Candidates for Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs engaged in a debate on April 10 to discuss their plans for the position, their past experiences, and what they hope to bring to AS. Kaitlyn Christianson and Alexander Moore debated before UCSB students at the University Center Hub in hopes of swaying voters.
Off-Campus Senator Christianson is a political science and history major and is running with the Democratic Process Party. Alexander Moore is a political science major and the Co-Chair of Take Back the Night, a committee that educates students about sexual violence and its prevention. He is running with the Open People’s Party.
The EVPLA is in charge of ensuring the safety and growth of Isla Vista and does this through events, discussions, projects, and meetings with both the residents of IV and the elected officials that govern it, including Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr. Previous projects include the rest area placed at Acorn Park during Deltopia and the coordination of Pardall Carnival.
Christianson said that these events, as well as the annual Halloween event, are parts of the Isla Vista atmosphere and that she plans to increase awareness and education to make them safer in the future.
“The best thing we can do is take a proactive approach to this,” said Christianson. “I think taking the EVPLA office and going into the dorms, talking to them about these issues, and representing IV in a positive light and telling them that this is their homes too, not to trash it, to know they’re gonna live there and that it’s important, is one of the best ways to instill this—so they are growing up with it, so they are going to live in IV, and they respect it.”
Growing safety concerns, particularly during events like the recent Deltopia, were also addressed by the candidates who explained their plans for improving safety in IV. Moore explained an application for smart phones that he, UCSB Police Chief Dustin Olson, and others have been working on.
“You can basically activate this application and 911 will know your location and even know what ever information you have chosen to give them. So if you have a peanut allergy, you can choose to make sure that the dispatcher always knows that when you reach them.”
Moore also said this movement towards safety should extend to the families and children who, though they live in IV, do not feel comfortable attending IV events.
“I want to give families safe alternatives to major Isla Vista events,” said Moore. “I know already we give certain safe alternatives for Halloween, but Deltopia saw 13,000 to 18,000 visitors to Isla Vista. I wouldn’t have felt safe with my children on Del Playa or in Isla Vista in general during Deltopia. I wouldn’t have felt that my parks were mine. I wouldn’t have felt ownership of this community. So I really think we need to work on giving children and families safe alternatives during those major Isla Vista events.”
The debate included topics beyond safety, and Moore and Christianson presented their positions on the protecting the queer community, encouraging and preserving more EVPLA projects, improving IV infrastructure, and gentrification, which is the displacement of poorer students and families as more commercial businesses move into the area.
“I think that this is a really big problem for our community,” said Christianson, “because this is another example of how people are taking advantage of students and our situation of living in IV. Most of us have to live there…and so landlords know this and they take advantage of the students and they raise these prices because they can keep pushing us and pushing us, but soon, we’re gonna break.”
Moore also spoke on the issue of increased rent that is moving beyond what many students can afford.
“It’s important that we improve Isla Vista,” said Moore. “It’s important that we clean up Isla Vista and make it more environmentally sound, but it’s also important that Isla Vista stays affordable and that Isla Vista stays diverse. With buildings like Icon and the Loop, we’re looking at a potential that Isla Vista will only be for students who can afford to live here, and not very many students can afford it.”
At the end of the debate, both Moore and Christianson invited UCSB students to speak with them if they had any concerns or questions. Voting begins Monday, April 22, and continues through Thursday, April 25.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Students Election website