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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Election '24: Wannabe 3rd District Supe Frank Troise Talks (and Talks) of Plan for $200 M in New County Revenue

Frank T. Troise, a rich and savvy whiz in the ravening realm of global business, is now running for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, confident his private sector professional skills would flourish in the weird world of politics.


President Tom Steyer, Governor Meg Whitman, Senator Norton Simon and Santa Barbara Mayor Angel Martinez would like a word.


As every school child knows, those four grandees are high-profile members of a singular political species, whose bleached white bones litter the California campaign landscape: capitalist superstars who famously flopped in electoral efforts at relocation in the public sphere.

"One of the major problems with wealthy business types attempting to cross over into politics is their own -- how shall we say? - inflated self-impression," wrote California warhorse operative-turned-pundit Garry South. "Many really do envision themselves as smarter and more accomplished than officeholders who have succeeded in the political system for years or decades."


One term and out. Now comes Troise, a longtime resident of Santa Ynez with an extensive and varied business career, to challenge Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, who is seeking a third term (sorry, no term limits for Supervisors, a story for another day).

"There is incredible frustration with the status quo," Troise said In an interview last week, one of a continuing series of conversations with candidates in the March 5 election, co-sponsored and produced by Newsmakers in partnership with Josh Molina's "Santa Barbara Talks" podcast.

In our interview, Troise spoke dismissively of the incumbent as a creature of the county "Democratic Party machine," while sketching in very broad strokes a new "$200 million revenue stream," which he said would solve the county's chronic budget woes in a jiffy.

A major chunk of his program, labelled "New Climate Framework," would require revisiting the extremely controversial matter of restarting an oil pipeline owned by ExxonMobil; last August, the supervisors rejected the oil company's bid, on a 2-to-2 vote, with Hartmann abstaining because, she said, the pipeline runs nearby her home.

The election of Troise would flip the balance of power on the ExxonMobil issue; he said the board was foolish to turn down the oil company instead of entering into a negotiation with them which, he asserted, could yield concessions worth $30-50 million annually for the county,

So certain is Troise of the merit of his revenue proposal, and of his ability to navigate the political riptides and cross currents of county environmental politics that, he said, he would need only one term to get it done, promising to not run for re-election,

In a politically puzzling addendum, he also vowed to quit the race and endorse either Hartmann or Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne, the third candidate in the Third District contest, if they pledged to accept and champion his platform.

"I will endorse whichever candidate supports our platform’s plan/focus on revenue," he wrote in an email to Newsmakers.

So there's that.

Not a Trump fan. Voluble and loquacious, if not perfectly capable of talking the hind legs off a donkey, Troise is a 57-year old Republican, who took pains in the interview to distance himself from Donald Trump.

He also stated that, as a political matter, he is uninterested in the agenda of contentious social issues that now motivates a major segment of the GOP electorate nationally -- restricting abortion, gay, and trans rights, while grafting evangelical Christian beliefs and values onto the federal government, for example.

"We can't be talking about the cultural issues," he said, emphasizing his campaign focus on fiscal matters.

In his business career, Troise previously held executive positions with Lehman Brothers, J.P. Morgan and Barclay's Capital, before he founded Soho Capital LLC, a private investment firm, in 1997. The company, which he dicussed in our interview, has offices in "Singapore, Zurich, Montecito, and Incline Village," according to Troise's bio on the website of the U.S. Import-Export Bank. He holds an appointed seat on the bank's (all-rise) "Advisory Subcommittee on Strategic Competition with the People’s Republic of China," aka the "Council on China Competition."

CEOs worldwide at the apex of finance and technology have retained SoHo’s team as a strategic advisors (sic), operating executives, and investment bankers to help their companies successfully expand in Asia and Europe..,

Frank has over twenty five years of experience managing multi-billion dollar portfolios for corporations, endowments, foundations, and high net worth individuals. SoHo’s domain expertise for global FIS clients includes the selection, on-boarding, monitoring and distribution of platform products, which span SMAs, mutual funds, long only funds, UCITS, alternatives, offshore hedge funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), private equity and real estate offerings.

So now you know.

P.S. In a bemusing quirk, Troise did not mention Hartmann by name during our talk, referring to her only as "the incumbent," as he repeatedly insisted his true opponent is "Darcel" without ever, actually, you know, explaining who the heck this "Darcel" person is (although, full disclosure, you can blame that oversight on the genial hosts).

For those without a Local Politics Secret Decoder Ring, his reference is to Darcel Elliott, the Chair of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party. Conveniently for Dems, Darcel also knocks down a taxpayer-financed salary package of nearly $200,000 in her patronage gig as chief of staff to Supervisor Das Williams, who also is running for re-election.

But we digress.


Check out our conversation with Frank Troise on YouTube below, or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. TVSB, Channel 17, airs Newsmakers every weeknight at 8 p.m., and at 9 a.m. on weekends. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.






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