Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Drilling plan a major risk

A Bakersfield oil company is planning massive profits by putting the drinking water and agricultural water supply of Santa Maria at risk.

They plan to drill hundreds of high-intensity wells through the Santa Maria groundwater aquifer using a technique with a particularly high well-casing failure rate, meaning a high rate of spills.

During the recent drought, state water deliveries dried up. Our local groundwater supply is critical and must be protected. There is no way to do the massive oil expansion AERA proposes without putting water resources at risk.

Cyclic steaming is worse than fracking in terms of air pollution. The huge injection engines burn a lot of fuel and so emit a lot of pollution.

AERA hopes we will ignore all this in exchange for tax revenue. However, there is no local tax on oil, and oil companies contest their property taxes so sometimes it costs more to collect than the county receives. It is unlikely to cover the road wear and tear from hundreds of daily truck trips and certainly would not cover the cost of a major spill.

Given the risks, approving this kind of oil expansion is a bad idea. The EPA had been investigating oil wastewater injections into protected aquifers where AERA plans to drill, but under Administrator Pruitt, who is hostile to the mission of the EPA, oversight has diminished.

At a time when we can't count on regulators to enforce the law, we need to be more vigilant locally than ever before.

Katie Davis


Los Padres Chapter, Sierra Club

Christensen the best choice

Given the current state of the Auditor/Controller’s office in Santa Barbara, there is ample rationale for a change. By far, the best candidate for the position of Auditor/Controller is Jennifer Christensen.

Currently chief investment officer for the county, she manages a portfolio of $1.6 billion for allocation to public schools, and special districts. With a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a juris legal doctorate and Master of business administration from USC, she is highly educated. She has held the post of County Counsel, giving legal support to the Board of Supervisors and most county departments.

Jennifer spent six years as a division chief for the Auditor/Controller. In fact, there is not a single aspect of governance she has not touched in over a decade and a half with the county. She understands how the county works, knows its budget, how it’s financed, where the money is and how years of wasteful spending have contributed to accumulated liabilities in excess of $1 billion.

She is also a trustee of Santa Barbara’s Employee Retirement System and commissioner of the city of Santa Barbara’s Fire and Police Commission.

Her expertise in law and public pension funding equip her uniquely to confront the critical issue of pension sustainability. She will stamp out abusive practices such as pension spiking and an embezzlement scheme that went undetected by the current Auditor administration for 10 years.

Extremely likable, with a great sense of humor, balanced insight into problem-solving, and excellent relationships throughout our governance structure, there could not be a better candidate for Auditor/Controller, much less any other high-level position in county government.

Vote Jennifer Christensen for Auditor/Controller.

Lee Rosenberg