With 24 more days left to vote, the five candidates running for Goleta City Council are ramping up their campaign platforms and sharing the ways they want to improve the city of Goleta.
Two of the five running are incumbents, and the others include an automotive services manager, a business account executive and a writer.
Justin Shores, the automotive services manager, says his experience in customer service and business management has prepared him to hold a seat on the council.
Mr. Shores was raised by a single mother, and his father defeated homelessness, which he says gives him a unique perspective on underprivileged members of the community.
In addition, he has firsthand experience of the immigration process, as he and his wife, Yazmin, applied for a fiance Visa and she had to wait in Mexico in order to get married.
The candidate calls for renegotiation with Santa Barbara County to end Revenue Neutrality, referencing the nearly $110 million Goleta has paid as a result of this agreement. He also would vote against the recent tax increase until the Revenue Neutrality Agreement is ended.
Mr. Shores supports small businesses and start-ups, keeping the senior care facilities protected during COVID-19, cleaning up trash and debris and recognizing law enforcement’s service. He was one of the organizers of the “Back the Blue” rally held in July, as previously reported by the News-Press.
Blanche “Grace” M. Wallace, known to everyone as Grace, is running for Goleta City Council as a mother, grandmother, small business owner and volunteer, which she says gives her understanding of balancing family, work and community.
Ms. Wallace served as chair of Love Your City Clean-up for the Goleta Old Town Community Association, and she encourages neighborhood involvement.
Her main focuses are maintaining parks and open spaces, providing for public safety, controlling development and supporting local businesses. She previously owned Sweetheart Crafts & Floral, a small business she founded in Utah, which she says gives her empathy for the small businesses during the pandemic.
On the city council, Ms. Wallace would push to completely reopen all businesses and empower neighborhoods to establish a Community Participation Program to motivate residents to maintain their neighborhoods.
The final non-incumbent on the ballet is Bruce Wallach, a community volunteer and writer.
He ran for the Goleta Water Board in 2010, but was unsuccessful.
The writer received his bachelor’s from UC Davis, spent one year at Stanford and began graduate study at CSUSB.
Mr. Wallach believes the main issue of the election is the coronavirus, and encourages social distancing and testing until a vaccine is created. He believes isolation is just as important as finding a cure.
Furthermore, he envisions making Goleta an “environmental paradise,” with bird, mammal and other native species of animals and plant preserves in the Los Carneros lake area. He also supports the construction of a homeless shelter in Goleta, and narrowing Hollister Avenue and implementing brick sidewalks, new facades and parking in Old Town.
Familiar faces running for second terms include Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards.
Mr. Kasdin references his 2016 goals in office — to pursue a different set of priorities than the prior council and to create more effective and efficient city administration — and says these came to fruition in the completed projects of the Jonny D. Wallis Park, the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan and the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan.
The incumbent cites his experience in the White House Office of Management and Budget for three presidents, economic development at the Freedom from Hunger Foundation, the World Bank and volunteering for the Peace Corps as proof he is prepared to weather the pandemic.
Mr. Kasdin teaches political science at Santa Barbara City College, and sits on 10 different committees for the city.
The final candidate, incumbent Mr. Richards, says as a council member, he’s addressed issues important to residents of Goleta, such as: transportation infrastructure and alternatives; fiscal responsibility and economic stability; housing affordability; homelessness; environmental stewardship and sustainability; transparency and public participation; and Old Town improvements.
The four issues he believes are most important in 2020 include economic stability, affordable housing, natural resources and public participation and equity.
To learn more about the voting process, visit sbcvote.org.