As a past president and founding member of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, I have an appreciation for just how much politics plays a role in land conservation.  That’s why I’m voting for Joan Hartmann for 3rd District Supervisor, and encouraging others to do the same.

A primary goal of the Gaviota Coast conservation campaign is to protect the coast’s rural character, something which relies on the County enforcing its land use policies.  After all, zoning, or other land use policies mean very little without enforcement, and the inclination and effectiveness of enforcement start at the top with the attitudes of the leaders.

 I’ve seen proof of this over and over.  That’s why choosing the right 3rd District Supervisor is so important.  That’s why this election in November is one that you don’t want to miss.

As 3rd District voters, we’ve made mistakes in the past.  We’ve taken candidates at their word, and assumed the best, but we’ve learned that that doesn’t always work out well.  Let’s not make the same mistake again.

According to his campaign finance disclosure, Bruce Porter is almost exclusively funded by development and oil interests.  Other backers are the same people who have been working to break up Gaviota Coast ranches and approve development at Naples.

Porter says he wants to protect Gaviota ranchers, which leaves me wondering about what that means for the land, because some of those “ranchers” are development companies from Orange County, or absentee owners wanting to cash out.  We need someone we can really trust if we are to make progress on preserving the Gaviota Coast.

Fortunately, we have a really great candidate this year.

Joan Hartmann, PhD, JD, our 3rd District Planning Commissioner has decided to run.  She has not only earned our respect as a planning commissioner, she has stellar qualifications and experiences you may not know about that make her an ideal candidate.

First, and foremost, she has many years of experience working on behalf of the public interest.  That’s a key point; working on behalf of people like you and me and the quality of our future.

 Her education indicates a demonstrated interest in good governance, with a doctorate in political philosophy, comparative politics and administration.  With an interest in the environment, she did her dissertation on the Endangered Species Act.

As an analyst for the Library of Congress, she briefed congress on environmental policy, and served in the Regan administration at the Department of the Interior as a Senior Policy and Budget Analyst.  During the Clinton Administration Hartmann worked at U.S. EPA as an attorney on water issues.  In the non-profit sector, she served for two years as senior policy counsel for American Oceans Campaign.  There’s more, but you get the idea.

This is someone who is extraordinarily well qualified and who approaches her work with confidence, balance and good preparation.  Hartmann is a moderate who has worked with both Republicans and Democrats and understands the process of democracy, and believes in the rule of law.

Make no mistake about her opponent, Bruce Porter.  With no relevant experience in land use or other local issues, his plan to be a part-time Supervisor is a recipe for undue influence by his backers.  Don’t be fooled by appearances created by his political campaign.

On the other hand, Joan Hartmann is truly a rare, exceptionally well prepared candidate.  I hope you will join me in voting for her in November.  I’m betting the Gaviota Coast on her.

Mike Lunsford