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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 8:33 pm | Fair 44º


Letter to the Editor: Joan Hartmann Will Be a Supervisor, Not a Mayor

Joan Hartmann won’t try to be the mayor of Los Alamos. That’s why I am voting for her.

Our Los Alamos community is unique, and like many unique communities, ours worked with the County to write the Los Alamos Community Plan as a guide to land use policy. We don’t need a mayor, we just need a supervisor who will respect our community’s unique goals and sensibilities as expressed in the Los Alamos Community Plan. Joan Hartmann will.

Community Plans are the smart way for a county to meet the unique planning needs of its widely diverse communities. It’s a bottom up approach where the community sets it’s own goals and priorities. It has worked well throughout the County: on the Gaviota Coast, Santa Ynez Valley, and East Goleta Valley. Also in Montecito, Toro Canyon and Mission Canyon.

Hartmann is experienced in land use issues and she understands the value of community plans. As a planning commissioner we got to see first hand how she would respond when a developer wanted a zoning change that contradicted our Community Plan.  She voted to deny the controversial zoning change.

As a private citizen Hartmann worked with her fellow Buellton citizens to protect the character of that city against an onslaught of growth pressures. The result was that a vote of the people would be required to expand the urban growth boundary.

Bruce Porter, Hartmann’s opponent, has no land use policy experience. When he first visited Los Alamos he said he wanted to be our “mayor”, and that he hadn’t read our Community Plan. That struck me as tone-deaf to the concerns of our community, and I hoped that he would become more educated and strike a different tone.

But he didn’t. In fact, he became outright hostile to community plans. He dismissed community plans as “a religion” that made “handcuffs to progress.” (Read: handcuffs to the developers who have backed him financially and stand to gain by sidelining community plans.)

And he didn’t play fair. In a candidate forum he wrongly claimed that the Los Alamos Community Plan had delayed the renovation of our newly reopened library, subtly implying that the Community Plan had harmed the interests of children! Hogwash. I should know. I serve on the library board and I chair the committee that spent five years writing our community plan.

Voters have a clear choice. Who gets to decide what our communities become? The communities themselves? Or those who seek to exploit them?

Like I said, my vote is with Joan.

Chris Wrather
​Los Alamos

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