We’re not nihilists, yet we’re endorsing nothing.
When election time rolls around, the position of 3rd District supervisor is a magnet for political divisiveness, childish behavior and caustic campaigns. It’s the embodiment of dirty local politics.
The Daily Nexus had a candidate picked for its endorsement: Brooks Firestone, the affable vintner. As a steward of the North County soil, Firestone could cooperate with the other agriculturalists, whose needs often clashed with the more urban people of the South County. Firestone also had a bond with students, as he served for years on the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee. Only Firestone, we thought, could appease the poles of this district and stave off a county split – a fragmentation of Santa Barbara County that would be a financial burden to the state.
In endorsing Firestone, however, the members of the Nexus editorial staff strained to overlook both the condescending attitude his campaign had for students and the vicious attack ads his campaign aimed at other candidates – even nice guy Steve Pappas. Offering us beer and parading his C-level celebrity of a son didn’t impress anybody at UCSB or in I.V., and the signs reading “You can buy us beer but you can’t buy our vote” were warranted.
But still, we imagined that Firestone’s PR team from hell would vanish as soon as the election was over. Then, he could get down to business and be the nice guy we thought he was.
What the Nexus editors cannot overlook, however, is duplicity.
With only one day before the election, Firestone’s campaign blanketed I.V. with fliers claiming that his opponent, John Buttny, had laundered money from local landlords. The claim was, at least, an embellishment of the truth. One could also argue that the statement was an outright lie – libelous, even.
Thus, the editorial staff reconvened and decided that since our chosen candidate had so tarnished his reputation, we could no longer endorse him. And that’s how Brooks Firestone lost the Daily Nexus’ endorsement.
All arguments against his opponents still stood, however. Pappas lacked the experience we wanted in the mediator between the factions of the district. And while Slick Gardner’s NASCAR credentials certainly placed him apart from the other candidates, his lack of experience was compounded by his impending legal woes. Finally, the staff felt that John Buttny could only exacerbate conflicts between the north and south parts of the county that characterized the latter years of Gail Marshall’s term as the 3rd District supervisor. This is the guy who refers to himself and I.V. as the conjoined “we,” as in “We haven’t lost an election here in 18 years.” No wonder the north hates him so much. With Firestone’s immoral politicking to the list, the Nexus felt none of the candidates deserved its endorsement.
That’s not to say each of the four eligible gentlemen in this year’s race for 3rd District supervisor are bad guys. Pappas and Gardner, for example, are genuinely nice guys. Both had innovative ideas about the county – the Tajiguas Landfill in particular – that whoever eventually wins this sordid race should take under consideration. Even Firestone once seemed like a nice guy – he was almost the Nexus’ Bachelor Number One on this “Dating Game”-themed endorsement page – but he’s apparently not nice enough to conduct his campaign with a modicum of decency.
We at the Nexus still think students should go out and vote on Tuesday and pick the new leader for our district. None of them are bad enough to outright ruin I.V., but voters should carefully consider the… Oh, fuck it. Just go vote for Slick.