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Gregg Hart Will Run for City Council


Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Gregg Hart, a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, has confirmed he will run for Santa Barbara City Council in this November’s election, making him the fourth candidate who’d been barred from seeking re-election by the city’s term limits ordinance. Hart, a moderate Democrat, has vowed to work harder than anyone else and knock on more doors. A deft and skillful legislator, he is more at home with the higher-density agenda of the so-called “smart growthers” than that of the historical preservationists. While incumbents Bendy White and Frank Hotchkiss have indicated they plan to run again, Hart will find himself competing for the vacancy created when Councilmember Grant House steps down due to term limits. Considerable speculation surrounds who else might be running for that vacant seat, but to date only Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan has confirmed his candidacy. Also running for reelection in November will be Mayor Helene Schneider. Should Hart be reelected, his council position could create tensions with his employer as the two entities are sometimes at odds over the distribution of millions of dollars in transportation and transit funds.

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Tension!? That is rather understated for you Nick. Gregg Hart would be privy to internal policy discussions within SBCAG that all other elected officials in the County never get to hear or even imagine. Furthermore, the animous between Jim Armstrong (SB City Administrator) and Jim Kemp (Director of SBCAG and Gregg Hart's boss) is not even a very well-kept secret. Also, the City's priorities for the allocation of transportation funds varies considerably from the priorities of the majority of the SBCAG Board. How would Gregg Hart ever be able to reconcile his conflicting interests if he were to serve both on the Santa Barbara City Council and as staff within SBCAG?

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2013 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As reported here: "Should Hart be reelected, his council position could create tensions with his employer as the two entities are sometimes at odds over the distribution of millions of dollars in transportation and transit funds."

TENSION?!
Ya think?
How about a Mother of All Conflicts of Interest instead?

Keeping his cush day job with the county association of governments (SBCAG) sends the basic message to voters that, if elected, Hart really does not intend to work too hard as a city council member (but still keep the $50K salary like full-time saloonkeeper Randy Rowse does).

Also, because Hart already has a full-time job with this other local government agency, Hart, if elected, would be saturated with conflicts of interest that would force him to step down or recuse himself on many votes of the city council concerning land use planning and transportation issues. I have heard those are important issues now and then around here. I have also heard that recusals from a city board (or council) can be in the eyes of the beholders and quite the subjective legal mess around here.

By recusing himself nearly every time as our city attorney would advise if not outright require, Hart, if elected, would leave the city council deadlocked in potential 3-3 votes on the same planning and transportation issues. How would that help the public?

If he kept working for SBCAG, if elected to the city council, Hart also would have inherent divided loyalties and conflicts up the yin-yang, because the SBCAG Board of Directors (his other bosses on his SBCAG day job) is comprised of the county supervisors and number of other council members from other cities in the county. Would Hart be working for Santa Maria, Goleta, Jim Kemp, and/or Salud Carbajal, or would he be representing the voters and residents of city of Santa Barbara?

Gregg Hart was a pretty good city council member more than 10 years ago (depending on the issue and one's preference), but he should not be able to have it both ways while working for the county and the city at the same time, if elected. He also would not have the time to be a serious and effective city council member with such a day job for SBCAG.

He needs to declare, early and often, now, which job he really wants and would be devoted to, if elected.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2013 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gregg is a good guy. Good for him. He has plenty of time to decide what the best course is re his day job.

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2013 at 9:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

City Council members should be independent from other government agencies and administrators. The conflict always makes for bad government.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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