Isla Vista’s Singularity

What Makes the Town Unique yet Problematic?

Monday, July 28, 2014
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Many signs pointed to the fact that things were getting out of hand in Isla Vista. Locals have talked about the problems percolating just below the surface for several years. Some longtime residents decided that things have changed so much that they moved out. All the things that made the area desirable: the laissez faire attitude, the freedom of expression, and the positive energy, have morphed into something unrecognizable. With the recent events, everyone, not just locals, have been made aware of the problems. However, in order to find solutions, people have to understand what makes the area unique yet problematic.

Cat Neushul

Take, for example, the relatively innocuous problem of making sure bicyclists obey traffic laws, like stopping at stop signs. A police officer I talked to said such a ticket was thrown out of court one time because when the citation was contested, the judge said that each and every person who broke this law had to be ticketed, or no one could be. With all the other issues police officers in I.V. have to deal with, it would be difficult for them to stop and ticket every single bicyclist who didn’t stop at a stop sign.

In Santa Barbara and Goleta, people who break the law, and get caught, suffer the consequences: In I.V., there is no guarantee. People who live in the area can cite many examples when they have learned that the laws enforced elsewhere don’t seem to apply in I.V.

With these types of obstacles to progress, making improvements can be daunting. Many people, however, have taken the recent events as an impetus to bring people together to make this type of change happen. One of these people is Beatrice Contreras, UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Students external vice president of Local Affairs. She organized a town hall meeting last Monday to discuss ways that I.V. could move toward self-governance.

One major problem Isla Vista faces is the many agencies with responsibilities and jurisdiction in the area: the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD), and UC Santa Barbara, for starters. But no single group sits in charge. This year’s Deltopia celebration is a prime example of the problems that arise when there is no clear idea of who is responsible and what they have the authority to do.

Discussing the Idea of Self-Governance

More than 200 people attended last week’s meeting, including UCSB representatives, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, Santa Barbara Councilmember Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Isla Vista residents, students, and members of the IVRPD. “I thought it was a great idea to get them together,” Contreras said. “The point of the town hall meeting was to discuss what to do.”

Contreras, a senior majoring in sociology and Asian-American studies, first gave a historical view of self-governance in Isla Vista. A community council ran things from 1973 to 1983 and was funded by UCSB and the county; it also made three attempts at cityhood. Contreras said that the Isla Vista Community Council operated with annual allotments of about $9,000 from UCSB and $10,000 from Santa Barbara County.

After listening to the presentation, small groups gathered to discuss the type of self-governance they would like to see and then shared their results. Contreras reviewed some of the ideas people suggested, which included reinstating a community council, applying for cityhood, becoming a community services district like Cuyama, being annexed by a nearby city, and maintaining the status quo.

“I felt really great about it,” said Contreras of the meeting’s immediate results. “It was a really constructive conversation.” Another town hall meeting is scheduled for October.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

So the outcome will be....?

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 4:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bicyclists blow through stop signs all over this county… follow a morning ride with Echelon and you'll see them not stop at signs all through Hope Ranch, Montecito, & Carpinteria, not to mention the City of Santa Barbara.

IV is sorely in need of more orderliness in its traffic control. That cars in theory have priority on the street is contradicted by the fact that there is much more pedestrian, bike, and skateboard traffic, and no well-thought out system of sidewalks or car restrictions to favor the dominant traffic modalities.

The County lifts a huge figure in road $ out of IV. Road related revenue for IV are about $1.4 million/year, and expenditures are about $0.25 million/year, according to the fiscal study prepared by Economic Planning Systems for LAFCO.

The absence of effective car restrictions in IV directly contributed to the deaths caused by Attias & the car-related injuries of 4 by Rodger. No way should cars be allowed on Sabado & Del Playa between 8pm and 1am on weekends. It is literally a matter of life & death.

So the first step in any plan for IV should be to get the $1.15 million/year in IV funds that the County is diverting elsewhere spent to make IV's streets safe.

pardallchewinggumspot (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A new SBCC board of trustee position is open this year for a trustee district that is specifically dedicated to Isla Vista resident concerns. If you want to improve the SBCC-Isla Vista community relationship consider running for this new SBCC board position.

Only voters in the Isla Vista district area vote for this SBCC trustee. August 8 is the last date to file your candidacy at the County Elections office.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This article suggests that Isla Vistans "get away" with things, or are somehow, somewhat immune from arrest. That is a ludicrous assertion, as Isla Vista is the most heavily policed area in the County, subject to the University police, the County Sheriffs, the combination of the two, the Foot Patrol, unique in the entire County, and even the Highway Patrol which can be seen cruising town from time to time. There are even special laws applied specifically to Isla Vista, which do not apply to any other parts of the County. Lackadaisical policing is not one of the things that contributes to the problems in Isla Vista.

OpenSpacer (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 9:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Also, to state that a "community council ran things from 1973 to 1983" is inaccurate and misleading. Such a statement demonstrates a misunderstanding and oversimplification of the history of Isla Vista. There was a community council, voted into existence on May 4, 1970, but it never "ran" anything. It tried to represent the people of Isla Vista, and the County appointed it as an ADVISORY body in 1973. When the council continued to provide advice that the County didn't like, the Supervisors eliminated its funding in 1983. The council then disbanded out of frustration and disgust.

OpenSpacer (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OpenSpacer your comments are on point. The article starts out mentioning how bicyclists blow through the many stop signs all around IV and UCSB campus. Of course my son got caught doing that on his way to class, he said Stop sign was disregarded by all cyclists and everyone does it. So he got a ticket by one of the ever-vigilant traffic cops. As cop is writing him up, hundreds more are doing the same thing as cop ignores them. So my son had to pay $$ and I think do some kind of traffic class or something. What a joke, its all about extorting $$$ at the whole university level. They should just have yield right-of-way signs and go with that. Come on do you really think cyclists on their way are going to slam their brakes on? Nope! lol

bavarde (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 10:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

lol, extorting bicyclists who go through stop signs is going to solve the new current problems of IV??! You've gotta be kidding me...bikes have always gone through stop signs there and these problems are new, let's think of something else..

IV has been over-run by police lately and the affected residents are getting sick of it.

If you want to solve the current problems in IV, how about working towards restoring trust between law enforcement and citizens instead of doing the opposite and causing more strife by ticketing bicyclists when they haven't done any harm to anyone?

Police openly carry weapons and guns while being given the task of enforcing laws that 98% of the population of IV all break on a weekly and almost daily basis (bike/stop sign laws, underage drinking/serving alcohol, noise ordinance (playing music after midnight in your own house with a few friends over)).

That means 98% of the residents are in a constant state of fear from these armed costumed revenue farmers known by most IV residents as "F the police". IV needs less laws so that they can focus on important laws like damaging property and assault.

Police are only needed in the most extreme situations, they don't need to be roaming around IV by the dozens harrassing people who aren't harming anybody else. You could have CSO officers roaming around, as long as the students respect them and they aren't harassing the students they can be very helpful in helping females get home safely if they lose their friends or are too drunk as well as watching out for the general welfare of the students. If they need backup for something more serious they can get in touch with law enforcement.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 11:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The problems started percolating when they shut down the marijuana dispensaries. We saw it change with our own eyes, we lived there.
More later, but the the "coincidence" is uncanny. The BoS in their infinite stupidity helped create this problem with their pathetic pandering for votes, completely unaware apparently that public sentiment had changed.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 1:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why is there a new fence in west IV between Del Playa and the trails that go out to Sands?? WTF?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 1, 2014 at 6:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Giant fence??? WHY??????

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 2, 2014 at 3:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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