If you’ve received the anti-Buttny attack mailing titled “Can We Afford Any More of John Buttny?” I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Aside from the lovely, colored, glossy paper that the ad is printed on, it contains such enlightening, fact-based assertions such as “Buttny doesn’t care about farming” and “Buttny doesn’t listen to others.” My favorite line of the ad’s logic is that the cities of Solvang, Buellton and Goleta incorporated “because of Buttny’s divisive policies and attack politics” and that runaway city incorporation is dividing the county.
But I have to say that I disagree. During the summer, I work for an Alameda County supervisor with a district that includes 100,000 constituents in unincorporated county areas. That’s 100,000 people whose only elected local official is one man who represents nearly a quarter million people countywide with a staff of six people to serve their local government needs. As you can imagine, we have a lot of fun trying to deliver services to so many constituents. So I have to disagree with this ad’s assertion. Incorporation of cities, if financially feasible, is almost always better than carrying on with an overworked county staff.
Which is more democratic and representative? One person representing 100,000 people or seven people representing 25,000? Cities are more efficient and allow for more citizen input in government decisions. This leads me to believe that Solvang, Buellton and Goleta incorporated because it was the rational thing to do, not to escape the evils of John Buttny.
How about school closures? Those probably have more to do with the state’s financial problems and decisions made by local school boards than it does with John Buttny.
That $925,000 legal settlement? It was the result of a lawsuit that probably had some grounds, because the county’s legal staff must have brokered the deal. If the county was willing to settle for that much, it stood to lose a lot more if that case won in court. And what did Buttny have to do with it? Legal decisions are between County Counsel and the County Board of Supervisors, not one supervisor’s chief of staff.
Traffic issues? Don’t look to a chief of staff. Planning and development does most of the work in the planning and development area, hence the name. County supervisors generally issue overall guidelines to planning departments, who do most of the actual work. By the way, authorizing new housing development of some kind is required, under state law, if the population in an area grows. We can’t have an entire generation homeless on the streets of Santa Barbara.
The ad makes a big deal about John Buttny’s career with the county. Since when were 18 years of experience in government a bad thing? It seems to me that his background means that Buttny is the only one of the candidates who will be able to hit the ground running if he wins.
But I digress. I really enjoyed the ad. I mean, what a waste of money for Brooks Firestone. He could’ve spent that on effective advertising. Or maybe donating to local schools in tough times. And now he’s opened himself up to negative attack ads. But somehow I doubt that the other candidates will make as many unqualified attacks as Firestone did. After all, why make groundless attacks when Firestone has such a juicy background just waiting to be dug into?
Shawn Moura is a sophomore history major.