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Three candidates face off for Third District supervisorial seat in Santa Barbara County

District redrawn since last election, adding Lompoc and losing Isla Vista. Incumbent Joan Hartmann is seeking a third term, but is facing two challengers.

Voters in Central and Southern Santa Barbara County are going to decide who will represent them for the next four years. Will it be the two-term incumbent? Or, will it be someone who’s served as Lompoc’s mayor? The third possibility is an internationally known investment banker.

Santa Barbara County’s Third Supervisorial District underwent a huge change due to reapportionment. It now includes Lompoc, the Santa Ynez Valley, the Gaviota Coast and western Goleta.

Current Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann is seeking a third term in office. Before being elected supervisor, Hartman served as a legal counsel with the federal Department of the Interior, and the EPA.

 Why is she seeking a third term?

"Being a county supervisor is a major responsibility," said Hartmann. "Overseeing the county budget, emergency preparedness...and we've seen many, many disasters. And then transparency, and access to local government."

"All of those are things I really believe in," said Hartmann. "Why do I really want to do this? It has tremendous potential to make a difference in people's lives. I've worked really hard in the different communities that I represent, and I feel like I've made a big difference there."

Hartman talked about her priorities if re-elected. "We have an ag enterprise ordinance that's going through the Planning Commission, and will soon come to the Board. That is my baby, and will allow for some greater activities on large agricultural parcels. That will be important to keep big ranches solvent," said Hartmann. We've got the Housing Element to complete. My big concern is to insure housing is for people who work here. I have also been very much involved in a regional broadband strategy."

Hartmann is facing two challengers.

Jenelle Osborne is a Lompoc businesswoman who’s been on the Lompoc City Council since 2016. She’s been mayor three times. Why is she running for supervisor?

"I really took a moment to look at the results of the improvements Lompoc was experiencing, and the issues we were still dealing with," said Osborne. "So many of them we are still dealing with are decisions made at the county level. When I began to talk with my peers in other communities in the Third District, I realized we were experiencing many of the same issues, and they hadn't been addressed aggressively and in a way that was resolving the issues."

"So, with the new lines being drawn, If I see issues, and if I don't try to do something about them, I can't complain," said Osborne.

Osborne talked about her priorities if elected to the seat.

"The homeless issue, the housing first model is broken, and wraparound services have been identified as what we need to address with it," said Osborne. "There needs to be a balance across the county, and it needs to be addressed as regional. Secondly, housing. Housing is a major issue. We all know it's a major issue. Unfortunately, the county is applying pressure in areas that have already been building and have a burden if additional housing is built there. And, areas in North County that want to build have been roadblocked. And finally, economic development as a whole."

The third candidate for the post is Frank Troise. The Santa Ynez Valley based international investment banker who founded Soho Capital is a financial expert who appears on CNN, and Bloomberg. He was part of a volunteer committee which help stabilize Santa Barbara County’s Employee Retirement System during the 2009 financial crisis. Why is he running for the post?

"I did some work for the county during the great financial crisis, and I helped SB Serves try to navigate its way through so it wouldn't default on the pension, which was a very, very serious problem for the county," said Troise. "We're not in a position where the county, or the state is operating from a surplus. The county right now needs more revenue, period full stop. We confuse the term balanced budget with fully funded, and the county needs to be fully funded, which means it needs another $100 to $150 million dollars in revenue. That's what I'm good at, so for lack of a better answer, the county needs more revenue, and that's in my wheelhouse to do, and I'm excited to do it."

Troise talked about his priorities if elected to the post. "One of the things that we did, which was candidly told to me that was going to be political suicide, was to talk about specifics during the campaign, so we've been very overt now about saying well one, the county needs revenue, and two, here's the blueprint for how to achieve that revenue. A $200 million dollar five point plan."

There is an interesting twist in this election. The Third District used to include Isla Vista, with thousands of students taking part in the election. Now, IV is in the second district, which means a much older voter base will deciding this election. And, if no one gets more than 50% of the vote, the two top vote getters will face off in November.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.