One day after 3rd District supervisor candidate John Buttny said a flier charging he received laundered money from a local landlord was a lie, candidate Brooks Firestone said a recent flier attacking him also contains a “fabrication” regarding his opposition to Exxon Mobil Corporation’s 1995 Clearview project.
According to the flier, which was paid for by the Santa Barbara chapter of the California League of Conservation Voters, “Firestone tacitly supported the project and did not defend his constituents in Goleta and Isla Vista from the prospect of an oil facility taller than Storke Tower being placed next to a nature reserve.”
Firestone has repeatedly said he completely opposed the project, which would have constructed a slant oil drilling platform on the coast near Coal Oil Point to replace the offshore Platform Holly. He said he has no idea how Buttny’s supporters came up with this allegation.
“It’s absolutely false. I remember that very well,” Firestone said. “It was a really bad deal for UCSB.”
Firestone said he supported Chancellor Henry Yang in opposing the project, which was politically risky for both men at the time, since the chancellor was new on the job and Firestone’s opposition to the project would anger the oil industry. He said the Clearview project would have generated significant income for both the state and UCSB.
Buttny said he did not write the flier claiming Firestone tacitly supported the Clearview project, nor was it funded through his campaign. He would not comment regarding the validity of the allegation.
Harry Nelson, a physics professor and vice chair of UCSB’s academic senate, was the lead faculty member involved in the Clearview project negotiations during the early 1990s.
“I never had the impression that [Firestone] tacitly supported the project and I don’t think he tacitly supported the project,” Nelson said. “I got the impression he was very fair.”
Ken Poole, Firestone’s campaign manager, said although Buttny’s supporters may not have liked the way Firestone’s campaign fliers described Buttny’s connection to money from landlords, Firestone’s fliers were more fact-based than those put out by the California League of Conservation Voters.
“It’s really unfortunate that certain groups have chosen to mislead the voters so close to the election,” Poole said.
The Santa Barbara chapter of the League of Conservation Voters, a national group that supports what it considers to be pro-environmental candidates in elections across the country, has endorsed Buttny and contributed nearly $20,000 to his campaign.