The candidates for 3rd District supervisor came to Isla Vista for the first time last night to discuss their policies on student issues.
The Associated Students Committee on Public Safety hosted the debate between John Buttny, Brooks Firestone, Slick Gardner and Steve Pappas at Embarcadero Hall. In addition to questions from A.S., audience members and each other, the candidates took a 49-question test on I.V. history, statistics and governance. A.S. Internal Vice President Denise Aceves moderated the debate.
Because of the debate’s I.V. location, a main issue discussed by the candidates was landlord-tenant relations, specifically what each candidate would do to promote faster returns of security deposits.
Buttny said he has already been involved with the tenant’s rights ordinance, which includes a 21-day deadline on deposit returns and itemized accounts of any deductions.
Firestone said the university housing office, legal aides and housing inspectors should all be utilized in dealing with housing and rent issues, and that he supports the idea of a supervisor’s office in I.V.
Pappas said he would promote a renters’ bill of rights and a landlords’ bill of rights, two separate documents that would outline the responsibilities and rights of both parties, so that “everybody’s clear in the beginning what their rights are.”
Gardner said he agrees with the 21-day deposit return because landlords “will keep your money as long as they can,” and more regulations need to be made to keep landlords “in line.”
The candidates also discussed certain regulations, such as the keg-tracking program and noise ordinance, which are meant to keep partying in I.V. to a minimum.
Firestone said any regulations unique to I.V. should be developed by I.V. residents, not “the outside.”
Pappas said he wants to focus strictly on the proposed I.V. parking plan. He said the plan includes no guarantee that the revenue produced by the plan would stay in I.V. or UCSB.
“Keep the money here to help improve this community,” Pappas said. “Don’t become a money generator for the big county government.”
Gardner said the Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s minor decoy program is a form of entrapment because the minor officers would be able to enter “open door” or “advertised” parties.
“There are going to be 19-year-old law officers running around here for 15 months,” Gardner said. “This is entrapment and it’s wrong.”
Buttny said alcohol is a serious problem in I.V. and approximately 50 percent of UCSB students admit to binge drinking. He said the solution is for I.V. to become a city.
The candidates were tested on their knowledge of I.V. by the Academic Senate. Out of 49 points possible, Buttny came in first, with 34.75 points, Firestone second with 33.25 points, Gardner third with 24.75 points and Pappas fourth with 12.25 points. The candidates were given the tests on Monday night and were allowed to collaborate with their staff. Academic Senate vice chair and physics professor Harry Nelson said he was surprised at how well the candidates had done on the multiple-choice tests.
“They did better than I expected,” Nelson said. “It was a really hard test.”
The candidates were each allowed to ask one question to one other candidate. Buttny asked Firestone when he would stop publishing negative findings against the other candidates. Firestone’s campaign recently sent out postcards that said Buttny’s work with the county has caused traffic jams and destroyed agriculture.
“There’s not a single example of anything [in the postcard] that speaks to these charges,” Buttny said. “This is mudslinging at its worst.”
Firestone said he has been falsely accused of taking money from landlords and supporting the county split. He said public record is open to the community as long as the information is accurate and appropriate to the campaign.
“It’s a rough system, but it tells two things: it tells the background of the individual and how they stand up to the stresses of a campaign,” Firestone said.
Firestone asked Buttny if he would be able to bridge the district and heal the county split, since he has been on the supervisor’s staff for the past 18 years and the split was proposed because of North County residents’ dissatisfaction in the administration.
Buttny said the paid petition gatherers lied to constituents by saying the petition was only for a study on the viability of the split and that it would never pass.
Pappas asked Buttny about a comment made at a forum in Buellton, when Buttny said “we have UCSB and I.V. all sewed up.” Pappas asked Buttny to clarify the comment and “explain to these people how they are sewed up.”
Buttny said he made the comment as a sarcastic response to something else under discussion.
“We never take I.V. for granted, [but] we haven’t lost an election in I.V. in 32 years,” Buttny said.
Gardner said he wanted to ask his question to all three candidates. Gardner asked which of the other candidates each would elect as supervisor.
“Slick,” Pappas said.
Firestone avoided a definite answer.
“When we go to the polling place, it’s confidential,” Firestone said. “[I’m going to] stick with that system.”
Buttny said he would hire Gardner to take care of the garbage, referring to the concerns surrounding the Tajiguas dump.
Ben Ruttenberg, a graduate student in the ecology department, said he thought the debate demonstrated the personalities of the candidates more than their campaign platforms. Ruttenberg said he had heard there were four candidates in the race, but up until the debate he had not heard anything about Gardner or Pappas.
“I don’t feel like I got a whole lot about the positions of the candidates,” Ruttenberg said. “[But] I got a better sense of who the people are.”