Disagreements over Isla Vista governance making waves

Disagreements+over+Isla+Vista+governance+making+waves

JESSIKA KARLSSON, News Editor

Isla Vista residence came one step closer to getting some form of representation during today’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The self-governance resolution was presented by board member Jonathan Abboud, the representative of the Isla Vista district.

“We’ve all heard about what has happened in the last year in Isla Vista,” Abboud said. “As a result of all of it, the community came together looking for solutions.”

Abboud explained that it was a community process with several meetings and discussions eventually prompting Assemblymember Das Williams, a Democrat representing the 37th District, to introduce Assembly Bill 3 in December 2014.

Two members of the Associated Student Government shared their opinions on the bill during the open discussion.

Senator Ethan Bertrand and Student Advocate Lexi Valas both explained that public safety was one of the biggest concerns among Isla Vista residence.

“As a girl especially, I don’t feel safe in Isla Vista,” Valas said. “Something needs to be done.”

The bill would give the Isla Vista community a chance to control local taxes and services, something Abboud explained “is the point of all local government.”

“We don’t have a group that can speak on behalf of Isla Vista,” Abboud said.

Williams explained that Isla Vista is part of a county, which is meant to govern rural areas, instead of a city that governs urban areas that needs higher level of service.

“Isla Vista is the only large student town that is not in an incorporated city,” Williams said.

This is something that would also change if the legislation passed.

With approximately 23,000 residence in the area, Abboud described Isla Vista as a very dense and vibrant place.

“It’s one of the most dense, unincorporated areas in the state,” he added. “This is not normal.”

He went on to explain that areas with similar populations to Isla Vista usually follow the jurisdiction of a city, but that this is not the case in this district.

Most Isla Vista residents opposed to the bill were concerned about the costs to the community members living in the area.

However, many members of the public and the board had positive reactions to the bill.

Assembly Bill 3 can really work towards providing safer and better living situations in Isla Vista,” said Bertrand, who lives in the area.

Bertrand  also added that the community would benefit from the additional law enforcement the bill proposed.

“I’ll be the first to say that it is not perfect,” Abboud said. “But it is the first step.”

The board will schedule to discuss the resolution more specifically, before voting on it.