Since voters elected me in 2012, I have learned many things. One of them is that this job is a long-term investment. To be an effective supervisor, one has to take a longer view.
At first, the conduct of some of my colleagues was frustrating. Being on the losing end of many votes was tiring. But I realized, at some point, I was not there to win. I was there to represent the point of view I articulated as a reason to run for office.
I talked about bringing a fiscally prudent, responsible and business-friendly view to the board. I told you the truth as I saw it, and you voted for me anyway.
No one likes to lose. Despite being on the losing end of several 4-1 or 3-2 votes, I have had a significant impact on our county government. Selecting good department heads is one example. Since I arrived, we have selected a new CEO, fire chief, directors of Social Services, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADMHS), General Services and Community Services. These people are all excellent and each will help to run the business of county government better. We have agreed unanimously on each of these because in each case it was the best path forward for Santa Barbara County.
It is said that if you want a friend in politics, get a dog. Not true. I find that all of my colleagues, even though I chide and criticize them, respect and consider my opinions. The Board of Supervisors is kind of like a family, dysfunctional at times. We have our spats and then move on to the next subject.
I have found that county staff is a bunch of good people trying to do the right thing. I have helped develop county policy with the experience I have gained over the last 30 years managing our farming operation into a thriving and financially sound business that is welcoming the sixth generation of Adam’s back to the family farm.
As I have learned more about the county over these past few years, I have come to understand we have made a practice of severely underfunding our annual maintenance. Although we are still deferring our maintenance expenses, we are beginning to take steps to deal with this financial liability. Through my relentless pursuit and focus on this issue, I believe we will see annual maintenance get the priority it deserves.
As a lifetime farmer, mental-health issues are not what my focus in life has been. Yet I find that in our county, mental-health issues are often the underlying problem facing the county when it comes to public safety, addiction and Child Protective Services.
While I still don’t have an expertise in providing mental-health services, I want to continue to use my business experience managing a complex farming operation to improve the way we deliver mental-health services in our community.
To that end, I would like to have another round as your county supervisor. Success takes good management over time. One term is not enough for me to accomplish all the things I would like to do for the people of Santa Barbara County.
There are things I have been successful with and there are great opportunities to build on them. I’d be honored to serve you again as your 4th District supervisor, if you’ll have me.