About Joan

Joan Hartmann

Joan Hartmann, Ph.D., J.D., has served as Supervisor Doreen Farr’s Planning Commissioner for the Third District since 2012. During that time, she gained real insight to the challenges facing our County.

Joan understands that the first job of local government is to make sure our residents and visitors are safe and secure. This means more than maintaining high quality police and fire protection; it means ensuring that we have safe roads, reliable safe water, a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

Joan has lived in Santa Barbara County since 1998. A champion of young people, she served for six years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in the foster care network. Active in many community organizations, Joan currently serves on the Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF Advisory Committee and the Wildling Museum’s Board of Directors.

Joan was raised by a single mother, following the death of her father, a disabled veteran who was injured in the Korean War. Joan’s mother, a nurse, instilled in Joan a  love of learning and the importance of getting a good education. Joan was able to use GI Bill survivor benefits to attend college.

Joan began her career in the academic world.  She worked as a high school and college teacher while pursuing her graduate degrees. Joan was the first woman faculty member of the Claremont Graduate School and served as Director of its Public Policy Program. She then was appointed Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Government at Oberlin College; and later served as adjunct professor at USC. She has also worked in the policy and budget offices and as legal counsel for several federal government agencies.

Walking the dogs

Joan is well recognized as a creative problem solver and advocate for government working collaboratively with the private and non-profit sectors. One of her significant achievements is helping found the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a novel public-private partnership among government agencies, business, and environmental interests that has secured over $628 million to restore rivers and wetlands, from Gaviota to San Diego. These efforts increase water supplies, restored habitats, and create jobs.

Joan has a history of working on measures that hold local government more accountable to the people they represent. In 2008, she spearheaded the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary initiative which requires a vote of the people before the City can expand its boundaries, the first such initiative in Santa Barbara County. She also advised the Goodland Coalition which successfully campaigned for a similar initiative in Goleta.

She is married to James (Jim) Powell. She has one adult daughter and two adult stepchildren. She and her husband enjoy country living with their horses, rescue burro, rescue dogs and cats, as well as their chickens and honeybees.