Results from Tuesday’s General Election in the Santa Ynez Valley offered surprises, expected results, the elation of victory and the disappointment of defeat for candidates and supporters alike.

The Registrar of Voters Office reported that 90,420, or 41.59 percent, of the county’s 217,417 registered voters cast ballots, either at precinct polling places, by mailing them in or by dropping them off at the county’s three Elections Offices.

Separate figures were not yet available for the Santa Ynez Valley.

In addition to state and federal officials, Valley citizens made decisions on local city, school and special district leaders, a city cannabis tax, a school district parcel tax, a college bond issue and two proposals to create an independent supervisorial redistricting commission.

Elections Office officials expected to count the last of the mail-in votes and most of the provisional ballots by Friday, but results of that count were not available at press time.

Official results must be reported by Thursday, Dec. 6.

Below is a summary of who and what Santa Ynez Valley voters supported and rejected by how many votes, based on unofficial results.

Note that percentages may not add up to 100 in each case due to rounding off to one decimal point and, in most cases, write-in votes not being included.

Santa Barbara County

Voters were asked to choose between two competing measures to create an independent commission to redraw the supervisorial district boundaries and picked the “You Draw the Lines” ordinance proposed by the Board of Supervisors over the initiative put forth by the Reason in Government citizens group.

Measure G2018, the “You Draw the Lines” ordinance, garnered 41,504 “yes” votes for 52.3 percent and 37,853 “no” votes for 47.7 percent.

Measure H2018, the initiative from Reason in Government, picked up 25,140 “yes” votes for 32.8 percent and 51,576 “no” votes for 67.2 percent.



The Buellton mayor and four City Council seats — two four-year terms, a four-year term temporarily shortened to two years, and a vacant four-year seat with two years left on its term — were up for election.

Incumbents Ed Andrisek and Dave King will be returned to four-year seats, with Andrisek pulling in 835 votes, or 29.9 percent, and King picking up 682 votes, or 24.4 percent.

As the third-place vote getter, incumbent Art Mercado with 672 votes, or 24.1 percent, will take the shortened two-year seat that will revert to a four-year term with the 2020 election.

Challenger Judith Dale, who was also seeking a four-year seat, received 582 votes, or 20.8 percent.

In the race for the vacant seat with two years remaining on the term, Andrew John Sanchez pulled in the most votes with 473 for 42.3 percent, followed by Robyn Albrecht Caplan with 358 votes, or 31.8 percent, and Elysia Lewis with 291 votes, or 25.8 percent.

Running unopposed, incumbent Mayor Holly Sierra garnered 1,031 votes for 95.5 percent, while 49 ballots had write-in votes for 4.5 percent, among the highest percentages for write-ins among the North County races.


The mayor’s seat and three City Council seats were up for election in Solvang, where voters were also asked to approve a cannabis tax.

In the mayor’s race, Councilman Ryan Toussaint pulled in 1,025 votes, or 59.4 percent, to end the decade-long reign of incumbent Jim Richardson, who gathered 696 votes, or 40.3 percent.

In the council races, appointed incumbent Karen Waite held onto the remaining two years of a four-year term by gathering 922 votes, or 56.7 percent, compared to former council member Edwin Skytt’s 698 votes, or 42.9 percent.

The two four-year seats up for election went to Robert Clarke with 725 votes for 24.4 percent and Niels “Chris” Djernaes with 715 votes for 24.1 percent.

Incumbent Joan Laird Jamieson finished third with 593 votes for 20.0 percent, and challengers Kim K. Jensen trailed with 546 votes for 18.4 percent and Denise El Amin followed with 294 votes for 9.4 percent.

Kenny “Esko” Lama Newyork, who dropped out of the race but still appeared on the ballot, received 87 votes for 2.9 percent.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the cannabis tax through Measure F2018, which gathered 1,347 “yes” votes for 80.3 percent compared to 330 “no” votes for 19.7 percent.

School Districts

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District

Of the 11 candidates running for the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District board of trustees, the lone incumbent and two challengers were picked by voters for the three available seats.

Incumbent Jan Clevenger led the trio with 3,084 votes for 21.6 percent, followed by Tory Babcock with 2,378 votes for 16.7 percent and John L. Baeke with 1,304 votes for 9.1 percent.

They were trailed by rest of the field — Eric J. Zivic with 1,212 votes for 8.5 percent, Carl Johnson with 1,132 votes for 7.9 percent, Elizabeth S. Breen with 1,064 votes for 7.5 percent, Tyler Sprague with 989 votes for 6.9 percent, Eileen Preston with 954 votes for 6.7 percent, Kros Andrade with 823 votes for 5.8 percent, Lori Parker with 703 votes for 4.9 percent and Jessica Yacoub with 602 votes for 4.1 percent.

Buellton Union School District

Voters in Buellton Union School District saw no board members on the ballot but were asked to approve Measure A2018, which would impose a tax of $99 per year on each parcel in the district — except those owned by senior citizens — for a period of eight years to improve the educational program and expand student health and wellness services.

But the measure, which was expected to raise $240,000 to $250,000 per year, failed to gain the 66.6 percent of favorable votes it needed to pass, pulling in only 928 “yes” votes for 60.4 percent and 608 “no” votes for 39.6 percent.

Allan Hancock Joint Community College District

Voters in Allan Hancock Joint Community College District’s Trustee Area 3 returned incumbent Larry Lahr to the board of trustees with 2,269 votes, or 59.3 percent, compared to 1,539 votes, or 40.2 percent, for challenger Jesse Ramirez.

But voters throughout the district effectively rejected Measure Y2018, a $75 million bond issue to replace outdated, inadequate and deteriorating buildings, when it failed to reach the 55 percent approval it needed to pass.

In fact, the measure received more than 55 percent in negative votes. It gathered only 15,929 “yes” votes for 44.8 percent, but pulled in 19,639 “no” votes for 55.2 percent.

Special Districts

Santa Ynez Community Services District

The incumbents for two seats on the Santa Ynez Community Services District Board of Directors were ousted by voters in favor of the two challengers.

Robert P. D’Ambra led the field with 464 votes for 29.6 percent, followed by David Beard with 420 votes for 26.8 percent.

They were trailed by incumbents Dave Seymour with 350 votes for 22.4 percent and David K. Higgins with 331 votes for 21.1 percent.

Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1

All three incumbents held off challengers to retain their seats on the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1 Board of Trustees.

R. Brad Joos retained his at-large seat with 2,004 votes for 63.3 percent, holding off challenger Allen Anderson with 1,137 votes for 35.9 percent.

In the Division 2 race, Jeff Clay was returned to his seat with 547 votes, or 66.3 percent, while challenger Anita Finifrock gathered 275 votes, or 33.3 percent.

Kevin Walsh held onto his Division 3 seat with 416 votes, or 51.2 percent, leaving challenger Brian Schultz with 396 votes, or 48.7 percent.


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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