In recent campaign advertising, candidate Bruce Porter has claimed that 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann had cost the Santa Ynez Valley school district millions of dollars in funding through two decisions she had made — one was a reference to “the Santa Ynez Unit” oil processing facility and the other to the agreement made between the county and the Chumash Tribe regarding Camp 4. Both assertions are patently false and so easily disproved as to suggest that Mr. Porter is not interested in educating voters, only in misleading them.
First, we must assume that his reference to “the Santa Ynez Unit” was regarding the denial of an emergency permit to Exxon Mobil to truck oil 70 times a day up and down the Gaviota Coast. The truth is Supervisor Hartmann did not participate in making that decision as it occurred in 2015 before she was even elected to the Board of Supervisors.
Second, Supervisor Hartmann was never legally in a position to negotiate with the Tribe for funding for the Santa Ynez school district. She could only negotiate on behalf of the county. The school district has their own duly elected board to negotiate for the betterment of their district, of which Mr. Bruce Porter has been a member.
If Mr. Porter thought that the school district should get more money from the Tribe, why didn’t he ask them when it was his legal responsibility to do so? Was it because he was quite satisfied by the funds the Tribe had already gifted to the school? Or was he too intimidated by the Tribe to ask for more funds for the students he purportedly represented? We may never know the truth. However, whether complicit or cowardly, the responsibility for negotiating with the Tribe on behalf of the school district fell squarely on Mr. Porter’s shoulders and not on Supervisor Hartmann’s.
In contrast, throughout her term in office Supervisor Hartmann has consistently been honest, transparent, courageous and successful in asking for more resources for all her constituents. On March 3, vote to re-elect Joan Hartmann.
Doreen Farr is a former 3rd District supervisor.