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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 11th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 50

District 3 supervisors' race fundraising tops $550,000

By CAMILLIA LANHAM

After spending more than $1.3 million in their 2016 bids for Santa Barbara County’s 3rd District seat, Joan Hartmann and Bruce Porter have collectively raised more than $558,000 in the 2020 race for the same spot on the Board of Supervisors.

Although there are four candidates on the ballot, neither Karen Jones nor Jessica Alvarez Parfrey have reported any donations to the county so far. Incumbent Supervisor Hartmann is currently ahead in fundraising, reporting a little more than $339,000 so far this election cycle, according to campaign finance reports filed with the county for the time period between Jan. 1, 2019, and Jan. 18, 2020. 

Nearly one-sixth of that—$55,000—came from Alice Gillaroo, who Hartmann’s campaign consultant, Mary Rose, described as a philanthropist who’s involved with the community. Starting in 2014, Gillaroo led a three-year effort to raise $3.5 million to complete construction of the Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez and provide seed money for senior programs and services as part of the Rona Barrett Foundation.

“Alice is a retired social worker who has means and wants to ensure that there’s solid, there’s good support, for maintaining the social safety net,” Rose said. 

Other big donors include the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Government Committee, which gave Hartmann’s campaign $30,000; and Richard Mazess, Charles Zega, and Jack and Laura Dangermond, who each donated $15,000. 

Rose described Hartmann’s major individual donors as environmentalists with no projects before the county who want to make sure there’s a solid representation on the board. County firefighters are concerned about public safety, Rose said, and they’ve seen what Hartmann, who serves on the county’s Fire Safe Council, has done to help abate the danger of wildfires in her district, including help with getting a $2.5 million CalFire grant to reduce brush and dead trees in the Lompoc area.

Porter accused Hartmann of getting the majority of her donations from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles area residents who don’t live in the the district.

“ ... 61 percent of our contributions that came in by check have come from inside the 3rd District,” Porter told the Sun. “If you run Joan’s numbers, I think you’ll find that only 20 percent of her numbers are coming from in the district.” 

Analyzing Hartmann’s campaign finance filings, the Sun found that an estimated 43 percent of her donations through Jan. 18, 2020, had come from outside the district. That percentage doesn’t include contributions her campaign has received from countywide organizations, such as unions, the firefighters political action committee (PAC), or the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. 

Porter reported contributions of a little more than $219,900 for the same time period—Jan. 1, 2018, through Jan. 18, 2020—although a portion of those contributions came from Porter himself, who loaned his campaign $75,000. Bob Nelson For Supervisor 2020 (Nelson is running unnopposed for the 4th District seat being vacated by Peter Adam) has loaned the Porter campaign $10,000. 

“I made sure that everyone who’s working for me is making a living wage, at least $15 an hour or more,” Porter said. “I’ve been financing that out of my own pocket, hoping that somebody is going to pay me back, or my wife is going to kill me.”

Porter’s major donors include Brooks Firestone, Gerry Shepard, Lee Rosenberg, and James R. Buell, who contributed more than $10,000 to the campaign. Some of his contributors are “well-heeled,” Porter said, but they believe in good government and that’s why they donated to his campaign. He used Firestone as an example. Firestone once served on the county Board of Supervisors and campaigned against the initiative to split the county into two halves. 

“A lot of the things that he worked to do have become undone,” Porter said. “He was a unifier. ... I think he’s been pretty unhappy about all of the divisiveness that’s happened since then.” 

Hartmann’s campaign consultant, Rose, said that she believes some of Porter’s loans will be paid back by oil industry money that’s recently been donated to the Santa Barbara County Republican Party. In December and January, the county’s Republican Party reported almost $100,000 in contributions received from companies associated with the oil industry, including TerraCore Operating Company and Pacific Coast Energy Company, according to campaign finance filings from the California Secretary of State. 

Although there’s no way to tie the money directly back to the oil industry, between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, 2020, the county’s Republican Party filed late contribution reports with the Secretary of State for contributions made to Porter for Supervisor 2020 totaling more than $26,000. 

Both candidates said they think they can win the race in the upcoming March 3 primary, garnering the 50 percent of votes plus one that they need. 








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