Responding to the possibility of a redistricted Santa Barbara County, candidates vying for the position of Isla Vista’s only elected representative issued varying statements over the future of the small town – some of which included making the area someone else’s responsibility.

In 2010, the county may undergo a redistricting process after analyzing the latest census in order to ensure accurate representation based on each area’s population. Currently, five candidates are running in the 3rd district supervisor’s election set to take place on June 3. The position – which sits on a board consisting of five representatives who oversee county governance ranging from issues such as noise ordinances to land development – represents I.V., the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Los Olivos, Solvang and portions of Lompoc.

Candidate David Smyser – a former mayor of Solvang who is endorsed by outgoing supervisor Brooks Firestone – said he favors a plan to redraw boundaries so that I.V. votes as part of the 2nd district, which now encompasses most of downtown Santa Barbara and Goleta.

“I believe that Isla Vista residents would rather that their voices be heard on State Street than in Solvang,” Smyser said. “I.V. is surrounded almost entirely by the 2nd district. [It] is where they shop, where they live, and their voices should be heard by the community that shares their lives.”

However, I.V. Medical Clinic founder and 3rd district supervisor candidate Dr. David Bearman said that the plan put forward by Smyser would spell disaster for the county. Bearman alleged that those who would see I.V. excluded from the 3rd district are attempting to upset the current balance of power on the board of supervisors.

Bearman said that of the five districts in Santa Barbara County, the 3rd district has played an important role as arbitrator between the two traditionally left-leaning, “pro-environmental” South County districts and the two more conservative, “pro-development” North County districts.

According to Bearman, removing liberal-leaning I.V. from the 3rd district would effectively swing the 3rd-district vote toward North County interests.

“[If this happens] then three of the districts would be controlled by strongly anti-environmental interests,” Bearman said. “We would lose even the semblance of balance that we have now.”

Former city planning commissioner and candidate Doreen Farr also said she believed that a move for I.V. from the 3rd to 2nd district would greatly impact the county board of supervisors’ voting patterns.

“It is very balanced now,” Farr said. “I think it’s ironic that Smyser is actually campaigning for the student vote, but saying that if he wins, he would cut them out of the 3rd district.”

Farr said that I.V. residents were key to the 3rd district’s voter diversity and said she valued their often well-informed political participation.

“The student population is important and I know I.V. wants someone that is responsive and accessible,” she said.

Former three-term mayor of Buellton and candidate Victoria Pointer said in a recent debate that redistricting laws are “very complex,” and thus declined to speculate about the fate of I.V.’s future status.

Los Olivos School District Board member and candidate Steve Pappas could not be reached for comment. However, Pappas has said in the past that regardless of the district’s shape, he would aim to ensure that landowners maintain the right to control their land and that pristine acreage like the Gaviota Coast remains protected.