After almost 20 years of advocating for property rights in Santa Barbara County, COLAB — the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business — is going regional. And, at least in Ventura County, it may be getting a bit kinder and gentler.
Ventura County COLAB incorporated in August and recently hired a full-time executive director. To the north, the COLAB chapters in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties announced Dec. 16 that Michael Brown, who recently retired as chief executive of the county of Santa Barbara, will go to work for COLAB in January as director of governmental affairs. He will work in both counties but will concentrate his efforts in San Luis Obispo County.
The two moves signal a broader geographic mission for COLAB, and also a diffusion of power. The face and voice of COLAB from Day One has been Andy Caldwell, the executive director of the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo county groups. He’s a talk radio host, a spokesman for Northern Santa Barbara County’s ranchers, farmers and landowners, and a frequent and often caustic critic of the more liberal members of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors