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LWV League of Women Voters of California
Santa Barbara County, CA November 6, 2001 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for David "Dr. Dave" Bearman

Candidate for
Member of City Council; Proposed City of Goleta

This information is provided by the candidate

Santa Barbara County League of Conservation Voters

Goleta City Council Candidate Questionnaire

1) What issues do you intend to emphasize in your campaign for election as a member of the City Council for the proposed city of Goleta?

Experience, Fiscal Responsibility and Environmentalism.

A. My background

I have been involved in electoral politics for many years in the Goleta Valley and, although I am experienced enough to know better, I am still an idealist who believes that politics is a tool for improving humankind. In this specific campaign, I'm running in order to expose people to stimulating ideas aimed at maintaining and improving our quality of life. As you will see, this glittering generality encompasses positions on a great many issues on which we are in sync.

The foundation of my campaign is based on my long history of service to the community, advocacy and fiscal responsibility. I have over thirty years of experience as a physician and public health administrator, where my focus has been to increase access to demystified, humanistic health care for low- and moderate- income people, encourage healthy life styles through health education, and to work politically to fund such endeavors that improve quality of care. In my career, I have been very successful in bringing people and resources together to provide increased access to quality health services.

B. Quality of Life

If the city is affirmed, I want to see it become a model community that promotes social and environmental health. Well designed, walkable, low- and moderate- income housing, which preserves open space, provides recreation and safe sidewalks and streets illustrates my vision. I want to improve, not just maintain, our current quality of life, by using the many resources in our community.

C. Healthful Environment

I have consistently supported strong environmental policies. Protection of our environment is crucial to having a healthy life. The environmental policies that I endorse for the proposed City of Goleta include: proper mapping and protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, providing parks and recreational facilities, seek solutions to improve our air and water quality, limit citing of cell towers, zoning that promotes walking friendly neighborhoods with sufficient safe bikeways, and having communities where people feel safe from crime and discrimination. I support policies that encourage green design and building. We should seriously study the use of biomass, (such as hemp and refuse) to generate energy and look at the possible use of digester gas to power micro turbines. I will strive to have the city be an environmental model that maximizes the use of clean energy in city buildings and cars, policies that support mass transit, and a city that reuses, reduces, recycles, and promotes renewables at every opportunity. The city must also take public health principals into consideration. For example, a comprehensive plan for cell tower siting should be done now, to protect public health. This agenda will require the community to work together creatively and cooperatively. I am committed to engaging the government, businesses, community groups and individuals to collaborate on these priorities

D. Criminal Justice

We need to give high priority to domestic violence and other crimes of violence. Graffiti abatement is an important esthetic issue. We need an interim medicinal cannabis ordinance, so we don't waste criminal justice resources arresting ill people. We don't need to shatter people's lives over use of alternative and complementary medicine. We need to utilize the contract for police services to emphasize policing that promotes community and respects diversity.

E. Administrative Skills

Because the proposed city is woefully under-funded and fiscally challenged, my experience as a physician, a health care administrator and elected official, who has worked successfully to provide services within the resources available, will be a strong asset to the fledgling city (Please see attached page for a summary of my experience.)

2) What is your position on the current Goleta incorporation proposal? Do you advocate a vote for it or against it? Why? What is your assessment of the finances of the proposed city?

As co-chair of No on H2001, I am advocating a no vote and will vote against this proposal for a myriad of reasons First as I have repeatedly said, (and wrote in a News-Press Op-Ed piece), I strongly support real urban government for Goleta. This proposal, in the words of one of its strong supporters, is a simple city which will provide no new services. I favor municipal government for urban areas and this proposal covers little more than a third of urban Goleta. Also, contrary to law, this proposal appears to create a permanent urban island of Isla Vista and creates an urban no-mans land East of Kellogg to the Santa Barbara City limits. Furthermore, the likelihood of an environmentalist, slow growth or no growth candidates winning a majority within these boundaries after the initial 2001 election is remote, based on the historical voting patterns of this area in previous recent Goleta Water Board, Goleta Sanitary District and Goleta West Sanitary District elections.

More importantly, this proposed city is a financially marginal (in the words of Santa Barbara Counties official assessment) proposal at best. The city hood proponents came nowhere near full filling their promise made when petitioning to have LAFCO consider their proposal; of wresting most or all of Goleta tax dollars from the county and returning them to Goleta. The ill-conceived fiscal neutrality agreement negotiated by Goleta Now! hands a sizeable chunk of these tax dollars to the county in perpetuity

Revenues are underestimated: The Bush economy is lowering actual sales tax and TOT revenues, and CFA estimates are based on Clinton era economics made 6 months to a year ago. Some of the revenues are speculative. For example, the Page Hotel is estimated to produce one million dollars a year in TOT to the proposed city's coffers and assume it will be built by July 1, 2004. That project is stonewalled until the county and UCSB agree on the engineering of Hwy 217 and affected side-streets, and then the road project must be completed. If it is delayed even one year, that means the $1,703,891 estimated cumulative surplus, would be $703,891 in FY 04-05, and subsequent years would also be $1,000,000 less because that money didn't roll over.

Expenditures are underestimated The cost of electricity and gas have gone up since the CFA. I have seen utility costs increase 50% at the GWSD, however utilities are not reflected in the CFA and neither is the increase. The current MOU for the Sheriff's Department guarantees an increase of 6.2% for FY 2001-2002, and 5% for FY 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, and this is under estimated by $531,908. (Their increase is also tied to the increase in property assessment, so that if the increase is more that 10%, they would get half that increase. If 12%, their increase would be 6%). While funds are allocated for a city attorney, it is based on guesswork, not the actual costs of defending the county's policies. I have seen small legal matters cost $100,000 easily at GWSD. Considering the high stakes in commercial development, and the need for balance and control in Goleta, lawsuits are inevitable and costly. I do not see how an allocation of $600,000 per year can protect the Goleta Valley.

I seriously question the ability of the proposed City of Goleta to provide even the current level of services and uphold our environmental policies, much less provide the increased level of services that people expect from urban government. That is why, while I am running for a seat on the council, I oppose this city hood proposal. Without adequate funding, (that would have been there if Isla Vista and more of Eastern Goleta had been included), the city cannot do most of the progressive policies that you and I favor. Even more fundamentally, it is questionable if, even in the relatively short term, the revenues are there for this proposed mini-city to be financially viable. It costs money to provide services and to defend a planning decision in court. Just about anything - a lawsuit, a natural disaster, a down turn in the economy - can throw this proposed city's delicate financial situation out of kilter. The county has said that the proposed city is only marginal financially. At any rate, it is somewhere from extremely likely to certain that for the city to continue to exist within a year or two after it begins it will be forced to increase revenues through additional assessments, parking fees and/or approve developments that generates sales tax revenue and TOT. This will make it difficult to preserve open space or to even attempt to balance commercial and residential development. I am committed to opposing the unfettered development of the valley in an effort to get the financial ship upright.

3) Please explain and rank the three most urgent environmental issues in the proposed city of Goleta. Where do you stand on these issues and how do you expect to contribute to their solution?

1. Explosive Growth: This issue encompasses several important sub-issues, including loss of open space, increased traffic, degradation of air quality, and increased demand on the infrastructure. This explosive growth was brought on by the importation of state water, which I staunchly opposed. I opposed state water not only because it is growth inducing, but also because it is costly, thereby directing public funds away from other priorities. and of course degrading to the environment, both here and in Northern California. Growth must be evaluated within the context of the General Plan and Goleta Growth Management Ordinance so we can adjust the pace and type of development that is now appropriate. We need to slow down to properly address current problems and frame future projects to that reassessment.(see below)
2. Need for Affordable Housing: while this may seem an odd environmental issue, it's clear that the future residential growth must manage open space, encourage walkable neighborhoods, provide safe and adequate bicycle routes and be compatible with clean mass transit. Having affordable housing is morally the right thing to do, and provision of a reasonable amount of such housing would contribute significantly to less traffic, less smog, and at the same time provide affordable housing for at least some of those who must commute great distances now. Again within the context of the GP and GGMO, I will support affordable housing projects, re-zoning commercial/industrial to residential, and mixed-use housing.
3. Preserving agricultural lands within and adjacent to the city. Several agricultural parcels, hard won during the finalization of the Goleta General Plan, are slated to have their zoning reviewed by 2003, which will probably be done within the context of the General Plan review. I support maintaining their current status. We need to improve the interface of agriculture and people within the urban environment and encourage farmers to use IPM and organic methods to decrease their use of harmful substances (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides). The Fairview Farm is a pioneer in urban agriculture and a valuable resource for other farmers. I oppose the current Bishop Ranch proposal, which would develop over 1500 units on agricultural land. I would support a SOAR initiative that would require a vote of the people to change the zoning on agricultural parcels of 10 acres or more. In addition, annexation of any sizeable piece of agricultural land to the proposed city should also be put to a vote of the people, because the best way to control conversion of agricultural lands is to keep them within the county's jurisdiction. Almost anything that could be called a development should take place within the urban limit line, with only the rare, isolated residential building on a farm or ranch or unique circumstance being built outside the urban limit line.

4) The Venoco Ellwood onshore oil processing facility is within the boundaries of the proposed city of Goleta. What are your thoughts and positions on this facility? Do you support the proposed amortization process?

I oppose the new oil development via slant drilling, that Venoco has proposed, but recognize that the State Lands Commission has authority on that issue. However, the city is in a position to lobby and make known the community's opposition to the environmental hazards of this facility, which I will support.

I also oppose any new oil development going through the Ellwood Oil and Gas Processing Facility, even if all the oil and gas is processed on platform Holly. I support the Amortization process. The removal of that facility and the Ellwood Marine Terminal are long over-due. This is an old facility that contributes to air pollution. In 1999, this facility was the sixth largest stationary source of air pollution in the county, dumping 161.55 tons per year of pollution. If Venoco is successful in expanding into leases 308 and 309, the processing must go to Las Flores.

However, I am concerned that the proposed City of Goleta is not fiscally sound, and will not have the resources:  to continue the Amortization Process, (which is not being paid by Venoco);.  to defend an Amortization Ordinance; or  to defend a decision that does not allow EOP to transport or process new oil. I am also concerned that if the city has insufficient revenues, people will look to oil development to help fund the city, even though the long-term impacts are costly to our environment and our health.

5) Describe your views of the relative value of open space for habitat versus open space used for active recreation.

Under our current Local Coastal Plan, there is a mandate to protect environmentally sensitive habitat (ESH). I support that same mandate for the Goleta General Plan (see 7). In order to maintain healthy plant and animal communities, we need to preserve corridors from the mountains to the coast, especially along the creeks, and east and west. The corridor(s) from the Goleta to the Devereaux Sloughs is a good example of an east-west corridor. ESH can be compatible with some measure of passive recreation, like walking and picnicking, although some areas need more isolation. For example, the Monarch Grove in Ellwood is degrading because people don't realize how sensitive the butterflies are. Here, observation is OK, but trampling of the grove is a problem. Active recreation is needed in the Goleta Valley, but it is incompatible with ESH. I support the decision not to develop high-density activities at Santa Barbara Shores Park, because of extensive ESH there. There is a need for active recreation in Goleta, but we cannot sacrifice ESH. Currently, the Girsh Park Foundation is working to obtain more playing fields for Goleta, to address that need. Utilizing public and private cooperation to provide for our recreational needs is one way the community can acquire needed facilities. I'm troubled by the proposed city's lack of funds, and its ability to purchase open space and conservation easements for both passive use and active recreation.

6) Ocean water quality has become an important issue throughout Santa Barbara County. What actions should the Goleta City Council take in this area?

As a current director of GWSD, I am proud to say that the Goleta West Sanitary District has favored full secondary treatment for years. We have money set aside to cover the costs, but Goleta Sanitary District, who runs the plant, continues to defend partial secondary treatment. A Goleta City Council should lobby the GSD and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to follow prudent science and not renew the plant's existing five-year waiver from full secondary treatment.

I support the "city" joining in the efforts of the Clean Water program, and upgrading efforts at managing non-point source pollution, including placing sophisticated debris traps in storm drains, street sweeping (now only done by GWSD), better and more available safe disposal of toxic waste, and dog-doo disposal stations in all parks. I would support a strict regulation scheme for septic tanks now in place, and ordinances that would discourage new development serviced by them. The Clean Water program is a good vehicle for working to identify non-point source pollution and finding ways to decrease it.

The homeless, in or out of RVs, are part of the problem. We need to provide reasonable options to keep people from living in and polluting our creeks I support the current efforts by the county and the City of Santa Barbara to identify parking areas for RV residents, and I would like to identify appropriate areas in Goleta. We also need more services and treatment for the homeless, to help those that are ready to transition in to a home, or to get those in need into mental health treatment and/or detox.

7) What changes, if any, do you think the Goleta City Council should make to the Goleta Community Plan?

One of the major tasks that the new council will face is the review of the Goleta General Plan and the Goleta Growth Management Ordinance. At that time there will be an opportunity to change the current zoning and planning policies, which will determine how the rest of the valley will be developed. Because of the shaky finances projected for the proposed city in the Certified Fiscal Analysis, there will be tremendous pressure to develop revenue-generating projects, (read sales tax and bed tax). I will oppose this approach, not only because this will exacerbate the current problem of the lack of affordable housing, but also because there is already an imbalance between commercial and residential development. Further it will increase traffic, increase air pollution, increase stress, decrease open space, increase demand on the existing infrastructure and degrade the environment.

Much of the vacant land in the proposed city is currently zoned commercial, as opposed to being zoned for the much more needed housing. There must be a re-evaluation of the current zoning to balance industrial/commercial versus residential projects, and the impacts of growth to our infrastructure, which is currently strained. We need to utilize this opportunity to create walkable neighborhoods, create incentives for businesses and developers to incorporate employee housing, increase the stock of low- and moderate-income housing, and improve transportation corridors. This review must be used to bring balance to the city between commercial and residential development, identify and preserve environmentally sensitive habitat, identify potential open space, park and recreation areas, upgrade environmental protection policies, and protect our view corridors. We must begin to create urban areas that promote a healthy lifestyle rather than the current deterioration of our health and safety that we now face. I will use the review of the General Plan to that end.

8) What changes, if any, do you think the Goleta City Council should make to the Goleta Growth Management Ordinance?

In tandem with review of the General Plan, the GGMO must be revisited to evaluate what changes are necessary to reach its goals. The GGMO was created to pace growth with infrastructure development, balance commercial/industrial development with residential, and mandate affordable housing. But due to several factors, commercial/industrial development has outstripped residential development and infrastructure has not kept pace. Certainly, we need more housing for low- and moderate- income residents. I envision identifying parcels now zoned commercial/industrial, which would be appropriate for mixed-use or residential development. There are also parcels currently zoned commercial/industrial that could be rezoned for low and moderate income and market rate housing. I support changing the requirements for affordable housing, so that at least 30% of each project, rather than 10% is required, and that those units remain locked in for at least 30-40 years, if not in perpetuity, to retain these as affordable units over the long haul.

9) What is your campaign strategy? What is your projected budget for you campaign?

I will focus on growth, fiscal viability, service provision, environmental issues and an ordinance for medicinal marijuana. I plan to walk the entire proposed city. I will work for the endorsements of environmental organizations and encourage younger voters to vote. I plan to reach out to the UCSB students, recent graduates, environmentalists, and good government advocates who would support a proposal that includes Isla Vista. I will also target people fairly new to the valley, who do not want an increase in living costs with no increase in services, and do not have the baggage from past incorporation proposals, as well as those who favor affordable housing and people who live on fixed incomes. Many people have accepted this proposal out of desperation. We should not go for the lowest common denominator city, that will not be able to protect the environment and provide the services of a real city. I will focus on reaching those people who are willing to look at and are concerned about the long-term impacts of a marginal city, and would prefer a real city of Goleta or annexation to the city of Santa Barbara.

My goal is to raise $5,000-$7,000, to be able to do targeted mailings and get my ideas out in the forefront of the campaign.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: November 2, 2001 08:16
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