Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 9th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 45

County Board of Supervisors gets a new member and a new chair


Gregg Hart's last day on the Santa Barbara City Council was the day before his first on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. Hart ran unopposed to take over 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf's seat in 2019. 

As the only fresh face on the board, Hart joined his new colleagues on Jan. 8, when 1st District Supervisor and 2018 board Chair Das Williams passed his gavel over to the recently re-elected 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino. 

"We're typically a pretty fractious bunch," Williams said. "Conflict, right? That is the nature of democracy. We resolve our conflict openly, sometimes embarrassingly openly, rather than behind closed doors. ... So in a community famous for fighting with each other, we did something very different last year. We fought for each other." 

Referring to the Thomas Fire at the end of 2017 and the debris flow in Montecito at the beginning of 2018, Williams said the county was able to pull its resources and people together to get through a crisis. Ideology aside, 2018 was a testament to the power of the institution that governs Santa Barbara County, Williams said. 

"It is maybe with a little relief that I pass this gavel onto you," Williams said. "I wish you a quieter year ... but one where we can still make progress, make progress on being the people and institution that we can be."

Lavagnino touted the accomplishments that will come in 2019, including completion of the Northern branch of the Santa Barbara County Jail and the widening of Highway 101. The county, he said, is working on a multi-year budget outlook that aims to predict and help the county prepare for the next recession. 

The biggest change Lavagnino plans to make to the board's agenda management is including a veteran of the month resolution at the last meeting of every month in 2019. Each district will get the opportunity to honor a veteran in their district, with the 1st District kicking things off at the Jan. 29 meeting.

"There are looming issues that still threaten us and keep me up at night. Pension fund instability, a maintenance backlog, and changing climate make us face a future of tough decisions," Lavagnino said. "Working together across all ideologies, we will find solutions." 

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results