Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Star and the Santa Barbara Independent have teamed up to co-host a forum on Feb. 5 for 3rd District Supervisor candidates, which will allow the four of them to give their opinions and stances on issues from agriculture to housing and other topics. The forum starts at 5:30 p.m. at Hotel Corque in Solvang. 

Four people are seeking the 3rd District county supervisor seat, which represents the Santa Ynez Valley as well as other areas from Isla Vista to Guadalupe. Incumbent Joan Hartmann will contend with former challengers Bruce Porter, a financial advisor and former Santa Ynez Valley Union High School board member; and Karen Jones, a member of the Santa Ynez Community Services District board. New to the field is Jessica Parfrey, a Goleta resident who works at Eco Vista. 

The forum will start with an hour of meet-and-greet from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., when voters an speak with the candidates. Then the candidates will start a formal question and answer session with moderators Matt Kettmann of the Independent and Raiza Giorgi of the Star. 

“I hope that people come and listen to the candidate statements on topics that affect the valley and the district. This is the time to make an informed decision on who to vote for, and I hope that people keep an open mind,” Giorgi said.

Those unable to attend the forum will be able to watch it live-streamed on the Star’s Facebook page. It will also be available to watch later on the Star’s YouTube channel. 

The 3rd District includes UCSB, Isla Vista, western Goleta, Gaviota, the Santa Ynez Valley, Mission Hills, Vandenberg Village, Casmalia, Tanglewood and Guadalupe.

The Star will not be endorsing any candidates for this election, and the Independent has indicated that its endorsements will not come out until after the forum. 

The primary elections are earlier than normal this year, coinciding with the California presidential primary on Tuesday, March 3.

Mail-in ballots will be mailed beginning Monday, Feb. 3, and the close of voter registration will be Monday, Feb. 17, according to the Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters.