Joan Hartmann, who is running for Santa Barbara County Supervisor, became a good friend and valued colleague of mine as we worked to develop the Public Advisory Committee for the newly formed Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (SCWRP) in the late 1990s. I was involved as the Orange County representative because of my position as president of Orange County’s Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks. Joan was involved as facilitator for bringing all of the strategic partners together from five coastal counties to make this new organization achieve its mission — preserving remaining wetlands along the Southern California coast.
Under Joan’s leadership, participants were chosen from each of the five Southern California coastal counties, and we all learned how to work as a regional grass-roots team within the framework of a seventeen agency governmental structure — not an easy task. Without Joan, we might have floundered. With Joan, we not only flourished but enjoyed every minute of our work together. SCWRP was a first in many ways, requiring someone with strategic planning and collaborative skills, which Joan provided superbly as our leader.
Santa Barbara County voters are very fortunate to have the opportunity to elect someone with Joan’s background, experience, proven leadership ability as well as personal integrity. It was Los Angeles and Orange County’s loss when Joan moved permanently to Santa Barbara County, but we are all in this together as Southern California residents who care — and I know the Santa Barbara voters will be pleased and in good hands when Joan is elected.