Op-Ed: Money in Local Politics

By Roseanne Crawford

Money in politics has been something we have seen for too long, and the results have been
devastating. The 1st District Supervisor race pits incumbent Das Williams against challenger
Roy Lee.

Williams, with substantial campaign funds, has continued to accept financial contributions from the cannabis industry, despite the ethical concerns highlighted by the 2020 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report.

In 2019, Supervisor Williams pledged to stop accepting campaign funds from cannabis operators amid criticism over his conflict of interest in creating the county’s cannabis regulations. Sadly, but not surprisingly, he has since broken this promise. Recent campaign disclosures have shown a predictable reversal, with Williams receiving several contributions from cannabis-related entities, including a $5,000 donation from a Carpinteria cannabis grower.

This reversal is not just a question of campaign finance; it strikes at the heart of integrity, honesty, and the trust we place in our elected officials. Williams’s backtrack from his promise represents a profound breach of trust, highlighting a critical need for leaders who are steadfast in their commitments and place the community’s well-being at the forefront.

The core issue of this campaign transcends monetary contributions; it centers on integrity and character. The choice is stark when there is a career politician who has backtracked on his promises
and misled his constituents, as evidenced by lingering frustrations in Montecito over the removal
of critical safety ring nets post-mudslide.

As voters, we must demand our resources are utilized judiciously, not squandered on repaying
contributions or serving special interests. With ballots now distributed, we face a decision by March 5th: to opt for leadership and representation that genuinely reflect our values and aspirations. Make your voice heard by mailing your ballot or delivering it to the Santa Barbara elections offices by March 5th.

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    • That’s a simplified response. IMO, party affiliation should not matter when it comes to local politics. The candidates should be judged/praised on their track record, the issues they advocate for, and how they vote. Das has been in politics for a long time and it shows. He’s problematic on a personal level and has made some very poor voting choices, and it’s time to get someone new in there.

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