[vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-sm vc_hidden-xs”][vc_text_separator title=”SOLIDARITY AND SUSTAINABILITY” el_class=”solidar” el_id=”solidar”][vc_custom_heading text=”Preamble” font_container=”tag:h4|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23505050|line_height:1.2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Playfair%20Display%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][vc_column_text]As Democrats, we believe in a society and community based on solidarity and sustainability. We work for a society in which all people have equal opportunity to achieve their dreams regardless of identity or background. We are dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice, and strive to create a better and fairer world free from prejudice, hatred, exploitation, abuse and reckless greed.

We fight for a democratic economy that works for ordinary working families and puts people and the planet before profit. We strive for a community that lives in harmony with the global and local environment. We work to build an organization and community dedicated to racial, gender and sexual equality.

To accomplish this, we must ensure that those who would govern in our name are actively dedicated to our vision. We work to empower, educate and organize citizens and residents of our County. First and foremost, this means mobilizing voters to get to the polls and elect Democrats at all levels of government. However, we know that simply electing Democrats is only part of our role as a Party. We must work to hold elected officials accountable to our shared values and principles, through public advocacy, coalition work, and our endorsement process, which asks candidates seeking our support to pledge to put our shared values into practice.

As an organization, we are committed to transparency and openness. We know that our Party must be a welcoming, independent, democratic tool for real people to create real change in their communities and their environment. We strive to be a vehicle for community empowerment, one that truly reflects the real needs of everyone, including and especially those who are most ignored, overlooked and underserved.

We work at all levels, organizing for progressive change in our world, our country and our local community. However, as a County Party organization, we have a special responsibility to focus on the local political arena. We reject the idea that local politics is merely a technocratic exercise. We believe strongly that local decisions are informed by values, that local budgets are moral documents and that local institutions are the most significant point of interaction between the people and their government. County and municipal0decisions have a tremendous impact on employment, land use, environmental protection, social welfare and equality. Our goal is to foster sustainability and social justice at all levels.

We cannot rest until all people have equal opportunity to achieve their dreams regardless of their identity or background; until everyone has a guarantee of dignity, happiness and human rights regardless of their circumstances, including but not limited to access to food, education, healthcare, shelter and labor protections; and until our human community is living sustainably.

This platform embodies the values and principles of the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County. It was adopted by the Party’s Central Committee on May 3rd, 2018, after discussion by the general membership of the Party.

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[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“Nobody is free unless everybody’s free.”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23505050|line_height:1.2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Playfair%20Display%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic” css=”.vc_custom_1512637477461{margin-top: 55px !important;}”][vc_column_text]


[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Civil Rights and Equality” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-hand-rock-o” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_id=”platform-heading” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]A SOCIALLY JUST LOCAL ECONOMY

As Democrats, we believe that economic policy should be driven by the principle of solidarity, and that local ordinances should reflect commitments to economic, social and environmental justice.

We have a shared responsibility and interest in protecting and increasing the economic well-being and vitality of all segments of our society. While Santa Barbara is famous for its high-profile wealth, we know that ours is an economically diverse community, dependent on the hard work of thousands of low-wage workers who are grossly underrepresented in policy and government. Local economic policy should reflect this reality, and focus on supporting the economy from the ground up.

This means adopting policies that promote decent wages, rights on the job, investment in public services, a strong social safety net and high employment rates.  For too long we have suffered under the orthodoxy of low wages, artificially low taxes and a fiscal and tax policy which shelters the ultrawealthy and overburdens the middle class. We believe fundamentally that prosperity begets prosperity, but only when it is broadly shared. We also know that this idea is good not only for working people, but good for business as well. We believe in a diverse local economy that encourages economic growth in all sectors-including agriculture and industry, aerospace and information technology, entertainment and education, in addition to the traditionally strong service and hospitality industries. A diverse economy is more secure and sustainable over the long run, and attracts and retains a more vibrant and varied population.

Together with sound economic policy, unions are the most effective tools for ensuring a fair share for working people, and for democratizing the workplace. We support the right of any worker to organize and join unions, and view the labor movement and its allies as crucial partners in building the just local economy we envision. Contrary to decades of anti-union rhetoric, the labor movement is not a “special interest,” and we reject cynical attempts to pit one group of workers against another.

This shared vision of a fair, equitable and sustainable economy includes the following:

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUALITY

As Democrats, we believe in the protection of civil rights and equality for all in our community, and highlighting the needs of those who have long been ignored, underserved and discriminated against.

In particular, we see far too many segments of our population who continue to suffer second class status and suffer a violation of basic rights. We must do better in providing equal justice before the law, equal access to vital services, equal opportunity in education, housing, and employment, and equal treatment by our government of all people, including women and LGBTQ+ individuals, undocumented workers and those caught in our criminal justice system. People have the right to full access to reproductive health information, and women have the legal right to seek to terminate a pregnancy if they so choose. We stand firmly behind Roe v. Wade as one of the cornerstones to women’s. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people have the right to live their lives in peace and with dignity, and to be treated fairly and equally before the law, in a community where discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity, and expression is not tolerated.

The method in which laws are unfairly enforced contributes to institutional racism and the warehousing of men, and in increasing numbers, women of color. The system is broken on so many levels that we must seek out alternatives that truly promote justice and fairness for all involved. As an extremely vulnerable population, undocumented workers must be treated humanely, as the law dictates, and their families protected from harassment.

To achieve these goals, we support the following policies and initiatives:

Women’s Rights

LGBTQ+ Rights


Rights of People with Disabilities

Criminal Justice

We recognize that for far too long, criminal enforcement has been used a tool of maintaining racial and class discrimination. As Democrats, we believe that Black and Brown Lives Matter, and we seek to eliminate these injustices while maintain safe and prosperous communities for residents of all races and backgrounds through the following reforms:



An end to privatization of jails and outsourcing of jail functions to private contractors that exploit the incarcerated and incentivize the increasing institutionalization and imprisonment of people as a business model, as well as reform of economically exploitative practices that overcharge incarcerated individuals and their families for basic needs.


Immigrant Rights

As Democrats, we believe that America is a nation of immigrants, and that anti-immigrant policies are an affront not only to human decency, but to basic American principles. We advocate:

Native American Treaties and Tribes

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Effective and Accountable Government” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-balance-scale” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]EFFECTIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT

As Democrats, we believe in the responsibility of government to, in the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world.” Our commitment to the cause of public activism brings with it a special responsibility to ensure that government remains the possession of the sovereign people. To that end, we believe that government must be open, accountable, responsive, and transparent at all levels. In order to be open, government must be especially attentive to the voices of the least powerful and most disenfranchised communities, actively seeking out their opinion and empowering them to take action on their own.  

In order to be accountable, all communities in Santa Barbara County should have local as well as countywide elected offices responsible for basic government. Without the power of the franchise to reward or punish public officials for their performance, certain unincorporated communities in Santa Barbara County have no direct means of making their will known on important issues of community development, public amenities, and access to vitally important services and utilities.  

In order to be transparent, we must embrace not merely the form but also the spirit of clean elections. To that end, we must ensure that local and countywide elections have public funding for all elected offices.  

To achieve these ends, we call for the following reforms:

We support increased efforts toward enfranchisement of residents in unincorporated areas, including Isla Vista, through incorporation or via planning districts and neighborhood councils. We support the empowerment and adequate funding of the Isla Vista Community Services District.

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Environmentally Sustainable Community” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-envira” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]The modern environmental movement began on the beaches of Santa Barbara in 1969: as the birthplace of the movement, and we have a special responsibility as a county, to be leader and a role model for cities and counties across the country on environmental justice.

The threat of devastation by global climate change has only reinforced the need not only for local environmental protections but comprehensive efforts to eliminate legacy fossil fuel use and transition as quickly as possible to sustainable, renewable energy. Santa Barbara County has already been impacted by the consequences of carbon-based warming through drought, wildfires, and debris flows caused by changing climate conditions.

Both local environmental impacts like fracking contamination and oil spills, and climate-changing carbon pollution endanger our families’ health, the beauty of our natural landscapes, the viability of local flora and fauna, and the sustainability of the local economy, including tourism and agriculture. Because the worst consequences of environmental destruction fall predominantly on the economically disadvantaged, a focus on environmental justice is also crucial for establishing social and economic justice in our communities.

Sustainability must be our guiding principle, and it must be reflected in our regulatory and economic policies. We must revamp tax policies that provide direct and indirect subsidies to the most polluting and extractive industries, invest in renewable energy sources and solutions. We strongly reconfirm our commitment to prevent any new drilling off our coasts or on the land.

Santa Barbara County Democrats reject the idea that economic growth and environmental protection are opposing interests, and believe instead that we must adopt a sound and progressive energy policy that will create jobs now and into the future through research and industrial development of non-fossil fuels, including the adoption of sustained yield approaches to the development of agricultural resources.  

To that end, we call for the following policies and principles:



Sustainably managing water means accounting for its true environmental cost:  the energy and resources used to move and treat it, the renewability of each of our water sources, and not just the economic cost per unit. Toward that end, we support conservation as critically important in sustainably managing water resources. In developing new water supplies, every effort to maximize conservation, and reduce the environmental cost of water should be evaluated.  Recycled water, and the development of alternative water supply sources such as stormwater capture should be included in the analysis.  When developing new supply sources, the emphasis should be on the least energy intensive, and most sustainable and renewable sources.

Climate change also threatens water quality, with more frequent cyclic drought and fire presenting challenges to water quality at Lake Cachuma, the primary water supply source for the South Coast.  Reduced lake levels, increasing water temperatures, and the introduction of vegetation, ash and fire debris into the lake all create water quality challenges that require increased amounts of energy, chemicals, and resources to treat.  Additionally, agricultural runoff, stormwater runoff, and industrial uses such as fracking threaten water quality in the regions groundwater basins.  Efforts to protect water quality are a critical part of water policy.  

Desalination – While desalination may be required as a last resort to adapt to climate-change induced drought, we recognize the danger to local marine life and ecosystems it presents, as well as the large energy costs desalination incurs. We believe that the primary focus should be on conservation rather than taking destructive and costly measures to create limited new water supplies through desalination.

Science-based policy and Environmental Education –  We insist that legislators make policy based on the best available science, including ecology and climate science. We further encourage governmental and industrial support for environmental education programs at all academic levels, including at in economically disadvantaged communities.  

Protecting our Coast – We support strengthening California’s pioneering coastal protection program by revising outdated local coastal programs, implementing the State’s polluted runoff protection plan, and preserving the integrity of the Coastal Act by defending the California Coastal Commission and the process for appointment of coastal commissioners.

We call for the phasing out all offshore oil and gas drilling along the California Coast. We must establish and enforce marine protected areas to restore and protect coastal marine species. Coastal public access and recreational opportunities should be expanded by additional funding to open, operate and maintain new coastal public access, acquire coastal parklands and develop the California Coastal trail. We must protect and restore coastal wetlands, rivers, streams and other environmentally sensitive habitat areas. The County should continue to support the work of BEACON (Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment) in focusing on coastal erosion, beach nourishment, and clean oceans. We must also support the clean-up of toxic hot spots.

Preserving our Natural Resources – The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the major most effective legal tool for protecting California’s environment. We support full implementation and enforcement of CEQA principles, in order to protect the state’s natural and cultural resources, including historical and archaeological sites, and strongly oppose efforts to undermine it through legislation or regulation.

Biodiversity — We strongly support wildlife preservation efforts in order to maintain and re-establish sustainable biodiversity with minimal human impacts.

A Balance Between Ecology and Industry – We encourage industry to develop life enhancing, rather than life destroying, products that do not deplete our resources. In order to reduce the use of water, land and fertilizers, we support the development of alternative methods for producing paper, clothing, food and building supplies. We must also encourage the replacement of environmentally and occupationally harmful technologies with clean production systems. Situate High voltage transformers and high voltage power lines should be situated far away from schools, libraries, public playgrounds and residential neighborhoods.

Limiting Single-Use Plastics – We support the ban on single-use plastic bags, and oppose all efforts to undermine the will of the voters on this issue.  We also encourage limitations on other forms of single-use plastics that too often end up in our oceans.

Open Space Preservation – Sprawl threatens not only our quality of life, but also the irreplaceable natural treasures which make our area among the most geologically and biologically diverse in the nation. Densification, infill, transfers of development rights and the inclusion of open space within population centers must be guiding principles of all levels of local planning.

Sustainable Agriculture – Agricultural production is a main economic engine of SB Santa Barbara County. Changing the use of agricultural land for other purposes should be done only with the utmost caution and after maximum public debate.

We strongly encourage limitations on the use of pesticides in accordance with the latest scientific data on their impact not only regarding human health but also broader biodiversity, including insect and apian populations.

We also encourage sustainable agricultural practices related to water and soil, including a move to less water-intensive crops. We urge county and city agencies to strongly discourage the sale and conversion of agricultural land to fossil fuel extraction industries.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Health Care and Social Welfare At the Local Level” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-user-md” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]Healthcare

As Democrats, we believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.  When people are in need of care, it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive it regardless of their ability to pay.

As Democrats we are dedicated to the cause of universal, guaranteed healthcare for all. We expect federal legislators representing the County to advocate for Medicare for All; in the meantime, we strongly advocate that the State of California implement a single-payer healthcare system in line with those of most other industrialized countries.

We demand robust investment all forms of mental health treatment at all levels of government, including counseling and local clinics.

We call upon all health insurers both public and private to offer a full range of medical services, including but not limited to dental, mental health, reproductive, and end-of-life care. As long as for-profit insurance continues to be the dominant form of coverage, private insurers must be compelled to cover these and other services through robust regulations, and access to quality care must be equally available to people of all identities and backgrounds.

As Democrats, we pledge ourselves to fulfill our common obligation to the sick: first, to see that no harm is done, by defeating attempts to cut holes in the safety net; and second, to reform our local healthcare system so that Santa Barbara County’s record on healthcare can be a source of pride.

To this end, we call for the following:

Social Welfare

Santa Barbara County Democrats hold true to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s proposition that “the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”  Unfortunately, wealth and income disparities continue to grow both locally and nationwide through both economic recessions and recoveries. These disparities disproportionately affect women and people of color, harming the cause of both economic and social justice.

As people across our community struggle economically, their first and last line of defense against destitution are our local social services. An active and caring government is necessary to provide dignity and security to those that Wall Street and predatory capitalism have abused and left behind. During recessions the engine of the economy needs more spending to drive consumer demand, to provide adequate support for all who need it, pump purchasing power back into our local economies, and to put the unemployed back to work.  

As Democrats, we pledge ourselves to fight back against social service cuts that target the poor, the unemployed, the elderly, the disabled, and children in need. To go beyond this defensive aim, we call for the following:

Social Welfare & Job Bank Reserve Budgeting – in devising future budgets, the County Board of Supervisors and city councils should designate a reserve fund, similar to the health care fund proposed above, to prevent declines in social services, and to fund public works and job programs during recessions, when the need for social services and jobs expands.

Homelessness – We demand a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in Santa Barbara County through a program of direct housing provision with supportive services. We further condemn attempts to marginalize and harass people experiencing homelessness in our communities, rather than provide the care and assistance they need.

Food Access – Every county resident deserves affordable access to balanced and healthy food choices for themselves and their families. The social cost of malnutrition, especially in childhood, is far greater than the cost of direct provision of food to families in need. In a county as wealthy as Santa Barbara, no one should be experiencing basic food insecurity.

Job and Income Guarantees – Santa Barbara Democrats are strongly allied with the labor movement in its fight for living wages and worker protections. Unfortunately, a combination of automation, offshoring and online efficiencies of scale have pushed far too many into underemployment and the exploitative, underpaid “gig” economy. We encourage our elected officials to work both locally and statewide to be at the forefront of ongoing experiments across the country and throughout the world in providing guarantees of jobs and basic income to County residents.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”High Quality Education for All” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-book” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]As Democrats, we believe that free, universal, high-quality public education is a human right, as well as a necessary condition for democracy. We know that we are far from this crucial goal. Our public schools are drastically underfunded, our teachers are undervalued, higher education costs are prohibitive, and the dream of an integrated education system continues to lie just beyond reach.

Our vision of education starts with free universal pre-school for all Santa Barbara County children. It continues with elementary education that focuses on well-rounded curricula, including art, music and experiential learning in every County school district. High school education should include opportunities for both academic and vocational training and should emphasize a commitment to community service. All of this means keeping student-to-teacher ratios low and ensuring educational opportunities that decrease the achievement gap for English language learners and other students with special needs.

We also strongly support free, universal post-secondary higher education accessible to all California residents.

While we are supportive of innovative experiments in educational strategies and support local control, we believe that schools should be integrated economically and ethnically and provide a quality education for all. The issue of inter-district and intra-district transfers should be approached carefully, as we are in danger of continuing the educational segregation we have worked hard as a society to overcome. The goal of integrated education is also threatened by rigid English-only policies, and we call for the return of multilingual education in all public schools.

Schools themselves must be built around progressive values. Green design guidelines should be followed in all school construction, and we should ensure that schools are safe environments, free of physical and health threats. Socially, schools should be accessible and safe environments for all students, regardless of their identity or religion. School food should be healthy and nutritious, and, where possible, locally-grown. Corporate advertisement of all kinds must be eliminated from our schools.  

Education does not end with K-12. Community Colleges play a crucial role in preparing young people for University, providing vocational training as well as serving as a major source of life-long learning and cultural development. Santa Barbara County is blessed with two fantastic Community Colleges, and we support their continued success and expansion. To accomplish these goals, we call on Santa Barbara County school districts to:  

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Housing, Transportation and Community Development” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-home” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]Affordable Housing

Santa Barbara County Democrats believe that access to shelter and the dignity of basic housing not be left to the whims of the real estate market. Housing, transportation, and community development form a nexus at which every major issue of economic inequality, educational disparity, racial and class segregation, and environmentally-friendly development collides.  

When housing values rise so high that working people and their families cannot afford to live close to where they work, the demand for transportation resources and the resulting strain on our transportation network increases; as a result, the environment is degraded by ever-expanding sprawl and increased emissions from commuters, the high cost of gasoline and the hours lost to commuting exact a further burden on working people and their families, and the search for affordable housing continues to spiral outwards, until the fabric of our communities can no longer stretch. When there is affordable housing close to where people work, communities become more economically and racially diverse, the forces that lead to sprawl are counter-acted, open spaces are preserved, emissions decrease, and people have more time to build stronger families and stronger communities.  

In order to build a pathway to a more socially and environmentally sustainable community, we need more affordable housing in Santa Barbara County. Affordable housing development should respect our County’s environmental and agricultural resources. Planning should be comprehensive and geared toward providing housing linked with transportation so as to minimize both pollution and sprawl, and “green building” should be required.  

We believe that government should be proactive in keeping people housed.  This can be done through:


Transportation infrastructure must serve pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists, and drivers. However, sound transportation planning should reduce automobile dependence, congestion, pollution and the use of non-renewable energy. This means focusing resources on mass transit, pedestrian and bike travel.  

Public transit should be affordable, accessible, and convenient. We believe:

Community Development

If we focus solely on the bricks and mortar questions of housing and transportation, we will only move halfway towards our goal of a high-road strategy for development. We must do more than just build houses and transportation facilities; we must work to build the human resources that are the foundations of healthy communities. To that end, the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County supports increased funding for Human Services Programs and Community Development Grants. These funds support important services that provide housing, health, transportation, education, employment, employment training and recreation to our community.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Organizing for Democratic Victories Countywide” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-trophy” i_color=”black” add_icon=”true” el_class=”platform-heading”][vc_column_text]As Democrats, we believe that politics is not a spectator sport. The majority of our work is on-the-ground grassroots organizing throughout Santa Barbara County. This work is important for electing Democratic candidates, but also for fostering a vibrant, energetic civil society. Precinct-level organizing is a basic element of the democratic process: encouraging neighbors to talk with one another about issues of importance is a progressive goal in-and-of itself. We help to deepen our democracy by creating an organization that can train, motivate and materially support citizens who decide to run for public office.  At the local level, such organizations provide access to the political arena for ordinary people. Without them, local politics tends to be dominated by the well-connected and the affluent.

Organization also allows activists the ability to be more than foot soldiers for candidates and elected officials. We believe that the relationship between activists and the candidates they help elect should be one of mutuality. The grassroots must have a role in the formation and implementation of policy. Political parties, rather than candidate-based election organizations foster this two-way relationship.

We strongly oppose the “top two” primary system established by Proposition 14 as discriminatory and unfair not only to Democrats who are often prevented from having a general election candidate to vote for in conservative areas, but also to Republicans for the same reason in more liberal areas, as well to minor parties who are nearly always denied a vote in general elections. Political parties are active reflections of community engagement on issues, and should not be treated as unwanted interlopers in our democracy.

Our goal is to build a sustainable, accessible organization from the neighborhood level up. In order to further these goals, our organizing strategy has four basic components:

Candidate Recruitment & Development

Voter Registration & Education

Strong Democratic Clubs

Robust Field Plan Led by the Democratic Party