<b>TROUBLE IN PARADISE?</b>  Supervisor Peter Adam, frustrated over the tighter standard imposed on Santa Maria Energy’s oil well project by the three South County supervisors last week, hinted in an op-ed that a county split may be in order.

Paul Wellman (file)

TROUBLE IN PARADISE? Supervisor Peter Adam, frustrated over the tighter standard imposed on Santa Maria Energy’s oil well project by the three South County supervisors last week, hinted in an op-ed that a county split may be in order.

Considering a County Split

Supervisor Peter Adam Says North May Be Better Off Without South

Thursday, November 21, 2013
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When the Board of Supervisors voted last week to green-light Santa Maria Energy’s oil drilling project but at a stricter environmental standard than previously approved, the project’s supporters worried the company would abandon its plans entirely, and its detractors rejoiced at the possibility of a new de facto county emissions standard.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Peter Adam ​— ​who not only voted against the stricter threshold but also made a motion to make the threshold even lower than before ​— ​took things a step further in an op-ed he wrote on Sunday, reviving a suggestion last considered in 2006: a county split.

“People in the North County have tried to split Santa Barbara County twice in the last 30 years,” he wrote in his op-ed. “The lack of respect and paternalism that we saw last Tuesday is why. We in the ‘colonies’ would like to see this change.” Adam said in a later interview that he had always thought separation was a bad idea, but last Tuesday’s vote changed his mind. “I’m not necessarily advocating a split,” he explained, “but it may be something people have to consider if this is the way it’s going to be.”

Santa Maria Energy’s project ​— ​136 cyclic steam injection wells, along with two emissions-producing steam generators, an oil pipeline, and a recycled water pipeline ​— ​is going to be held to a strict greenhouse-gas emissions limit of 10,000 metric tons per year, down from the approximately 62,000 tons per year approved by the county’s Planning Commission in September. That 62,000 figure ​— ​which the Environmental Defense Center appealed, leading to the supervisors’ decision ​— ​resulted from a 29 percent emissions threshold for the wells’ projected emissions of 88,000 metric tons a year, a threshold almost twice the state’s 15.3 percent standard. To mitigate its emissions down to 10,000, Santa Maria Energy will have to employ on-site measures and buy reduction credits to the tune of about $500,000 a year.

Bob Poole, the company’s public and government affairs manager, said that while Santa Maria Energy won’t file a lawsuit against the county for the supervisors’ decision ​— ​and that the project will move forward ​— ​the company is neither pleased with the vote nor able to guarantee the same number of jobs, tax revenues, and community support. “I think Supervisor Adam’s op-ed accurately portrayed the dysfunctional situation in Santa Barbara County,” Poole said.

But Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Janet Wolf, and Doreen Farr ​— ​all of whom voted for the more stringent threshold ​— ​don’t think that their decision on the project should lead to a discussion on splitting the county in two. “This project is moving forward. Jobs will be created and greenhouse gases will be mitigated,” said Carbajal. “It’s making a mountain out of a molehill.” Wolf agreed, saying that the split suggestion is “so unfortunate and really serves no purpose” and noting that when the separation was put up to the voters in 2006, more than 80 percent voted against it. “I don’t think this is a north-south issue,” said Farr. “The vast majority of the votes that the board makes are unanimous votes,” she said. “For issues big and small in each district, when the votes aren’t unanimous, they can break in a lot of different directions.”

After delivering a fiery speech last week in support of keeping the threshold as approved by the Planning Commission, 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said recently that he agreed with the “meat and potatoes” of Adam’s op-ed but not the suggestion of a split. “Different parts of the county have strengths and weaknesses, and I think we’re better as one,” he said, noting the majority of the county’s property tax revenues come from South County. “Some people say we need to get a divorce. I think we need to go to counseling and work out our problems.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I applaud the three supervisors for not rolling over under pressure from Santa Maria Energy Project and their slick p.r. campaign. Supervisors Adam , Lavagnino and people like the Carreaga's know fully well that the approved project will still be very profitable over the life of these 136 new wells.
3000 barrels of oil per day , creating $ 155 million in annual revenues( at today's spot price / likely to rise) makes the $1 million or so in mitigation costs a virtual drop in the bucket . As approved , this SME project will still be allowed 10,000 tons (net)of new pollutants to foul our atmosphere while the investors will still make out like bandits.

geeber (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 4:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

10, 000 tons annually of new pollution.

geeber (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 4:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"10, 000 tons annually of new pollution." Beeber, I feel your pain.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 5:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I doubt a split-off North County would be economically viable ... unless they draw the county line at 154.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe the north will get their own jail because the one here is way over capacity.

ahem (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Go for it. Salsipuedes! The future belongs to North County.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 10:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

South County did themselves a disfavor turning down the split last time. North County does themselves a disfavor if they don't go for the split again now.

As long as the Democratic machine can still deliver the IV vote for the Third District seat, North County will be perpetually doomed.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well foofighter, as a South County resident I say, go for it and then live with consequences of cutting off their noses to spite their faces. When the North County had a 3-2 majority on the Board, they enacted all kinds of stuff against the wishes of the majority of South County residents, so their complaints, now that the shoe is on the other foot, seem disingenuous to me. Also, Lavagnino is correct that the vast majority of the property taxes generated in this County come from the southern half of it. The split off North County would start life in a deep financial hole. I don't believe that splitting is the answer. Lavagnino and Adam need to reach out to the other supervisors and build consensus and coalition through compromise instead of making ideological speeches on the dais for the benefit of TV audiences.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 1:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Santa Maria needs to increase its population until it swallows up Districts 3, 4 and 5. And leaves 1 and 2 to deal with IV on their own.

When did North County have the 3-2 majority?

My memory does not go back that far. I can only go back as far as Rose, Schwartz and Marshal as the South Coast Socialist Sisters.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Never was phrase oil and water not mixing more apt.

Taken from wiki:

"Santa Barbara County has long been divided between competing political interests. North of the Santa Ynez Mountains, agricultural activities and oil development have long been predominant. Enormous oil fields such as the Orcutt, Lompoc, Santa Maria Valley, and Cat Canyon fields provided jobs and a steady supply of oil, gas, and asphalt since the first oil discovery in the Solomon Hills in 1901.

In recent years, major oil companies have left the area, turning over their oil leases to small independents, and decommissioning some leases areas that were no longer profitable. The northern portion contains a large military base, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and thus military interests are prominent. These influences together create a Republican-leaning northern half.

On the other hand, the southern portion of Santa Barbara county has had an economy based on tourism, with a significant percentage of people with white-collar jobs, formerly in aerospace but more recently in software and other high-tech pursuits.

Additionally, the University of California, Santa Barbara contributes to a liberal populace. The southern portion of the county has a strong history of left-wing activism, with anti-war protests common in Santa Barbara.

It is generally believed that the inspiration for Earth Day was the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill; however, Gaylord Nelson, the senator who proposed the idea, has never directly cited any direct cause for the establishment of the holiday."

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter is afraid of IV, the Funk Zone, modern artists and I'm guessing his own shadow.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, good, Carbajal thinks this is a mountain out of a molehill. We all know he claimed the crown that lets him dictate what is "reasonable". The South Coast never will have what is in the best interest of the North County,

In a split, these "experts" would run their county into collapse before the decade is out. I want the split to prevent them from taking us down with them. Go chase your Progressive Dream, I want no part of it.

The world is turning on your eco-philosophy - and Santa Barbara is proud to stand in the way of the future:

californiumblog (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 6:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Happy to leave the North County to manage their own affairs as they see fit. They've been both a financial and political drag on those of us who see value in protecting our wonderful little world. Go for it Santa Maria!

loganwc (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 7:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a south county resident I wholeheartedly encourage Peter Adam and his fellow "colonists" to move quickly to secede from SB County. Many of us were hopeful the effort a decade ago would succeed but alas the north got cold feet when they figured out theyd lose the tax base in the south that sustains them. So I say "go for it" Pete! If approval of over 100 new oil wells isnt enough for u- go forth and split and turn the north into wall to wll jail cells nd oil spills.

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 7:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why not just wish successful drilling in North County. Why put the curse of oil spills on an industry that has had a pretty darn good track record now for decades. Even Greka has been staying out of the news lately. Sounds like someone is acting like the Bad Fairy at Snow White's B-day party.

Go for it, North County. You might be surprised how many new South County residents will join you up there knowing they can finally live under good government.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2013 at 10:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Peter Adam is a crybaby. Doesn't get his way and wants to take his ball & go home (the South County owns the bat and all the gloves, the catcher's equipment, and the ball field).

You win some and you lose some, Peter Adam. You North County supes blocked the incorporation of IV into a city 6 or 8 times in the past 40 years. A much bigger deal than a measly million a year for rich oil folks.

pardallchewinggumspot (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 6:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't blame me; I voted for ballot Measure H-2006.

The County Political Cognoscenti, though, did not like it, as encapsulated in this Indy editorial by someone who would experience a new, poorer county right away:

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 7:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@pardallchewinggumspot: "You North County supes blocked the incorporation of IV into a city 6 or 8 times in the past 40 years."

In fact, if the county did split, I.V. would likely get a representative - or, at least, have a significantly greater influence, on the South County Board of Supervisors. It would hugely benefit I.V., but would be something that the north county landlords who own property in I.V. would DESPISE.

The sabre rattling by Peter Adam is just that. He's in way over his head, and clearly doesn't know when to stop talking. And if the county did split, the North County BoS would likely be filled with representatives like him - people to stupid to realize when they're not the smartest guys in the room. I'd give them a year before they'd start eating each others' young.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 8:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Eckermann. If North County splits, they'll likely be *more* motivated to approve projects like the original SME plan in an effort to stay afloat (at any cost).

Our upwind neighbor to the north/west would then be spewing more carbon into the atmosphere. Then what have we gained?

Keep your frenemies close.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A county split vote came up only twice, not "6 or 8 times in the past 40 years". You exaggerate for effect, eat the rich. Watch that. Once for Los Padres County and once for Mission County. Time is ripe to look at this again. Either name could work for the remnants of South County left behind.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@foofighter: "A county split vote came up only twice, not "6 or 8 times in the past 40 years". You exaggerate for effect, eat the rich. Watch that."

'Watch that', huh? Or what? You'll throw some more stupid at me?

I was QUOTING someone else. Your ability to suck the intelligence out of a thread by your mere participation is... well, it's almost a talent.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo - your statement that Santa Maria needs to increase its population until it swallows up the 3rd, 4th and 5th Districts is actually the opposite of what happens. As the Santa Maria population grows, the 4th and 5th Districts actually contract since the population of each District is required to be roughly equal. Look at the 2001 versus 2011 Supervisorsial Districts map.

Also, I believe that Rose, Schwartz and Marshall were known as the Twisted Sisters, at least according to Andy Caldwell.

Lastly, the North County had a 3 -2 majority both when Firestone and Chamberlain were the 3rd District Supervisors..

But otherwise I agree with you, depending on where they draw the dividing line.

discoboy (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This idea to split the county comes up from time to time. Then the North County split fans do the math and the idea goes away. They cannot afford to be their own county.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Most of us in the south would be happy to split with the north. The last time this was on the ballot, north county voters rejected the idea while south county voters embraced it. Herschel is correct, south county would gain tremendously financially by not being burdened with supporting the north.

buckwheat (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 3 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Recalculate your population distribution again.The more North County population grows (not just Santa Maria, but the Santa Maria area) the more they will swallow up the pivotal 3rd district and be able to claim it for their own

One is only looking for a North County interest majority on the board and that you get with more growth in the North County. Grow, baby grow or else split the county.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

go Buckwheat: I too am ready to jettison the north county, but WE keep the whole coast up to Pt. Con. and the entire Sta Ynez Valley, of course. I couldn't trust the north led by Petty Peter & cohorts and how they would ally with the Sta. Ynez Tribe and hammer Los Olivos etc. with endless development.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Attaching North SB County to SLO county might work better.

A lot better to deal only with the Cal Poly vote, than the IV vote for the good folks up there. Their students might actually want jobs and future that would be more pro-business and more pro-development.

Makes more geographical sense too. Chumash Crime Central on the borderlands is up for grabs - who wants to get stuck with it?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who says SLO wants the responsibility of "North County"? If "North County" wishes to split, let them do it democratically and amicably. Really need for hostility. Let them go their own way if the majority should so decide.
And to imply UCSB students don't want jobs etc is just more plain ignorant hatred from someone who has time and again proven themselves to be a bigot and an idealogue; and apparently has nothing to do all day but post diatribes online.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 5:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

SLO County might be interested in the SM oil revenues, so it could be a win-win all the way around. North County ag, oil and aerospace makes a far better fit for Cal Poly folks, than UCSB.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 7:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

*No need for hostility.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sonny and Cher said they got along better after they divorced. Maybe an amicable divorce is in line for Santa Barbara County. It seems each one wants to go its own way.

New York is happy being liberal, Texas is happy being conservative, one size doesn't fit all. Our country was founded on the idea that some states will have different philosophies from other states; why not apply this to counties? Live and let live.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2013 at 7:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Very pretty speech Clausen. "live and let live", how typically leftie of you. Paul McCartney says otherwise.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2013 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If UCSB students really wanted jobs they would have gone to CalPoly and learned something practical.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2013 at 11:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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