Monday, June 18 , 2018, 5:01 pm | Fair 69º


Letter to the Editor: South Coast Still Holding Santa Barbara County Hostage

Five years ago, with the three South County cabalists in her pocket, Doreen Farr initiated an attack on the wine industry. She handed strategy and tactic formation to the Planning & Development Department. Neither Farr nor the planners had ever had any experience in the industry, had ever grown a grape, understood the soil, measured sugar content, dealt with processing problems or making a living from winery operations. None understood the critical relationship of tourism to wine making, an almost $2,200,000,000 (billion) contributor to County economic health.

Notwithstanding, each of the residents of this county had to pony up about $3.00 apiece in tax money to allow the planners to go through their failed process which produced such a mess that the whole matter was ultimately dropped in the trash by the Supervisors, including Farr, Wolf and Carbajal.

It is interesting to note that at no time during this mess-making did Farr step in to moderate and take control, a responsibility that clearly lay on her shoulders.

Also, about five years ago, Farr initiated an attack on the special events industry. Once again, the planners created a massively complex proposed ordinance that would have severely hurt that industry and the roughly fourteen hundred jobs associated with it. Nor did they recognize that this, too, not unlike the wine industry, brought huge economic benefits to the County. Solvang alone took in over $2,000,000 in destination weddings.

Fortunately, after much ado and expense, this effort also failed at the Board of Supervisors.

Do we note a pattern here? Could one or two of Farr’s earliest supporters at the commencement of her career have attracted her attention with whispers about the terrors of wine or the horrors of special events? I suspect there is a connection here. Could it be that a local wealthy agitator led her by the nose into both of these disasters? We can only guess.

Quantum studies tell us that the present is always past. So, as we examine our memory of the past, would it not be wise to take great care to avoid the mistakes we have made? That would be a very great historical anomaly. Yup, now that Joan Hartman has been elected to replace the retiring Farr, we are in for more of the same. Remember, Hartman’s core values derive from a very aggressive environmental source. In fact, virtually all of her life experience has included extreme environmentalism.

Thus, it is likely the South County supervisors, an urban-centric group in control of County policy, will pursue even more deadly and wasteful resources on their biases and the influence of early supporters.

Look at it this way, for the last four years Wolf danced in lock step with Farr and Carbajal (now Williams). So, if you live in the North County you can expect more trouble.

Here are a few questions you might ask: First, as you read the proposed Winery Ordinances produced by the planners, what is the rational basis of any of their writings, computations and permit procedures? Can we ever trust them?

Second, why is the County hostile to business and even moderate growth?

Third, with respect to the Third District, why has a critical area of income production from agriculture, oil, construction, small business, etc. become a pariah and target of the South County three? Is it that extreme environmental values, supported by a few angry folks, drives the engine of governance.

In essence, beware of the Hartman, Williams, Wolf troika. Remember the past…as in the past almost 30 years.

Lee Rosenberg

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