Das Williams: Assemblymember, 37th District
Democrat Das Williams and Republican Rob Walter are competing for the position of assemblymember representing California’s 37th district, the recently redrawn region encompassing the southernmost half of Santa Barbara County and areas of Ventura County reaching to Oxnard.
Currently representing the geographically similar 35th Assembly District, Williams is the clear choice, holding political experience unmatched by his opponent, a Los Olivos attorney who last ran for political office in 1972 in the state of Michigan.
Williams, an Isla Vista native and Bren School graduate, has made a point of cham- pioning student interests and environmental concerns, even meeting with UC faculty and students at the capital earlier this month to discuss preventing further educational budget cuts. Although he drew disappointment from the campus community after sign- ing the state budget with a $650 million cut to the UC system, he signed a petition the following October that vowed to oppose all such cuts in the future.
In Williams’ most recent and highly publicized piece of legislation — a proposed $10 tax on patrons of strip clubs that serve alcohol — he takes a stand against sexual violence by heavily taxing the businesses he believes are conducive to such crimes.
Walter seems to stray from issues relevant to student voters as he throws his attention away from Williams’ usual stomping grounds of education and the environment and instead focuses on social issues, holding a hard-line conservative stance against same-sex marriage and abortion rights. He also advocates for a less active state legislature with lower salaries and fewer meetings.
Salud Carbajal: County Supervisor, 1st District
Santa Barbara County 1st District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal is running unopposed for his current position after his opponent Carole Lieff, a self-described “free- dom fighter and shit-disturber,” dropped out of the race and moved to Montana in early May. Carbajal, who has served a two-term tenure as supervisor, has tried hard to balance the economic dichotomy of demographics within his district and has proven himself to be capable of the task. The 1st District includes both the wealthy Montecito area and sta- tistically underprivileged Eastside Santa Barbara neighborhoods. In order to support the diversity of his constituents, Carbajal has pushed for combating gang activity, instituting truancy programs and opposing cuts to law enforcement as well as efforts to cut down on county spending and pension reform.
Carbajal also champions support for environmental causes as a major campaign platform and points toward his efforts to reduce the use of pesticides and facilitate the development of clean energy sources. In addition, he opposes further expansion of oil drilling operations along the Carpinteria and Gaviota coastline, which is an issue of major contention in the county. Overall, Carbajal has done a solid job as supervisor thus far, compiling an impressive list of accomplishments and listening closely to the needs and concerns of those he represents.
Hannah-Beth Jackson: State Senator, 19th District
We, the Daily Nexus Editorial Board, consider Hannah-Beth Jackson the most quali- fied candidate for the 19th Senate District, which encompasses Santa Barbara County and northern Ventura County.
Jackson has been known to vote across party lines and work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation, yet she remains committed to a traditionally Democratic stance on major issues including education, environmental protection, health care and economic growth.
In terms of education, that means securing steady funding for local schools and roll- ing back student fees in the California university systems to make education at all levels affordable without compromising quality. During her time in office, she was named “Outstanding Public Official” by the California Teachers’ Association.
In addition to her strong stance on maintaining education standards, Jackson has been a longtime supporter of small businesses and reinvesting money back into the local economy. To do this, she advocates rewarding large companies that develop their business and keeping manufacturing within California borders, rather than outsourcing labor and money. In dealing with large corporations, Jackson has pledged her continued support to close loopholes that allow the biggest businesses to evade proportionate taxa- tion.
Another key focus of Jackson’s political efforts involves the protection and manage- ment of California’s environment, including a significant span of undeveloped coastline. She has chaired the Assembly Natural Resources Committee as well as the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and was recently endorsed by the Sierra Club. She also advocates the development of alternative energy to offset depen- dency on foreign oil and the protection of local coastline from offshore drilling.
Finally, Jackson’s political record sets her apart from her two opponents, Jason Hodge (D), with whom she will compete in the primaries this June, and Mike Stoker (R) whom the victorious Democratic candidate will be up against in the general election. Her six years (from 1998-2004) in the California Legislature, in addition to her experience as an educator and small business owner make her the most experienced candidate.
Furthermore, her unwavering support for education, environmental conservation and efforts to stimulate California’s economy by keeping jobs here make her the best, most promising candidate. Vote for Jackson if you like smart kids, trees and being employed.
Joyce Howerton: County Supervisor, 4th District
Despite her lack of experience in state-level politics, Joyce Howerton proves the best candidate for 4th District Supervisor, exhibiting political aptitude that is remarkably less sketchy than that of incumbent Joni Gray, a Democrat who has held the position since 1998. Republican Peter Adam — a farmer and businessman who calls himself a “fiscal libertarian” — has the smallest following but will likely swing the race into a runoff between the top two candidates in November if one fails to win more than 50 percent of the votes.
Howerton, a three-time mayor of Lompoc, holds an extensive record of social and environmental efforts, working to better conditions for the homeless population, farm workers and other underrepresented communities through her leadership in the Santa Barbara County Action Network, North County Rape Crisis Center and Child Protection Center as well as her work on the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Although Gray’s political experience surpasses that of her activist-minded opponent, she fails to claim the incumbency advantage due to personal and political ties to the Lompoc Community Housing and Community Development Corporation, which faced a whirlwind of controversy when it unexpectedly shut down this past winter. LCHCDC, which includes the only facilities serving the homeless of the county’s poorest area, failed to provide financial records involving public monies and as of 2007, the organi- zation stopped filing annual reports to the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Gray’s chief of staff, Susan Warnstrom, was President of Lompoc Housing’s Board of Directors and her husband, George Wittenberg, acted as the legal counsel for the facility. Since 2006, Gray — an attorney herself — was even a partner for the legal firm defending Lompoc Housing, putting her in a conflict of interest that was only resolved once the controversy became public. In light of such shady internal workings, the 4th District is ripe for change and Howerton is more than capable and willing to offer it.
Since conservatives outnumber liberals in the 4th District, Adam is likely to swoop up some of Gray’s past support; however, the rancher’s inexperience in dealing with local policymaking makes Howerton the top contender.
Lois Capps: Congressional Representative, 23rd District
The Daily Nexus editorial board has long supported current congressional representative Lois Capps, a Democrat who has represented California’s 23rd District since her husband Walter died and left her his congressional seat 14 years ago. Though opponents have doubted her humble beginnings as a public school nurse, Capps has proven to the residents of her district — a long, narrow strip spanning much of Southern California’s coast — that her political priorities truly reflect their concerns, and that she has the thoughtful know-how to achieve progressive change. Capps advocates heavily for environmental preservation, has worked with UCSB’s own Palm Center to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” mandate and continues to fight for lower student loan interest rates. In comparison, her opponents, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and former actor Chris Mitchum, have little successful political experience between them. The moderate Maldonado served as a State Senator from 2004 until Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated him for Lt. Gov in 2009 after John Garamendi was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. During his bumpy career in the State Senate, he was accused of accept- ing thousands of dollars’ worth of lavish gifts from California power companies whose local power plants would have been threatened by a bill heightening seismic safety standards, had Maldonado not objected to the proposal. Mitchum spent the majority of his career on the silver screen and began his political career with six years on the Screen Actors’ Guild Board of Directors. He ran as the Republican nominee for 35th District State assemblymember in 1998 but lost to current 19th State Senate District candidate Hannah-Beth Jackson. Despite these losses, Mitchum has contributed an honorable amount of time to in-need communities, serving on the Autistic Treatment Center’s Honorary Advisory Council for eight years and as a board member for the Liberty Program — which helps integrate former gang members into crime-free lifestyles — for three.
While Capps has had a relatively easy time keeping her position over the years, likely due to her skillful balance of political passion and a kind-hearted ambition to serve her constituency, this election is likely to see a closer race. As a result of redistricting, much of the regions now contained in California’s 23rd District will be shifted into a new 24th that will include a stronger Republican presence. As a community, it would be irresponsible to turn our backs on the State Senator who sided with the minority following 9/11, advocating against a sudden surge in power to the executive branch. Lois Capps makes her decisions based on her region’s best interests, a tried-and-true tactic that has become all too rare in today’s political realm. It’s an honor to have the offer of continued service from a representative who works tirelessly to remain accountable.
Congressional Representative (23rd district)
California’s 23rd District representative serves approximately 640,000 citizens of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura coun- ties. Congressional representatives serve two-year terms and have the power to introduce bills which become laws if they are approved by the House of Representatives, Senate and president.
California State Senator (19th district)
California State Senators comprise the upper house of the state gov- ernment’s legislative branch with California’s 19th State Senate District representing the residents of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as well as the Simi Valley. The primary responsibility of state senators is to respond to district members’ needs and represent them when creating and passing legislation for the state.
35th Assembly District
California’s 35th Assembly District refers to the lower house of the legislative branch of the state government. The 35th District includes all of Santa Barbara County and much of Ventura County, and is cur- rently represented by Das Williams. The 80-member Assembly is led by the Speaker, who controls committee assignments and directs legislative processes.
County District Supervisor
Santa Barbara County is divided into five districts, with UCSB and Isla Vista joining Ventura and the Vandenburg Air Force Base in the 3rd District. Current 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr oversees vari- ous issues throughout the district including environmental protection, public health and safety, transportation and education.