Letters to the Editor
High Stakes for the Environment on March 3
By Katie Davis
SB Independent, Mon Feb 17, 2020
From President to Supervisors, Your Vote Matters
With a wide-open field of contenders in the Democratic Presidential Primary and with California’s Primary Election moved up to March 3 (with mail in voting as of February 3), California has a meaningful role to play in choosing who will face Trump in November. The stakes could not be higher for Santa Barbara County. In addition to president, the county supervisor race will determine whether we protect our lands and waters and pursue a renewable energy future, or reverse course and double-down on increasingly risky and unregulated fossil fuel development.
Thus far, Santa Barbara County has resisted the Trump administration’s plans to open a million acres of public lands in Santa Barbara and surrounding counties to fracking and drilling despite 16,000 comments of opposition on the faulty environmental report. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is managing the give-away, is being run by anti-federal government lands zealot William Pendley, who moved BLM’s offices from D.C. to the Chevron Corp office building in Grand Junction, Colorado. Another plan to open ocean waters of the Santa Barbara Channel to oil leases is pending release. The Trump administration has already eliminated safety measures instituted after the 210 million-gallon Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the gulf, eliminated water protections, and disallowed climate considerations from development.
This county’s resistance would fade if Bruce Porter succeeds in his effort to unseat 3rd District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. With a history of taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time from oil PACs, Porter advocates for what he terms, “locally-sourced farm-to-table petroleum.” In reality, the kind of tar-sands oil development proposed here is the worst, most polluting kind of oil in the world with emissions twice that of conventional oil and a greater risk of spills. Fields using cyclic steam have been shut down in Kern County after massive spills.
The proposed Cat Canyon projects would access oil so thick they have to truck lighter oil in to put down the hole and then truck the combined oil back out again. The steam engines used to melt the heavy oil would be powered by fracked gas from Texas and the resulting oil would be trucked to refineries elsewhere. Every month 13 million barrels of fuel oil and other petroleum products are exported from the West Coast.
Porter could be expected to green light pending projects in the county and welcome the new federal leases, locking in projects for the next 40-50 years and representing a bet against meeting global climate goals. To this end, Porter has been accused of running a fraudulent voter suppression effort in Isla Vista to depress the student vote.
We need not become a fossil-fuel sacrifice zone. California’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy and millions of electric vehicles is on track, and Santa Barbara County is leading the way with a wide range of active projects, including the Strauss Wind project, the Tajiguas Resource Recovery project, converting waste into renewable energy, a number of large battery storage projects, a new solar ordinance, community choice energy, county building renewable projects, and the electrification of the county’s fleet of cars. These will create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue. Critical to this is maintaining the environmental leadership of Supervisors Das Williams and Joan Hartmann, both instrumental to this progress, both endorsed by the Sierra Club, and both up for re-election on March 3, with mail in ballots dropping in early February.
This year, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which took place in the wake of the first massive oil spill in Santa Barbara. It comes after the hottest decade on record, when consensus on the need to act on climate is so high the Oxford dictionary chose “climate emergency” as the 2019 word of the year, and at a time when a nationwide public opinion poll by the Washington Post finds 8 in 10 Americans oppose increased drilling.
Vote on March 3 to ensure that Santa Barbara County is not left behind. Let’s be part of the solution to climate change and not the problem.
Katie Davis is chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter for Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Joan’s Efforts at the 154
By Roger and Priscilla Higgins, Santa Ynez
SB Independent, Feb 18, 2020
GPS, Google Maps, and Waze have made State Route 154 a freeway for Highway 101 travelers cutting through the heart of our community. Those of who live on the east side of highway 154 have daily heart-wrenching moments as we attempt to find a gap between traffic approaching from both directions at 70 mph. A four-way stop has alleviated the problem at Baseline, but the junctions at Roblar and Grand Avenue in Los Olivos are truly terrifying. With two fatalities and multiple crashes at the Roblar junction, we have been trying to get a message to Caltrans that a four-way stop there is mandatory and a much higher priority than its committed plan to put a roundabout at Baseline. But who to speak to in the bureacracy?
Joan Hartmann has addressed this issue by championing the Traffic Safety and Circulation Study, which identifies system-wide improvements, including reducing accidents and congestion at the Highway 101/154/246 triangle. Further, Joan and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments held the Highway 154 Safety Forum (which Joan chairs).
Joan understands that Santa Ynez Valley residents deserve to have input, rather than being at the mercy of decisions made unilaterally by governmental bodies such as Caltrans. That’s why she has worked so hard on a process that includes us.
We hope our elected officials will represent us. Joan is delivering on this hope in traffic issues. Please join us in voting to re-elect Joan Hartmann to the Board of Supervisors.
Commentary facts call for answers
By Doreen Farr, Ojai
Santa Maria Times, Feb 18, 2020
In a recent commentary Richard Nagler stated that 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann had cost the Santa Ynez Valley School District millions of dollars in funding through two decisions she had made – one was an oblique reference to “the Santa Ynez Unit” and the other to the agreement made between the County and the Chumash Tribe regarding Camp 4.
Both assertions are patently false and so easily disproved as to suggest that the writer was not interested in educating voters, only in misleading them. First, we must assume that his reference to “the Santa Ynez Unit” was regarding the denial of an emergency permit to Exxon Mobil to truck oil dozens of times a day up and down the Gaviota Coast.
The truth is Supervisor Hartmann did not participate in making that decision as it occurred in 2015 before she was even elected to the Board of Supervisors. Second, Supervisor Hartmann was never legally in a position to negotiate with the Tribe for funding for the Santa Ynez School District. She could only negotiate on behalf of the County.
The school district has their own duly elected board to negotiate for the betterment of their district of which Bruce Porter has been a member. If Nagler thought that that the school district should get more money from the Tribe, why didn’t he ask Porter to do so? Indeed, why didn’t Porter think to do it himself?
Was it because he was quite satisfied by the funds the Tribe had already gifted to the district? Or was he too intimidated by the Tribe to ask for more funds for the students he purportedly represents? We may never know the truth.
However, whether complicit or cowardly, the responsibility for negotiating with the Tribe on behalf of the school district fell squarely on Porter’s shoulders and not on Hartmann’s. In contrast, throughout her term in office Hartmann has consistently been honest, transparent, courageous and successful in always asking for more resources for all her constituents. On March 3, vote to reelect Joan Hartmann.
Joan Hartmann for Isla Vista’s 3rd
By Pegeen Soutar, Isla Vista
Santa Barbara Independent, Feb 10, 2020
As a longtime Isla Vista resident and advocate for parks, recreation, and open-space, I’m proud to support the re-election of Joan Hartmann as 3rd District County Supervisor.
Joan has been a true leader in supporting parks and our access to them. She persuaded her board colleagues to support a Countywide Parks Master Plan, and hosted a countywide summit on parks and open-space, where city and special district stakeholders learned about potential funding opportunities to improve our parks and recreation opportunities. And opening very soon, the Baron Ranch Trail, will provide seven-days a week, breathtakingly scenic coast-to-crest trail hiking on the Gaviota Coast.
We are fortunate to live on the south coast of Santa Barbara County, where we have hundreds of miles of trails and access to many beautiful parks. Joan thinks about those who have less access to open space, addressing the fact that there are only 12 miles of accessible trails in the northern part of Santa Barbara County. Determined to change this, she has supported funding for park improvements and trail development throughout the 3rd District.
Here in Isla Vista, she has been a strong partner and supporter of the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District. Her efforts have strengthened our collaborative relationship with the county. She’s improved safety in Isla Vista parks and access to our beaches. For these reasons and more, I’m proud to support the re-election of Joan Hartmann for Supervisor.
Porter Mailer Misleads
By France Komoroske, Santa Ynez
Santa Barbara Independent, Feb 10, 2020
I recently received a mailer exhorting me to “vote against Joan Hartmann.” I wasn’t advised who I was supposed to vote for in the 3rd District election for county supervisor. However, in tiny letters I found the source: “Paid for by Porter for Supervisor.” Perhaps Bruce Porter was reluctant to ask people to vote for him because of his misleading statements.
Porter’s mailer claims that Hartmann broke a promise about the Vista Del Mar School, causing its financial difficulties. He footnotes his claim, but his source cites as causes a combination of the Refugio Oil Spill and state changes in education funding, issues over which Hartmann has no control. Then, without any authority, he contends that the negotiations over Camp 4 diverted tax money from education to the general fund. Sorry, wrong there too.
Next, Porter contends that Hartmann broke some promise about cannabis. Again, Porter’s citation doesn’t support his statement, and instead states that the county benefitted by an extra $1.2 million in revenue from cannabis operations. He wrongly contends that Hartmann allowed cannabis into the county without restrictions; Joan Hartmann has, in fact, fought diligently to regulate the industry.
Third, Porter asserts that Hartmann broke a promise about infrastructure, resulting in unsafe parks, bridges, and roads. Yet again, Porter cites a document that doesn’t support his contention, the County Road Maintenance Plan. In fact, Hartmann has consistently voted to fund deferred maintenance of county infrastructure.
If you value honesty and integrity in government over lies and innuendo, please join me in voting to re-elect Joan Hartmann.
Hartmann works for fire safety
By Ann Glasgow, Lompoc
Santa Maria Times, Feb 07 2020
Many of us in District 3 are concerned about safety. Due to recent fires and floods, many people want to know what their county supervisor is doing to protect our community. As you consider voting on March 3, you should know that Joan Hartmann has been hard at work to reduce the risk of threats from fire.
Joan was instrumental in helping secure a CalFire grant for the Lompoc Valley Fuel Reduction Project. It includes roadside fuel reduction along Harris Grade, Rucker and Burton Mesa roads, dead tree clearing within La Purisima Mission State Park, and an 18-mile fuel treatment area from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the outskirts of Buellton. This is a four-year project developed by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and worth over $2 million dollars. It will go a long way towards helping to reduce fires in a significant area of the district.
Joan makes fire safety a top community priority. She has traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for disaster planning resources for our county, and has organized multiple fire safety meetings that included the Mission Hills Community Council, Vandenberg Village Association and Santa Barbara County Fire Department, to share information and elevate awareness.
Joan has made it clear that she will continue to work to make us safer. Please support her efforts by voting for her re-election.
Joan Hartmann for 3rd District
By Judith Dale, Buellton
Santa Maria Times, Feb 06, 2020
As a daughter who took care of aging parents until their passing, I saw first-hand how dedicated Joan Hartmann is to our senior citizens. Joan worked closely with the staff of the Solvang Senior Center to secure a long-term lease so the Center could stay in its present location.
She is currently doing the same for the Buellton Senior Center, which is located on a County Fire Department site. Talk of moving the Center to a different location proved very unpopular with seniors and Buellton residents, who want the Center stay in its present convenient, central location. Joan helped negotiate a long-term lease for the current Center. She even arranged for the fire department to provide electricity during a power outage, so it can serve as a warming center and food distribution site in an emergency.
In addition, Joan currently chairs the Adult and Aging Network that is developing a Master Plan for Seniors in response to Gov. Newsom’s Initiative. This will determine future policies and procedures for Santa Barbara County seniors for year to come.
In addition to supporting seniors, Joan also chairs the K.I.D.s Policy Network and is the alternate for the County’s First Five Children and Families Commission. She also has promoted policies to ensure the libraries in the County can continue to offer hours, services, and programs to all citizens.
I strongly urge you to support Joan Hartmann on March 3rd. She truly is dedicated to providing critical services to the citizens of Santa Barbara County.
Hartmann and the ‘Silver Tsunami’
By Kelly B. Gray, Los Olivos
Santa Barbara Independent, Feb 03, 2020
Supervisor Joan Hartmann recently met with residents at Atterdag Village, where she shared her plan to address the “Silver Tsunami” affecting Santa Barbara County. I serve on the Atterdag Village Board and am grateful for Supervisor Hartmann’s knowledge of and commitment to addressing the needs of this growing population. Indeed, the senior population in California will double in 10 years!
As chair of the Adult & Aging Network, Supervisor Hartmann conducted a study on the increasing need to provide transportation for seniors for medical appointments, shopping, and enabling seniors to participate in social and entertainment opportunities — leading to a Community Partners in Caring Program. As she has pointed out, Solvang’s median age is 32 percent higher than the state average — and our community needs to prepare for and serve that reality.
A natural collaborator, Supervisor Hartmann networks with local forums to bring to Santa Barbara County experts to address planning for retirement and the importance of nutrition, fitness, and social opportunities for seniors. I have spoken with seniors who wish to stay in their homes or are unable to afford senior retirement communities. Supervisor Hartmann knows that meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of seniors requires routine monitoring of health issues and oversight of caregivers to protect our seniors from elder abuse and financial scams. She has also worked on issues such as long term leases for senior centers, to allow improvements, and on outreach and cooling centers for seniors affected by power shutoffs as well.
Supervisor Hartmann has my vote!
Joan Hartmann Delivers
By Christopher Brooks, Vandenberg Village
Santa Barbara Independent, Feb 02, 2020
Our 3rd District county supervisor, Joan Hartmann, is a highly responsive representative for local interests. When the Vandenberg Village Community Services District asked if she could get county permission for us to drill some test water wells on county property, she helped us out. We asked and she delivered.
As a veteran, I suggested to her that she should reduce county park fees for veterans at state parks. I asked and she delivered. Joan’s father was a soldier in Korea, who succumbed to injuries received in theater; this may help to explain her deep commitment to veteran’s needs.
Joan has been very attentive to the Vandenberg Village community, participating in the Route 1 Farmers Market, addressing community concerns about a proposed clinic, and working with local advocates to create plans for a local park and playground. She has held office hours each month and sponsored local hikes. She attends many community functions and has hosted a number of well-attended forums on fire safety and road improvements. She also helped to bring over $2 million for Burton Mesa fire prevention work. She delivers for our community.
Grounded by an inquiring mind and sharp intellect, her leadership skills are an enormous asset to Santa Barbara County and help her navigate the day-to-day and longer-range challenges on the horizon. We are fortunate to have her working on our behalf.
Joan Hartmann: Wonder Woman
By Gail Marshall, Carpinteria
Santa Barbara Independent, Jan 30, 2020
I think 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann is one of our local Wonder Women.
The vast district includes the urban centers of Goleta, Isla Vista and Guadalupe, the Gaviota Coast, our bountiful agricultural lands, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the Santa Ynez Valley. It is the largest and the most challenging district due to its sheer size, great diversity of constituencies and enterprises.
Joan Hartmann’s performance in office represents everything a public servant should be. She is knowledgeable, responsive and committed to meeting not only her constituents’ needs but also the needs of residents and local businesses countywide.
Given her core belief that we succeed when we work together, it’s no surprise that she gets along well with all her supervisor colleagues as well as the rank and file county employees. Joan demonstrates her commitment to responsiveness and openness by being available — in addition to holding office hours in three offices, she holds monthly pop-up office hours throughout her district.
Having served as 3rd District Supervisor for eight years, I know that it is hard work. Joan’s success in meeting our challenges head on is due to her high level of energy, intelligence and integrity. I am proud to support her and strongly urge you to re-elect Joan Hartmann for Supervisor this March 3.
Vote Joan Hartmann
By Carole Bloom, Los Alamos
Santa Barbara Independent, Jan 29, 2020
Please join me in voting for Joan Hartmann in the upcoming election for 3rd District Supervisor.
I have known Joan for several years and have found her to be a caring, compassionate, intelligent woman, willing to listen to all sides of an issue.
Joan has reached out to residents here in Los Alamos to hear our concerns and offer creative solutions.
Her involvement in our community, through monthly public meetings and attendance and support of our community events shows that she is a woman of service and integrity, who truly wants the best for Los Alamos and all the communities she serves.
She has established a clear track record of supporting local business and creating an environment to encourage business development.
Joan has represented the 3rd District with distinction, often taking on projects and completing tasks behind the scenes without any fanfare or notoriety. I know she will continue to serve the with the same passion and dedication that has been a hallmark of her professional life.
It’s vital that we vote our values, so I’ll be voting to re-elect Joan Hartmann. She’s been an effective advocate for us all.
The 3rd District Choice
By Seth Steiner, Los Alamos
Santa Barbara Independent, Jan 25, 2020
During Bruce Porter’s previous attempt to become 3rd District supervisor, I attended some of his public events. They were tightly controlled appearances where his credentials were recited, but he took few questions. His campaign office does not return phone calls. And just last week, Porter was the only candidate who chose not even to appear at a lively forum for voters. Is that a sign of respect and commitment?
In contrast, since being elected as supervisor, Joan Hartmann has been eminently approachable on any matter that concerned me or my neighbors. She has held countless townhall-like gatherings throughout the district, making herself available to listen and respond to all questions.
The job of county supervisor is an important one. Further, the District 3 Supervisor has often cast the tie-breaking vote on matters that affect the quality of our lives and the balancing of our budget. Joan Hartmann has proven that she takes the role seriously and devotes her time, energy and considerable experience to it. She has a proven record of leadership in advancing public health, the safety of our roads and neighborhoods, disaster response, and water-wise policies.
Total compensation for the position is over $100,000 a year. Isn’t this enough to ensure that a supervisor is financially able to give full time and attention to it?
Still, after four years, Porter will not pledge to leave his private job as financial advisor to the wealthy to give more than part-time to the taxpayers of the county he would have pay his salary.