The 3rd District supervisor election is upon us. We have all seen the campaign signs and the flyers tossed aside by uninterested voters. But we should all be interested, and this is why. Not only is the supervisor race upon us, but the Isla Vista Master Plan begins this summer. The plan has the potential to forever change the I.V. we know and love. Do we really think paid parking will improve the horrendous parking problems we all deal with?

The I.V. Master Plan is an all-encompassing revamp of our laidback beachside community into a metropolitan-style, chain restaurant cityscape with even greater population density. Most of these decisions have already been made and the county hopes to implement these developments beginning this summer. However, these changes are not guaranteed. The board of supervisors must still approve the details of this far-reaching plan. Will open space be protected? Will McDonalds set up shop on Pardall Road? How will the concerns of I.V. residents be heard during the process? All these questions must be considered and answered with the approval of I.V. residents.

So how does the 3rd District supervisor race tie into the I.V. Master Plan? Here in I.V., we do not have a mayor or a city council. We are at the whim of the one and only official elected to locally advocate on our behalf – the 3rd District supervisor. The 3rd District supervisor should know, understand and fully appreciate the value I.V. brings to the county. For this reason, and many others, I support Doreen Farr.

Doreen is the perfect candidate to unite this district’s many constituencies. She has lived in Santa Barbara County for 25 years and knows that the culture we have created here in I.V. is not something to take for granted. She has met with countless students and student organizations and continues to solicit our views and suggestions for our community. We need a county supervisor that shares our concerns and will go to bat for us when the I.V. Master Plan begins.

Some supervisor candidates have openly said they do not want I.V. in their district. Are they going to fight for us when proposals to develop our open space cross their desk? Or when paid parking is proposed? I doubt it. Most candidates assume college students have no roots here and will move on in four years. They think our activism is just youth’s idealism, and therefore we don’t really care about this community. Well, I care. I care because I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and although I am graduating and moving away for work, I have many friends that will stay here, and I want to come back and visit. I want to visit in the far-away future to show my kids the I.V. I know now, not an I.V. with 10-story apartment buildings and contrived-looking storefronts. No doubt things will change, but let’s make sure the changes that will happen are in the best interest of the residents here in I.V. and not developers and landlords. Last week, Doreen Farr stopped by my house while doing the customary, door-to-door candidate walk. I asked her about these issues, and she knows her stuff. Not only is she aware of all the issues, but she genuinely cares about how the I.V. Master Plan could affect our community.

Let’s make sure our concerns are heard and considered. Doreen Farr is my candidate. I am confident Farr will advocate for my concerns and values even after I’ve moved away. I care about this community and I want a supervisor that cares too. I know you do, too. Vote on June 3.