Isla Vista Beat Reporter
March 3 will mark the date of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ primary election, with candidates Joan Hartmann, Bruce Porter, and Karen Jones running for office in the Third District — a sector which encompasses both UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Isla Vista.
In a joint interview conducted by the Bottom Line and KCSB, current Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann gave an insight into her policies that specifically affect the students of UCSB, as well as the residents of Guadalupe, Santa Ynez Valley, western Goleta, the Gaviota Coast, and other unincorporated territories.
According to Hartmann, her top political priorities are: focusing on the transition to a “low carbon green economy,” the environmental protection of the sprawling beauty and vastness of the county, and maintaining a “responsive, transparent, effective, and inclusive” local government.
Her current green objective aims to virtually remove the widespread use of fossil fuels in the county. She’s already begun implementing a few programs which include the wider use of “solar batteries, electric vehicle fleets, [and] recharging stations” for public use.
“A year from now you’re gonna be able to plug in your electrical device or turn on a light, and that will be 100% fossil free,” said Hartmann.
Furthermore, Hartmann regularly works with the Santa Barbara parks and recreation department to keep the county looking beautiful and expand recreational opportunities for residents, especially those of low-income households.
Hartmann also wishes to keep cultural diversity and inclusiveness as an integral part of the county programs, specifically mentioning the importance of the county emergency notification system, government websites, and board meetings being translated into Spanish.
“Government needs to look like the people it serves … it needs to be accessible to the people it serves in greater cultural sensitivities,” commented Hartmann.
In regards to her more local policies, which affect the inhabitants of Isla Vista and the students at UCSB, Hartmann mentioned that she was an instrumental part in helping Isla Vista gain an independent government and actively advocated for the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) when it came to gaining a larger presence in the community. Now, the IVCSD department houses a survivor resource center, a homelessness aid program, and bi-weekly board meetings where Isla Vista politics are discussed.
Tackling student food insecurity is another priority for Hartmann’s campaign. With the national costs of university going up eight times faster than the cost of living and housing costs in Santa Barbara County going up three times faster, it’s common for students to skip meals as a result.
Hartmann promotes Calfresh at UCSB, a food assistance program which allocates funds for groceries and prepared foods to students via Electronic Balance Transfer (EBT) card. Currently, there are over 3,000 UCSB students enrolled in Calfresh, and Hartmann hopes to raise that number to 5,000 by training “over 40 different people at UCSB to help students” apply for Calfresh.
In response to a question about safety concerns in Isla Vista, Hartmann said that “public safety is job number one for local government.”
Her aim is to establish more didactical training methods within the Isla Vista Foot Patrol program, which would implement training exercises that would concentrate on less “heavy” means and more on safety instruction. Along with this, a planned restorative justice program for misdemeanors which entails a mandatory instructional class instead of a fine or court presence would be further developed.
When asked about partying in I.V., Hartmann says she supports a call for party registration to take place more frequently along with less random police interventions. Meaning, a resident can register their event with the I.V. Foot Patrol and would receive a text message warning instead of a citation, in the case of the event being too rowdy past noise ordinance.
Another one of Hartmann’s campaign plans includes a countywide focus regarding the homelessness crisis and homeless youth. California houses one-fourth of the nation’s homeless population, which means that issue is particularly prevalent in Santa Barbara county.
Under Supervisor Hartmann’s present term, transitional housing is made available for foster youth where crucial adult life and professional skills are taught. Those not fortunate enough to find these houses are aimed to be helped with the further implementation of a program called the coordinated entry system, a database where the location of homelessness victims can be traced, and they may be aided.
Hartmann also explained how the county budgeting will allocate over “three million dollars” to the homelessness crisis over the course of the next four years and will be partially distributed to mental health and drug abuse institutions.
An additional concern of Hartmann relates to the eroding cliffs of Del Playa. Only a couple years ago a complete bluff collapse occurred at a Del Playa home, which urged the revision of land policies and forced landlords to hire civil engineers to survey the safety of particular bluffs.
“We revamped our bluff policy and there was some consternation by some of the homeowners … [but] the responsibility of the landowner is to have these engineering studies done,” said Hartmann about the bluffs.
Along with these eroding cliffs, the natural threat of wildfires is another critical task dealt with by the county supervisor. According to Hartmann, during her first term, the county accrued new funds to invest in a firefighter black hawk helicopter which can combat wildfires at night.
Hartmann also claimed that “a new borderless dispatch system” is in development, and would allow all the fire departments in the county to immediately respond to any threat according to distance. A “countywide fuel management plan” is also in the works, and would complement this system of efficient responding.
Want to make sure your voice is heard when it comes to Isla Vista affairs? Be sure to show up to the polls this March 3.