Santa Barbara County government services in Lompoc are being reduced, a move that will force city residents to go online or travel to Santa Maria. 

In a move designed to fill a $150,000 shortfall in the budget of the County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor’s office, the Lompoc branch office will be open only on Mondays, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., providing such services as marriage licenses, marriage ceremonies and real estate recordings, said Mary Rose Bryson, recorder division manager.

Elections and recorder functions will be moved to Santa Maria effective April 1, Bryson said. Two employees will be transferred to Santa Maria and the Assessor employee will remain at least part-time in Lompoc, but with reduced hours, Bryson said. The office may close at lunchtime, she said.  The Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices will continue to be open Monday through Friday.

Residents can access some county services online and through the mail in all three sections of the County Clerk’s office, which will ease the impact on Lompoc residents, Bryson said.

The news was roundly criticized by community activist Joyce Howerton, who recently announced that she will challenge 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray in the June 5 primary election.

“We currently have one of the highest unemployment rates in the county. Gas prices are at an all-time high. The total disregard for the community of Lompoc is troubling and it’s disappointing,” said Howerton, a former Lompoc mayor.

“People go to the county for many different services marriage licenses, birth certificates, research on property. It serves so many different needs and now they are telling the people of Lompoc that if you want to access the county you have to go to Santa Maria,” Howerton said. “This is just unacceptable.”

Bryson said the decision to reduce some services and move others in order to cut expenses and save jobs was made by Joseph E. Holland, county clerk, recorder and assessor, and was explained in budget hearings as well as to county CEO Chandra Wallar and  Supervisor Gray.

The main traffic generator at the county office in Lompoc was the need for passports and that service was eliminated a year ago and transferred to the city Parks and Recreation office, Bryson said. New federal regulations forced that move because they prohibited the office from handling passports and birth certificates, according to county budget documents.

Bryson said only 1.5 percent of the countywide workload in the Recorder’s section is done in Lompoc.

Gray said she felt better about the changes after speaking with Holland and learning about the decreasing workload in Lompoc and the availability of services online. 

“Do I like it? No. But I know the passports was one of the big things they did,” Gray said. She added that Holland will send elections workers back to the Lompoc office at election time.

“I called and complained; he promised he would have someone here on Mondays and they would have someone here for the elections stuff.”

Howerton discounted the claim that Lompoc generates very little traffic to county offices. She also criticized Gray for failing to notify the community and to fight to keep the offices open and the services in Lompoc.

 “We have no leadership. We need someone who will be there and be a voice for the people of Lompoc.

“Find the money. They can find it to keep the office open in Santa Maria and they can find the money to keep the office open in Santa Barbara, they can find the money to keep this office open.”

Howerton said she was angered by the news.

“This is going to be a hardship for a lot of people in the community and the people have heard nothing. That’s just not acceptable.”




(9) comments


What's new nobody cared when Child Support Services closed down!! We now have to travel to Santa Maria or Santa Barbara to obtain services for children and families. There are tons pf empty buildings in Lompoc that can be used yet nobody seens to care and make use of them.


Get use to continuing cutbacks as all braches of government are forced to contribute ever increasing dollars to underfunded public employee pension funds.


Hey look! A new drum for Joyce to beat......


People can make a difference!!
Send emails to the Lompoc City Council: Dirk Starbuck Ashley Costa Bob Lingl Cecelia Martner John Linn Mayor

We need the County Clerk Recorder Office's services - many of the services are NOT available on line - local residents will have to travel to Santa Maria also two full time employees will have to commute to Santa Maria to work. One of ...See


Joyce has a drum to beat alright; it’s the drum that her progressive liberal friends share on the County Board of Supervisors. Simply read the two links I have added and the picture is revealed as to why we’re at this stage.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Joni either. She is just as much at fault for the destruction of the standard of living in this county as the other buffoons on the Board of Supervisors. But electing Joyce Howerton will not solve the problems, it will simply add to the chaos and ensure that essential service budgets continue to be devastated.

Ms. Howerton is not about to change her stripes and suddenly become a business friendly, job hawking/creating bureaucrat. When she was Mayor in the 1990’s she compounded the Clinton recession. Even after California, Santa Barbara County and most of the other local communities started to recover, Lompoc continued to suffer the residual effects of the recession under her “leadership.”

County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor’s office, Sheriff’s Deputies, the District Attorney, County Roads and education are taking a budgetary beating. Social Services/Welfare continues to be the progressive liberal priority, catering to SEIU and the many people that are career welfare recipients. Meanwhile we watch as an ever shrinking working class is tasked with paying more and more (wealth redistribution/socialism) taxes, but those same taxpayers are stripped of the services their tax-dollars previously funded.

The talking heads like Joni and Joyce will tell you it’s the “massive unfunded pension liability” that is causing all of these issues. The reality is that the county didn’t pay squat into the retirement fund during high return periods in the 90’s and early 2000’s and now they vilify workers for their negligence. Combine that with devastating business restrictions, taxation and unskilled domestic and/or illegal alien workers and it’s no wonder the county is out of cash.

The county’s population continues to grow; but it’s not employed workers coming here, its social services dependant people from a variety of nations and the only way to pay for it under these conditions is to continuously cut essential services. Welcome to the County of Socialism Barbara. Until the handcuffs are removed from private sector, we’re guaranteed further erosion to our services and standard of living.


Our County's priorities not only include the SEIU represented Social Services Welfare empire, but now this:

That's the annual cost of a Fire engine company; or about 5 Deputy Sheriff's. Welcome to anarchy folks, but the BOS will blame the State, the State will blame funding and the fact that YOU, the TAXPAYER does not give them enough money. In the meantime the "occupy" buffoons will blame the 1%'ers that pay 50% of all income tax.

You want services that you used to get and still pay for? Eliminate/reduce the entitlements given to generation, after generation of "baby-Mama" Americans and foreign nationals.


Can we just stop fighting one of these wars for one or two days, that would fund most of these cutbacks. Or send us just one of the billions upon billions given to the middle east countries and others all over the world?

I'm all for ending career welfare recipients, if people are trying to cheat the system, but they're a drop in the bucket compared to what we're supplying to these countries to fight their political wars. It's a shame.


151.7million U.S. citizens paid no federal income tax in 2009, according to figures compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.

In 1984, the middle of the Reagan era, 85 per cent of Americans paid federal income tax, meaning just 34.8million people did not.

The figures include children, the retired and others who do not participate in the labour force.

Nonetheless, they largely reflect the sudden jump in the unemployment rate after the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession.

Unemployment rose from around five per cent at the beginning of 2008 to a high of 10 per cent in October 2009.

As well the increased number of jobless people, the reduction in the number of taxpayers is a result of low-income workers taking pay cuts and reduced hours, and therefore slipping out of the tax system.

It also includes people who illegally fail to file a tax return even though they might have earned enough money to do so.


This report sounds more like a Public Relations announcement in favor of Joe Holland and Joni Gray. It demonstrates the cozy relationship between the District Supervisor and an elected officer.

Joe Holland is back-peddeling quickly as he initially avoided the County process of bringing his plans to the board supervisors for deliberation. He's demonstarted that he doesn't need to discuss his plans with other elected officials. Joe only announces to the board of superviosr what he has decided.

This report gives celebratory status to Joe and Joni, and doesn't give due credit to Joyce Howerton and her efforts in having influence the decison to keep the office open.

Its worth noting that the decison to close the Lompoc office follows the exposure on the fraudelent activities of the LHCDC by concerned citizens of Lompoc. Santa Barbara local media seems to have a gag order on continuing to follow the story.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.