In what is heating up to be the 2016 race to watch in Santa Barbara County, Joan Hartmann (pictured) formally challenged Bruce Porter this week to replace retiring 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr. Hartmann was encouraged to run by Farr, who appointed her to the Planning Commission in 2012.
Spanning from Isla Vista and the Gaviota Coast to the Santa Ynez Valley and Guadalupe, the 3rd District is the largest and most politically diverse in the county. Both the Democratic and Republican camps have their eyes on the seat, which determines the balance of power at the Board of Supervisors. If no one else jumps into the race, the election will be determined June 7, when many Isla Vista voters will be otherwise preoccupied with finals. Voter turnout in I.V. is historically much lower in the primaries than in the November election.
In an interview, Hartmann called for “a forward-looking economic vitality program,” perhaps similar to one adopted in Pomona or San Luis Obispo to encourage economic growth and keep young people in the area. She said supporting the agriculture industry is key to her campaign and noted her “extensive, proven track record” on the Planning Commission, where she approved the Agriculture Buffer Ordinance. She added she was active in the Environmental Defense Center–backed Measure G (required voter approval to develop land zoned as agriculture) and the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary Initiative (required voter approval for changes to the city’s boundaries). “I am very much for getting people engaged,” she said. Democratic consultant Mary Rose is running her campaign.
Hartmann, who has lived full-time in the district since 2004, has been an environmental attorney, representing the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Interior. She served as the first woman faculty member of the Claremont Graduate University, where she directed the Public Policy Program. She rides horses, rescues cats and dogs, and serves a number of organizations, including Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF and the Wildling Museum.
Meanwhile, Bruce Porter, who had a long career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now sits on a valley school board, is stacking up a long list of supporters for his candidacy, including former 3rd District supervisor Brooks Firestone.