School board member seeks Goleta City Council seat, stresses public safety and economy
Editor’s note: This is part of a series of interviews with local candidates in advance of the Nov. 8 general election.
Luz Reyes-Martin, who has served on the Goleta Union School District board, is now running against Goleta City Councilman Roger Aceves to represent District 1.
“I have served on the school board for the last eight years, where I have done everything I could to support children and family members. My primary motivation is that I love this community,” said Ms. Reyes-Martin, who’s also vice president of community engagement for the California Central Coast chapter of Planned Parenthood.
“I believe strongly in public service, and I believe I can make a strong contribution,” she said.
“My immediate priorities are ensuring that we have safe and healthy neighborhoods,” she said. “This includes making sure that the Goleta Police Department has the resources they need to make sure the community is safe and that we are making connections with the community.”
The Goleta Police Department is part of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, which provides law enforcement services for Goleta.
Ms. Reyes-Martin added, “ I really want to actively support our local economy, especially in recovering from COVID-19, particularly local entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“We are coming through a few years of feeling disconnected, and I really want to see the city and the district do more to enjoy life in Goleta and to bring a real sense of joy and pride in the public community,” she said. “I think our residents really want a city that is taking care of the nuts and bolts of the community, that roads and sidewalks are well maintained and the city is clean — all the things that aren’t exciting but that are necessary, everyday city issues that we want to work on.”
Ms. Reyes-Martin has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University. She also holds two master’s degrees from USC, one in land-use planning and another in public administration.
Ms. Reyes-Martin explained how her position on the board of the Goleta Union School District, which consists of the city’s elementary schools, has prepared her for city council.
“I think the thing to understand about the school board is that the district is very large and includes the entire city of Goleta,” she said. “I have represented nine schools with 3,500 students. Our primary focus is student education, but also making sure teachers and staff are supported in addition to community involvement.
“Community members are still very invested even if they don’t have kids in the school system,” she said. “I believe very strongly in sitting down and talking through an issue. I want to hear all voices, no matter their opinion or background.”
“I will take that same mindset to the city council,” she said. “I feel very prepared for this role. I bring both the experience as an elected official in making sure the community’s input is taken into account and the technical knowledge of how a city works to make sure that city government is working for everyone and we are all making progress together.”
Ms. Reyes-Martin also discussed how her career has prepared her for city council.
“I have been with Planned Parenthood for a little over a year overseeing education and community engagement,” she said. “Prior to that, I served for almost six years as executive director of public affairs and communication at Santa Barbara City College.
“The past seven years I have been focused on community and community-based solutions to big issues,” she said. “My professional experience has given me a lot of expertise in working with people and talking through issues.
“We have a really diverse community with a lot of different views and perspectives. I am someone who believes that we can find common ground. .,.
“We are looking at the future of Goleta, and I think it’s time for a fresh perspective. I have a lot of respect for anyone who has served in that (city council) role for a long time. It will be up to voters to make their choice.”