Off-Leash Public Affairs - September 25, 2010 (Original Story)

The Daily Nexus - September 16, 2010 (Original Story)

Incumbents Face Fresh Challenger

By Garik Hauer
Published on September 16, 2010

The previously uncontested race for three Goleta City Council seats in this November’s election started to heat up on Monday after a fourth candidate announced her intention to run for one of the seats.

Paula Perotte, a former local Parent-Teacher Association President, will run against incumbent councilmen Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett. She will also challenge Reyne Stapelmann, another newcomer who announced her candidacy in August.

The entrance of a fourth candidate marks the beginning of competition in a race that originally saw only two candidates planning to run for the three open seats.

According to Perotte, her decision to run for a seat on the council was based on concerns about a lack of contenders in the democractic process.

"I kept watching this particular election and did not see anyone step up," Perotte said. "It was disturbing to see no one step up and I felt someone needed to step in so it could be an actual election."

Perotte has already received multiple campaign endorsements, including approval from 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Goleta City Council members Ed Easton and Margaret Connell.

Councilmember Connell said Perotte’s previous background with child advocacy groups sets her apart from the other candidates.

"She is somebody who has not been deeply involved in city issues but she has been heavily involved in community issues," Connell said. "One of the issues she has been very strong in is traffic safety and a safe route near schools."

Mayor Eric Onnen, whose decision to step down from the council this year created the third vacancy, said other issues will also occupy the council. Onnen said another key issue will be a controversial debate over urban development on Bishop Ranch that will carry over from the current council and remain one of the more difficult hurdles for the new council members to address.

"I think one of the key issues will always be land use, specifically the conversion of agricultural land parcels into commercial land usage," Onnen said. "It's going to come forward to the council in the near future, one of the prime examples is that of Bishop Ranch."

Perotte said she chose to voice her stance on these issues during her campaign kick-off Monday.

"The questions most frequently asked were, 'What do you think about Bishop Ranch and the general plan?'" Perotte said. "For me, the priorities are always going to be that we respect the environment and our quality of life. We need to respect our agricultural resources."

Santa Barbara Independent - September 14, 2010 (Original Story)

Paula Perotte and her supporters
Paul Wellman
Paula Perotte and her supporters

Paula Perotte Kicks Off Campaign

With 25 Supporters Behind Her, the Former PTA President Pledges
to Win Seat on Goleta City Council
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
By Matt Kettmann

Goleta city council candidate Paula Perotte got her first taste of made-for-media showcases on Monday, as more than 25 supporters ­ including two councilmembers and a county supervisor ­ stood behind the former PTA president as she "officially kicked off" her campaign before the watchful eyes of two reporters, two photographers, and one videocamera-toting citizen journalist.

Held outside of the Goleta Valley Community Center, where the successful campaigns for councilmember Ed Easton and former councilmember Jonny Wallis have begun over the years, the brief event came one month after Perotte’s candidacy was announced in the media. (The Independent broke that story here, and then followed up with a more detailed account here. ) As such, the noontime press conference seemed more designed to remind Goleta voters that there is indeed a city council election this November. (Read about why Goleta might be more apolitical than its neighboring jurisdictions here.)

Paula Perotte
Paul Wellman
Paula Perotte

But it also served to strategically lift Perotte’s campaign above that of Reyne Stapelmann, a real estate agent who announced her candidacy a week before Perotte. Both women are in the running with councilmembers Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett for the three open Goleta City Hall seats; conventional political wisdom predicts that ­ due to fundraising headstarts, name recognition, and lack of council controversy ­ Aceves and Bennett will likely retain their seats, leaving the race for the third to be a showdown between Perotte and Stapelmann.

On Monday, Perotte, a 27-year Goleta resident, stuck to her message of keeping Goleta the great place it already is and showed that she has the hefty support of the progressive Democratic machine to do so. Among other people lining up behind Perotte were Supervisor Janet Wolf and Goleta councilmembers Margaret Connell and Ed Easton, and she’s also already bagged the additional endorsements of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, former mayor Marty Blum, former supervisors Susan Rose and Gail Marshall, the Democratic Party of S.B., the Democratic Women of S.B. County, the S.B. Women’s Political Committee, and the Los Padres Sierra Club.

Promising to run a "very energetic grassroots campaign" that will "do whatever it takes to get the message out," Perotte ­ who works for the Community Action Commission as an advocate for special needs children and their parents ­ said, "I’m confident we can meet our challenges the old-fashioned way, by working together." When asked afterward about the proposed Bishop Ranch development (read about that here and here) by government watchdog/citizen journalist David Pritchett, Perotte said that she will stick with the city’s general plan that calls for the property to remain as agriculturally zoned.

As the crowd moved to the center’s front steps for a group shot, Goleta Mayor Eric Onnen ­ whose decision not to run sparked the campaigns of Perotte and Stapelmann, which The Independent first reported here was spotted watching the festivities. Explaining that he had endorsed Stapelmann and Bennett, Onnen said that he was there to see what Perotte was all about, noting that he had a third endorsement to give if so desired. When asked if Aceves had sought Onnen’s endorsement, Onnen answered, "No, no he has not." He did not share any further thoughts about Perotte, so it remains to be seen whether the endorsement of Onnen ­ who is considered to be a more pro-business politician than the more environmentally minded progressives ­ will come Perotte’s way.

Santa Barbara News Press - September 14, 2010 (Original Story)

Paula Perotte kicks off Goleta council campaign


A well-endorsed candidate for Goleta City Council kicked off her campaign Monday afternoon in an address to supporters and media at the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Paula Perotte, who has lived in Goleta with her husband Peter for 27 years, will vie for one of three open spots on the council, along with incumbents Michael Bennett and Roger Aceves and newcomer Reyne Staplemann.

Having received endorsements from the likes of Assemblyman Pedro Nava, 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Santa Barbara City Council members Das Williams and Grant House, she was introduced Monday by Goleta Councilman Ed Easton.

"I hope we're starting a tradition," said Mr. Easton, referring to his own campaign kickoff, which was held at the center, as was former Councilwoman Jonny Wallis' kickoff. Mr. Easton said Mrs. Perotte is "a clear winner."

"She knows Goleta, and it certainly is home to her and her family," he said. "She knows small business, she knows the schools, she even knows the Sheriff's Department."

Mrs. Perotte told those in attendance that what she loves about Goleta includes "the public school systems, the recreation opportunities and that small-town feel where neighbors know each other, and you get a real sense of community."

She is known for having spent 15 years at different levels of the PTA, and she also works with the Community Action Commission.

Her work with the commission, she said, allows her to "advocate for families with special needs."

"I'm convinced that people like me need to step up to local government, and that's why I'm running," she said, calling Goleta a "wondrous place."

"Goleta is the gateway to our university, it is the gateway to our airport and it is the gateway to the beautiful Gaviota coast," she said. "We want to make sure that we make Goleta a better place for our children."

Mrs. Perotte said she is committed to being responsive to residents' needs and that the way for the city to address challenges is to work with residents and organizations.

"There is one very effective way to get things done: by working together," she said. "I'm absolutely sure that we can win, and we can continue to move Goleta forward together."

Present at her event Monday were Mayor Eric Onnen, Councilwoman Margaret Connell and 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Last month, Mrs. Perotte answered a few key questions posed by the News-Press.

She said that she does not support changing the General Plan to accommodate development on Bishop Ranch.

She also said she is "concerned about the potential impacts on western Goleta residents, such as rate changes or changes in service" from the proposed detachment from the Goleta West Sanitary District."

An avenue to support for improving the budget climate in Goleta, said Mrs. Perotte, would be to "explore changing the Revenue Neutrality Agreement Goleta has with Santa Barbara County."

A long-standing issue in Goleta that Mrs. Perotte addressed is safe routes to schools.

"In addition to assuring sufficient policing services," she said, "this includes providing safer streets and sidewalks for pedestrians, more alternative transportation and also cleaner air and water."

"And in this time of tight budgets," she continued, "I want to make sure we make sound fiscal decisions so that Goleta can continue to provide vital services to this wonderful community."

KCSB Radio Interview - September 13, 2010 (Original Story)