Santa Barbara Talks Podcast: Judge Ochoa wants mayoral runoff | Local News

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Former Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa wants Santa Barbara’s next mayor to be elected with more than 50 percent of the vote.

Ochoa made the comments on the latest episode of Santa Barbara Talks with Josh Molina.

“I think it’s a disadvantage for someone to be the mayor of Santa Barbara and not be able to say, ‘I was elected by more than 50% of the people,'” Ochoa said.

Currently, Santa Barbara is holding mayoral elections in November, and the top voter wins, regardless of what percentage that person gets. Ochoa said that under one model, known as the “ranked choice” system, voters choosing from multiple candidates could rank their votes. Hear Ochoa talk about the trickle system in the podcast video clip below:

Ochoa was one of the influential people in shaping electoral policy for the city’s districts. He said the issue of a runoff for mayor would go to the city’s district elections committee, and then to the Santa Barbara City Council, possibly this year.

He also talked about Juana Flores and efforts to help her stay in the United States.

Flores entered the United States from Mexico without a visa in 1988, two years after President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granting status to illegal immigrants.

Between 1988 and 2019, she married and settled in California, where she and her husband, Andres — a permanent resident since 2009 and a US citizen since 2015 — bought a home and started a family.

In 1999, 57-year-old Flores traveled to Mexico to visit her dying mother and attend her funeral. Upon her return to the United States, she was arrested by Customs and Border Protection.

Although she received several extensions to be allowed to stay in the United States, for humanitarian reasons, these ended on February 26, 2019. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered Flores to return in Mexico and she voluntarily left the country. She has since returned for a year, but must return unless Ochoa and others can secure her permanent status.

Ochoa is working with Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla to ask President Biden to grant him a pardon.

Ochoa also talks about his career, the role his father and parents played in his upbringing, and why he chose to become a lawyer.

For the full podcast, click Josh Molina’s YouTube channel.

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