Harriett Phillips and her husband, Robert Phillips | Credit: Courtesy

Harriett Phillips, the longtime driving force behind Citizens for the Goleta Valley during the heyday of Goleta’s slow-growth struggles, died this past weekend. She was 96. 

Tough, mirthful, warm, and relentless, Phillips famously wrangled with the developers who finally built the Bacara in the ’90s after fighting Phillips and her team of legal warriors for 20 years all the way to the California Supreme Court. Citizens for the Goleta Valley would ultimately settle the legal out of court for $5.5 million, the proceeds of which were spent to protect and preserve open space in the Goleta Valley. 

Phillips moved to Goleta with her husband, Robert Phillips, in 1974 from Michigan, where she served as vice chair of the state’s Democratic Party and he was head of the Small Business Administration. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Harriett Phillips’s first name. Also, she was married to Robert, not Richard, Phillips.

Harriett Phillips at the last Goleta Land Trust meeting. (July 14, 2010)


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