MONTECITO, Calif. - The Montecito Journal hosted an inaugural 1st District Supervisor debate on Monday night.
Voters will be deciding whether to re-elect Das Williams, a former state assembly member, or replace him with Laura Capps, a current school board member, and former Bill Clinton speech writer.
The Journal's new owner Gwyn Lurie said, "Montecito is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara, so we don't have a mayor, or police department, or a city council, so these are the people who are very important to our daily lives, and we have never seen that more clearly than after the debris flow."
The debate took place at the Music Academy of the West, where seats filled up fast.
"If you build it they will come, we built it, they came, it was a fabulous turnout, full house," said Lurie.
The paper profiled Capps last week and Williams this week. Both are democrats and in favor of Medicare for All and climate change solutions.
Capps said she entered the race after reading a Los Angeles Times article about pot farms in Santa Barbara County and the controversy surrounding the smell of marijuana growing near schools in Carpinteria.
Laura Capps, said, "Special interests would never control me. I'd be on the side of the people, I am on the side of the people, as a school board member, as a mom and we have too much special interest funding my opponent and too much special interest in our county, I want to change that."
Williams said cannabis contributed $2.8 million in tax revenues during the last quarter.
"You can't do good things in this community without resources, and we've turned around the budget from a deficit to a surplus and we did that so that we could invest in our libraries , so we could invest in fighting climate change," said Williams.
Other debate topics tackled included homelessness, groundwater, safety and traffic in the wake of the Montecito mudslide that turned Coast Village Road into a detour.
The audience applauded when people asked questions about traffic.
During closing comments Laura Capps said, "You will know when I am a supervisor, when I am making a decision it is not because of special interests got to me."
Das Williams said, "Strange times where I have been accused of one of my views changing based on who gives me money."
The candidates went at it, but also appeared to get along, something voters may consider refreshing with election day a little more than a month away on March 3.
Capps and Williams will take part in a League of Women Voters forum at the Santa Barbara Library Faulkner Gallery this Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.