More than 16,000 voters have cast ballots within the Santa Barbara Unified School District so far, and by the look of things, not too many of those who will be electing two board members have kids in school.
Nearly 75 percent of the 16,015 ballots that had arrived at the registrar’s office by Monday come from voters aged 50 and older – 11,722, to be exact - according to a review by Political Data Inc., a subscription service widely used by political strategists of both parties throughout California.
Only about 15 percent of the ballots – 2,352 – come from voters aged 18-34, while those between 35 and 50 account for 12 percent - 1,939 - of those mailed in to date.
With all due respect to folks who’ve passed the half-century mark but are still chasing after rug rats, curtain crawlers or surly teens, the bottom line to be derived from the latest numbers is this: a significant majority of those who will decide the makeup of the new board from a field of eight candidates is unlikely to have an immediate, direct daily stake in public education governance. Obscurum per obscurius.
(Memo to offended geezer parents: please direct complaints to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plenty of free parking. -ed.).
Fun with numbers. The silver fox makeup of the electorate is the most striking feature among the new stats, which generally continue or build on demographic trends reported in our post on the first batch of submitted ballots:
> Nearly half the ballots have come from Democrats in the ostensibly non-partisan race, while just over one-fourth have been cast by Republicans and one in five by No Party Preference independents, with the balance returned by smaller party voters. Instant replay: Ismael Ulloa and Rose Munoz are the Democratic Party-endorsed candidates; the Republican Party is backing Bonnie Raisin and Jill Rivera while Mark Alvarado and Kate Ford have the Independent's seal of approval.
> Only about 11 percent of votes on hand were sent by those who have Latino surnames or requested a Spanish language ballot. There are four Latinos – Alvarado, Munoz, Ulloa and Ricardo Cota -- in the race, and an estimated 18 percent of those registered in the district are Latino. White voters have cast 77 percent of the ballots, while representing less than 70 percent of registration.
> More than 51 percent of voters whose ballots have been received are from women, 45 percent from men and the balance from those who did not check a gender box on their registration form, mirroring the splits in the overall registered population.
The exclusive Newsmakers tracker or Armenian surnamed voters meanwhile shows that the 35 ballots from that cohort now represent 2/100th percent of the total, edging up towards their 2.8/100th percent of total registration.
See how they run. Undecided voters can still assess all eight school board hopefuls by taking a peek at the big KEYT debate, produced and recorded on Oct. 21. Here is a link to the affair.
Through the magic of the internets and electric television, you can also catch the Elite Eight in conversation on Newsmakers TV via our You Tube channel here and here.
Darcel makes bank. If this whole City College Trustee thing doesn’t work out, Darcel Elliott would have little trouble landing a sweet gig as a non-profit development director, should she ever decide to quit toiling for Das Williams, that is.
Challenging incumbent Marsha Croninger for the Area 5 seat, Darcel reports raising a remarkable $39,597 in contributions through Oct. 20 on her new campaign finance statement, with $29,724 cash on hand, which is one helluva lot of money in one of seven community college districts.
And in this corner… The tenacious Marsha C, whose latest finance statement has not yet posted, meanwhile is highlighting Darcel’s campaign proposal that SBCC lead the way in building 7,000 new units of housing to accommodate the 55 percent of students who come from out of the area, which may not be so popular in Mission Canyon precincts, while trumpeting her endorsement by the independent-minded Democratic Women of Santa Barbara, diverging from the party central committee, who gave their nod to veteran apparatchik Darcel.
But what’s with those yard signs? Marsha is skilled in understanding, deconstructing and discussing the complexities and nuances of complicated issues, but she’s an attorney by training and, like most lawyers, hates to use one word when five will do.
Thus her signs which, although produced in handsome blue and gold, contain more words than "War and Peace." Trying to decipher one while driving by at 35 mph on Foothill Blvd. is like looking at the eye chart before your optometrist clicks the phoropter onto the right prescription.
Keep your eyes on the road.
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Images: Newsmakers staffers finishes reviewing new voter data; Our staff mascot; Darcel Elliott; Marsha Croninger; The phoropter in action.