The most competitive races and measures on the Santa Barbara and Ventura primary ballot

It’s primary season! Voter materials have already arrived for those with vote-by-mail ballots, and election day is quickly approaching on Tuesday, June 5.

Santa Barbara June primaries

Here’s a look at some of some of the races and measures that’ll appear on local ballots for Santa Barbara County residents.

Santa Barbara city Westside district election

This election will fill a seat on Santa Barbara’s City Council left vacant when former Westside city councilmember Cathy Murillo took her new position as mayor. Only Westside residents in the 3rd District will have a say.

“We have a group of candidates who wouldn’t otherwise run if it weren’t for a district election,” says Noozhawk reporter Joshua Molina. “We’ve got three Mexican-American candidates, which is extraordinarily unusual for a city council election, and we’ve got an outlier of sorts — a 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College female student.”

The seat could act as the tipping vote for city-wide policies ranging on issues from affordable housing to accessory dwelling units and pension reform, says Molina, since many of these more partisan issues face a 3-3 tie by the current six council members.

santa barbara county sheriff’s race

Sheriff Bill Brown is up for re-election, but this time, two of his lieutenants are rising to challenge him.

Both Lieutenant Brian Olmstead and Eddie Hseu have criticized Brown on the issue of employee morale, saying he has created a system that expects employees to work overtime rather than recruiting more deputies to fill work shortages.

Both challengers are campaigning to boost morale, recruit more officers and address poor conditions within the jail.

While Olmstead emphasizes his good relationship with the County Board of Supervisors, Hsueh (the lone Democrat) stresses his track record training officers in crisis intervention, implicit bias, and interacting with people suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues.

Tune into Morning Edition this week as KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian sits down with each candidate.

Isla Vista community services district funding

Residents of the small UCSB-adjacent beachside community voted to create a local government called the Isla Vista Community Services District in 2016. But, they didn’t choose to fund it.

Now, voters are being asked to pass a funding measure to finance the IVCSD’s projects — again. Failure to approve a funding tax by 2023 will force the organization to expire.

For more on the IVCSD funding vote, check out the recent Independent article covering it.

Ventura June Primaries

Here’s a look at some of some of the most competitive races on the local ballots for Ventura County residents.

25th Congressional District election

The race to unseat incumbent Republican Steve Knight of Santa Clarita is being closely watched by both Democrats and Republicans.

The 25th Congressional District covers northern Los Angeles County as well as inland sections of Ventura County. It’s been held by a Republican since 1993, but that could change, according to Cal State Channel Islands political science professor Tim Allison.

“Steve Knight fits the district perfectly as it was composed about ten years ago,” said Allison. “But, the district has changed to a much more moderate one, and now you have a conservative stuck in an increasingly moderate district.”

Some credible Democratic candidates challenging him include Bryan Caforio, who seeks to once again oppose Congressman Knight after coming in a close second to him just two years ago, and new challenger Katie Hill, who denied Caforio the Democratic endorsement and has been out-raising Steve Knight in some quarters, according to Allison.

“It’s kind of the year of the woman,” said Allison. “It’s the MeToo moment, women are filing for office in record numbers and gaining traction in a lot of seats, and I think all of those factors are pretty helpful for Katie Hill.”

Democrat Jess Phoenix, a geologist, is getting support from those encouraging scientists to run for office.

“The fear of the Democratic side is that they’re gonna be beating each other up, and somebody’s going to emerge from the primary a little bruised, bloodied and broke,” says Allison.

Learn more about the 25th Congressional election in this KCRW feature.

ventura county 4th District Supervisor Seat

Peter Foy is not seeking re-election, and three very different candidates have emerged to take over his district seat.

Republican Mayor Bob Huber of Simi Valley has thrown his hat in the ring, as well as Democrat Bernardo Perez, a Ventura County Community College trustee.

And then there’s the wildcard candidate, Republican farmer Andy Waters.

“Andy Waters is trying to be the outsider, and has indicated that he has a lot of money that he’s willing to put into the race to buy name recognition,” said Allison. “That’s kind of how Peter Foy got elected.”

The least interesting races?

Two Santa Barbara County supervisor roles are being sought without competition. Both 5th District incumbent Steve Lavagnino and 2nd District candidate Gregg Hart are running unopposed.

There’s only one person running to replace Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, who’s not seeking re-election: Assistant Sheriff Bill Ayub. Businessman and sheriff hopeful Bruce Boyer is asking an appeals court to look into the constitutionality of a state law that requires sheriff candidates to be trained and experienced law enforcement officers, but so far hasn’t gotten much traction.

Other candidates running unopposed include Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido, Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks and Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stanley Mantooth

You can find all the candidates running for local offices in Ventura here, and Santa Barbara here.

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