Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr held an open meeting with UCSB students Tuesday afternoon to discuss her role in Isla Vista redevelopment and other local issues.
The 3rd District Supervisor met with a small group of students around 2 p.m. in the Flying A Meeting Room of the UCen. Although the turnout was lower than expected, students in attendance conversed with Farr about a number of local issues such as building developments and the Isla Vista Tenants Union.
Associated Students County Liaison Alex Ung, a second-year political science major, helped plan the event with Farr’s office and the Office of the External Vice President for Local Affairs. Ung said the supervisor wanted to take an active interest in the needs of UCSB students.
“She basically just wants to personalize and converse with her constituents and get to know the people she is representing,” Ung said. “It is more of an informal ‘get to know your supervisor’ thing.”
Farr said she hopes residents will frequently reach out to their elected representatives about issues that cannot be handled on an individual level.
“For your day-to-day life — what affects you — it is local government and county government that has the most direct effect on it,” Farr said. “If you do not have a representative that knows your issues and is willing to advocate for you, then you really do not have anybody.”
Second-year sociology major Caitlin Riley said she was intrigued by Farr’s proposal for a potential “substitute advisory body” replacing the Goleta Redevelopment Agency in Isla Vista.
“I think that it is unfortunate that the committee lost its funding, but [there may be] one specifically geared toward Isla Vista, which is pretty cool,” Riley said.
According to Riley, future events could benefit from advance notice and classroom advertisements. Riley said a connection with the local government is important for students.
In July 2010, Farr voted against the Social Host Ordinance — a contentious ruling that holds tenants responsible for providing alcohol to minors at parties of five or more and has had an impact on many Isla Vista residents. Farr said the SHO was not designed with college students in mind, but rather aimed to reduce underage drinking in lower age groups.
“The reason I did not support that is that it was more designed for underage drinking with families, with teenagers — high-schoolers — and so it was a way to have the parents be more accountable for that,” Farr said.
Farr supported the Tenants Rights Ordinance, which protects vulnerable renters from substandard conditions and unwarranted eviction. Farr said the Isla Vista Tenants’ Union is a valuable resource for students and other local residents.
“I think it is always important to stand up for your rights, and that starts with the contract that you sign and all the terms in that,” Farr said. “I think that the I.V. Tenants’ Union does a really good job in counseling people in a lot of these different issues.”
After redistricting in Fall 2011, Farr is said to manage about 100 of the 119-mile coastline, which ranges from Campus Point to the San Luis Obispo border. Although offshore drilling facilities are maintained primarily in state and federal waters, Farr said locals tend to protest the process to avoid any potential damage to their ecological “hot spot.”
“Santa Barbara has a long history of opposing [oil platforms] because of the catastrophic oil spill that we had in 1969 that spawned — what we like to say — the ‘Modern Environmental Movement,’” Farr said. “[That opposition] is still very strong here because we have a very strong fishing industry, tourism industry and property values that are dependent on the coastline that we have. We have a lot of endangered and sensitive species along the coast here that are really unique in the world.”