There is only one promising, nonpartisan candidate for 3rd District supervisor

Voters have received vote-by-mail ballots. All three incumbent county Supervisors running for reelection need to be replaced, but I want to focus on the 3rd District because that’s where I live.

The 3rd District supervisor’s seat is being contested by two people: One is widely known in the Lompoc Valley, and the other is relatively unknown. The incumbent, Joan Hartmann “inherited” the city of Lompoc when district lines were redrawn, and Isla Vista was reassigned to the 2nd District, where it should have been all along.

In a Noozhawk interview, the incumbent claims that “I am present, I am there, and I have been delivering for my constituents.” And her campaign posters proclaim “experience matters.”

But Hartmann supported, with her vote, an act that was deemed “illegal” by the Superior Court when she voted to invalidate a lawfully awarded contract for emergency ambulance services to American Medical Response (AMR) and instead created a set of conditions, with the help of the county Fire Department that allowed the Board of Supervisors to hire itself (the county Fire Department) to take AMR’s rightful place.

Her Fair Political Practices campaign finance submittals show numerous entries for an outfit known as “Act Blue LLC”; their website says “ActBlue Charities Inc. is an American political action committee and fundraising platform established serving left-leaning and Democratic nonprofits and politicians.” 

They are listed as an “intermediary,” which for political campaigns means “anyone the campaign has not authorized to raise funds who receives and forwards an earmarked contribution to the candidate or candidate’s authorized campaign committee.” The address for Act Blue LLC is in Somerville, Massachusetts. I didn’t know that the 3rd District stretched that far.

If this is her experience at “delivering to her constituents,” then I want to return the package.

Frank Troise, one of her challengers, in an interview in the Santa Maria Times, claims he and his team have “14 very specific budget proposal items, and we have presented five of them to the county.” They think they will “generate over $200 million in revenue to the county.” Or is it $100 million? He has claimed both during election forums, so I don’t think we should consider his plan credible if he really doesn’t know how much funding it would raise.

One of the projects in his plan is the Pale Blue Dot space center project in Lompoc, but this project has been four years in the making and after numerous revisions still hasn’t been able to pass an independent financial review.

And remarkably he also said, “If either Jenelle [Osborne] or the incumbent came to us and [said], ‘We will do this, we agree with you that this is a road map to get us from point A to point B,’ I will drop out of the race.” That doesn’t sound like he is very committed to taking the job in the first place.

One prominent conservative who owns a land use, environmental, and government relations consulting firm said, “I don’t believe Mr. Troise, with very little name ID, will get more than 2 to 3 percent of the vote.”

Then there is Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne; she really does want the job, and her experience includes serving the citizens of Lompoc as a member of the Economic Development Committee beginning in 2012 for four years, and then as a council member and mayor since 2016. And she has fought for 3rd District issues as a member of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments for the past five years.

Osborne says on her website, “I am willing to focus on providing direction and policies that are in the best interest of all residents, businesses, and organizations. I am not registered with any political party because I understand that the county supervisor position is nonpartisan, and the problems cannot be solved along political party lines. I am confident we can improve all of the 3rd District with a more balanced approach.”

And in a Goleta forum, Noozhawk reported that she said she “would bring a different viewpoint as a nonpartisan candidate who understands the commuter experience and how cities deal with problems that trickle down or run downhill at us from the county.”

I think she’s right. For too long the “party line” has prompted elected officials to ignore any potential impacts their decisions might make in the future; the AMR debacle is a perfect example. Another is suspending fossil fuel production, which costs the county $20 million in property tax revenue every year.

The 3rd District is a swing vote, and Osborne said at the Goleta forum, “it needs to swing a little more than it has in recent years, and I’d like to be that voice for you.” 

This election is important to the 3rd District; do we want more of the same? No! Do we want someone who is willing to “sell” his spot on the ballot? No!

We need someone who isn’t beholden to out-of-state political action committees or major political party agendas.

Yes, we need Jenelle Osborne who is the only truly nonpartisan in the race and the most promising candidate who has already firmly established her commitment to serve residents of the 3rd District.

Ron Fink writes to the Sun from Lompoc. Send a letter for publication to [email protected].

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