Correction: The following article originally referred to Solvang as a Dutch-styled village. It is in fact a Danish-styled village. The Nexus regrets this error.

Vying for oversight of land that stretches from the Danish-style village of Solvang to the beaches of Isla Vista, three candidates have already thrown their hats into the 3rd District supervisor race nearly a year in advance.

Following Brooks Firestone’s announcement to step down from the position next year, Dave Bearman, Doreen Farr and Steve Pappas have all begun campaigns for the Santa Barbara County November 2008 election. Additionally, the filing period is still open to others considering running for the position.

Bearman said he is confident that his extensive background in government and familiarity with both Goleta and I.V. make him a qualified candidate for the position. Bearman said he founded the I.V. Medical Clinic and has served on boards such as the I.V. Community Council and Gov. Ronald Reagan’s Interagency Task Force on Drug Abuse. He also taught the first human sexuality and drug abuse prevention courses at UCSB.

Bearman’s campaign focuses on environmental issues such as the preservation of the Gaviota Coast, defending lands from excessive development and the pursuit of alternative energy sources. He also proposed the construction of a desalination plant.

“I am very interested in thinking globally and acting locally in regards to environmental issues such as addressing global warming,” Bearman said.

Bearman said the district should look into using biodiesel fuel and hemp farming. Not only are these options more energy efficient than ethanol, he said, but they also generate revenue as a cash crop for local farmers.

“You could smoke all of the hemp in Iowa and get a headache, not high,” Bearman said. “There is no reason American farmers shouldn’t be moving to biodiesel and making money off of hemp.”

His platform also includes increasing mental health services and communication between residents and police. Currently, I.V. Foot Patrol generates monthly reports, but Bearman said the department should provide weekly reports.

Meanwhile, Doreen Farr is a planning consultant to the City of Goleta and a member of organizations like the Goleta Union School District Advisory Committee and the Citizens Planning Association. She also serves as president of the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, which addresses issues such as agricultural resources and the environment.

“I have the depth and breadth of experience to bring to the position,” Farr said.

Some of Farr’s priorities include improving public health and safety, providing services for the poor and disadvantaged, widening environmental and coastal protections and adjusting current housing and transportation services.

In I.V., Farr said she would like to improve the parking situation as well as the general cleanliness of the area.

“I want the students to know that the supervisor’s office is accessible to them and that they will be heard … as to what they want for I.V. and their life here in the community,” Farr said.

Steve Pappas, who ran for the same position in 2004 against Brooks Firestone, said he became more familiar with I.V. and UCSB during his previous campaign.

“What I realized and learned back then is that UCSB and Isla Vista are really unique from the rest of the district,” he said. “They have their own specific needs. … There was a huge issue regarding a parking issue. I want to go back and see if that has changed. … Safety is also a big issue, on and off campus. There was always an issue about the enforceability of I.V. Foot Patrol.”

Other important topics around I.V. are the newly approved Master Plan and affordable housing, he said. The Master Plan focuses on redesigning parks and storefronts in I.V., while also providing new bike paths and buildings with more stories.

Pappas, who has served as the director of preservation for both Los Olivos and Santa Ynez, said another key issue is the environment and local agriculture.

“We need to make sure to stay within our resources,” Pappas said. “As we go on into the 21st century, we have constraints. I see all of our farms and agricultural lands being paved over, and once they’re paved over, they’re gone forever. We need to try to protect them.”

Pappas has also served on the Los Olivos School District Board of Trustees for three years and was recently elected to vice president.