Third District Supervisor candidate Bruce Porter holds an early lead against challenger Joan Hartmann, with 6,293 votes tallied for Porter and 5,242 voting for Hartmann.
This seat will be vacated by outgoing Supervisor Doreen Farr, who held two terms in this position.
Both Porter and Hartmann have extensive resumes both in their professional lives and involvement in the community. Porter graduated from West Point and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also graduated from Stanford University with a master’s of science degree in civil engineering and computer science.
When he retired to the valley Porter became involved with the American Red Cross to help plan and respond to fires and disaster situations in Santa Barbara County, as well as build a facility in Santa Maria and find a backup headquarters.
Porter’s resume also includes being past president of the Solvang Rotary Club, which helped improve the Solvang Senior Center and worked to construct Sunny Fields Park and create scholarships for students.
In 2008 Porter was elected to the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School board of education and currently serves as its president. He was a part of the effort to maintain the district’s budget during the economic recession. He has also worked on projects at the high school to incorporate energy efficient lighting, revamped the recycling system and install water bottle stations.
“People have this misconception of being conservative in Santa Barbara County because of the entrenched political establishment. They portray me as someone who wants to ruin the environment, allow unbridled development and pave over the Gaviota coast. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have spent my lifetime protecting the environment and still finding ways to work with all parties to come up with solutions to benefit all,” Porter said.
In the Santa Ynez Valley the issue of wastewater, especially in Los Olivos, is of interest to Porter. In Isla Vista where Porter has been campaigning, people are also trying to create a community service district with a utility tax bond of 8 percent.
Porter added the job of the government isn’t telling people what they can do or what businesses should do, but creating opportunity.
“There should be incentives for people to bring more high-paying jobs to our county instead of leaving to Arizona or Texas. There are great spaces in Lompoc and Santa Maria and Buellton that would be perfect to create jobs of living wage so families can afford to live here,” Porter said.
The most important issue for Porter to address if he is elected is water, he said, as he believes the county needs to modernize and update the water system starting with creating a master plan.
“We need to expand our uses of recycled water and desalination facility while expanding Cachuma and conservation efforts,” Porter said.
He also is concerned about public safety as the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is down about 30 deputies and the areas not contracted with cities such as unincorporated areas like Santa Ynez and Vandenberg Village.
Hartmann has an equally measurable career as a former teacher she loves education and believes there should be more options for early childhood care and vocational and trade schools. Hartmann worked as a high school and college teacher while pursuing her graduate degrees. She earned a Ph.D., was the first woman faculty member of the Claremont Graduate School, and served as director of its Public Policy Program. Hartmann was then 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, including the U.S. Department of Interior.
“One of my significant achievements is helping to found the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, which was a cooperation of public and private partnerships among government agencies, business, and environmental interests, and we secured $628 million to restore rivers and wetlands, from Gaviota to San Diego. Our efforts increased water supplies, restored habitats, and created jobs,” Hartmann said.
Hartmann also spearheaded the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary initiative in 2008, which now requires a vote of the people before the city can expand its boundaries.
She was also appointed to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and spent three years before resigning in January when announcing her candidacy.
“Before I left I also voted in favor of the zip line project by Stu Gildred, which I believe will be an asset to the community. I did get a lot of backlash from the environmental community, but after carefully researching the project and the property, it was a good fit, and Buellton also outlined more recreation for families in our visioning plan,” Hartmann said.
Hartmann said she believes there is always a way to solve differences, especially with hot button topics such as the winery ordinance, which imposes tight restrictions for vineyards and boutique wine label owners.