The 3rd District supervisor’s seat — which determines the balance of power at the county board — is up for grabs, and this week Santa Ynez Valley resident Bruce Porter officially threw his hat in the ring after Supervisor Doreen Farr announced her retirement last month. Though she has yet to announce her candidacy, Planning Commissioner Joan Hartmann, who was appointed by Farr in 2012, is actively considering a run.
Arguably the toughest job on the dais — balancing the interests of Santa Ynez Valley residents, the Chumash, Isla Vistans, and everyone in between — the seat was last open in 2008, when five candidates battled for the spot. Porter, who has lived in the county for 15 years and sits on a valley school board, served with the U.S. Corps of Engineers for more than 25 years. He retired in 2001 and moved out of his office in the Pentagon about a week before the 9/11 attacks; his assistant was killed. He has run a financial advisor practice for 14 years.
When asked why he is running, Porter said he has been apolitical all his life. As for county-Chumash relations, Porter called for more engagement yet he was leery of the tribe’s new temporary permit to serve alcohol on parts of the gaming floor. He pledged a nonideological, “common sense” approach. He admitted he needed to do his homework on Guadalupe and Isla Vista, but he said he spent Halloween night with Sheriff Bill Brown in I.V. “It was pretty neat,” he said. “The students were happy to talk to us.” Former 3rd District supervisor Brooks Firestone has endorsed him.
Hartmann, who has lived in the valley full-time since 2004, holds a PhD in government and a law degree. She worked as an EPA and Department of Interior attorney. Supporters say she is smart, knowledgeable, and respectful. She served for six years as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), three years on the Environmental Defense Center’s board, and several years on area nonprofit boards.