The candidates for Second District county supervisor met again Wednesday night to discuss issues that are important to residents of the Goleta Valley.
Supervisor Janet Wolf is being challenged by Goleta Councilman Roger Aceves in the June 3 election.
It was a forum, not a debate, and moderator Irene Stone of the League of Women Voters asked the candidates not to refer to each other in their comments.
Aceves and Wolf are on opposing sides of Measure M, the infrastructure maintenance funding initiative pitched by Supervisor Peter Adam. Aceves said it’s “unfortunate” the supervisors need a ballot measure to tell them to do their job and that the county should have been allocating money for infrastructure all along.
In Goleta, “we know the longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost us,” he said.
Wolf said the measure would be like “taking a hatchet” to the budget and would jeopardize public safety in the county.
If passed, Measure M is estimated to cost $18 million to $21 million per year, the amount needed to keep roads, buildings and parks in their current condition or better. The new North County jail facility is expected to cost about $16 million to operate each year, and the county supervisors still don’t know how they’re going to fund it, though they have been putting aside money to make sure it’s staffed when it opens in 2018.
When asked Wednesday, neither candidate offered concrete ideas on where to find that money, but both of them reiterated their support for the new jail project.
There were several questions about land use and the Eastern Goleta Valley Community Plan, which should have the environmental review finished this summer. Both candidates support efforts to protect open space in the Second District and throughout the county, they said. No development is proposed for More Mesa right now, but they both oppose building on that land, they said.
Aceves and Wolf both oppose the annexation of 1,400 acres into the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians reservation. They both said the proposed developments should go through the same community planning process as other developments.
The issue of campaign contributions came up again, as it did in the Chambers of Commerce forum, and it was the one time they challenged each other. The question asked what they would do if they received campaign contributions from a group or individual and then had a decision involving that donor.
Wolf reiterated that she’s “pleased and proud” to have support of local labor unions, and said the groups gave up millions of dollars in concessions during the recession.
Aceves said he’s also accepted union money, but not $20,000 four days before voting on that donor’s employment contract, as Wolf did with the SEIU.
The moderator then cut him off, saying the question was meant to be more general.
Wolf used the next question as an opportunity to comment, saying her vote was perfectly legal and that Aceves has received money from developers shortly after City Council votes on projects.
The event was hosted at the Goleta Valley Community Center by the League of Women Voters Education Fund, The Goodland Coalition and Families Act.
Following the supervisors forum, the candidates for Santa Barbara County sheriff took the stage. Sheriff Bill Brown is being challenged by sheriff’s Sgt. Sandra Brown. Click here for Noozhawk’s full report.
— Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.