Jun 1, 2010 1:25 PM by Ariel Wesler
If you've driven through Santa Barbara County, you may have noticed the district attorney campaign signs on many hillsides.
The race is on for the county's top legal prosecutor. On June 8, voters will decide whether they want Joyce Dudley or Josh Lynn to become the next district attorney. Ann Bramsen has been the acting d-a since the late Christie Stanley stepped down in January for health reasons.
These two prosecutors are fighting each other, politically, so voters can judge who should become Santa Barbara County's lead crimefighter. Both Joyce Dudley and Josh Lynn say a top priority as district attorney would be gang violence.
"I have twice as many people serving life sentences in state prison than my opponent because I am a strong believer in punishment, but if we just punish alone it's not going to drop the crime rate," Dudley said.
"We've explored the idea of doing gang injunctions both in the north and the south county. I added a deputy to the gang unit on the south county in Santa Barbara. We are trying very aggressively to tackle the problem," Lynn said.
Currently, 83 percent of the county's criminals re-offend, so prevention is also key. Both candidates want to reinstate the truancy program but with the county's $40 million dollar budget gap, fighting crime will also mean fighting for cash.
"The trouble is when you start saying things like you're going to have an arson unit. You're going to have some sort of addition to the district attorney's current staff that isn't currently funded," Lynn said.
"I've had two DAs and three investigators who have said I'd really like to be a part of the arson unit, so no additional funding," Dudley said.
Dudley says she plans to look for more state and federal stimulus dollars.
"The first thing we have to make sure is that we've brought in all the resources we can possibly bring in," she said.
while Lynn wants to improve efficiencies in the courtroom.
"Most especially low level felony court cases can go through the system probably twice as fast as they do now," Lynn said.
and now, it's up to voters to reach a verdict.
Among dudley's endorsements are Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, and the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Association.
Some of Lynn's supporters include former DAs Christie Stanley, Tom Sneddon, as well as 500 members of the Deputy Sheriff's Association.
For more information on Joyce Dudley click here
For more information on Josh Lynn click here
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