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New Santa Barbara County Redistricting Map: Status Quo and Corrupt

New Santa Barbara county district map proposed by George Relles and approved by liberal supervisors

Every 10 years we are given the chance to rewrite district lines to adjust for population growth and to fix the mistakes of the past.  Sadly, the newly accepted district map for Santa Barbara county only meets one of these criteria, as it reeks with political corruption.  Once again, it appears that Santa Barbara county is getting it’s lines gerrymandered by the liberal supervisors who are more interested in keeping the status quo and protecting their power.  To make matters worse, the redistricting process was conducted by the supervisors themselves, while working with a political insider, instead of a citizen panel like the California redistricting project.  The supervisors who are perpetrating this scandal are Doreen Farr, Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal, and the political insider whose map they are accepting is George Relles, a long time supporter and campaign consultant to these supervisors.  George is associated with the progressive group SBCAN, the Santa Barbara County Action Network.  Farr, Wolf and Carbajal are also all members of SBCAN.  This organization ended up controlling the redistricting process, which as it turns out was not a public process at all, but simply a big sham.

At the public hearings, numerous citizens put forth map proposals which would have moved Isla Vista from the third district to second district because it shares more of a community of interest to Goleta and Santa Barbara than to Lompoc or Santa Ynez.  Additionally, many Lompoc citizens, including the city council, wanted Lompoc to be a part of a single district to have their vote count for something.  None of these requests were considered by the liberal supervisors, who instead gave them the proverbial middle finger.  With the new map, Lompoc is now getting split into two districts, one sharing a district with Santa Maria and one sharing a district with Isla Vista.  Nothing says disenfranchisement like having your votes in Lompos offset by transitory college students!  Liberals claim that keeping IV in the third district ensures the swing vote when determining the county supervisor majority (ie. which is code for liberal incumbent protection).  But it’s quite obvious that Doreen Farr would have never been able to win the third district without IV, thus it was vital for the liberal majority to maintain the status quo map to retain their power.

According to Lompoc resident and GOP central committee member, Robert Jeffers, who was interviewed by the Santa Maria Times, “His (Relles’) map was designed to solidify the incumbents in the lower regions,” referring to the South Coast. “In Lompoc, our vote is pretty much toast. Lompoc’s voice won’t be heard because we’re a minority in both districts.”

Andy Caldwell, executive director of COLAB (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business) told the Santa Maria Times, “This has to stop, this is wrong.  They (the board majority) take Relles’ map, and Gray and Lavagnino say can we talk about lines in our areas and they said no. They screwed Lavagnino and Gray for their own interests. They gerrymandered the entire North County.”

We need to convey to the public what has transpired and ask the Board of Supervisors to relinquish the power to draw their own district boundaries.

We DO HAVE RECOURSE!!!

The law allows District Attorney Dudley, the Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, and the County Clerk Recorder Joe Holland to perform the task of redistricting.  We have hope and do trust that these three elected officials will not recruit a campaign consultant to do this important task to the detriment of the voting public.

The Board of Supervisors only had ONE meeting to debate and discuss their campaign consultants map.  It will not take ANY time at all for Dudley, Cirone and Holland to finish the task of drawing fair lines for district boundaries in the time allotted by the law.

Please contact your County Supervisors and demand that they withdraw themselves from this process.  They have demonstrated that they are overtly partisan and cannot be trusted with this task!

Please prepare to attend the Board of Sups meeting on August 2 and do contact the Board members in the meantime.

1st District: Salud Carbajal

Phone: (805) 568-2186
Fax: (805) 568-2534
E-mail: SupervisorCarbajal@sbcbos1.org
Website: Salud Carbajal

2nd District: Janet Wolf

Phone: (805) 568-2191
Fax: (805) 568-2283
E-mail: jwolf@sbcbos2.org
Website: Janet Wolf

3rd District: Doreen Farr, Vice-Chair

Phone: (805) 568-2192
Fax: (805) 568-2883
Solvang: (805) 686-5095
Fax: (805) 686-8133
E-mail: dfarr@countyofsb.org
Website: Doreen Fa

4th District: Joni Gray, Chair

Lompoc: (805) 737-7700
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8407
E-mail: jgray@co.santa-barbara.ca.us
Website: Joni Gray

5th District: Steve Lavagnino

Santa Maria: (805) 346-8400
Fax: (805) 346-8404
E-mail: steve.lavagnino@countyofsb.org
Website: Steve Lavagnino

To read more, check out these articles below:

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Tabling for Ron Paul downtown Santa Barbara

I can’t talk for other Ron Paul Meetup groups, but our Santa Barbara one has been quite active lately and we’ve already begun taking the message of liberty to the streets!  This time around more people know who Ron Paul is and he has a much better chance at winning the GOP nomination.  With the insurgency of the Tea Parties, Paul’s ideas are now becoming mainstream and he can no longer be ignored by the media.  Our goal for the tabling events has been to get the word out to as many people as possible that Ron Paul is running again for president and to find supporters to join our Meetup group and to fight with us for liberty.  In addition to tabling, we have been phone banking in Iowa to get people to attend the Ames Straw Poll in August, which is a crucial event in Ron Paul’s campaign.

Here's our table setup downtown. You can see the signs at all angles. Two of the Meetup members are engaging with the public.

Ron Paul's freedom fighters!

Giant Debt Clock displayed at SBCC west campus

National Debt Clock, $14.3 trillion and counting

Last Thursday (5/12/2011) in front of the library on west campus, SBCC’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) put up a giant debt clock display.  Our nation’s share of the debt is roughly $14.3 trillion, and with each number on a board the sign ended up being over 40 feet long!  The display was meant to promote awareness to the students who will likely have the burden of paying off the giant debt load in their future.  In addition to rising awareness, the YAL chapter setup a table and was collecting student signatures for a petition that will be sent to Congresswomen Lois Capps asking her to work on lowering our national debt.

More info on the national debt clock event and the SBCC YAL chapter can be found here.

The Santa Barbara News Press did a story on it here (you must be a registered user to read).

Ron Paul officially announces presidential exploratory committee for 2012 election

Today while on a visit to Iowa, Ron Paul officially announced that he’ll be looking into another presidential run for 2012.  Paul also setup a team for his Iowa campaign, which was a strong state for him last election in 2008.  With a lot of the same Rino’s running again, I’m really hoping that Paul can finish what he started in 2008 and become the official GOP nominee.  There has definitely been a lot of growth in the Freedom Movement since his 2008 election and now we can start with a pre-existing mainframe instead of having to start anew from scratch.  There is now the Campaign for Liberty and the Young Americans For Liberty, two organizations spawned by Paul’s 2008 campaign which continue to grow and reach new successes 3 years later.  Thus, his message hasn’t faded away like the GOP establishment hoped for.  It’s stronger than ever, and we’re more organized and experienced than ever.  We’re in it to win it this time.

For those interested in reading more, here’s an article from Politico talking about the news: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53753.html.

And while you’re at it, please consider signing this petition to influence Ron Paul to officially run: http://ronpaul2012.net.

Dave Stockdale comments on Santa Barbara’s public pensions

A recent commentary by former Congressional candidate, Dave Stockdale, has been published by the Santa Maria Times discussing public pensions in Santa Barbara county (it can be found here).  Due to a recent SB county civil grand jury inquiry which divulged 2009 salaries and benefits to public employees (which can be found here: http://www.sbcgj.org/2011/CompensationSurvey.pdf), a lot of revealing information has come to the fold.  On average, not only are salaries slightly higher in the public sector than in the private sector, but when factoring in pensions the comparison is completely thrown in favor of public employees.  Many of these pensions would be equivalent to a 1-3 million dollar 401 K plan in the private sector, which is completely unattainable for most middle class employees even if they work for 40-50 years and hold10 percent of their paychecks for retirement.

It’s time these dinosaurs of pensions go extinct. It’s a relic of the past and is financially unsustainable for our economy. I’m sure it was great for those public employees who got in while they could and retired early. But nowadays people have to be realistic and take the initiative to plan for their own retirements. I’m all for personal responsibility and taking care of your own retirement via a 401K, personal investments, ect. (I’m young so I’m not going to add social security into my plans because it will be bankrupt before I retire).

Salaries are just a portion of the equation, and benefits such as health care and pensions can’t be ignored. It’s a lot easier for politicians to entice employees with better pensions down the line because they will be long gone from the office before the day of reckoning comes. Thus, a moral hazard is created between this incestuous politician / union relationship. When the public realizes it can always vote for the politician that offers them the most goodies from the public treasury, a democracy will soon collapse. One of the many reasons why our Founders loathed democracies.

Santa Barbara city loans $4.4 million in home loans to public employees

A damning piece published by the Daily Sound has caused quite an uproar in the community after divulging information about the city loaning out millions of dollars in home loans to public employees (the article can be found here).  The piece evidently touched a nerve of the city’s financial director, so much in fact that he felt compelled to write an email response to the mayor and city council members (which can be found here).

The facts are that 46 loans were issued since 2001, 10 of which were issued after Dec 2007 when the housing collapse started, with the last being issued in 2009.  The total loans is now $4.4 million, of which $632,000 in interest and $188,000 in principle has been paid back.  A lot of the homes are upside-down, and one of the loans is not current.  The program was enacted by a liberal city council in an attempt to entice and retain public employees to work for the City of Santa Barbara.  Since housing prices were so high, the program would offer employees a second mortgage that could be worth up to 15% of the cost of the house to help them with their purchase.

Flash forward to our current year and the City of Santa Barbara is facing a budgetary crisis.  The $4.4 million that is being loaned out could have been used for libraries, pools, parks, recreation and other community services which are now on the cutting board to close the budgetary gap.  They say hindsight is 20/20 right?  The fact of the matter is the city was extremely short sited, and like many others it was under the illusion that the good times would keep on rolling.  Thus, it enacted this program with the best of intentions, but with little financial prudence.  The financial director admits in his article that “what’s happened to the real estate market is unprecedented and could not have been anticipated.”  Unfortunately, ignorance is no excuse when you have other people’s money at stake.  If they had done their homework and heeded the words of Austrian economists such as Peter Schiff, Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, ect., then they would have been able to anticipate this housing crisis.

This gross financial negligence leads one to question, why was the city in the business of making home loans in the first place?  Time and time again when the government tries to act like a business it fails miserably.  Thus, this is why government should be kept small and focused on only the most specific tasks not handled by the private sector. When banks were not making home loans after 2007, the city of Santa Barbara was still offering them and this gave the public employees a special privilege not afforded by those in the private sector.  It’s a very elitist mentality and one that completely perverts the concept of a “public servant.”  Hopefully this example will outrage the public enough so that they will fight for reforms to curtail government power and cut back on financial waste (think government pensions).  We cannot afford any more short sightedness or those who act based on their heart instead of their head.

Economic Wake Up Call / Anti-War Rally

It looks like a number of local news sources picked up the Wake Up Call rally in downtown’s De La Guerra Plaza last weekend.  This rally was organized by the Veterans for Peace and our new Ron Paul meetup group member, Penny.  There ended up being over 200 people show up at the event, and four of our meetup group members were there as well.  The rally marked the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War and was intended to be a non-partisan event to protest what’s going on in Washington DC with all the wars and spending.  After congregating at the plaza and listening to some speakers, the protesters then marched down State Street to the Arlington West beach where all the crosses representing each US soldier that died in Iraq are displayed.  Our meetup’s group focus for the event was not only to protest spending at the wars, but to also network with other groups and to promote the false left-right paradigm.  Overall the event ended up having mostly liberal folks, but there was a cross section of some other groups such as ours and the 9/11 Truthers.

Here’s some video coverage from KEYT news: http://www.keyt.com/news/local/Rally-Aganist-War-Held-In-Santa-Barbara–118302339.html.

The Santa Barbara Independent press release can be found here: http://www.independent.com/news/2011/mar/18/wake-call-rally-and-march/.

Here are some pictures of the protest, thanks to Ed Hat contributor Robert Bernstein: http://swt.org/act/wakeup2011/.

Penny with her video camera

Penny's friend Brett speaks out

9/11 Truthers against war