SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - As Santa Barbara County leaders debate how to spend money from a cannabis tax, a challenger to one supervisor wants to put a limit on campaign contributions.
Santa Barbara County Supervisor candidate Laura Capps announced a plan Wednesday to make local government more transparent that she would implement if elected. She calls it the “make government accountable” plan.
Capps is challenging current County Supervisor Das Williams.
Currently, those running for office in Santa Barbara County have no limit to how much they can accept in the form of campaign contributions.
Capps’ plan proposes a $1,000 cap on contributions for County Supervisor races. She says Williams received thousands in donations from the cannabis industry while supporting cannabis business rules.
“Anyone would wonder if the people who stand to gain millions of dollars from that decision had a pipeline of that kind of access and that kind of political campaign influence,” Capps said.
Capps says if elected, she would also tighten the current regulations on the local cannabis industry.
“I’m not against cannabis,” she said. “I voted for legalization. I think there’s a place for it here in Santa Barbara County. But not to the level of these floodgates that have been opened.”
Capps' plan would also ban contributions from anyone with business before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Neil Gowing, president of the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Organization, responded Wednesday to Capps' plan:
"The Santa Barbara Deputy Sheriffs Association strongly supports campaign finance reform and policies that promote good governance. However, Laura Capps' proposal will effectively ban public safety officers from participating in the political process and exercising our 1st amendment right to free speech. As the primary law enforcement bargaining unit for the County, we regularly have business before the board - advocating for critical resources and weighing-in on important community issues such as improving emergency response. If Laura Capps' proposal were to be enacted, this would force us to choose between advocating for our community at the Board of Supervisors, or exercising our 1st amendment right to participate in the political process. We believe that undermining the constitutional rights of any individual is inherently wrong."Neil Gowing, president of the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff;s Organization
Capps and Williams will face off in a primary race in early march.