With the June 3 election just a week away, the candidates for 3rd district supervisor continue to debate who among them truly represents the interests of Isla Vista — and who is merely pandering to the student population for votes.
In a press release distributed yesterday, candidate Dr. David Bearman challenged fellow contender Doreen Farr’s role in the creation of the city of Goleta. Bearman asserted that Farr’s support for the Goleta Now project — a group that pushed for the incorporation of Goleta without including I.V. — contradicts her new campaign message of political self-determination for I.V.
In his statement, Bearman said that Farr’s change in attitude demonstrates a “miraculous conversion” of sentiment considering her support of the Goleta Now project.
According to Bearman, I.V.’s exclusion from the new city of Goleta took away what little power Isla Vista voters had, leaving its residents in the hands of an uninterested county government.
“This exclusion of over 20,000 residents condemned Isla Vista to continue being governed only by the county,” Bearman wrote. “This has marginalized the influence of I.V. voters by placing them in a larger pool of voters, most of whom have little or no concern for the welfare of Isla Vista residents.”
In response to the accusations, Farr reiterated that although she supported the effort, she was not a member of Goleta Now, nor a resident of the district that voted on the issue.
Farr noted that the small college town was actually excluded from Goleta’s plan for city-hood after an initial attempt to include I.V. in Goleta’s incorporation failed to win enough votes.
“The supporters of that movement felt strongly that only people who really wanted to be in a new city should be included,” Farr said. “They wanted the [new] proposal to have the best chance possible of succeeding.”
Farr also said that she and others felt that if the incorporation was successful, nearby areas originally excluded could eventually be added.
Victoria Pointer — also a candidate in the race for the 3rd district supervisor seat — challenged Farr’s explanation of I.V.’s exclusion from the project, asserting that Isla Vista was purposefully left out of the new city because its neighborhoods were neither politically potent nor economically useful.
“Parts of Goleta were cherry-picked for incorporation in the new city,” Pointer said. “It was convenient to exclude areas of low impact that were in need [of municipal services].”
Now, Pointer said, Goleta is paying the price for spurning the college community, as it does not receive any tax revenue from I.V. businesses. Furthermore, she said it is unlikely that Goleta Now ever expected I.V. to join Goleta after the city was created.
“That is a fairly weak argument,” Pointer said. “When a territory is incorporated, the new city is confined to the borders that were originally drawn.”
Bearman likewise alleged that the incorporation plan had a significant financial impact on the new city.
“After eight years, we now see that the city of Goleta is in big financial trouble and I.V. remains the neglected governmental stepchild of the county,” he said.
Despite distancing herself from the issue throughout the campaign, Farr has caught considerable flak from her competing candidates for her ties to the project.
“The plan was poorly thought out,” Pointer said. “I’m sorry that she was involved in that Goleta Now. Doreen Farr was not in a position to vote, but she understood the nature of the plan and supported it.”
Still, Farr says that as 3rd district supervisor, she would listen to residents and help Isla Vista assert its political identity, whatever form that may take.
“I’m very supportive of the community’s self-determination, whether that means creating a neighborhood council, a community service department, or its own city-hood, if that was a goal,” Farr said.