While new 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam might get points for sticking to his guns, he has a 0-2 record in successfully arguing issues to the Board of Supervisors in his take-no-prisoners approach to fixing county government. His target this time around was the planning department and what he characterized as duplication by local departments and state agencies in oversight of oil and gas regulations. His hope was to get Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell to prioritize enforcement of the county’s code that deals with oil and gas regulations, which just went through an extensive overhaul in 2011 in response to the mess Greka’s notorious oil spills caused. In other words, he wanted to chop into P&D’s energy division, an area he didn’t hide his distaste for during his campaign last year.
No dice, the other four supervisors said in response. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal called it “a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.” If anything, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr said, any redundancy that might exist is probably important to enforcing the county’s regulation of oil and gas activity.
After the inevitable failure of Adam’s motion, he went on the attack. “We have to give up something,” said Adam, who has shown little regard for form or process in his time on the board. “If we can’t cut anything, anytime, anywhere, I don’t know how we’re going to get out of the morass. If you guys won’t help yourselves, I guess I’ll just sit here and be quiet.”
The rest of the supervisors were clearly not pleased with this statement, with board chair Carbajal explaining that they have endured deep cuts over the last several years to many departments and were not going to put the public’s safety and health in jeopardy by potentially eliminating oversight of activities that have a history of hurting Santa Barbara County’s environment.