From the Santa Barbara Independent:
For the first time ever, Goleta voters get to directly elect their mayor. Up ’til now, the council as first-among-equals has appointed the position to what’s been a largely ceremonial job. We are persuaded that Paula Perotte has the requisite grit, determination, and quiet strength needed for the post. Of the two candidates running, Perotte — a 35-year resident of the Goleta Valley — has a far better feel for how much development the community can abide. Old-fashioned wars over growth, always a Goleta hot-button issue, have flared up recently with the rapid retail and residential development that’s transformed the city. Perotte has served on the council since 2010 and was instrumental in implementing the Safe Routes to School with the Sheriff’s department. Before that, she worked for years with the Community Action Commission connecting those in need with available services. She’s had a full life experience, having worked nights as a waitress at Joe’s, started a homemade pie business, and raised a family. Given her temperament, values, and resume, we trust Perotte will do the best job balancing the competing agendas — neighborhood preservation vs. development — confronting Goleta and all California coastal communities. Her opponent Michael Bennett, a retired Fire Battalion Chief, has been a long, dedicated activist in Goleta politics and as a councilmember. But Bennett, backed by the Chamber of Commerce, has been more pedal-to-the-metal on Goleta growth than is sensible. In fact, he helped craft the argument against a 2012 ballot initiative — Measure G — designed to protect agricultural land from development. Measure G gave voters final say on whether any ag lands greater than ten acres should be developed. We supported Measure G at the time and with every major fire, we are freshly reminded how Goleta’s Green Belt of farmland protects the city.