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Challengers Stuart Kasdin, Kyle Richards Win Seats in Goleta City Council Race

Newcomers come out on top in the five-candidate race, ousting appointed incumbent Tony Vallejo, according to semi-official election results

Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards won seats in the Goleta City Council Tuesday night, according to the County Elections Office. Click to view larger
Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards won seats in the Goleta City Council Tuesday night, according to the County Elections Office.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Goleta voters elected two new faces to the City Council on Tuesday, with Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards finishing well ahead of the pack after all precincts had reported.

Five candidates were vying for two seats on the Goleta City Council, and Kasdin and Richards held onto their early leads throughout the night.

Kasdin led the field with 30.6 percent of the vote, followed by Richards with 29.8 percent. Appointed incumbent Tony Vallejo was in third place with 23.4 percent of the vote, Aaron Swaney had 11.6 percent and Dave Haws had 4.3 percent after all 18 city precincts were counted, according to semi-official results from the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.

“I’m not ready to declare victory just yet,” Kasdin said early Tuesday night. “When it’s over, then I will react. At this point now, it’s too early.”

Richards said he was cautiously optimistic. Regardless of whether he wins, he said, he vowed to continue to push the issues he highlighted in his campaign.

“As long as the numbers keep up, it’s looking good for us,” he said. “We need to keep Goleta on a sustainable path. I feel that it’s veered off course. We need to get it back on track.

“We need to live within our resources and ensure we are growing in an appropriate way, and respond to residents in a way that can support and afford the growth the city is undergoing.”

Richards said he supports Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“It’s been an upsetting night,” he said. “I’m a supporter and I wanted her to win. I’m uncertain about the direction of our county. If I do win, it feels bittersweet if the presidential election doesn’t go that way.”

Also on the Goleta ballot was ​Measure C2016, which asked voters to decide whether there should be an elected mayor and, if so, whether the term should be a two-year or four-year period.

Measure C passed with 68.4 percent of the vote and residents also supported a two-year term for the mayor, with 59.1 percent approval.

The proposal for a four-year mayoral term failed, with 61.6 percent of residents voting against it.

The first mayoral vote will take place in 2018. The mayor position currently is rotated among elected council members each year.

This was the first contested Goleta City Council race since 2010 and the two council seats are elected at-large to serve four-year terms.

Goleta City Council
100% Reporting Votes %
Stuart Kasdin 4,641 30.6 %
Kyle Richards 4,526 29.8 %
Tony Vallejo 3,559 23.4 %
Aaron Swaney 1,769 11.6 %
Dave Haws 658 4.3 %

Richards, 46, is a policy analyst at UC Santa Barbara and a Goleta Parks and Recreation Commission member.

Kasdin, a public finance professor, served 11 years as an employee with the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Kasdin and Richards endorsed each other for the City Council last week.

Vallejo, a 25-year CPA and former board chairman of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, was chosen by the council in 2014 to finish the term of Councilman Ed Easton, who had resigned after moving outside the city limits. The Nov. 8 election was his first run before Goleta voters.

"The numbers didn't look good," Vallejo said. "We ran a good race and unfortunately it didn't end well. I will continue to help and support my community and City Council."

Goleta Mayor Jim Farr, who was elected to the council in 2012, suffered a stroke one year ago and announced in August that he would not seek a second term on the council, which left an open seat for Tuesday’s election.

Swaney, is an Iraq Army veteran and a small business owner who runs a print shop with locations in Old Town and on the UCSB campus. 

Haws is a real estate broker.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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