After eight years of service, Carpinteria City Councilman Joe Armendariz issued his resignation Monday night, in an announcement he called “bittersweet.”
He told Noozhawk on Monday night that the decision was a personal one, made to spend more time with his three daughters and his granddaughter, and will be moving to Orcutt to be closer to them.
That move was something Armendariz said he contemplated a year ago, but opted to stay in Carpinteria until the end of his term instead.
Last December, Armendariz was charged with DUI after crashing his vehicle on Highway 101 north of Padaro Lane, a collision that left him with serious injuries.
It was his second DUI arrest within five years, and the District Attorney’s Office charged him with DUI and driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. He pleaded no contest earlier this year and was sentenced to 61 days in the County Jail and three years of probation, and his license has been suspended for a year.
Armendariz has stated that he has struggled with alcoholism for the better part of 25 years and is committed to recovery.
“I have a lot of power in certain areas of my life; I have no power when it comes to alcohol,” he said in a statement at a December 2011 City Council meeting. “I have learned the hard way how difficult this issue is, and it’s not something that’s unique to me. It’s something that many, many, many members of my family over the years have also struggled with.”
On Monday, Armendariz vaguely referenced the incident in the reasons for his resignation.
“Obviously some intervening circumstances, over the past year, have altered some of my longer-term political plans, but have opened up some exciting professional doors that I feel I need to take advantage of,” he said.
Only five City Council meetings were left in his term, and “after discussing it with my closest friends and family, I decided now was the time to make this move as opposed to waiting until January.”
“I will be as involved in county politics and local and statewide issues and advocacy as I ever was, albeit as a private citizen,” he said. “I am very excited to make this move, but tonight’s announcement was a bittersweet moment for me for sure.”
His resignation is effective Oct. 1, and a new member could be appointed to his seat, depending on the will of the mayor.