Sunday, September 26, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 30

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 14th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 2

Santa Barbara County election season comes into focus


The upcoming primary election on June 5 in Santa Barbara County is beginning to take shape.

Incumbent Sheriff Bill Brown will face his own Lt. Brian Olmstead for county sheriff. Brown is a three-time incumbent. Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino is running unopposed in his district, and the same goes for 2nd District hopeful Gregg Hart. Hart's former opponent, Susan Epstein, a board member for the Goleta Union School District, dropped out of the race on Feb. 27.

Santa Barbara County Assistant-Auditor Controller Betsy Schaffer filed her papers to run for County Auditor-Controller on March 8.

Hart had already accrued an endorsement from the county's democratic party and, on March 12, the Santa Barbara Deputy Sheriff's Association (SBCDSA) voted to back him.

"Public safety is a real priority for Mr. Hart," SBCDSA President Neil Gowing said in a statement. "He understands that the Sheriff's Department's inability to recruit and retain sufficient numbers of deputy sheriffs is having an impact on the quality of public safety services provided by the county's sworn personnel."

Santa Barbara County Assistant Auditor-Controller Betsy Schaffer filed papers to run for County Auditor-Controller on March 8. Current County Auditor-Controller Theo Fallati announced he will retire at the end of his term. Schaffer will face county Chief Investment Officer Jennifer Christensen.

Thus far, Schaffer has received endorsement from Fallati and 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.

"The responsibilities of this challenging and complex position need to be led by someone with subject-matter expertise, an ethical perspective, and [someone] who has an even-handed temperament to do the job," Hartmann said in a statement.

Fallati stated that Schaffer was well qualified to succeed him.

"The Auditor-Controller guards taxpayer dollars, tracks its flow, and maintains controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse," he said. "It needs a leader who is independent, objective, and has strong ethics in order to manage the complexities of this financial reporting, accounting, and auditing department of the county."

Schaffer also has endorsements from former Auditor Bob Geis, as well as 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf. She's been a certified public accountant since 1995 and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Cal Poly. Schaffer has worked at the auditor-controller's office since 1991.

Santa Barbara County Treasurer-Tax Collector Harry Hagen endorsed Christensen when she announced her campaign. Hagan said she would "keep the office independent, safe, and professionally managed."

Christensen made a run for the 1st District Supervisorial seat against Das Williams in 2016, but lost.

Christensen served as an attorney for the auditor-controller for the first five years of her career, and another six as a division chief for the auditor-controller, overseeing a $1 billion budget.

There are two local measures that will affect North County residents in the June primary: Measure T, which proposes to tax cannabis operators in unincorporated areas on their gross receipts; and Measure Q, a Lompoc Unified School District Bond that would raise $79 million to repair its aging facilities.

Three judge's seats in Northern Santa Barbara County are also open, but none of the sitting judges (Arthur Garcia, Patricia Kelly, Timothy Staffel) have been challenged.

Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said, 'Let’s get back to the Old West and treat people like they should be treated.' (Interpret how you will.)

| Poll Results

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