Friday, February 27, 2004
1st District DCC Candidate Statements! In the first district of the county (that's pretty much downtown SB on South), there is a historic, contested race for our own Democratic Central Committee. We're running statements from those of the candidates who submitted them, in the order they'll appear on the ballot. This race only appears on the ballots of registered Democrats; if you're registered as a Decline to State but pulling a Democratic ballot to vote in the primary, you will not get a chance to vote in this election.

Andrew Ausanka-Crues, Challenger. Did not provide a statement.

Vernon F. Schabert, Incumbent. I've been fortunate enough to serve you on the Democratic Central Committee for the past four years, and as your Chair for the past six months. I've led voter registration efforts to help the new City of Goleta, recruited Democratic candidates for local offices, and pounded the pavement for many local campaigns. I was a co-founder of the Democratic Service Club, and I serve as its treasurer. Together, we've added 300 new volunteers and 7,000 new voters to fight for Democrats in the past year alone. We've added Democrats to the Santa Barbara City Council and improved media visibility for Democratic causes. I hope to continue improving our North County strength so that all county Democrats have their voices heard. Learn more about me here, including my endorsement by the Democratic League, and please vote for me on March 2nd.

Daraka Larimore-Hall, Challenger. My name is Daraka Larimore-Hall. I grew up here in Santa Barbara, and am a third generation Democrat. My experience ranges from community and student organizing to political consulting in the US and Europe. On the DCC, I plan to work to build a strong bridge between the Democratic Party and our allies in labor and community organizations. I want to raise our profile -in between elections- so that people know where we stand and what we believe in. I am endorsed by my union, UAW Local 2865, Councilman Das Williams, and the Democratic League.

Cynthia Thurber, Appointed Incumbent. Democrats in SB continue to be affected by the "dirty politics" practiced by local Democratic leaders who undermine and disrespect candidates, not help them. The SBCDCC has been victim to this leadership that divides Democrats. Ms. Thurber will work to eliminate this negative influence, to unify and protect our community, oppose the County split, eliminate the current Bush regime, and, to protect "Choice". Ms. Thurber serves on the Board of SB Women's Political Committee, and is a Commissioner on the SBC Commission on Women (appointed by Supervisor Schwartz). She was a board member of Democratic Women of SB and Hadassah. Endorsements include Mayor Blum, Councilmember Falcone, Councilmember Williams, former Councilmember Folayemi, Lessie Nixon & Gordon Schontzler, Ghita Ginberg, Susan Jordan (Planning Commissioner), Henry Kramer, Sharon Hoshida (Pres. SBWPC), Alissa Hummer, Nancy Koppelman, Kathleen Modugno, Yvette Andrade (past pres. SBCDCC and Chair, Chicano-Latino State Democratic Caucus), partial list.

Henry P. Kramer, Incumbent. Over ten years on Democratic Central Committee. 45 year resident of First District. Organized successful Gore campaign in 2000. Organized Annual Fiesta Party for Democratic Central Committee for ten years. Honored by DCC 2003 and commended by Congresswoman Lois Capps, Assembly member Hannah-Beth Jackson, Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, Mayor Marty Blum. Retired from career as scientist/inventor/businessman. PhD, Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley. When re-elected to Central Committee, will continue to work for representative democracy to benefit the people of Santa Barbara County.

Pamela Boehr, Incumbent. As a fourth generation Santa Barbaran I have a long and proud history of community service and involvement. My friends in the First District know me well. They know that as a native Santa Barbaran I am rooted in the community and I plan to remain here. Perhaps they have met me through my involvement as a Board member with the Alzheimer’s Association of Santa Barbara, as a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, as a member of Teamsters Union Local No. 186, or as a Board member of the Santa Barbara League of Women Voters. After spending time over many years helping to work to elect Democrats I welcome the opportunity to be a candidate for re-election. I have a well-established history in local Democratic politics. I served for many years as a Board member with Democratic Women, and was the County Coordinator of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Fan Club. My endorsements include Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, Region 10 Director of the California Democratic Party, Bob Handy, and the Santa Barbara Democratic League.

Jason Dominguez, Challenger.
-COMMITTED to service/grass roots background: successfully organized voters to defeat commercial development in a residential neighborhood, organized voter registration project, routinely support local candidates with precinct walking and phonebanking.
-SKILLED: Much experience running voter registration programs, recruiting candidates for office, and managing campaigns.
-GOALS: increase the visibility of the Democratic Party in the County, increase DEMOCRATIC registration and recruit great candidates for public office.

Nancy Miller, Challenger. Did not provide a statement.

Thursday, February 26, 2004
Don't blame me, I voted for Cruz. This morning, in a fit of especially muddled and cloudy thinking, the News-Press managed to endorse further debt financing for the state while mindlessly attacking anyone who might dare suggest a more reasonable solution.

They write, "Have Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson and any of her like-minded colleagues ever seen a tax they don't like?" This kind of knee-jerk, inflammatory, irresponsible and simplistic anti-tax blathering is fine for grumbling about over a beer but it doesn't belong on the editorial page of a well-read community newspaper. Yes, government taxes, and yes, it spends. That's what it's for, and our society is better because of it. Government isn't some arbitrary burden, it's the engine of growth, security and protection. Somehow over the past 30 years we seem to have forgotten these basic civics lessons.

The News-Press claims we should be looking for the oft-mentioned but never identified "fraud, waste and abuse." This is a dodge, plain and simple. The most optimistic estimates I've seen for this are a billion, maybe $1.5 - actually, the Governor's own campaign materials pegged at $250 mil.

At the end of the 90s, we lifted this state out of the education spending abyss. Now the economy is in the bottom of the business cycle and stuck there because Schwarzenegger lacks the cajones to balance the budget honestly. The interest on this sucker is going to cost Californians more than $2000 per family, according to State Treasurer Phil Angelides. This is not the answer.

Back to Economics 101: Raising taxes in the face of giant deficits will not cause giant cracks in the earth to open up. Bond financing is corporate welfare for bankers. Real, sustainable growth doesn't come from cutting taxes and racing to the bottom, it comes from investing in people and increasing wages. The News-Press and the Governor need to figure this out. In the latter case at least, the state hangs in the balance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Neighborhood meetings going on this week. The Democratic Service Club ground organization is having meetings this week. Here are the lowdowns and the contact information...
>> Upper Eastside...Tuesday
Tuesday Feb 24 at 7:30 pm.
Neighborhood meeting on the Upper Eastside
hosted by Melinda Hellyer
1805 Grand Avenue, Cottage E
Please RSVP to or 452-3003.

>> Montecito...Tuesday
Tuesday Feb 24 at 7:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting in Montecito hosted by
Mary Ann Weiss at 1841 San Leandro Lane.
Please RSVP to or 969-5177.

>> Downtwon...Tuesday
Tuesday Feb 24 at 6:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting Downtown
hosted by Daraka Larimore-Hall.
Please RSVP to

>> Eastside...Wednesday
Wednesday Feb 25 at 6:30 pm
Neighborhood meeting on the Eastside hosted by
Lynn Stadler
410 E. Anapamu Street in Santa Barabara
Please RSVP to or 963-3175.

>> Mesa...Wednesday
Wednesday Feb 25 at 7:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting on the Mesa hosted by
Sandra Nash at 122 San Nicholas.
Please RSVP to or 884-9597.

>> Mission Canyon...Thursday
Thursday Feb 26 at 7:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting in Mission Canyon hosted
by Leslie Steinmetz at 2801 Ben Lomond Drive.
Please RSVP to 687-5031.

>> Lower Westside...Friday
Friday Feb 27 at 6:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting on the Lower Westside
hosted by Nancy Miller at 711 W. Ortega St., #9.
Please RSVP to or 962-4008.

>> Lower Eastside...Friday
Friday Feb 27 at 7:00 pm.
Neighborhood meeting on the Lower Eastside
hosted by Tom Bain
Eastside Library, 1102 E. Montecito.
Please RSVP to or 886-9098.

Will special sauce now be counted as a durable good? asks Representative Dingell.

Friday, February 20, 2004
Yes, yes, yes on 56! One of the frustrating things about the News-Press editorial page is that they sometimes seem to not read their own paper. Yesterday, they offered up two arguments against Proposition 56. First, with no additional comment, they rely on the "it'll raise taxes" propaganda being churned out by the hysterical anti-tax lobby, and then, bizarrely, they state that this will somehow decrease bipartisan consensus. Since when has "cooperation" been defined as leaving the budget in the hands of a couple of right-wing extremists? The Assembly won't raise taxes unnecessarily because they value their jobs; there's no need for a few extremists to hold up the budget at gunpoint. Somewhat tangentially, they also brought up de-gerrymandering, which we do need, although not as bad as some states do.

Thursday, February 19, 2004
A quote, in tribute to finally-indicted G.W. Bush crony and Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling, from Kevin Phillips' Wealth and Democracy:

I could be wrong, but reading some Q&A about recent job creation in the transcript of yesterday's White House press briefing, it almost sounds like the WH press corps has re-located their spines and is asking real questions again. Neat!

Lost in the shuffle of the end of the Dean campaign has been the Union of Concerened Scientist's new report on the Bush adminstration's wholesale disregard for science. Turns out there's a nice local angle to this, too: UCSB physics prof and Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn was among the 62 scientists that signed the report.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Jay Rosen's PressThink: Nine Story Lines in a New Campaign Narrative - this is fascinating stuff. It seems like a lot of the journalists I've talked to recently are grappling with just how feeble the "winning is all that matters" master narrative really is. Rosen outlines the first concrete ideas I've seen for moving past that and really reflecting what it's like to be involved now.

Monday, February 16, 2004
Curious about which judges to vote for? The SB Independent has an article about the folks who are running up on their (recently redesigned) website. The only one I've met so far is Mr. Andrade, who I was impressed enough by at a neighborhood meeting a few weeks ago that I've been bringing his literature along and talking about him when I walk precincts.

Friday, February 13, 2004
I've been neglecting posting here a bit - I and the other authors are all pretty head down in campaigning right now. The local Dean campaign is still going strong despite the bad news nationally - we're definitely looking ahead at what might come next. There are a lot of important races going on locally, so if you've been thinking of getting involved, now is an excellent time. I walked Wednesday & Thursday this week and there seems to be an overall high level of interest in this election, which always makes it fun. Regardless of who you might be campaigning for, think about adding something into your rap about Yes on 56 - it's the only budget related proposition that I feel like has a shot at fixing things.

Friday, February 06, 2004
There's a fun and important story in today's News-Press about how the "gloves are coming off" (subscription required) in the race for 3rd district county supervisor. One of the ongoing problems with American politics is that voters too often perceive any kind of factual comparison, or even just the drawing of distinctions between the candidates, as "negative." This is hogwash: making those distinctions is exactly what politics is about!

Which isn't to say that there aren't lines out there that shouldn't be crossed. Ad hominem attacks and trying to pin things on someone that they had nothing to do with are distractionary tactics. Mr. Firestone's piece is right about one thing: we do have divisive politics in this county. The problem is the implication that that's a bad thing (and even more problematic is the suggestion that Mr. Buttny has something to do with this, which is ridiculous). The "divisive" politics here are a sign of a healthy and functioning democracy. County residents take up issues, aren't shy about getting involved and like to elect folks who they know will fight hard too. Mr. Firestone should explain why he thinks that's anything other than one of the best parts about living here.

The comparison being drawn here then is how quickly someone stood up for the pledge of allegiance at a meeting two years ago, versus a decade-long voting record that's massively out of step with most county resident's views. Voters of the third district have the opportunity a few Tuesday's from now to state clearly that no, they don't want cuts in education, more assault weapons, dirtier water and air and rows of mansions on the Gaviota coast. The gloves are off, and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Salud Carbajal and John Buttny for Supervisor! Today, the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee officially announced its endorsement of Salud Carbajal for 1st District Supervisor and John Buttny for 3rd District Supervisor. I made the announcement at a joint press conference with several other Democratic, environmental, labor, and progressive groups. A copy of my remarks appears below:

Hello, my name is Vernon Schabert, and I’m the Chair of your county Democratic Party.

I’m joined by some of our members. We’re delighted to be here with you today to share our support for, and announce our endorsement of, Salud Carbajal for 1st District Supervisor and John Buttny for 3rd District Supervisor.

Salud Carbajal and John Buttny are committed to preserving the two treasures that make this county so wonderful: our environment and our people.

Some will tell you that protecting our local environment must come at the expense of our local agriculture. Don’t believe them for a minute! Like Thomas Jefferson, both Salud Carbajal and John Buttny understand that farmers and ranchers are our first environmentalists. Both will work to preserve and promote profitable agriculture in our county.

Salud Carbajal worked to maximize public input to plans in Toro Canyon and Carpinteria that preserved agricultural land from residential and other non-ag encroachment. John Buttny is an avid supporter of urban agriculture, and he has criticized practices that have previously threatened agricultural land in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Salud Carbajal and John Buttny are also committed to making your county government work for you. Salud has recommended that every county department have a customer service plan. Both candidates are committed to improving customer relations by county staff that have previously exacerbated local planning and development tensions.

Some will tell you that these elections are a referendum on the county split, and that a vote for other candidates is a vote to keep the county whole. Don’t believe them for a minute! The candidates who have made this claim most aggressively have already engaged in the kind of dirty campaigning that has divided our county, not brought it together.

Salud Carbajal is a neighbor of mine. I can assure you that wherever you live in the county, both Salud Carbajal and John Buttny will also be a neighbor of yours. They’ll listen to you and work with all county residents to make Santa Barbara County an even better place to live.

Monday, February 02, 2004
Warning, this is depressing. One of the most patently offensive aspects of the whole state budget crisis is the amount of money we send to the feds vs. what we get back: for every $1 the IRS collects from California, we get 73 cents. As it turns out, this is a much bigger and more structural problem than just that. Free Agent Nation author & Gore speechwriter Daniel Pink had an op-ed in the NYT over the wekend, and Nick Confessore has an interesting take on this aspect of "free-lunch conservativsm" at the Am. Prospect's Tapped blog. Bush (and Schwarzenegger, for that matter) can run deficits or float bonds as far as they want because they know that as long as under 30s stay sufficiently preoccupied by bread, circuses and wardrobe malfunctions, there will be exactly zero political ramifcations for their actions. Oof.

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