Photo of Bethlehem “Betty” Aynalem
Candidates for the External Vice President of Local Affairs met on April 11 to openly present their views and plans for Isla Vista and the local community should they be victorious during the upcoming elections. Rhandy Siordia and Bethlehem “Betty” Aynalem answered questions and encouraged the audience to comment during the forum, focusing on issues like homelessness and events like Deltopia and Halloween weekend.
Aynalem maintained a theme throughout the forum of involving the Isla Vista community in decisions. One issue involved projected plans to implement a parking permit in IV. Though the permit system is currently on hiatus with no clear path forward, the candidates presented their opinions on the idea.
“The parking permit issues exemplifies a deeply rooted concern of mine,” said Aynalem. “That being that students don’t have a say in what is going on… Most students should have a say in whether or not they would like this system… I would like student voice and student input to be more vocalized and used during these big decisions.”
Siordia said that parking in Isla Vista has become a sincere problem, even as the permit project has faltered.
“There’s mixed feelings about this project,” said Siordia. “From my stance, I feel that parking is an issue in Isla Vista and the main issue… has been that students that live on campus have been parking their cars in Isla Vista to avoid paying for parking fees in the structures on campus. What I’d like to do is try to work with the University to lower the fees in the parking structures or try to find alternative places for them to park.”
The responsibilities of the EVP of Local Affairs extend beyond UCSB students and require the interaction between the EVPLA and the Isla Vista community.
“What I’ve heard is that families really need childcare and childcare is a huge issue for them,” said Siordia. “Going on with that, their children are in day care all day so there is a need for community events. There’s definitely a need for families and children to come together and spend time together.”
As spring quarter winds down, many students are faced with the end of leases and the prospect of moving out of the dorms or into a new home in Isla Vista. Aynalem said the EVPLA is not doing all it could to help students through this transition.
“The EVPLA has not had its own database where it can provide info on open IV residences, what options are available, their rights and linkages as well as coalition between the campus housing option and the IV Tenants Union,” said Aynalem. “I would really like to use the EVPLA office to be a facilitator in that joint relationships between administering this information to residents of Isla Vista and on campus so that they know exactly what they’re going into.”
Aynalem and Siordia said that even if not elected, they both plan on remaining involved in the community and helping serve the UCSB and Isla Vista communities.
“Service is unyielding,” said Aynalem, “whether or not you have a title.”