1. Why are you a candidate? What issues are important to you?

2. The future of the Avenue of Flags has been debated for years. What should happen there, and what is the City Council’s role?

3. Does the City Council have a role in attracting new businesses to the city? If not, why not? If so, what types of new businesses would be the best additions, and how should they be attracted?



Ed Andrisek

Retail sales, community service volunteer

Question 1: I feel I have the ability to persevere, remain true to values that protect and strengthen our collective quality of life in our Santa Ynez Valley. I appreciate and respect communication with community via open dialogue.

I favor civility and common sense for improved constructive dialogue. It’s not how you solve the problem — it’s if you solved the problem.

Important issues, to me, are protecting City assets while maintaining/advancing an elevated community Quality of Life (QOL).

Question 2: In fact, this day — it is just short of fifty years!

Merging Buellton’s “Vision Plan” into the “Avenue of Flags Specific Plan.” A cobbled stone median, with fiber optics capability allows public assembly and entertainment venues/shows.

In our limited incorporation of just over 1,025 acres much has been added. One area of focus I want to see addressed is seeking/achieving working solutions for spiraling costs Buellton faces, going forward — on behalf of Budget matters.

A Council Member must act as an umpire, impartial, and be independent. They must interpret the City law — as written.

I am optimistic about the future of Buellton. I have always valued citizens’ support and the trust they have allowed me to legislate and operate within.

Question 3: Many residents feel the Avenue of Flags (AOF) deserves focusing resources on developing it into a true “downtown.” Survey comments refer to AOF as a close, family style, community, but progressive; none of the rat race aura of bigger cities.

“… I choose to live in the Buellton area because from anywhere in town you can see the oak covered hills — in any direction.”

The City Council must establish and maintain working relationships with Agencies, Associations and Organizations with abilities to increase Buellton’s recognition at County, State and Federal affiliation.

As for as attracting new business, that is best coordinated through Buellton’s Visitor Bureau, Buellton’s Chamber of Commerce and property owners.


Judith Dale

Businesswoman, retired UCSB faculty and administrator

Question 1: I love this little city. I was raised in Buellton and I have raised my family in Buellton. I am running to keep Buellton a vibrant, small town that puts the quality of life of its residents first. We do not need to be a mini Santa Maria or Goleta. The City Council must be fiscally responsible by staying within our budget. Traffic is a problem in Buellton — we need to plan and implement pedestrian, bike, and traffic patterns for safety and efficiency. Items that affect the quality of life for residents such as parks, recreation, senior services, library services and shopping should be priorities. We must keep Buellton a great place to live and work.

Question 2: Through wise zoning and specific plans, the City Council needs to promote commercial development on the east and west sides of the Avenue. In its planning, the City must include the current land owners so that they buy-in to the plan and are a part of the decision making. Otherwise, nothing will happen, and the Avenue will continue to be old and under-developed. As far as the medians are concerned, they should be designed for community events and tourism. The current plans for an events center, a plaza, restrooms and an amphitheater are a good start. Also, in the future, one of the medians could become a community center, housing the post office, visitors’ bureau, library, historical society, etc. This would bring people to the Avenue to support the local businesses and would create a “town center.”

Question 3: Yes, the City Council must play an active role in attracting new businesses to the city. Buellton is in a key, central location in the County and the State. Working with the Chamber of Commerce and existing local businesses, the City Council needs to actively recruit new businesses to Buellton that serve our residents and our visitors. The fact that two state highways cross in Buellton can be a blessing or a curse. We must make it a blessing. Thousands of cars travel on Highway 246 and Highway 101 daily. We need businesses that encourage these people to “stop and shop” in Buellton. Also, we need businesses that serve the needs of the local residents as well as the travelers. Sales tax is the number-one income source for the City of Buellton – we must have smart, controlled commercial growth to build out our city. The largest under-developed area in the city is the Avenue of Flags. This is why plans to recruit new business to the Avenue are so important.


Dave King

Retired California Highway Patrol Officer

Question 1: I am a candidate for re-election because I am concerned about the City of Buellton. My family and I have lived in Buellton for 14 years and have seen the exponential increase in population and traffic. The current development rate is alarming. I am not anti-development, I am anti-overdevelopment. The city has a limited amount of space and must be carefully managed so we do not become like Los Angeles or Santa Monica. Developers are interested in the largest return on their investment, which usually is mixed use (commercial/residential) or straight up multi-family dwellings (apartments/condos.) With each apartment or condo complex, usually two cars are associated with each apartment or condo. Simple math tells us, a 100 unit complex is an additional 200 cars or more. Can Buellton really support that?

It’s not that Buellton needs the money. The city is financially sound. What the city needs is responsible managed growth. Blighted, unkempt areas should be the focus of redevelopment. Replacing one run down commercial building for a new modern commercial structure will limit the strain on the infrastructure, and continue the small town charm of Buellton. If re-elected, I will continue to fight for this policy.

Question 2: There have been several differences of opinion regarding the development of the Avenue. The conversation has been everything from museums and art galleries, (high cost to taxpayers, low economic return,) to mixed use four-story buildings. Once again, I believe it is the responsibility of the elected officials to maintain the best interest of the citizens it represents. Don’t get me wrong, I like museums and art galleries. But for a city of roughly 5,000 people, the cost would outweigh the benefit. A private party development and maintenance would be welcome with open arms.

There is a term I heard on the radio recently, “drunk on development.” Cities and towns shoving in developments, just for the sake of development. This is irresponsible. Avenue of Flags can be a showplace for Buellton. The Avenue could develop an area of shops, restaurants and entertainment. The Avenue could be a draw for tourists and a destination location. Encouraging high density developments is not serving the best interest of Buellton. I have always been opposed to high density development. This type of recklessness has ruined the charm and character of several cities in California. I will continue to encourage slow, intelligent, managed growth.

Question 3: The City Council definitely has a role in attracting new businesses. Once again with the best interest of the city residents. I believe we should always encourage local businesses with local ownership. This gives the business owner a connection with the city. National chains are convenient, and predictable, but I doubt the corporate owners live in our great little town, nor do they care if they are over developing it, or putting locals out of business.

Local businesses can be attracted by builders, partnering with local individuals to meet the needs of the business owner. In other words, the city and developers can partner with locals to build on areas like Avenue of Flags or abandoned areas, with the needs of the local population in mind. Not just cramming in another fast food restaurant or coffee shop.

Businesses like Moneghetti’s, Firestone, Mother Hubbard’s, Ellen’s and the new bowling center coming to Buellton, “Live Oak Lanes,” are examples of local businesses that give Buellton its eclectic charm. These are the types of businesses I will continue to encourage for Buellton’s growth and development.


Art Mercado

Landscape/irrigation company foreman

Question 1: My family and I have lived in Buellton for 24 years. It has been a great place to raise a family. I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years spent on the Buellton Planning Commission, and my short time on the City Council, and look forward to continuing careful stewardship of our community and its resources.

Water and sewer rates are an issue impacting residents currently. When important decisions need to be made that impact the community, respectful listening of concerns and ideas from all involved is essential. Being a council member requires transparency of information coupled with the fiscal responsibility to make decisions that protect and provide for the citizens of Buellton.

Question 2: There is a specific development plan already in place for the Avenue of the Flags. Future growth or changes should be based on projects presented by developers that fit the requirements in place. Future growth should be based on community needs and the ability to enhance the lifestyle enjoyed by residents. The role of the city is to establish policy around development, not financially engage in development that may not be independently sustainable in the current business climate. While this is a very central part of Buellton, it may take time for the right project to come to fruition and cannot be mandated.

Question 3: Presenting what Buellton has to offer in the way of employees, location and resources for incoming businesses is important to our community. Specific policies exist regarding types of businesses suitable for various locations within the city. Creating an environment that works with businesses is positive for residents through the local availability of services, employment and improved tax base.


John Sanchez

Chief operator at Buellton Wastewater Treatment Plant and towing technician at Olivera’s Repair

Question 1: I have worked for Buellton since 1982 and would like to continue serving Buellton.

Question 2: I would like to quit doing studies. When a developer shows up, the City Council will absolutely have a role in review and compatibility issues.

Question 3: I think the City Council does have a role in attracting new businesses, by reducing some of the permit costs and a faster permit process. I like the tourist industry. We are blessed to live in a place everyone else wants to live.



Robyn Albrecht Caplan

Education; substitute teacher

Question 1: The City of Buellton means a lot me and my family. In being a resident of 44 years, I have seen a lot of change, and I want to actively be a part of helping shape the future we create for our city. Growing up in Buellton and watching my father, Bill Albrecht, take pride in his job as the first Public Works Director for the city has made me want to be a part of what makes Buellton a place I want to raise my family. The key issues I’d like to focus on are safety, smart growth, and education.

Question 2: I believe the current land is under utilized and has a lot of potential. Any development at that location needs to serve our residents, property owners, business owners and visitors. I believe it’s the Council’s role to be a steward, working closely with City planning and stakeholders to help foster a plan that serves us all.

Question 3: I believe the City Council should work closely with City Planning and the Buellton Chamber of Commerce on the strategic plan for business attraction. It’s important to have a diversity of businesses and make sure that new businesses coming in have an opportunity to thrive and serve both our residents and visitors.


Elysia Lewis    

Business Manager of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District

Question 1: I chose to run for a City Council seat because I felt that Buellton could benefit from some fresh perspectives coming from a different generation. I am the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant. I am young, still raising young children, and I have worked my way through both my professional and educational career. I find that this experience has provided me with a unique perspective that I would love to share with our community. I have always felt that committees and organizations that made decisions based on diverse input were more effective, inclusive and sensitive to the variety of cultures that they represent. Safety, community togetherness and strategic growth are issues that are important to me. Walkability is another huge issue for Buellton as well. We need to make our town more pedestrian friendly so that more of our local community can engage with the businesses and events we do have.

Question 2: Avenue of the Flags is the heart of Buellton for the local people. It is also the first impression for many tourists getting off the highway, and there is nothing there to attract out-of-town people to stop and little to benefit our local community. I believe that we need to attract more local businesses and commerce to this area in an effort to make it more of a community hub. Something akin to Old Town Orcutt, Old Town Sacramento, and Los Alamos’ Main Street. A place where locals can walk from their homes, congregate and interact. Additionally, the city should help facilitate a coordinated modernization/renovation of the long-term businesses and residential units that already exist.

Question 3: Yes, I believe that the City Council has a role in attracting new business to the city because I firmly believe that the key to Buellton thriving is new business and it is the council’s job to promote Buellton’s success. New businesses generate revenue, attract tourists, and provide locals with options that save them from having to travel to spend in other surrounding communities instead of our own (such as Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, etc.). The Council should be concerned with setting up or revising ordinances and codes so that they do not unduly burden individuals attempting to establish businesses while still keeping safety in mind. This will give Buellton the advantage over other local cities whose codes and ordinances are more difficult for small business owners to navigate or adhere to. The council should strive to attract businesses that fill needs in our community such as our need for a community center, community pool, and family friendly recreation centers.