Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 6:49 am | Overcast 64º


Letter to the Editor: If Measure P Passes, Then What?

As a philanthropic advisor with clients in the energy industry, I can fully attest to the impressive contributions these community partners make to our area nonprofits. Nonprofits ranging from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation to the Santa Ynez Valley Fruit & Veggie Rescue — and literally hundreds more — have all benefited from the “giving forward” of our local energy partners.

As voters contemplate a vote to shut down this industry, I ask that we collectively, fully examine and prepare for the economic impacts. More than $400 million per year supports Santa Barbara County through industry taxes, charitable giving and permits. How are we going to replace those funds?

Measure P supporters claim “vested rights” protects existing production, and will not affect current production. In truth, these rights are akin to the county prohibiting two-story homes, and granting those currently living in one to remain — but, the permit(s) needed to upgrade or maintain your second story will now face yet another layer of permitting requirements, without any guarantee of approval.

So you may continue to live in your two-story, but without electricity or plumbing.

Measure P was craftily written. It hooks voters in with the “F” word, having them believe that without such a measure, Santa Barbara County will soon look like a littered, oily wasteland. Really? That’s all that stands between now and then? I’m a born-and-raised SB gal, registered Democrat, a champion for equal rights, school bonds, and lots of things liberal. But, I’m also a champion of economic vitality — for our schools, parks and the hundreds of nonprofits doing phenomenal work, all elements necessary to enjoy this beautiful, robust life of Santa Barbara County.

Again I ask: Where’s the plan? How will we recoup the income lost? If Measure P passes, the truth is our energy industry, as we know it, will no longer exist — and with no alternative energy to adequately replace it.

Before we simply slash and burn, I ask that a collaboration of energy and environmental champions, along with elected officials, commit to developing a cohesive, civil, give-and-take strategic plan. If we don’t, within a few years we will face one whopper of a deficit in our county’s and our nonprofits’ budgets, and as we all know, no good can ever come of that.

Tina Fanucchi-Frontado
Santa Barbara

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