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Six Honored by Citizens Planning Association for Community Service, Advocacy

Awards go to Marty Blum, Marc Chytilo, Bob Field, Donna Jordan, Tom Murphy and Don Olson

On Saturday, June 19, the Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County held its 50th Annual Meeting, where its leaders outlined bold plans to revitalize the organization.

CPA’s new executive director, LeeAnne French, heralds in a new era of broad public participation in planning with ideas for building upon the rich heritage of CPA and making civic engagement in land-use planning and environmental protection relevant to a younger generation.

The Citizens Planning Association recognized six distinguished Santa Barbara County residents for exceptional community service. During the luncheon, at SBCC’s Fe Bland Forum, the organization paid tribute to:

» Marty Blum: Outstanding Public Service Award

» Marc Chytilo: Environmental Defender Award

» Bob Field: Community Service Award

» Donna Jordan: Grassroots Activist Award

» Tom Murphy: Public Service Award

» Don Olson: Career Service Award

Blum, former Santa Barbara mayor, was honored for her leadership on Santa Barbara-style development of living within our resources. She was recognized for building bridges to bring the community together and defending high planning standards. Blum’s award was presented by former mayor Sheila Lodge.

Chytilo, a public policy and natural resources attorney, was honored for his 20 years as a legal advocate for all aspects of the environment. He was recognized for his zeal and determination to preserve natural resources and threatened landscapes throughout the county. Chytilo’s award was presented by longtime CPA member Lee Moldaver.

Field, a Santa Ynez Valley civic leader, has served as chairman of the Santa Ynez Valley General Plan Advisory Committee, a water district board member, and a spokesman for keeping working landscapes free from commercialization and sprawl. He is well respected and active with the Valley Alliance, which drew a large group from the North County to honor him at the awards ceremony.

Jordan, former Carpinteria mayor, co-chaired the Carpinteria Citizens Against Paredon, which blocked approval on a large new slant-drilling oil operation with the grassroots “No on Measure J” campaign. Jordan accepted the award on behalf of her co-chair, Ted Rhodes, and all the volunteers to came out to oppose new oil drilling in Santa Barbara County.

Murphy, with 25 years at the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, was recognized for his stewardship of the “innovative technologies” program, promoting pollution control measures for ocean going tankers and freighters, and helping Santa Barbara County achieve full federal “attainment” status for the first time with successive the Clean Air Plans. Murphy’s award was accepted by Mary Byrd, public information officer for the district.

Olson was honored for his nearly 30-year career championing affordable housing, the general plan update, and “special community needs” including homeless issues. In a touching speech, longtime colleague and Santa Barbara City Councilman Bendy White presented Olson with the CPA’s Career Service Award.

CPA’s 50th Annual Meeting program also included a lively keynote panel discussion, “Planning Ahead: The Next 10 Years,” which explored the opportunities and challenges facing Santa Barbara County in the coming years.

Professor Adam Green, faculty adviser for Environmental Studies and program director for the Center for Sustainability at SBCC, and his guests, archtiect L. Dennis Thompson, county Planning Commissioner Marell Brooks and fifth-generation rancher Jim Poett, forecast a period of rising fuel costs and uncertain rainfall, and highlighted the need for shorter commute distances between work and home, premiums for locally grown food and more effective water conservation.

At the kickoff of the meeting, CPA President Steve Dunn introduced new Executive Director LeeAnne French to the membership. French recently graduated from the Bren School at UCSB (which awarded her the 2010 Academic Achievement Award). Before that, French had a successful 20-year career in California and New England involving strategic planning, marketing and communications, and development.

— LeeAnne French is the executive director of the Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County.

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