The Daily Nexus editorial board endorses Doreen Farr for the position of Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor.
Working within the con- fines of constant state budget reductions, current 3rd District Supervisor Farr has initiated
new public projects to aid the homeless and mentally ill popu- lations, and pushed for the pres- ervation of the Gaviota Coast as well as groundwater supplies and other natural preserves. Maintaining her pro-student rights stance in the face of
political pressure, Farr was also the only member of the County Board of Supervisors to oppose the controversial Social Host Ordinance.
Farr’s opponent, independent candidate Steve Pappas, is a local small business owner who has attempted to secure the posi- tion twice before. Pappas is inexperienced and seems to be significantly uninformed on county issues and politics, with his only solid platform being a promise to protect business owners’ rights — an admirable cause, but certainly not enough to unseat Farr. His vague propositions about letting free-market policy naturally sort out redevelopment budget discrepancies and maintaining current tax and fee levels are poorly researched and unrealistic.
While Pappas advertises his lack of expe- rience as a selling point for bringing a fresh perspective to the post and remaining indomi- table in the face of “local political machines,” any comparison between the two candidates quickly highlights Farr’s extensive knowledge of local political procedures and laws as well as her detailed, concrete plans that eclipse Pappas’s shortsighted propositions.
The only issue that has made what should be a clear-cut election even mildly contentious is Pappas’s insistence on focusing his campaign around what he deems was a miscarriage of justice in his 2008 run for the same position. Following the election, Pappas contested the results on grounds of voter registration fraud in the precincts encompassing Isla Vista and UCSB and has continued to stress this stance despite having his case thrown out of both superior and appellate court.
Last December, the California Secretary of State’s Elections Fraud Division reiterated the conclusions of Pappas’s previous court rulings when its investigation found no substantive evidence for his claim of voter fraud. In addi- tion to being verifiably erroneous, Pappas’s claim is irrelevant to the current election and is being revisited only as a means of defaming Farr rather than bringing about any type of reform — a goal that might have made his persistence a little more understandable.
In spite of his consecutive losses, Pappas is able to endure financially as a whopping 72 percent of his campaign funding — about $110,000 this year — was donated by the Santa Ynez Valley Journal Publisher and local ranch owner Nancy Crawford-Hall, who is also the benefactor behind Pappas’s expensive 2008 lawsuit. In contrast, Farr’s budget consists of contributions by a variety of people who, on average, pledged smaller but more numerous donations. Crawford-Hall’s substantial support is presumably due to Pappas’s lenient stance on agricultural businesses and his support of local industry, exemplified by his willingness to expand coastal oil and gas operations.
In short, Pappas’s storm of misleading accu- sations should not detract from Farr’s hard work and accountability, which — along with her tangible, detailed plans for the district — make her a far more competent candidate than her opponent.