving forward, and we are further than we ever have been.”
Councilman Aceves said he will also prioritize the construction of a new train depot at La Patera, which will fill a huge need for tourists, local transportation and UCSB students.
“We have acquired the adjacent building and now have sufficient grants to build the train station with a bigger footprint and bigger building, which is about ready to go out for bid,” Mr. Aceves said.
Another of his priorities is the renovation of the Goleta Valley Community Center. On Tuesday, the project was approved to go out for contracts for first stage earthquake retro grade, according to Councilman Aceves.
“I grew up in Santa Barbara and moved my family to Goleta in 1983 and have been a resident for 39 years,” he said. “I raised my family in Goleta and have been active in many nonprofits.”
Up to now, council positions were at-large seats representing the entire city. Starting with this November’s election, council members are being elected to represent specific districts, and Councilman Aceves is seeking the 1st District seat.
“The 1st District will now become my primary focus. These are really exciting times as we go into district elections, and I pride myself on constituency service,” said Councilman Aceves, noting that the No. 1 issue for constituents has been road conditions.
“Come April, I will have lived here 40 years, and I have been re-elected four times,” Mr. Aceves said. “Several elections I ran unopposed, which speaks as a credit to the service I have provided.”
“I think I am proud of the work that I have accomplished in these 16 years. I moved my family here because of the physical beauty and strong business community,” he said. “Goleta has had one of the lowest unemployment rates of any city in the county, but it didn’t come by accident. I work really hard with local businesses to make sure they can succeed and that they can acquire and maintain employees. That is why I work closely with the chamber of commerce.
“I truly believe that we have a very dynamic community,” Mr. Aceves said. “We have a strong value in protecting open spaces, maintaining creeks and conserving water. Although we are not water purveyors, we have a big role in that.
“Our work to help our homeless community has been very strategic,” Councilman Aceves said. “We work well with other communities to help solve this problem to give help and a step up. I am glad that our small city can play a big role in that.
“I love the job, and I am committed to it,” he said. “Public service has always been a part of my life.
“When I was elected in 2006, I was still in law enforcement and retired in May of 2007 to devote myself to being a council member. While technically the city council is a part-time job, I treat it like a full-time job, which is why I have never missed a meeting in 16 years.”