Outgoing Goleta Mayor and Santa Barbara Airbus CEO Eric Onnen has some parting advice for business owners pondering whether to become more involved with local government: “Go in and serve a term.”
After getting elected to the City Council of the Tri-Counties’ youngest municipality in 2006 and serving as mayor this year, Onnen is again devoting all of his attention to running Santa Barbara Airbus, the business he founded in Goleta in 1983. It provides shuttle service from the Goleta-Carpinteria corridor to Los Angeles International Airport.
Onnen said his four years on the council taught him that there’s a big difference between participating in local politics and actually serving in government. Even council members who didn’t always agree with Onnen said his business owner’s perspective was important to have on the council.