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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 12:52 am | Fair 49º


Ron Fink: The Election is Over, The Voters Have Spoken

Well we’ve all voted and some of the results were predictable, others weren’t.

In the city of Lompoc, Jenelle Osborne has the lead, but she will face stiff opposition because Dirk Starbuck and Victor Vega easily defeated their opponents in this race.

It’s important to note that Starbuck wasn’t even in the state during the later portion of the campaign, while his competitor met with people face-to-face to discuss issues.

And, the person Mayor-elect Osborne defeated, Jim Mosby, remains in office for the next two years, and he will likely lead the opposition to any idea she puts forward as he has done for the last four years.

The first task for the new council is to fill the empty seat; former Mayor Bob Lingl chose to retire and with Osborne’s council position still having two years left, they must decide how to fill the empty seat. There are two ways to do it, one is with a special election, the other is for the council to choose.

Special elections cost General Fund dollars and past practice has been for the council to decide; this method means only three people choose the winner and past choices/methods have been questionable.

I am guessing the trio already has someone in mind and that person won’t be supportive of Osborne. It may be best to leave this choice to voters to avoid any hint of favoritism.

There is a budget workshop, the first of many, planned for next month. It will be interesting to see how the trio will handle the disaster they created by not allowing the people to even consider measures that would increase General Fund revenue.

Not one of the three addressed the pending fiscal problems during their campaigns, and none have suggested a course of action to preserve needed services.

The City Council in Santa Maria, being much more responsible and mindful of the impacts of pending revenue losses to their General Fund allowed voters to choose between loss of services or continued availability of police/fire services.

The public overwhelmingly approved Measure U2018, a public safety services sales tax.

Countywide Measure G2018, the Board of Supervisors plan to establish a redistricting commission passed; and Measure H2018, a citizen-initiated plan failed by a wide margin.

This means 11 people will determine new electoral boundaries for the five districts, which considering recent court cases would include racial and ethnic diversity rather than geographic area as the defining factor.

Measure G is full of legal loopholes, twists and turns that complicate the issue and sounded like a group of ordinary citizens would be selected to serve; but when you read the fine print only people with “experience that demonstrates analytical skills relevant to the redistricting process and voting rights” would be deemed qualified to serve.

This seems to be a limiting factor, so 99 percent of us need not apply; it also seems designed to favor political activists.

In Goleta, voters gave the City Council a huge raise in their salaries by passing measure W2018. By my calculations, each council member will now get well over $25,000 a year increase in pay to conduct hearings on professionally prepared staff reports.

Nice reward for serving your community in a part time job.

School bonds in the North County didn’t fair well; Measure Y2018, the Allan Hancock College bond failed by a wide margin and Measure E2018, the Lompoc Unified School District bond failed, too. So, it seems voters didn’t think these two proposals were worth funding.

It’s important to note the LUSD measure has failed three times, and even after an aggressive “information campaign” by the district, this was the widest margin of loss for the three attempts.

Cannabis taxes in Solvang and Lompoc passed by wide margins, but with no licenses issued yet to allow the operation of any cannabis-related businesses in either city, and the proliferation of unlicensed and unregulated distributers ,it makes you wonder just how much revenue, if any, will come into city coffers.

The cost of overseeing these businesses will likely be much greater than any revenue received, so these were just a feel-good measure rather than revenue producers.

Yes, the voters have spoken, now all citizens will live with the results.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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