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Business Owner Lauren Hanson to Run for Goleta Water District Board

Hanson says she would work toward conservation and a "fair and understandable" rate system.

Eastern Goleta resident and community activist Lauren Hanson announced her bid for the Goleta Water District‘s board of directors Tuesday, promising strong fiscal management and responsiveness to the community.

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Lauren Hanson
“Water is one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Our water district needs to be smart, nimble and ready to deal with things we may never have seen before,” Hanson said. “I’m running to make that happen.”

A local business owner with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Hanson was one of several residents appointed to create the Goleta Vision Document, a planning document meant to inform the update of unincorporated Goleta Valley’s Community Plan. Her experience, she said, gave her a “broader knowledge” of the area.

Among the things Hanson promises to bring to the Goleta Water District is an awareness of challenges facing ratepayers today, including a statewide drought and global climate change, as well as local issues such as the SAFE Ordinance, which regulates the amount of water that must be on hand as a drought buffer and dictates how much water can be allocated for new developments.

“Until now, the district has been, I would say, casual about its approach to SAFE,” Hsnson said. “The Goleta Water District must embrace the SAFE guidelines and follow them fully.”

She also plans to work toward further protection of available water by pushing for better knowledge of the local groundwater supply and a “realistic” approach to the variability of outside sources, such as Lake Cachuma and the State Water Project.

She said that, if elected, she would work toward policies that would support local agriculture, which recently has been credited for shielding the Goleta area from the Gap Fire, and that she would push for a more user-friendly rate system.

“We need a rate system that is fair and understandable to all,” Hanson said, adding that such a system needs to be structured toward conservation.

“The current residential billing system doesn’t even tell you in plain language how many gallons of water you use each month,” she said. “Customers need to be able to see the results of their conservation efforts and get an immediate benefit when they save water. They also need to know that conserving means that our community will have more in our drought buffer for emergencies.”

Hanson joins retired attorney Bill Rosen in the race for three upcoming vacancies of Goleta Water District’s board seats, which belong to members Lynette Mills and Chuck Evans and vice president Harry DeWitt.

DeWitt is expected to run for a fourth term, and Mills’ husband, Larry, a veteran of the Goleta Water District’s board, is said to be joining the race as well.

Hanson has the endorsements of 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf, Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioner Cecilia Brown, Goleta City Council members Roger Aceves and Jonny Wallis, and Goleta Water District Director Bert Bertrando.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at [email protected]

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