County 7-17

Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO), an organization dedicated to fighting expansion of the Chumash Casino, on 7/15 won its case against the United States Department of the Interior. Kathryn Bowen of POLO called it a “great decision” and a substantial step toward gaining a voice for the public in the process that removes land from state and local taxing and regulatory authority, converting it into a federal trust that can be used for gambling.

John Baker, the county’s Planning and Development Department director, received a year-long contract extension worth $195,000. A week after blasting Baker for inadequate shoring-up and enforcement work against further oil spills, 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said he thought Baker’s leadership was “working well.” Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, suggesting a six-month extension rather than a year, was the only dissenting vote. Baker came aboard out of retirement in 2006, and now oversees several departments as an assistant CEO.

The Forest Service is placing a number of bans throughout Los Padres National Forest starting on 7/18. Wood and charcoal campfires will be prohibited in all campgrounds and campfire sites. Smoking is prohibited outside of enclosed buildings and designated campfire sites. And all internal combustion engines must have certified spark arresters and be operated only on designated roads.

Danita Rodriguez, a superintendent for the California State Parks Santa Barbara Sector, who oversees La Pur-sima Mission, Chumash Painted Cave, Gaviota State Park, and El Capitan and Refugio State Beaches, has taken a promotion to become superintendent for the Marin District north of San Francisco. Rodriguez has worked for State Parks for 30 years.

The Board of Supervisors decided against paying $50,000 to $75,000 for an independent financial consultant to help with next year’s budget. Needing four votes to move the money, 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone only received three, Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf dissenting. Wolf said the CEO’s office could do the work.

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