Candidate for Goleta Mayor
|Why are you running for office?:||I decided to run for Mayor because I believe Goleta needs a change in direction. While I believe we’ve done some great things as a City Council, for too long our focus has been misguided and basic city responsibilities, like roadway maintenance, haven’t been taken care of.|
During my time as a councilmember, I’ve been labeled “a lone wolf,” which is true. You can count on me to vote freely; I don’t take my marching orders from a political party. My directives come straight from the people of Goleta. As Mayor, we’ll have better roads and sidewalks, an easier and more intuitive permitting process, improved parks, and smarter budgets.
|What makes you qualified for the job?:||For 14 years, I’ve been privileged to serve the citizens of Goleta as a Councilmember. Since 2006, I’ve never missed a single meeting - something I’m proud of. But simply attending meetings doesn’t qualify one to be mayor. To me, it’s all about listening. Listening to citizen concerns, replying to every email, responding to every phone call, and taking time to meet with people one-to-one. People expect a city government to be responsive and accessible.|
I also believe we need bigger and broader thinking then just “we’ve prevented a big development from happening.” Too often I hear of difficulties and roadblocks that prevent local businesses and landowners from making meaningful investments in their businesses and properties. As Mayor, I’ll make sure the City of Goleta isn’t a barrier to successes, but rather an engine for growth.
|What are your two main priorities if you win?:||First, we need to work with the County of Santa Barbara to bring an end to the Revenue Neutrality Agreement. Since 2002, this agreement has cost the citizens of Goleta over $100MM - money that is badly needed to fund city projects and programs. Merely sending letters to the Board of Supervisors isn’t enough, we as a city need to do more.|
Secondly, we need to take a hard look at our infrastructure. There are too many “closed” signs on our bike paths and in our parks, our roads and sidewalks are crumbling and badly in need of repair and there are improvements needed in Old Town. As Mayor, I’ll push to make sustained and significant investments in our city’s infrastructure.
|How will you interact with other governments?:||It’s essential that Goleta have a good working relationship with all local governments and the County of Santa Barbara. Having reliable and strong relationships with our neighbors allows for better regional cooperation - which benefits everyone.|
During my 14 years as a Councilmember, I’ve represented the City of Goleta on several regional commissions, working directly with local leaders of government. I served on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) for five years, serving as chair once. I currently sit on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), serving as chair twice in my seven years on the commission. In the past, I’ve also been a member of the Air Pollution Control Board and MTD Board of Directors.
|What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?:||First, it’s really important that we follow the guidelines issued in regards to COVID-19, including limits on gatherings, continued practicing of social distancing, and use of protective face gear when in public.|
As a city, we need to do everything we can to support our local business community. This means making sure we’re responsive to their inquiries, that we speed up and improve all of our permitting processes and to make sure that our local businesses are able to transition through the ever-changing State of California and County of Santa Barbara guidelines on re-opening.
As Mayor, I’ll implement a five-year plan for the city to run leaner and more efficiently in order to recover from the COVID-caused recession that will include a new two-year budget cycle, aggressively investing the city’s reserves, and setting aside money for the city’s future pension costs.
|Which two issues are most important to you?:||In addition to ending the RNA and improved infrastructure - we need to make it easier for our businesses to succeed in our city. We’ve long been home to the entrepreneurial spirit and start-up culture, but our city policies have lagged. They’re too expensive, take too much time to complete, and are far too difficult to understand.|
We also need to work towards having a more diverse city council, city commission members, city staff, and city partners. As the only BIPOC ever elected to Goleta City Council, I recently pushed for the creation of our city’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. It’s just the beginning, as we need to do more to ensure we address implicit bias within all of our city practices. The light Black Lives Matter continues to shine on injustice and inadequacies, requires us to not just listen or pass resolutions - but to enact meaningful change.
Extended Interview with Roger Aceves