Controversial candidate enters Santa Maria mayor race
July 29, 2016
A former Santa Maria teacher and school board member, who came under fire in both roles, has entered the city’s mayoral race. Will Smith is currently the only challenger to incumbent Mayor Alice Patino. [KEYT]
While working as a teacher, Smith was reportedly suspended eight times and faced allegations of corporal punishment, intimidating a student, dishonesty and misuse of a computer. Smith denied the allegations, but he ultimately resigned from his teaching position and reached a settlement with the Santa Maria Bonita School District.
Smith then ran for a seat on the school board and was elected.
As a member of the Santa Maria school board, Smith faced a recall effort that nearly reached the ballot. A group attempting to recall Smith reportedly collected 4,383 of the 4,800 signatures needed to send the recall to voters in the 2012 general election.
Critics accused Smith of causing disruptions at school board meetings resulting in calls to the police. Other board members voted to censure Smith. During his term on the school board, Smith was also involved in litigation against the district.
Smith, who is an ordained and practicing minster, said he is currently working on his platform for his mayoral campaign. The candidate said he is speaking with Santa Maria residents and that they want to be listened to. Smith said he believes he has what it takes to work with the city and fellow council members to improve Santa Maria as a whole.
The deadline for Santa Maria council and mayoral candidates to file papers is Aug. 12.