In the Feb. 4 Noozhawk article, “Noozhawk Tackling Santa Barbara’s Housing and Development Policies, Impacts,” the mention of the “doughnut hole” in the central business district preventing housing from being developed there due to economics struck a chord with me. For years, city leaders, residents and paid consultants have been saying that one of the answers to revitalizing the downtown area is to bring in more mixed-use housing projects.

But talk is cheap and nothing has been done to remove some of the economic barriers to achieving that goal.

There are several things that the city could do, if the leaders really wanted to see results. First, eliminate all density caps in the downtown core target area. This would allow the adaptive reuse of many of the buildings that currently exist and enable the production of micro-housing units.

Second, eliminate all parking requirements for housing units in the downtown target area. If someone really wants a vehicle, the city can rent some of the unused space in city parking lots.

Third, eliminate all open space requirements in the downtown target area. If renters want open yards, then they are not the demographic that is looking to live in the downtown urban area.

Finally, implement form-based zoning codes in the downtown core. This will allow us to specify the built environment and preserve what needs to be preserved while enabling the revitalization that so many are talking about.

It’s time to walk the talk.

Addison Thompson
Santa Barbara

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I trotted down State Street in Santa Barbara on Thursday evening, bypassing all other 1st Thursday venues to get to Amazon’s inaugural 1st Thursday event. I was excited! All the mystery and hype we’ve been hearing for the past year, and, finally, they were to open their doors to the general public!

What a letdown! It was crowded, but that was to be expected. We all were dying to see what was behind those huge wooden doors, which once were the entrance to Saks Fifth Avenue. It was not only crowded, but everyone was squeezed into the lobby where one of the Piano Boys was belting out classical music to add to the tremendous din.

I wanted to turn right around and dash out, back onto the saner, quiet of State Street, but “tasty treats” had been advertised, so I pushed my way forward to find them. All I found was a table where caterers had poured plastic tumblers an eighth full of red or white wine and some cheese balls that, according to a sign, also contained bacon. Doesn’t Amazon know that many Santa Barbarans are vegetarian, vegan or dairy intolerant?

I took some wine and decided to view the art work and wait until they produced a different variety of snacks. I fought my way to the periphery to see some of the work by artist Sean O’Brien, which is done by drawing machines, and then sidled back to the food table, which was empty by this time. I asked if there would be more snacks but was told that “that was it!”

Really, Amazon? That’s the best you can do for us after we spend millions of dollars online ordering books and everything else under the sun and welcome you to our town to work on perfecting Alexa? I am truly unimpressed!

Kanta MacDermott
Santa Barbara

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I support Karen Jones for Santa Barbara County’s Third District supervisor. She is ready to take on the significant issues that impact our community and the broad issues facing the county. She is fearless, result oriented, “always open to hearing other people’s ideas and never afraid to expose the fallacies in arguments.”

Jones is not a board sitter. She challenges the status quo. Being the only woman ever elected to serve on the Santa Ynez Community Services District board, she has made great strides in getting projects moving forward. It is particularly fascinating that she was selected by colleagues to serve as board president for a second consecutive term.

Jones was also elected and serves on the Santa Ynez Valley Airport Authority, representing the users/nonusers of the airport. The agency is responsible for safety, securing Federal Aviation Administration grants, county leases and hangar construction, to name a few.

Jones will never turn a blind eye to waste, fraud or abuse of public resources. She stands for trust, moral obligation, truth and common sense. Please vote for Karen Jones for Third District supervisor on March 3.

Michelle de Werd
Los Olivos

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In the midst of the political and cultural angst that permeates our times, Laura Capps represents the best that is in all of us.

Outraged by the transactional nature of politics she has witnessed in Santa Barbara County’s First Supervisorial District, she was moved to take on Supervisor Das Williams.

Capps listens intently, because she cares deeply. She has the mind of a researcher who digs deep to find answers and seeks collaboration with experts to develop solutions to difficult issues.

We need smart. Here are two perfect examples:

First, for years Capps has been a core member of a team of 150 community leaders around the country who look to each other to better understand how to deal with a variety of issues, including homelessness, climate change, affordable housing, poverty and education. We need her leadership, informed by this experienced perspective.

Second, when faced with seemingly intractable problems in her position on the Santa Barbara Unified School District board, Capps looks beyond the obvious, finding solutions in other districts that are having success, then taking those learnings and applying them here.

Capps is resourceful, visionary, inspiring and dedicated to our community. She will not stop at “no” to the many obstacles that our bureaucracy can throw at her/us.

I am for Laura Capps.

Bobby Shand
Santa Barbara

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As a daughter who took care of aging parents until their passing, I saw first-hand how dedicated Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann is to our senior citizens.

Hartmann worked closely with the staff of the Solvang Senior Center to secure a long-term lease so the center could stay in its present location. She is currently doing the same for the Buellton Senior Center, which is located on a Santa Barbara County Fire Department site.

Talk of moving the center to a different location proved very unpopular with seniors and Buellton residents, who want the center to stay in its present convenient, central location. Hartmann helped negotiate a long-term lease for the current center. She even arranged for the Fire Department to provide electricity during a power outage, so it can serve as a warming center and food distribution site in an emergency.

In addition, Hartmann currently chairs the Santa Barbara County Adult & Aging Network that is developing a master plan for Seniors in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide initiative. This will determine future policies and procedures for Santa Barbara County seniors for year to come.

In addition to supporting seniors, Hartmann also chairs the K.I.D.s Policy Network and is the alternate for the county’s First 5 Santa Barbara County Children and Families Commission. She also has promoted policies to ensure the libraries in the county can continue to offer hours, services and programs to all citizens.

I strongly urge you to support Joan Hartmann on March 3. She truly is dedicated to providing critical services to the citizens of Santa Barbara County.

Judith Dale

                                                                 •        •        •

I have been impressed by the leadership abilities of Das Williams since he ran for Santa Barbara City Council many years ago. During his tenure there, he thoughtfully wrestled with complex issues of development and preservation, of particular interest in my Bungalow Haven Neighborhood as we struggled to maintain our neighborhood’s historic character and address housing needs.

In 2015, when he served in the Assembly, he took the bold move to co-sponsor AB 1369, the much-needed legislation to address California’s woeful failure of our education establishment to appropriately address dyslexia in our schools.

It was a politically risky move, since powerful education unions and interests opposed it — on the mistaken grounds that there was no need for it. Williams stood up for underserved students and families; eventually the bill passed unanimously, but it was watered down through the political process — to a series of “guidelines,” rather than requirements.

As Santa Barbara County’s First District supervisor, Williams has continued his support of education and support for the 1 in 5 with dyslexia. Each year, during October, Dyslexia Awareness Month, his office publicly recognizes an individual or group that has provided outstanding support to the dyslexia education community.

There are many other reasons to support Williams in his bid for re-election as supervisor, but for me, he has stood tall in two important issues that are very important to me: supporting neighborhood issues and supporting the needs of struggling students. I hope you join me in voting for him on March 3.

Cheri Rae
Santa Barbara

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Many of us in Santa Barbara County’s Third Supervisorial District are concerned about safety. Due to recent fires and floods, many people want to know what their county supervisor is doing to protect our community. As you consider voting on March 3, you should know that Supervisor Joan Hartmann has been hard at work to reduce the risk of threats from fire.

Hartmann was instrumental in helping secure a CalFire grant for the Lompoc Valley Fuel Reduction Project. It includes roadside fuel reduction along Harris Grade, Rucker and Burton Mesa roads, dead tree clearing within La Purisima Mission State Park, and an 18-mile fuel treatment area from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the outskirts of Buellton. This is a four-year project developed by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and worth more than $2 million. It will go a long way toward helping to reduce fires in a significant area of the Third District.

Hartmann makes fire safety a top community priority. She has traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for disaster planning resources for our county, and has organized multiple fire safety meetings that included the Mission Hills Community Council, Vandenberg Village Association and the county Fire Department, to share information and elevate awareness.

Hartmann has made it clear that she will continue to work to make us safer. Please support her efforts by voting for her re-election.

Ann Glasgow

                                                                 •        •        •

Recently I viewed an extremely intelligent and thorough review of the Montecito debate between Santa Barbara County First Supervisorial District candidates Laura Capps and Das Williams on Newsmakers with JR. There were a few inconsistencies that I would like to point out based on my personal experience and familiarity with the campaign.

In particular, I was struck by Noozhawk staff writer Josh Molina’s contention that Williams’ campaign has more volunteers, and that the Capps campaign was lacking a “ground game.” I have personally knocked on hundreds of doors. At each canvassing occasion there have been scores of diverse and unique volunteers. On a single Saturday, these dedicated and committed volunteers knocked on more than 1,500 doors throughout Carpinteria and Santa Barbara!

The Capps campaign has also engaged in more than 30 meet-and-greets over the last few months. These events are hosted by generous volunteers who open their homes to guests in order to engage even more of the public. These house parties have allowed Capps to engage with hundreds of people each week.

This strategy is a hallmark of Capps’ personal approach to representation. At these gatherings, folks are given an opportunity to voice their concerns and, more important, for Capps to hear her constituents. The campaign has placed more than 500 yard signs.

This again is not only evidence of a strong “ground game,” but also of supporters who are committed to seeing a change in the First Supervisorial District. A change in focus, approachability, tone and responsiveness.

The other claim that was made at the debate had to do with endorsements, or a count of endorsements on the respective web sites. My quick count has this as a false claim (Capps-239/Williams-140). Some of these endorsements were made before Capps’ candidacy was even official.

Many of these endorsements are indicative of the incumbent advantage as discussed by the panel. In fact, much of the supposed superiority of the Williams campaign, whether it be organization or endorsements, points to the very issue that Capps’ campaign is attempting to combat with her campaign ethics reforms.

My experience with the Capps campaign is that it is well organized, diligent and vigorous. Aspersions to the contrary do an injustice to not only Capps and her campaign but also to the fairness and truth that our community deserves.Molina and other members of the news media should come out and join us to see for themselves!

Mark Sherman
Santa Barbara

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Our First Supervisorial District needs an experienced community leader more than ever, and you’d have to look pretty hard on your Santa Barbara County ballot to find a more experienced leader than Das Williams.

Jan. 9, 2018, was the harbinger of a new era. In the eerie red glow of a giant gas main explosion, we witnessed the hellish consummation of a climate tragedy right here in our sunny little community. The largest wildfire California had ever seen joined forces with a freak rain event to bring the mountain down on Montecito and Carpinteria in the biggest natural disaster in Santa Barbara County history.

Our county was tested on all levels, from first response, to our relief and recovery efforts, to the long-term recovery that continues today. As a community, we were also tested. Would we pull together and come to the aid of our neighbors, or would the tragedy pull us apart and sink us in a quagmire of blame, finger pointing and grief?

It took leaders in all sectors to unite this community to face what seemed like an insurmountable crisis. We had to depend on both community and government aid networks to weave together a new safety net, and we had to lean on the First District supervisor more than ever before in our county’s history.

Williams carried the weight. If there is any doubt about that, let me dispel it. As both chairman of the Board of Supervisors and our district supervisor, Williams worked around the clock for 19 nights and days following the disaster, dealing with challenges on multiple fronts: search and rescue efforts, communications, helping stranded First District residents and connecting needy people with services.

He didn’t just coordinate from afar; as soon as a convoy could get in, he was on the ground, delivering water and supplies to residents, and helping Village Cheese & Wine to stock up on food for first responders and stranded neighbors alike.

On Jan. 27, 2018, Williams received a phone call. A small group of friends had decided it was time to go out and dig out their neighbors’ homes. We weren’t going to leave people out there in the mud alone. Side by side, 50 friends and neighbors waded out into the mud and debris and started digging, forming what came to be known as the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade.

And who was out there with us? Williams. Deep in the mud, there was Williams shoveling like a maniac with a huge smile on his face and an encouraging word for the people working next to him. This is the Williams I know. He was with us on the first day and he’s continued to come to Bucket Brigade events ever since, helping to dig out homes, rebuild trails and restore public open spaces.

Williams’ experience out there in the mud helped to connect him with the community.

His long experience in government, combined with this community connection, has made all the difference in our recovery. After his six years in the Assembly and seven years on the Santa Barbara City Council, Williams knew how both local and state government worked.

He knew what resources were available and, perhaps more important, how to access those resources to boost the recovery. His office opened and staffed a Montecito Recovery Center specifically to help the thousands of people affected by the disaster. For those who lost their homes, he pushed for a new “like-for-like” ordinance that lets homeowners rebuild quickly, without an extended permitting process. He worked with residents to get ring nets up to reduce the short-term risk of another debris flow, and on the Randall Road debris basin expansion to help protect the community for the future.

This is the kind of leadership we need in challenging times. A lot of people like to say that they will be there for you when the time comes. Well, the time actually came in 2018 and Williams was right there with us. If that means something to you, then you’ll know whom to choose for Santa Barbara County’s First Supervisorial District on March 3.

John Abraham Powell
Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade co-founder
Note: This letter is a personal endorsement of Das Williams and was not written on behalf of the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade or any of the other local organizations with which I currently serve.

                                                                 •        •        •

Why does it matter who is Santa Barbara County’s Third District supervisor? If you have a city council, what’s left for county government to do?

The answer is that the county covers a much broader range of services than city government, including health-care services for children, seniors and the disabled; services for alcohol, mental health and drug addiction; and public health programs for epidemic diseases (very timely right now!).

It includes the District Attorney’s Office, jail and probationary services; elections; and tax collection. Most cities contract with the county for police and fire services. County agencies like the Air Pollution Control District monitor emissions from oil facilities.

The Board of Supervisors oversees land-use issues outside cities — including the Gaviota coast, Goleta Beach and huge swaths of open space. The county also has jurisdiction over most agricultural areas.

Whoever occupies the Third District seat — covering a wide area from Goleta to Guadalupe, including the Santa Ynez Valley — is a crucial voice and vote on all these services. If they are competent and capable, we are well represented. If they promote special interests and aren’t committed to transparent, community-based governance, we are in trouble.

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann has consistently proven herself to be an honest, highly capable representative of and for the district. We are fortunate to have her overseeing all of these areas. When you vote, on or before March 3, keep that in mind to ensure that those many services continue to meet our needs.

Marian and Stephen Cohen

                                                                 •        •        •

I attended a Santa Barbara County First Supervisorial District debate to learn about the two candidates, Das Williams and Laura Capps. My takeaway:

Where Capps is concerned, there is very little substance or hands-on experience. Her objection and justification for opposing Williams related to the cannabis growers funding him and that was pretty much it. Understandably, she doesn’t have the experience (which she admitted to throughout the evening).

Williams, by contrast, showed knowledge, expertise and competence. He both understands and has strong commitments to many issues, from recycled water, to safe access to schools, to alleviating congestion on local roads.

Williams could talk about his hands-on experience helping to rebuild trails and dig out houses buried in mud. He could point to his outreach to Caltrans about reopening the left onramp to Highway 101 to help with the congestion on Coast Village Road. Those are just a few examples of his deep experience with our district, working the system to get things done for the community.

There’s a reason Williams has been endorsed by almost every public official in the region, as well as sheriffs, firefighters, labor groups, environmental organizations and even the Women’s Political Committee. He has the record and it shows.

Laura Katz

                                                                 •        •        •

I recently received a mailer exhorting me to “vote against Joan Hartmann.” I wasn’t advised who I was supposed to vote for for Santa Barbara County’s Third District supervisor. However, in tiny letters I found the source: “Paid for by Porter for Supervisor.” Perhaps Bruce Porter was reluctant to ask people to vote for him because of his misleading statements.

Porter’s mailer claims that Hartmann broke a promise about Vista Del Mar School, causing its financial difficulties. He footnotes his claim, but his source cites as causes a combination of the Refugio oil pipeline leak and state changes in education funding, issues over which Hartmann has no control.

Then, without any authority, he contends that the negotiations over Camp 4 diverted tax money from education to the general fund. Sorry, wrong there, too.

Next, Porter contends that Hartmann broke some promise about cannabis. Again, Porter’s citation doesn’t support his statement, and instead states that the county benefited by an extra $1.2 million in revenue from cannabis operations. He wrongly contends that Hartmann allowed cannabis into the county without restrictions; she has, in fact, fought diligently to regulate the industry.

Third, Porter asserts that Hartmann broke a promise about infrastructure, resulting in unsafe parks, bridges and roads. Yet again, Porter cites a document that doesn’t support his contention: the county Road Maintenance Plan. In fact, Hartmann has consistently voted to fund deferred maintenance of county infrastructure.

If you value honesty and integrity in government over lies and innuendo, please join me in voting to re-elect Joan Hartmann.

France Komoroske
Santa Ynez

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