Doreen Farr will be sworn in as Isla Vista’s sole elected county representative this morning at the first County Board of Supervisors meeting of 2009.
Farr, a Democrat, will succeed the retiring Brooks Firestone as 3rd District Supervisor, and will join the four other returning supervisors in making up Santa Barbara County’s primary legislative body. The swearing-in ceremony is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the County Administrative Building on the corner of Anapamu and Anacapa Streets.
In addition to adding a new member, the board will also appoint a new chairman. Fifth District Supervisor Joseph Centeno, who represents parts of Santa Maria and much of the northeast corner of the county, will replace 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal as chairman of the board. Centeno was elected in 2002 and last held the chairmanship in 2003.
The new board will face a litany of difficult challenges, most notably a growing deficit and worsening economic forecast. Demonstrating the extent to which the county is suffering monetarily, a mandatory two-week work furlough was imposed starting Dec. 23.
Budget issues aside, the incoming board must also deal with various environmental issues, including development along the Gaviota Coast and Greka Oil and Gas Co.’s propensity for oil spills. These are in addition to the day-to-day concerns of the board, which include overseeing safety matters, community services and development and land use issues.
Farr’s swearing-in ceremony will include the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Color Guard, a video and musical presentation, and a keynote address by Thomas Tighe, the executive director of Direct Relief International, a local non-profit organization.
Following the ceremony, the board must also decide upon numerous appointments to a myriad of different county boards and commissions. Additionally, 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf [[ok]] has also asked for a report concerning all on-shore oil spills over the past three months – a request sparked by Greka’s back-to-back spills on Dec. 26, 27 and 28.
The swearing-in will take place despite a petition filed Dec. 31 to the California Superior Court by Farr’s defeated opponent Steve Pappas, who is claiming voter registration errors in 18 Isla Vista and UCSB precincts unfairly gave the election to Farr.
Farr won the seat by 806 votes, buoyed largely by support from the student population.