In next month’s critical election, the 3rd District needs to chose a pragmatic county supervisor who not only respects and can engage with the district’s many diverse communities, but who also can mediate among them to create practical, community-based solutions to the wide range of problems facing county government.

I’ve known Joan Hartmann, both personally and professionally, for more than 15 years, and I’ve always been inspired by her quiet ability to bring people together to resolve contentious issues in creative ways. In 2000, for example, Joan was a major visionary in creating a locally based program to determine how state water bond and other government grant funding should be spent to protect and restore Southern California’s coastal wetlands.

Instead of relying solely on government agencies to prioritize how monies should be awarded, the program (called the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project) depends upon local citizens and community organizations in the region to build capacity and determine for themselves how and where funds should be spent. The Wetlands Recovery partnership Joan helped establish has since won national recognition for the innovative way in which it has engaged local communities in Southern California in such an important conservation effort. It has also served as a model for managing subsequent state water and park bond programs.

Joan has continued to demonstrate her talent for and devotion to collaborative, pragmatic problem-solving in her work as a volunteer for community organizations in the Santa Ynez Valley and in her service as 3rd District planning commissioner. County government sorely needs a leader with Joan’s wisdom, judgment, and temperament. I know she would make a great county supervisor.


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