Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon title=
Barrett Reed (courtesy photo)
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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

Developer and District 4 challenger Barrett Reed this week skewered incumbent City Council rival Kristen Sneddon as vacillating and indecisive on key policies - while also blaming her for a bizarre City Hall investigation involving the religious affiliation of transportation czar Rob Dayton.

In response to questions, Reed also acknowledged that he did not vote in the 2017 municipal election, or in three other recent citywide elections, saying that, "at times I felt disconnected from local government."

The campaign in District 4, which includes the Riviera, San Roque, Eucalyptus Hill and several other neighborhoods, to date is the only contested council race on the all-mail ballot for the Nov. 3 election, aside from the contest for mayor, which has drawn three challengers to incumbent Cathy Murillo. The interview comments by Reed, who serves on the Planning Commission, represent his most extensive and detailed critique of Sneddon so far, and set the stage for a bruising and expensive battle in coming months.

Asked specifically why he believes Sneddon should not be re-elected to a second term, he answered: "I would say inconsistency."

"It's not an uncommon thing to see Ms. Sneddon take one position and flip to another. It’s confusing and it’s hard to track," the 36-year old downtown and Funk Zone developer said. "The residents of District 4 and our whole city deserve a more consistent style of leadership."

At one point, Reed also accused Sneddon of being the source of a secret Human Resources investigation at City Hall involving transportation czar Rob Dayton, a simmering intrigue reported on this week by Josh Molina at Noozhawk and by Nick Welsh in the Independent, charging that she had "attacked Rob Dayton's religion."

"A lot of these controversies, this Rob Dayton issue, it’s stemming out of council members -- a council member in particular," Reed said. "With all the issues we have in our city...how can you be effective in that when you’re out attacking someone’s religious beliefs?"

Asked which council member he was referring to, Reed replied: "It's my opponent Kristen Sneddon."

In an email response to Reed's allegations, printed below in full, Sneddon said she is "surprised by the amount of misinformation my opponent is spreading, including descriptions of conversations that never happened, and references to votes and agenda items that are verifiably mischaracterized."

"I am a consistent, transparent and reliable voice on what matters to the residents of District 4 --- improving our fire safety, protecting our water supplies, investing in our roads and critical infrastructure, protecting our hillside residents from over-development, and supporting increased funding for public safety," she said.

Sneddon strongly rejected his portrayal of her role in the murky Dayton affair: "As to matters of faith, I have a deep and abiding respect for those who live and lead by their values."

It's on.

Here is a look at campaign controversies arising from the interview:

Inconsistency vs backroom deals. In painting Sneddon as inconstant in her stances on crucial policies, Reed cited four issues: the city's pro-union Project Labor Agreement; tenant relocation; an affordable housing project on De La Vina Street and reforming the Community Development Department.

In each case, the challenger alleged, the incumbent substantively switched her position at some point, which he charged was "probably based on outside pressures" from stakeholders in the policy conflict.

He was most detailed on the Community Development matter, saying that Sneddon had backed off support for certain proposed regulatory changes to streamline permitting which he strongly supported; he claimed her move surprised him because he had spoken privately with her about the proposed changes.

"I had private conversations with Kristen in particular to make sure we were on the same page and we were, in that work effort," Reed said. "And when it came to council, she was a 'no.'"

However, Sneddon said that so such conversations between the two ever took place; in fact, she told Newsmakers, she only ever has had a single conversation with Reed -- when he sought her vote for his appointment to Planning Commission in 2019, which she provided.

In cases where her positions may have shifted, she said, it was because of additional information, contrasting her interest in what residents or interested parties say in testimony at hearings or in public comment with that of some colleagues.

"My job requires listening to my constituents and all residents of our City, talking to experts and asking difficult questions," she said. "I believe in the power of public comment and public engagement, and I make my decisions based on this input, not backroom deals."

Religious persecution and employment rights. The Rob Dayton matter focuses on the transportation czar's leadership of an organization called "Believer's Edge." a men's Christian group whose mission is to "share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with as many men as possible...helping them to influence the culture of Government, Arts, Media and Education within our communities."

No one at City Hall is talking publicly about the Human Resources investigation now going on, but it is known that Dayton is on paid administrative leave, granted by outgoing City Administrator Paul Casey; there are various reports that a) a council member or members asked City Attorney Ariel Callone confidentially whether the group's commitment to bringing religion into "the culture of Government" represented a violation of church-state restrictions; b) Dayton complained that he was denied promotions because of a whispering campaign about his beliefs.

In our interview, Reed laid the entire matter at Sneddon's door.

"It concerns me, it should concern everybody," he said. "We can't afford these distractions. Our leaders need to be focused on the issues, and from my experience with Rob Dayton, a lot of people's experience with Rob Dayton, he's not the issue."

Reed also denied that he is a member of Believer's Edge -- "I'm not in that organization, it's not a group I've followed, it's not a group I'm part of" -- and accused Sneddon of being behind rumors that he is.

"Even though I'm not part of (Believers Edge), she's trying to bring me into it as well, and it's unfortunate and it's a mess and it's an avoidable mess."

Sneddon noted that she is prohibited by law from discussing confidential city employment matters.

"I have clearly appointed, voted for, endorsed, and supported leaders who live by faith and (I) find it disturbing and completely inappropriate that an individual staff member would be named in this forum," she said.

The missed elections. According to a copy of his voter file from the county elections office, Reed has participated in every even-year, state and national election since first registering in 2003 -- but has failed to vote in a series of citywide elections -- in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017.

When first asked why he hadn't voted locally, Reed expressed puzzlement, suggesting a possible mix-up tied to his changing his voter registration from Republican to Decline-to-State last year.

After the interview, however, he sent a follow-up email taking responsibility for not voting.

"Like many residents, at times I felt disconnected from local government," he wrote. "Now, as a business owner and father, I'm running to inspire residents to get involved and elect leaders to make the change our city needs."

In the wide-ranging interview, Reed also spoke expansively of his views on homelessness, housing, crime, Project Labor Agreements and his concerns that defund-the-police advocates associated with the Black Lives Matter movement not reduce the budget for the SBPD, among other matters.

Check out our full conversation with. Barrett Reed via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

Here is the statement sent us by Kristen Sneddon in response to Reed's comments:

"I am surprised by the amount of misinformation my opponent is spreading, including descriptions of conversations that never happened, and references to votes and agenda items that are verifiably mischaracterized.

"I am a consistent, transparent and reliable voice on what matters to the residents of District 4 --- improving our fire safety, protecting our water supplies, investing in our roads and critical infrastructure, protecting our hillside residents from over-development, and supporting increased funding for public safety. I’ve been front and center on actions to improve the permitting process between the City’s Community Development Department and local business leaders.

"My job requires listening to my constituents and all residents of our City, talking to experts and asking difficult questions. I believe in the power of public comment and public engagement, and I make my decisions based on this input, not backroom deals."

"As to matters of faith, I have a deep and abiding respect for those who live and lead by their values. I have clearly appointed, voted for, endorsed, and supported leaders who live by faith and find it disturbing and completely inappropriate that an individual staff member would be named in this forum."
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a-1627065539 Jul 23, 2021 11:38 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

“He was most detailed on the Community Development matter, saying that Sneddon had backed off support for certain proposed regulatory changes to streamline permitting which he strongly supported; he claimed her move surprised him because he had spoken privately with her about the proposed changes.
I had private conversations with Kristen in particular to make sure we were on the same page and we were, in that work effort," Reed said. "And when it came to council, she was a 'no.'"
He says he is not for back room deals, yet here is a developer & Planning Commissioner discussing streamlining permitting behind closed doors with an elected official to “make sure they were on the same page” Seems a little bit fishy. How do you elect a person to a city council seat who hasn’t even bothered to vote until recently? Lastly, we don’t need another planning commissioner on the city council.

RHS Jul 23, 2021 11:39 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

I have found Sneddon to be a remarkably independent voice on a council that too often follows what other interest groups push. Reed criticizes Sneddon for allegedly being beholden to back room deals and then complains that the personal/backroom deal he thought he made with her about permitting wasn't done! In this election Reed represents just another attack on the public interest by developers who are trying to gain control of the city council and mayors office so their profiteering can continue. While I cannot vote against Reed as I don't live in that district, I can speak out about his cheap shots against Sneddon.

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 11:56 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

"by Josh Molina at Noozhawk and by Nick Welsh in the Independent" -- both of these links go to the Nick Welsh piece. The correct Noozhawk link is https://www.noozhawk.com/article/rob_dayton_absence_vexes_santa_barbara_city_hall_20210720

fitz Jul 23, 2021 12:14 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Sneddon is by far the best councilmember up there. She certainly does her homework, she is very good to respond to her constituents, and she is obviously very smart. Her knowledge of zoning and planning policies, etc. makes her a key decision-maker. Meagan Harmon hopefully will have some competition in her district as she is very much the politician on the make and I don't see the depth of research needed on some of these complex issues. She might just have too much on her plate; at least that is how she comes across sometimes. She came in with no local experience and very little history in SB, or anywhere else for that matter. Eric F. is ok. At least he knows the city and has some history here, due to his prior work with Salud.

Bird Jul 23, 2021 01:15 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Right on the mark about Harmon. It is shocking that a councilmember up for re-election (or in her case, first time election) should get appointed to the State Street Advisory Committee. The combination of her plus uber-bureaucrat friend Dave Davis is very unfortunate.

a-1627073694 Jul 23, 2021 01:54 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

The real crime is the way the DCC endorsed Mayor, Harmon, O Gutierrez supported Hilary Blackerby on the State St advisory committee. Blackerby is a party hack whose sole claim to fame is she married the disavowed former party chair. Political payback is all that appointment is. Blackerby has no skills or talent that would warrant putting her on the committee that's supposed to envision downtown's future.

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 02:10 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Hillary has extensive relevant experience: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hillary-blackerby-b88105ab/ ... and I don't know how she can be famous for a secret marriage that only you know about.

a-1627076516 Jul 23, 2021 02:41 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Not sure why you feel the need to bring up Hillary, but since you did. She's worked in local politics for a LONG time and is highly educated and informed. Saying she only got a position based on her partner's political standing, when she herself worked hard for and earned it, is blatantly sexist. Shame on you.

a-1627110473 Jul 24, 2021 12:07 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

I brought her up because it's straight payola by Cathy, Oscar, and Megan - Dem party stooges. Hillary is a heavyweight (and a bit of a bully) on the Dem Central Committee. They control the gate for candidates who get in front of you. So nominating and voting for her was payback for DCC endorsements for Cathy, Oscar and Megan. Hillary is not a downtown business owner, not the target market for their offerings, and has no credible vision or experience that would warrant her being placed on this committee....other than payback for endorsing those City Council members and the awful mayor. That's not sexist, and I'm a girl, btw. It's calling a political payback out for what it is.

a-1627068388 Jul 23, 2021 12:26 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

There is so much worrisome stuff in this interview. Kudos to Jerry for ferreting so much out. Like not voting in city elections. Seriously???? You're running against Kristen because she didn't do your backroom deal like you wanted? He's right the city leadership is reactive. But his answer? "I haven't talked to staff about this..." THAT is the problem right there: the mayor and current council defer to staff on everything, rather than leading. Barrett would apparently do the same thing, 'let me ask staff...' Staff is not equipped to fight off climate change and extreme weather, they never knew how to solve homelessness, and they clearly don't know how to do economic development...all the major problems here! It's bad enough that the mayor is so awful in this job, but the council is also too junior in their public policy chops to do their jobs. So they're kicking everything to staff to figure out, and staff seems to be heading for the door. The city manager, police chief, finance head (sexual harassment scandal) and now the Transportation Manager Rob Dayton. Reed was in that same Christian men's group with Dayton - think it's any coincidence he's running now?

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 12:57 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

"Reed was in that same Christian men's group with Dayton " -- evidence? He explicitly says above that he wasn't. I have lots of problems with Reed and would never vote for him, but I have a lot of problems with your rhetoric as well.

Babycakes Jul 23, 2021 12:58 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

No one cares that Sneddon went after Dayton because she felt threatened by his Christian values. What she did was questionable, but probably not illegal. She will win in a landslide even if she is not the "best" choice.

Bird Jul 23, 2021 01:26 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Totally laughable and unlikely if not defamatory that Sneddon is "threatened" by Dayton's Christian values! Especially gross coming from someone who didn't bother to vote in city elections until he saw it to his own $-benefit to do so.

She's been an outstanding councilperson, independent-thinking, in the model of one who is not in it for own pocketbook --- she has a career outside of government and yet is willing to work for the better good of all the city, including her own district. Living in another district, one where Reed lived not too long ago, I wish I could vote for her.

Bird Jul 23, 2021 01:29 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

correction: it is apparent that Reed did not say she was threatened by Dayton's values; nor, fwiw, has it been that Sneddon has been anything but supportive of Dayton in his professional, city capacity and work.

Babycakes Jul 23, 2021 01:36 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Then why does Sneddon and/or her handlers feel the need to sanction "hit" pieces? No doubt she's going to win, so it makes no sense to me that she'd lower herself in the eyes of the public to go after her challenger this way. There does not seem to be any upside to her coming across to some of us as a bully.

a-1627075778 Jul 23, 2021 02:29 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

I'm around the same age as Barrett and by watching this interview, he comes across as immature and on the attack. Plus he lied about his voting record and contradicted himself. Sneddon is a standup person, she and Alejandra are two of the only council members worth keeping

Byzantium Jul 23, 2021 03:12 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Sneddon lies if she claims she listens to constituents. She does not. Not even an acknowledgement, let along any other form of responsive action. She must have an extremely narrow view of her "constituents" - pure party line all the way. Which is not good enough for the diversity built into her district. She brings nothing to the table, other than more of the same failures that got us into this current dysfunctional mess: fiscal, blight, crime, and ineffectual, tax dollar-draining administrative bloat.

Byzantium Jul 23, 2021 03:21 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Don't complain about the destructive machine politics that have ruined this town, if you are already passively assuming "Sneddon will win". Why? Because she is the machine choice? Serves you right then. District election outcomes can be changed by a sound new majority of voters. It does not have to be a massive vote to defeat Sneddon and the machine. Just 50% plus one. It is time to make this change.. Don't roll over so easily the the machine and even more machine. This entire system needs fresh new voices coming from a much wider input than more local machine politics - haven't two decades of the same deadly and self-serving political machine been enough? How did they con you into thinking theirs is the one true way in this town when they have only a huge expense/revenue imbalance to show for their two decades of machine politics, and have passed on huge debt to future taxpayers while leaving city infrastructure to become the budget orphan. On that one ground alone, throw out all incumbents is plenty good enough. Don't let them do even more of this to us. The machine is well-oiled and the local media is in their laps. I grant you that, but district elections is where things get down to rubber on the road. Time for change. The machine has sputtered to a screeching halt. Don't feed it. Don't give it another start.

ChillinGrillin Jul 23, 2021 09:31 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Byzantium, why do you think the machine survives? It’s not like people are ecstatic about non-entities like Murillo. It’s that the alternatives are so much more ridiculous, ignorant and downright terrible at doing their job. I mean, what’s the conservative alternative? Professional idiot Peter Adam? This loser robot developer? The incoherent people screaming about 5G and vaccine conspiracies? It’s tragic that the party of Reagan became the party of braindead sore losers.

Alexblue Jul 23, 2021 03:42 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

So a guy who can't be bothered to vote wants people to bother to vote for him.

Uh-huh.

Bro, seriously, if you can't even participate in your community government at literally the most basic level then why should anyone think you are motivated to give back to your community.

OAITW Jul 23, 2021 04:55 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

This is an open challenge to candidates Kristin Sneddon and Barrett Reed to respond to what this constituent sees as the biggest threat to the district that you want to represent. District 4 is overwhelmingly single family zoned neighborhoods. In 2016 the state legislature, with the help of our local representatives Das Williams and Hannah Beth Jackson, voted to do away with single family zoning by passing a bill allowing ADUs in all zones with no local control. It was alleged by these politicians at the time that it was necessary due to an extreme housing crisis in California and not from the corrupt influence of the real estate and development industry. Well it has now been shown conclusively by the 2020 US Census that there is no housing crisis. As a matter of fact, California has lost so much population that we will have one fewer representatives in Congress. Kristin Sneddon states in her response, “protecting our hillside residents from over-development” as one of her goals. So I guess she’s fine with doubling the population in all the neighborhoods south of Foothill, because of course all of her big donors can afford to live north of Foothill. Barrett Reed states on his campaign website “State housing policy can be a threat to our special community. I will fight to preserve single-family neighborhoods and maintain our city’s local control”. As a developer, how does he plan to convince the voters that he has a solution and is not part of the problem. So I challenge both of these candidates to openly state that they will pass a local ordinance stating that the City of Santa Barbara will not comply with the state mandate on ADUs and will start the process of rolling back the existing ADUs.

Bird Jul 23, 2021 05:08 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Better to ask for an advisory vote on whether there should be ADUs or not. The ADU law is popular with many, many Santa Barbarans, looking to provide a granny flat for, uh, granny, and to make a little money on the side while providing lower cost housing. Both Reed and Sneddon very likely support it. Besides which, a city ordinance saying the city would not observe state law would be about as useful as would have been standing up against the district election law that is helping ruin Santa Barbara with representatives, such as A. Gutierrez, who think first and near only about her district. Sneddon and Friedman, too, see the larger picture, as well.

Byzantium Jul 23, 2021 11:32 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

ADU numbers are pretty stagnant one people learn what it means to be a landlord. Nor did it legalize all the illegal units already in large numbers in this town - the underground rental market that never shows up, when asked to account for housing unit statistics, to our great detriment. There is plenty of "affordable" housing in this underground network -and both parties are smart enough to stay out court and be good tenants.

JG_in_SB Jul 25, 2021 09:48 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

"Better to ask for an advisory vote on whether there should be ADUs or not."

That's a great idea! And next our Council can have an advisory vote on whether or not we should continue to allow gravity and the laws of physics to affect things in Santa Barbara. We should also outlaw cancer while we are at it. And how about an ordinance that ensures every citizen of SB gets a FREE DESERT whenever they eat out!!!!

ADU law comes from the State. SB is obligated to comply with it. Virtue-signaling votes by Council, or any specific Councilmember, are a waste of time. Our community would be much better served if our Councilmembers focus on ways that we can provide housing, and then support housing projects when the NIMBY's show up to defeat the proposals.

Some other commenter said "Real Estate Developers are the opposite of Public Servants." Well, it's the Real Estate Developers, who can deliver lots of housing units downtown, that will ultimately take the pressure off your white-picket-fenced enclaves. That's sort of a public service isn't it?

a-1627250863 Jul 25, 2021 03:07 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Sorry to report this, but the ADU law, passed in 2018, is a state law that overrides local control, quite deliberately. The intention was absolutely to remove control from local electeds in regards to what gets built. This year's bad spate of bills, including Senate Bills 9 and 10, build on the ADU law to remove local controls in putting up 4 to 10 units per lot. Beating on local electeds over a state law is useless. You need to be paying attention to the state legislation trying to pass right now. The time to fight bad housing bills is NOW, not 3-4 years later. However, the public only usually finds out how bad the state housing bills are when the impacts begin to show 3-4 years out, like we're experiencing with the ADU law now. There was a big townhall on this back in May - you should find the video and learn what the state is up to.

a-1627252394 Jul 25, 2021 03:33 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Not true at all, Byz. The county has seen a huge surge in ADU applications. The city's process seems to take longer, opening them to potential lawsuit, since the intent of the state law was to skip a city's permitting and design review process and go straight to building permit.

a-1627252542 Jul 25, 2021 03:35 PM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

Where have you been? Sneddon came out strong, as did her neighborhood, 3 years ago, that ADUs should be prohibited in the high wildfire zones, which is a lot of her district. Cathy Murillo and Randy Rowse both turned to her and said, 'you need to eat ADUs in your district.' It's like 6 wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. They took a democratic vote, but it didn't turn out well for the sheep.

pxn Jul 25, 2021 10:36 AM
Challenger Barrett Reed States His Case Against Sneddon

reply to -- MARCELK 3 JUL 23, 2021 01:55 PM
Off topic. This has been discussed at length previously. (FWIW, there are other services but they offer much lower throughput rates.)

This is relevant to the election. Only article I found searching Edhat on Cox monopoly was from 2017 -- not much at length. Santa Barbara is being fleeced.

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