As a philanthropic advisor with energy industry clients, I fully attest to the impressive contributions these community partners make to our nonprofits — from the Santa Barbara Food Bank to the S.B. Scholarship Foundation to S.Y.V. Fruit & Veggie Rescue … and literally hundreds more.

As voters contemplate shutting down this industry, I ask we fully examine and prepare for the economic impacts. The industry contributes more than $400 million to our county annually; how are we going to replace those funds?

Verbiage states “vested rights” protects existing production. But the “rights” are akin to prohibiting skyscrapers and including two-story homes in that definition. Those living in a two-story may remain — but, the permit(s) needed to upgrade or maintain the home will now face another layer of permitting requirements, without any guarantee of approval. So you’ll be living in a home without electricity or plumbing.

Supporters claim that without this measure, we’ll become a littered, oily wasteland. Really? That’s all that stands between now and then? I’m born-and-raised S.B., registered Democrat, champion for equal rights, school bonds, and lots of things liberal … but, also a champion of economic vitality — for our schools, parks, and the hundreds of nonprofits doing phenomenal work, all elements necessary to enjoy this beautiful, robust life of Santa Barbara. Again I ask, where’s the plan? If Measure P passes, our energy industry, as we know it, will no longer exist, and with no alternative energy to adequately replace it. Before we slash and burn, I ask that a collaboration of energy and environmental champions, with elected officials, commit to developing a cohesive, civil, give-and-take strategic plan. If not, we’re going to face one whopper of a deficit in our county’s and nonprofits’ budgets, and as we all know, no good can ever come of that.


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