With two seats open and three candidates running, the race for Carpinteria City Council heats up as November’s General Election approaches. Former BMX champion and current mayor Wade Nomura, nonprofit professional and licensed marriage and family therapist Natalia Alarcon, and former SBCC instructor Mark McIntire battle for council supremacy.
Carpinteria has consistently balanced the desire to maintain its small-town feel with increasing calls for economic development, with the City Council race focused on a few hot-button topics. The long-burning issue of cannabis cultivation is still smoldering in the minds of some Carpinterians who feel the industry has adversely affected the town’s air quality and community charm. Economic and educational recovery plans in the age of COVID-imposed restrictions continue to split the population. And proposed developments along the Carpinteria bluffs and Linden Avenue have also surfaced as contentious topics in the election.
The two seats open this fall are currently held by Wade Nomura, current mayor and City Councilmember who wishes to return for another term, and Councilmember Fred Shaw, who is vacating his position.
Nomura, a Carpinteria local since 1976, has served on the Carpinteria City Council since 2012 as well as headed up some major organizations along the Central Coast for decades. As president of the Santa Barbara Japanese American Citizen League, he has aided Asian-American businesses and citizens throughout Carpinteria. Additionally, he has been active in the Rotary International, serving as its governor from 2011 to 2012 and providing quality-of-life improvements to populations around the globe. As a younger man, Nomura developed the Nomura BMX bike and raced it to numerous championships, earning him an induction into the Japanese-American National Museum Hall of Fame in 2001.
Nomura is proud of his response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, citing his creation of two separate committees. As the coronavirus outbreak spread to the Central Coast, Nomura created the COVID-19 committee, which aided in the dissemination and efficient distribution of news-related updates for the general public. As the store closures and economic restrictions stretched on, he established the economic recovery group, a committee designed to focus on successful reopening for local businesses.
Looking toward the future, Nomura seeks to continue and expand his bilingual community involvement. Additionally, he hopes to establish a blue-ribbon committee, focused on governance policies and social equity. But most of all, Nomura wants “Carp to stay Carp.”