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Eric Friedman

Santa Barbara City Council District 5 Candidate Eric Friedman
Santa Barbara City Council District 5 Candidate Eric Friedman
Candidate Name
 Eric Friedman
Position Sought
 Santa Barbara City Council - District 5
Why are you running for office?:
 I am running for re-election to continue to work on the projects and issues that are important for the future direction of our City. This includes addressing homelessness; promoting affordable housing while also preserving the historic character of our City; economic development, in particular the future of State Street; and reinvestment in our libraries, parks and the arts. I strongly believe in responsive and effective government that truly works for the people it is meant to serve. I will continue to be accessible, responsive and transparent while considering both the needs of District 5 and the City as a whole.
What makes you qualified for the job?:
 I grew up in Santa Barbara County and am proud to be a former student (and now parent of two former students) of Monte Vista Elementary School, located in District 5. In the 1980's, my parents moved to Lompoc due to the price of housing. Needless to say, I know first-hand the challenge it is to be able to afford to live here and raise a family as well as other issues impacting the daily lives of residents. In order for City Government to address these issues, it is critical that we build trust with the community we serve. Over the course of my first term on Council, while concurrently working a second job as a grocery worker, I have gained the experience and perspective needed to make government work for the people. This includes being responsive, transparent and willing to listen to all perspectives on any issue. Most importantly, while I was elected by the residents of District 5, I have worked to be both responsive to District 5 and the City as a whole. In addition, I have taken on a number of leadership roles including: Chair of the City Finance Committee, Chair of the Long Range Development Oversight Committee, Chair of the Central Coast Water Authority, Vice Chair of the League of Cities Coastal Cities Leadership Group, and serve on additional Boards and Committees.
What are your two main priorities if you win?:
 The selection of the next City Administrator is critical for the future of our City. The City Administrator implements the policy direction of the Council and oversees the day to day operations of all Departments. My top priority is to ensure an open, transparent and thorough process takes place that welcomes high-quality candidates to apply.

Challenging Senate Bill 9. SB 9 takes away single family zoning throughout California but makes no requirements for affordability of new units. Furthermore, it limits local control and decision making, which is important when considering impacts of new development such as water and sewer infrastructure, impacts on neighborhood schools, traffic, parking and many other quality of life issues that local government is specifically designed to review. I support the City working with other municipalities and the League of Cities on how best to strategically challenge SB 9.
How will you interact with other governments?:
 Regional collaboration is important in addressing the critical issues we face. Whether it is response to the Pandemic, Sea Level rise and coastal planning policies, homelessness, housing affordability, managing our water supply or other issues, we are better served when we work regionally. These issues don't stop at jurisdictional boundaries. During my first term on Council I was appointed Chair of the Central Coast Water Authority, Chair of the League of Cities Coastal Cities Leadership Group, serve on BEACON whose membership is comprised of the Counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura and all the Coastal Cities in each County and I worked collaboratively to find a way to maintain the Regional Library Black Gold System. In my second term I will continue to promote the benefits of regional collaboration as good governance.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?:
 Covid 19 has been an unprecedented challenge from a global to a local scale. While serving on Council I also work as a grocery worker, my wife works in one of our local Emergency Rooms and we have two sons who were home from school for a significant amount of time. These experiences have both informed me and taught me how to look at policy decisions comprehensively. Going forward, it is important that the City of Santa Barbara continue its course of collaborating with County Public Health Department and our neighboring jurisdictions to have similar policies that are science driven by medical and professional experts. If we were to have different sets of rules in each city it would make it confusing for the public and difficult to message uniform policies. Responding to the pandemic is a perfect example of the benefits of regional collaboration. In addition, City a has role as a social safety net provider and promoting economic development and support for local businesses in response to impacts from the pandemic.
Which two issues are most important to you?:
 For me personally, supporting our two libraries is one of the reasons I originally ran for Council. Having a modern library that meets community needs provides countless benefits to the City as a whole. Specifically, I initiated the proposal at the Council level to partner with the Library Foundation to raise the funding for the Library Plaza Redesign. The result was securing the funding for final design and additional seed funding for the Foundation to raise the additional funds required to complete the project. The Library Foundation has been an outstanding partner. Due to this public private partnership, the re-design is scheduled to go to construction next year. When it is complete, the Central Library will be a new and accessible public space at the center of the Arts District and an integral part of downtown revitalization. I also worked to maintain the regional Black Gold Library System and led the effort through the budgeting process to fund a Social Services Worker specifically for the library and directly adjacent area.

For District 5 Specifically, the redevelopment of LaCumbre Plaza is an exciting opportunity to modernize the Plaza to meet community needs. However, it must be done strategically and thoughtfully and include the residents of District 5 from the beginning. To ensure that proper planning and public involvement occurs, I led the effort for the requirement of a Specific Plan for any potential redevelopment project. Should a proposal come forward, I will work throughout my next term to ensure it is an open and transparent process with public involvement from the start.
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