The candidate filing period closed Friday for some municipal races, while others have been extended until Aug. 15 because an incumbent didn’t file for re-election, according to city clerks in northern Santa Barbara County cities.
Each of the five cities will have council seats on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot — two each in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe, three in Solvang and four in Buellton.
Mayor seats will be open for election in all but Santa Maria, although one appears to be a shoo-in, and the city treasurer position will also be on the ballot for Guadalupe voters.
Both Santa Maria and Lompoc are beginning the transition to electing city council members by district this year, with the seats opening up for Districts 3 and 4 in Santa Maria and Districts 2 and 3 in Lompoc.
In Santa Maria, Jack Boysen chose not to seek re-election to represent District 3, so the filing period for that race has been extended to Wednesday.
Four people pulled nomination papers for District 3 — Raymond Acosta, Adrian Andrade, Michael W. Moats and Gloria Soto — and all had returned them except Andrade, who said he was dropping out of the race.
Acosta and Soto both qualified for the ballot, but Moats’ papers were still going through the verification process, Rhonda Garietz, chief deputy city clerk, said last Thursday afternoon.
In District 4, incumbent Etta Waterfield filed for re-election, closing the filing period for that race Friday, and will be challenged for her seat by Rafael Gutierrez.
Mayor Bob Lingl announced he will not seek re-election, so the filing period for his seat has been extended to Wednesday, City Clerk Stacey Haddon said.
As of Friday, two people had filed to run for the mayor’s seat — James Mosby and Jenelle Osborne.
Councilman Victor Vega, representing District 2, and Councilman Dirk Starbuck, representing District 3, both filed papers for re-election, so the filing period for those races closed Friday.
Vega will be challenged for his seat by Shirley Sherman. Starbuck will face two challengers — Robert Cuthbert and Robb Echavarria.
The filing period has been extended to Wednesday for all the races in Guadalupe, as Mayor John Lizalde said he will not seek to retain his seat and Councilwoman Virginia Ponce did not file for re-election.
Councilman Ariston Julian has filed papers but not for re-election to his council seat; instead, he’s running for the mayor’s seat and, so far, is the only one doing so.
Two people — Manny Estorga and Liliana Cardenas — have filed to run for the two open council seats, and two others — Gene Costa and Richard Jenne — pulled papers for the council election but had not returned them as of Friday.
Megan Lizalde did not file for re-election as city treasurer, and as of Friday only one person — Annamarie Michaud — had pulled papers for that seat but not returned them.
Solvang’s first directly elected and the longest-serving mayor in the county, Jim Richardson, will face his first opponent in eight years in his re-election bid, but his challenger is a fellow council member — Ryan Toussaint.
“My last opponent was in 2010,” said Richardson, who in the last few elections has tried to scare up someone to run against him to break what he’s called “citizen apathy.”
“The thing is, I have an opponent,” he said, clearly pleased. “He’s a bright guy. I already discussed it with him, and we agreed to run a clean campaign.”
Because Richardson is seeking re-election, the filing period for mayor closed Friday.
Two four-year council seats are open, and incumbent Joan Jamieson has filed for re-election. But since Neill Zimmerman chose not to seek re-election to his four-year seat, the filing period will remain open until Wednesday.
As of Friday, two other people — Robert Clarke and Niels “Chris” Djernaes — had returned nomination papers to run for a four-year seat.
Another seat up for election carries a two-year term, as it was filled by appointee Karen Waite after former Councilman Hans Duus moved out of the city and had to resign less than a year after being re-elected.
Waite, who unsuccessfully campaigned for the council in 2016, has filed for election to her seat and will be challenged by Edwin H. Skytt, a former councilman who chose not to seek re-election in 2016, and Kenny “Esko” Lama.
Five other people pulled papers for the council races, but two of them withdrew.
The three who had not returned their papers for the four-year seats as of Friday are Denise El Amin, Darryl Scheck and Kim K. Jensen.
All four of Buellton’s incumbents filed papers for an election that is unprecedented in the city’s history.
The mayor’s two-year seat, two four-year council seats and two two-year council seats — one of them vacant — will be on the ballot when citizens go to the polls Nov. 6.
Mayor Holly Sierra is running unopposed in her bid for re-election.
Incumbent Ed Andrisek, appointed council members Art Mercado and Dave King and challenger Judith Dale all filed nomination papers for the two open four-year seats.
One other person — John K. Dorwin — pulled papers but did not file.
Whoever places third in the number of votes for the four-year seats in November will take one of the open two-year seats.
Four people pulled papers for the remaining two years of Foster Reif’s four-year term, and three — Elysia Lewis, Andrew John Sanchez and Robyn Albrecht Caplan — filed papers.
Megan DeCicco pulled papers for the seat but did not return them.
Buellton’s unusual situation of having an entire council up for election came about as a result of a combination of factors, including the city’s switch to a directly elected mayor two years ago and the resignation of three council members last year.
Buellton holds elections every two years on an even-year cycle, and since being incorporated as a city in 1992, its residents have elected three council members one election year and two council members two years later.
The council members then chose who would serve as mayor from among themselves, generally in a rotation cycle.
But in 2014, residents voted to directly elect a mayor every two years, and Sierra became the first directly elected mayor in November 2016.
That changed the election cycle by having the mayor’s and one council member’s seat on the ballot one election year, as was the case in 2016, and the mayor’s and three council members’ seats on the ballot two years later, which would have been the case this year.
To even out the positions elected, the City Council modified the cycle so the mayor and two council members would be elected every two years.
However, that change meant one of the three council members elected this year would have to serve a two-year term, rather than the regular four-year term, to even out the election cycle from this year forward.
Council members decided that the one of the three elected who garnered the fewest number of votes would serve the two-year term.
But that solution was complicated by three council members resigning in 2017 because they moved out of the city.
The council appointed members to replace the first two who left, but after making an appointment to fill the third vacancy left by Reif’s resignation, city officials realized state law prohibits councils from making three appointments in a year.
Rather than calling for a costly special election within an election year, the council chose to fill that seat for the two years remaining on the term in the Nov. 6 election, thus setting the stage for the mayor’s and all four City Council seats to be up for election at the same time.