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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Kristen Sneddon Talks Re-Election, Housing, Covid, Shootings: "I Bring a Unique Voice to Council"

Santa Barbara city council member Kristen Sneddon is running for re-election, she confirmed in a Newsmakers interview this week, saying that her "passion" for climate, environment and sustainability issues brings a crucial perspective to City Hall.

"I think I bring a unique voice to council, that doesn’t overrun it but is an important balancing part, so yeah I'm running," she said.

"Something that goes really under the radar that doesn’t get reported on a lot...but I work really hard on our regional water issues – water security, sea level rise, sustainability, bringing about a new department in sustainability and resilience, really focusing on wildfire planning."

"There’s a lot in the sustainability, resilience, water, energy environmental front that I have particular passion for," she added. "That is what brought me to office, it's what I teach, it's what I think I'm here for, really."

An Environmental Geology instructor in the Earth Sciences department at SBCC, Sneddon was inspired to run for office four years ago, after attending a "March for Science" protesting Donald Trump's climate denial and anti-science policies shortly after his election.

As Trump's term comes to a stormy end*, she said, "I believe in local politics and doing what you can where you are," and is seeking re-election in November because, "there's more work to do - there's long-term visioning and processes that need to be happening."

Conscientious, earnest and smart, Sneddon represents District Four, which includes the Riviera, Eucalyptus Hill, Coast Village Road, East Beach and part of San Roque, among other neighborhoods. It is one of three district council seats that will be on the ballot this year, along with the race for the mayor, the only citywide office in Santa Barbara.

On council, she has chaired the influential ordinance committee and also spends considerable time on wonky work on behalf of a host of city and regional committees and agencies, including the Cachuma Conservation Release Board, Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board, Central Coast Water Authority, Water Commission Board and Creeks Advisory Committee.

"Climate change and these issues of environment and science have been (passions) since I was in elementary school," she said.

Good times.

In the interview, Sneddon answered questions on a wide range of issues, from her re-election bid, the need for more enforcement of Covid mask requirements and her views on higher density housing, to a shakeup in the Community Development Department, the future of State Street and recent unsolved shooting incidents involving teenagers.

"I'm really shaken and heartbrokern -- these are young people," she said. "We don’t have this here and it’s really a big signal of a deeper issue with our youth. We all really need to come together on this -- it’s not just going to be a police issue or a district issue or a mental health issue. This one needs all of us."

If you're on the blog, watch our interview with Kristen Sneddon on YouTube below, or click through this link if you're an email subscriber (if you're not, sign up -- it's free!). The podcast version is here.


First in an occasional series of interviews about Santa Barbara' 2021 city election.

*(Editor's note. The interview took place on Wednesday this week, several hours before the mob attack on the Capitol, which is why it was not mentioned in our brief discussion of the Trump Administration and national politics).

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