February 26, 2004 - Contact the Candidates
Election day is coming. On March 3rd, two of the five Santa Barbara County districts will elect a new representative to the Board of Supervisors. The candidates for these positions have campaigns, endorsements, and web sites. And, in the name of accessible democracy, all the web sites provide ways for constituents to communicate with the candidate or the campaign. For the record, the website addresses are
This week the dedicated staff of edhat.com wanted to see if the candidates are responsive to public inquiries. On Monday at noon we sent a message to each candidate from their website. Carbajal, Gostovich, and Buttny simply had an email address. Contacting Firestone was through an online form. The message we sent was as follows:
“I am a voter in the xxxx district. I would like to know more about the candidates. Can you tell me what Mr. xxxxx's schedule will be for the next week so I can have a chance to hear him, meet him, and ask him questions.”
We sent out the four emails and waited for a response. The sun went down on Monday and rose again on Tuesday, but no one responded. On Tuesday afternoon, when it seemed pretty clear that no one would ever answer, we decided to pick up the phone and dial the numbers on their web site.
Gostovich does not have a phone number on his site, so we couldn’t call him.
First, we called Firestone.
“Hello” a woman said in an I’ve-got-my-lunch-in-the-microwave-so-you’d-better-make-it-quick kind of tone. Once we ascertained that we did in fact reach the campaign, she was able to tell us that Brooks Firestone would be at two coffee/wine gatherings in Goleta this week.
Wednesday (7:00 to 8:30) 280 King Daniel Lane, Goleta
Thursday (7:00 to 8:30) 6285 Avenida Ganso, Goleta
Next, we called Buttny.
“Campaign” said the woman answering the phone. We were then told that Buttny was manning a booth in front of the UCEN at UCSB every day from noon to 2:00. He also will be at Corwin Pavilion on Wed at 7:00 and on Friday, he and Firestone will be the live entertainment for a Political Science class at 10:00pm in Campbell Hall, public welcome.
Next we called Carbajal.
It was Salud himself, answering the phone. He told us that he had time to talk … he was just “taking out the garbage”. He said that there were not any public forums until the 29th and he would have someone call us about it. While we had him on the phone we thought we would take our best shot at grilling him on his political views. He was quite courteous and seemed in no hurry to get rid of us. We even asked him if he knew where the photo of the oil platform was taken. He told us that the Lois Capps campaign sent it out, so we would have to ask them.
So, using the phone we were able to answer our questions. But, as we put this story to rest, our email box is still empty.
In our contest, our subscribers selected Firestone as the most likely to return our email first. But, even though our subscribers had the option to choose “no responses”, no one chose it. And therefore … there is no winner. Some would say the same thing of politics in general.
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