It looks like Bob Pohl, the Republican candidate for the 35th State Assembly District, is following Brooks Firestone’s example of campaigning with false promises and unsubstantiated claims about himself and his opponent. Pohl claims in his letter (“The Reader’s Voice: A Vote for Bob Pohl Is a Vote for Change in I.V.,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 21), “I want to fix Isla Vista’s infrastructure.” That’s nice, Bob.
Pohl writes, “The I.V. Master Plan had the funds and ability to succeed, but the bureaucrats in office have squandered away your money.” This statement implies two things: 1) If elected, Bob will have some control over the I.V. Master Plan (he won’t); and 2) he will replace the bureaucrats in charge of the master plan if elected (he can’t). The I.V. Master Plan is overseen by the county, not the State Assembly. It’s amusing to contemplate Pohl working with Gov. Schwarzenegger to “solve” tuition increases; Schwarzenegger was the author of those increases. The idea that Pohl will help deliver a timely budget is also ludicrous. Pohl’s fellow Republicans in the Assembly and Senate stalled the passage of a budget year after year.
Now for Pohl’s smears: “My opponent … has done nothing but lie and distort the facts in a desperate attempt to smear my name so that he could win your vote through intimidation,” he says. Pohl is referring to Democratic candidate Pedro Nava’s substantiated claims that Pohl was a member of the Santa Barbara School Board when it had a deficit of over $700,000 in 2000. The Santa Barbara News-Press attempted to discredit this claim by noting that the members of the school board said they didn’t run a deficit in 2000. In fact, they did run a projected $700,000 deficit in 2000 and had to close it with large budget cuts, including cuts in school personnel. This information is plainly posted on the SBSD website (www.sbceo.org/~sbsdweb) – just enter “deficit” in the search bar. Bob says, “My opponent has no interest in you, the student, and will do little to help.” Yay! More unsubstantiated claims! Nava has promised to halt tuition increases. Seems caring enough. But hey, maybe I lack Bob’s amazing extrasensory powers. Bob does have a point though: Nava won’t fix all of Isla Vista’s problems if elected, because he can’t – that’s the job of the county supervisor.
Bob claims to be “against offshore drilling … excited about the potential of the Green Economy and very pro-education.” Pro-education – what does that mean? I mean, who’s anti-education? Bob also implies in his support of Arnold that he will not be “beholding to special interests.” Funny then that he should accept $12,800 from John and Christy Walton – if you’re thinking Wal-Mart, you’re right. He hasn’t had problems in the past accepting money from groups that advocated privatization of schools. He also doesn’t seem to mind help from JOBS PAC, a political action committee about to run TV ads against Nava. The contributors to JOBS PAC include: ChevronTexaco, Philip Morris, ARCO, Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch and Shell. What a novelty – a candidate who claims to be an environmentalist opposed to offshore oil drilling but whose campaign is supported by Big Oil. Perhaps it’s because Nava has demonstrated, in his years on the California Coastal Commission, his commitment to the environment and opposition to offshore oil drilling. Or perhaps it’s because the League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Nava, and JOBS PAC just wants to antagonize the LCV. In either case, for all of Bob’s talk about a “Green Economy,” it is clear that Nava is the more environmentally friendly candidate.
Maybe Bob Pohl is really a nice guy, but he doesn’t play nice. As voters, we UCSB students have a responsibility to take off our beer goggles on Election Day and see Pohl for who he really is: a Republican.
Shawn Moura is a junior history major.