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Letter to the Editor: A Conservative Supports Joan Hartmann

I'm supporting Joan Hartmann for Santa Barbara County Third District supervisor because I trust she'll support policy that grows our local economy without damaging the desirable rural character of Santa Barbara. The character I’m concerned with is that which draws all of us to live here and tourists to visit.

Joan has a record of supporting agriculture and responsible development while protecting the interests of Santa Barbara residents when those interests come in conflict with the desires of people who don’t live here.

Her opponent, on the other hand, aligns himself with the Central County Coalition(CCC) as an Executive Board member.  The Coalition was founded by a major Porter financial backer who writes Op Ed pieces and attends County meetings in furtherance of Coalition goals- namely, expansion of wedding, events & party tourism in residential and rural neighborhoods.

Specifically, the CCC and Porter's surrogate have been front and center on pushing for expansion of short term rentals in rural neighborhoods.  They continue their efforts to block  reasonable restrictions that would prevent the most egregious and ridiculous "party house" operators from the negative impacts borne by residential and Ag zone neighbors.

Their influence has also negatively impacted progress toward finalizing needed changes to our winery ordinance.  I'm confident that like me, most of Santa Barbara embraces our expanding viticulture.  Santa Barbara's continuing agricultural emphasis is an important attraction to both visitors and residents.

Unfortunately, "parties for profit" is mixed into the winery ordinance debate by Mr. Porter and his CCC backers.  The winery ordinance update isn't just about updating the rules in support of agriculture or the making of wine. The debate has become about some vintners desire to expand into the entertainment business to include weddings, events, concerts, unrestricted numbers of visitors and traffic on inadequate rural roads and without consideration of impacts on local residents. .

I'm hopeful we all recognize more casino-like ventures, more party busses, more loud music on formally quiet evenings and more strangers invading our once close-knit neighborhoods is not the future that improves Santa Barbara. That’s why this conservative will vote for Joan Hartman.

Ken O'Keefe
Los Olivos

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