We were gratified by the enthusiastic turnout at our October 23rd Global Citizen Club debate on Santa Barbara County’s competing redistricting Measures G and H. Moderator Rinaldo Brutoco set the tone for why this debate is so important when he opened his introductory remarks by saying, “A panel like this is a basis of our democracy.”
The invited panel included co-authors of each Measure: Measure G co-author and proponent First District County Supervisor Das Williams, and Measure H co-author and proponent Robert Collector, a screenwriter and local community/civic activist. Rounding out the 4-person panel were government affairs/public relations consultant Mary Rose in support of Measure G, and Daniel Montello, an author and professor in the Department of Geography at UCSB, who was a consultant in the drafting of Measure H. The panelists each made a brief opening statement sharing their perspective on the differences between the measures, followed by a vigorous exchange among panel members and in response to audience comments and questions from a Measure H co-author and other interested audience members.
As a non-profit focused on educating the public, the World Business Academy did not endorse either measure and always seeks to encourage citizen engagement in local government matters in the belief that all citizens should have a say in the future direction of their community. We hope that due to the lasting consequences of redistricting decisions, Santa Barbara County residents will pay close attention to Measures G and H on the November ballot (which are not the same as Measure G & H on the San Luis Obispo ballot that are being heavily advertised in our market and relate to oil drilling). Learn about each measure, make an informed decision and VOTE!
Both measures offer a distinctly different way to establish an appropriate, thoughtful organizational structure to create what is supposed to be an Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw supervisorial district boundaries using an open and transparent process. As will be evident when viewing the recorded debate, there are many key differences between the competing and mutually exclusive measures which require a voter to thoroughly research the issue to determine which measure will produce the best long-term result for Santa Barbara County citizens. Gerrymandering is an important and valid concern, so all voters have to decide what is the most fair and equitable method to district representation in Santa Barbara County, an area marked by huge philosophical and political divisions the between the North and South regions.
While Mr. Brutoco noted that debates like the one the Academy hosted can sometimes be somewhat “dry,” last night’s debate was anything but and much of the conversation was characterized by fiery exchanges between panelists regarding their respective positions on a range of divisive issues. The importance of redistricting and the immense power it can confer to minority and special interests if not adequately protected cannot be overstated. This is a decision that we all must live with for the next ten years, and voters should fully understand the gravity of the situation before casting their vote.
Click here to go directly to the video record of the hour-long debate. Please don’t hesitate to send follow-up questions to [email protected] The Academy will either respond directly or where appropriate, refer your question to the individual on the panel to whom it should be directed.
The Academy sincerely thanks the panelists for their time and perspective in helping the World Business Academy engage and educate voters on this critically important issue. We hope everyone either mails in their ballot or visits their designated polling place on November 6th.