A special Goleta City Council meeting that ended in deadlock on Tuesday aptly represents mixed feelings over Assemblymember Das Williams’s bill to establish a community service district (CSD) in Isla Vista. Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, who drafted a resolution to support the bill, was absent, and the four councilmembers present were split over whether or not to adopt the resolution.
AB 3 would allow the creation of a CSD. A majority of voters within its boundaries would have to first vote in favor of its formation, and from there, a seven-person board would be able to implement a utility users tax (UUT) to fund particular services. As currently written, five members would be elected and two would be appointed — one by the Board of Supervisors and the other by the UCSB chancellor.
On Tuesday, Councilmember Jim Farr noted Goleta greatly benefited from cityhood when it incorporated more than a decade ago. “Who knows what would come out of AB 3?” he asked in support of the measure. In 2002, Goleta excluded Isla Vista from its boundaries when it incorporated; some feared a dim future for the city if several thousand Isla Vista voters gained political sway. But there is no way to divorce Isla Vista from Goleta issues, said Councilmember Michael Bennett, who expressed support and called for “joint collaboration.” On Monday, the county’s Legislative Committee unanimously voted to support the measure, and the supervisors will soon consider taking a position.
But many skeptics, including 47 long-term Isla Vista residents and homeowners, have signed a letter opposing the legislation. They expressed serious frustration because a study has not been completed to determine if a CSD makes financial sense. Most LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) members have also voiced concern about the bill because it would bypass their process; they will discuss the matter again on Thursday. On May 13, an Assembly committee hearing will consider Williams’s bill.