Shortly after the June 3 election, outgoing 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone sat down with the Daily Nexus to discuss his time in office, the ongoing race to replace him and the future of the district he has spent four years representing. What follows is a redacted transcript of the interview.
Daily Nexus: What was your initial reaction to the June 3 election for 3rd District Supervisor?
Brooks Firestone: I am disappointed. I know Dave Smyser, he’s a mild guy but he’s very bright and very reasonable. His profession, as an attorney, is mediation and I think he would have done great on the board.
With Smyser out of the race, who — if anyone — will you support?
I cannot support Steve Pappas. As for Doreen Farr, I’m getting to know her. I don’t know her that well, but I look forward to doing that.
Development on the Naples Coast is a cause célèbre in Santa Barbara. What advice would you give to your successor on this sticky issue?
The plan we’ve got in front of us has the houses almost out of sight of the 101. So here’s what I’d say to my successor: that this is not a bad plan. While we have leverage and the ability to do this, now is the time to make deals. Build it out of sight, put the rest in land trust and agricultural preserves and preserve the coast.
Naples has also been a big issue among the candidates vying for your seat on the board. What is your take on their stances?
It is intellectually dishonest to come here and say, “I opposed any development under any circumstances.”
For many Isla Vista residents, living space is cramped. Despite this, the UCSB Long Range Development Plan currently being discussed calls for an additional 5,000 students by 2025. As supervisor, how do you feel about the LRDP?
That’s a really tough decision. On one hand, UCSB is an intellectual beacon in California and we need that. It’s a great university and would probably be better by adding 5,000. … On the other hand, in this county we have a predilection for slow, if any, development. We like the quality of life here. It would be like adding a town the size of Buellton to the county.
After nearly a decade of discussing and designing the Isla Vista Master Plan, the board finally produced a final draft. What are your thoughts on the long process?
Five years ago, before I took this office, the Master Plan was still in the process. It had been for five years. There were all kinds of talk, but very little substance. And it was very expensive. Well, now it’s completed. I’m so glad I have gotten this going, but my successor is going to cut the tape.
Finally, after dealing with four of them, what do you think of I.V.’s annual Halloween celebration?
The UCSB community should be very concerned about Halloween. I’ve done everything I can to make Halloween unattractive to out-of-towners. It degrades the prestige of the university. I like to party but anything that advertises UCSB and Isla Vista as anything less than a Chapel Hill, Oxford, or Harvard Square concerns me. And it should. You want a supervisor who feels that way.