SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Former Santa Maria-Bonita School District Board member and teacher Will Smith has announced his candidacy for Santa Maria Mayor in the November election.
"What I am hearing from the folks is, they want to be listened to", Smith says about his decision to run adding the time is right for new leadership on the Santa Maria City Council, "I believe I have what it takes to work with the city and the fellow City Council men and women and make a change in the city and improve the city as a whole."
Smith is the first to challenge incumbent Alice Patino, Santa Maria's first female mayor.
"Right now they are doing a good job but I believe that we can do better", Smith says, "there are some areas that I am interested in and I feel I can help because I have been in public service."
Will Smith's tenure on the Santa Maria-Bonita School District Board was dogged by controversy.
It included a failed recall attempt against him, costly litigation, acrimony and accusations toward fellow Board members and district staff.
Prior to that, Smith says his controversial departure from the SMBSD as a teacher was by mutual agreement with the district and that he elected not to seek reinstatement of his California Teaching Credential after it was revoked.
For now, Smith, an ordained and practicing minister, says he's working on his mayoral campaign platform and listening to Santa Maria city voters.
"Just listen and try to understand what's going in the city and also understand what people want out of a mayor", Smith said Thursday afternoon, "and again, I'm listening to the young and the old."
The deadline to file candidacy papers for Santa Maria Mayor and the Santa Maria City Council is August 12.
For more information go to: http://www.cityofsantamaria.org/city-government/departments/city-clerk-records/election-candidate-information.