After serving one term on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Brooks Firestone recently announced his decision to withdraw from the upcoming election.
The 3rd District supervisor will complete his last year of service before retiring in 2008. In his early seventies, Firestone is currently the board of supervisors chair and he represents the central area of Santa Barbara County, including Isla Vista. His term began in January 2005 and he served as the board’s vice chair in 2006.
Firestone said he is retiring in order to spend more time with his family.
“I believe in public service,” Firestone said. “I’ve been involved for a long time, almost too long. Four more years of this would make me 77 when I got out. My wife and I just decided that it was time for retirement.”
According to Firestone, it is his long history and ties with Santa Barbara County that made him the right choice for supervisor.
“When I ran, there was a move to split the county in two,” he said. “I was in a position to heal the rift because I’m sort of north and sort of south. I live in the middle, I’m a farmer, I’ve got a lot of ties in Santa Barbara and I like UCSB. I had a unique position in this and I felt that I could be of help.”
During his last year as supervisor, Firestone said he wishes to continue his instrumental role in improvement projects in I.V., such as the renovation of Pardall Road into an attractive community center.
Firestone said he is proud of his involvement in I.V. and that he sees potential for the community to become a world-famous college town. He also said he hopes that UCSB’s reputation as a party school will not overshadow the community atmosphere.
“I.V. can be a place for young people to live and enjoy their time in college in safety and fun and good memories,” said Firestone.
While Firestone himself takes pride in his accomplishments in I.V., Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Lindsey Quock said the supervisor often neglected to interact and listen to the concerns of his constituents.
“He gives a lot of attention to I.V., but he could’ve had more interaction with students and residents, coming to I.V., visiting and hearing our concerns,” Quock said. “In the Cedarwood evictions that happened last fall, he didn’t interact. He didn’t come and visit like he said he would.”
Quock said she looks forward to the next board of supervisors election.
“It’s always exciting when there’s a fresh debate,” Quock said. “This levels the playing field. I’d like to see what new candidates have to offer I.V. and Goleta residents.”
Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf said she wishes Firestone the best of luck in his retirement.
Firestone, a Republican, began his career in public service with two terms on the California State Assembly representing the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from 1994 to 1998. Firestone and his wife Kate also founded Firestone Vineyard in 1972.
Prior to his involvement in the Santa Barbara community, Firestone worked with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, which was founded by his grandfather, Harvey Firestone.
During his political career, Firestone participated in eight campaigns, including bids for positions as lieutenant governor of California, California’s Republican Party chair and a seat in U.S. Congress.