Ballot drop box in Santa Barbara
Local races on November’s ballot include city, school district and special district seats throughout Santa Barbara County.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Although the presidential election will be the marquee attraction on the November ballot, Santa Barbara’s South Coast also features several intriguing and hotly contested local races.

Three members of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education are seeking second terms.

Wendy Sims-Moten, Laura Capps and Jacqueline Reid had no challengers for the seats when they ran four years ago, but all three races will be contested this year.

Other candidates include Brian Campbell, fresh off a Santa Barbara City Council campaign in which placed second behind Mike Jordan for the District 2 seat; literacy activist Monie de Wit, a frequent speaker at school board meetings; Virginia Alvarez, a school administrator and parent; and Sebastian Antonio Fernandez-Falcon and Elrawd John MacLearn, who did not list a profession on the candidate documents.  

There’s also a potentially interesting political contest in the Goleta Union School District.

Susan Epstein, who has served four consecutive terms on the school board, is stepping down, which means there will be at least one new member after November’s election. 

Current board president Sholeh Jahangir is running for re-election, and five others are running for the seats as well.

They include teacher Caroline Abate and engineer/business owner Greg Hammel, who have both frequently spoken at school board meetings and criticized the district’s plans for sex education and health education. 

Also on the ballot are Vicki Ben-Yaacov, who listed no profession, according to county records; social worker Patricia “Max” Rorty, and parent Devany Bechler.

Two school board seats are also on the ballot for the Carpinteria Unified School District board.

Incumbent Rogelio Delgado is seeking another term, while Donna Michelle Robertson is not running for re-election. 

Other candidates who have filed papers to run include parent and business owner Jaime Diamond; parent Aaron Smith; teacher Jeff Weinbender; and Craig Cook, a teacher and parent, according to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.  

The Santa Barbara City College board of trustees also features contested races. In Trustee Area 2, incumbent Robert Miller faces a challenge from Ronald J. Liechti, who lists himself as a fire business manager.

In Trustee Area 3, incumbent Veronica Gallardo will compete for the seat against Erin J. Guerena, a business person and barber.

In Trustee Area 4, three people are vying for the seat: Celeste Barber, a retired educator, Anna Everett, a retired educator, and Brenden Fereday, who lists himself on the ballot as a chief learning officer.

City Council Seats

Every city in Santa Barbara County except Santa Barbara has City Council seats on the November ballot, including Goleta and Carpinteria on the South Coast. 

The Goleta City Council election features a competitive mayor’s race between incumbent Paula Perotte and Councilman Roger Aceves,

Council members Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards are seeking second terms on the council, and other candidates running for the seats include Bruce Wallach, Justin Shores and Blanch M. “Grace” Wallace. 

The Carpinteria City Council also has two open seats, and the candidate filing period for those races is extended through Wednesday. 

The candidate filing period ends Wednesday for city, school district and special district seats in which an eligible incumbent did not file documents to run in November. 

The general election in Nov. 3, and will be vote-by-mail for all Santa Barbara County registered voters. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.