Third District Supervisor candidates Doreen Farr and Steve Pappas addressed the public at an election forum last night and answered questions regarding their platforms and prioritie3s should they be elected this November.
The panel — held at the Goleta Valley Community Center and co-sponsored by the Citizens Planning Foundation and the League of Women Voters — began with each candidate’s opening statement and was followed by a question-and-answer session. At the forum, the candidates discussed a variety of local issues including Isla Vista, the Gaviota Coast and offshore drilling.
Both candidates said that a major concern facing I.V. residents is the problem of communication regarding community projects. Pappas said one priority would be to hold a meeting for I.V. residents to review the Isla Vista Master Plan.
“People need to know what’s in [the Master Plan],” Pappas said. “It is a complex document. Many people do not understand what is coming to I.V.”
Farr said that she would be a strong advocate for Isla Vista residents, and would also encourage interaction between residents and the local government.
“I would reopen the office in I.V. and have it staffed so people know they can go talk to the Supervisor or staff on a face-to-face basis,” Farr said.
In his opening statement, Pappas stressed his experience with the Los Olivos School District Board and the fact that he is an independent candidate with no ties to a larger political machine.
“This is the main distinguishing factor between me and my opponent, and my greatest strength,” Pappas said.
Farr said her years of experience with local government have gained her the support of community members and larger organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Santa Barbara Firefighters.
Meanwhile, both Farr and Pappas spoke of their opposition to offshore drilling and agreed that the county should look first to alternative clean energy sources.
“We have so many more options that we need to consider before we leap toward offshore drilling,” Pappas said.
Pappas said he was impressed by the recent county meetings regarding construction of the county’s first wind farm in Lompoc, which would create enough energy to power 50,000 residences and provide the county with a million dollars a year in revenue.
Farr said that the county should look into solar panel energy and turn to UCSB’s Bren School for other possible solutions.
In regards to possible development on the Gaviota Coast, Farr said the coastline about two-miles north of I.V. should be protected.
“The Gaviota Coast has been named one of the 15 or so hotspots of biodiversity on the entire planet,” Farr said. “It is incumbent on us to protect it for future generations.”
Although Farr said she would like to minimize development, she noted that the existing development rights must be respected and handled carefully.
Pappas also said he would minimize the impact of development and that aggressive action was necessary in order to preserve the coast and negotiate with the developer.
“If I had it my own personal way, I would rather not see any development,” Pappas said, “but it’s not up to me — it’s up to all the different circumstances we’re dealing with, including the Naples agreement.”