The Nov. 4 election left plenty of bodies on the political battlefield. Since, as somebody once said, elections have consequences, we’ll spend the next few paragraphs trying to identify some of the obvious and not-so-obvious winners and losers.
In the winners category, we’ll begin with Santa Barbara County 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam. Although he was not on the ballot this time around, the Santa Maria Valley farmer benefited from the resounding defeat of Measure P, which would have banned “high intensity” oil and gas drilling. His push for a smaller, smarter county government that sets more money aside for infrastructure and maintenance will be emboldened by this win.
Also a big winner was Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Mary Anne Rooney. She was handily re-elected, and her relentless push-back against the city of Port Hueneme’s Measure M tax plan was successful, too. Where does she go next is a valid question.
Also in the winner’s corner, in our book, is outgoing Assembly member Jeff Gorell whose underdog congressional campaign against incumbent Julia Brownley has come within a 1,000 vote whisker of pulling off the upset of the decade in Central Coast politics. Although Brownley increasingly looks like the winner, final results were not in by press time.
Among the losers this time around, we’d lead with the Environmental Defense Center. The 62 percent vote against Measure P shows the EDC badly misread the electorate, and in pitting environmentalists against union members, it created a “green” vs. “blue” split among Democrats that may be difficult to heal.
Another loser, Port Hueneme City Councilman Jon Sharkey. We love his pony tail and irreverent attitude, but this normally savvy pol literally “jumped the Sharkey” by supporting the ill-fated Measure M plan to tax businesses at the nearby Port of Hueneme. Now that the pot of gold has evaporated the city will have to chase new cash rainbows or figure out a way to cut its pension obligations.
Finally there’s Laurie Gaskin, president of Santa Barbara City College. The defeat of SBCC’s Measure S expansion plans is not just a victory for the city’s no-growth crowd. It also signals that she needs to build a deeper consensus among the factions on the SBCC Board of Trustees if a new plan is going to voters in 2016.