Hector Sanchez Castaneda
Isla Vista Beat Reporter
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 3 on Oct. 7, nearly a month after the California State Legislature passed the bill. Voters will now have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they agree with the formation of a Community Services District and its funding mechanism— a User Utility Tax. AB 3 requires the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors to submit a resolution of application to the Santa Barbara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), which would then place the measure in the 2016 general election ballot.
Assemblymember Das Williams authored the bill and introduced it into the state assembly on Dec. 1, 2014. Williams represents State Assembly District 37, which comprises over half of Santa Barbara County, including Isla Vista.
A CSD would pave the way for tenant mediation services and further lighting and sidewalk care, according to a press release from Williams’ office.
“This is an absolutely historic day for Isla Vistans, and for anyone who has been involved in the self-governance movement now or in the past,” Williams said in the press release. “The Isla Vista Community Services District proposed in AB 3 will provide residents with a safer community by empowering them to elect their own local representatives and enhance the levels of service they currently receive.”
IV has a history of failed attempts to establish self-governance. AB 3 is the latest measure aimed at giving IV some autonomy.
“[This is] really exciting news,” said External Vice President for Local Affairs Paola Dela Cruz. “I did not expect him to sign it. I thought that [Gov. Brown] was going to let it sit there and eventually become a law without necessarily signing it, and I think a lot of us in the community thought that way. But I am […] ecstatic to know that he signed it. It represents the hard work and the history of a lot of folks fighting for local governance in our community.”
A financial feasibility presentation, conducted by Economic & Planning Systems and presented on Oct. 7 at Santa Barbara Hillel, concluded that the formation of a CSD is financially feasible, provided the University of California, Santa Barbara gives its pledged $200,000 annual contribution.
“I’m incredibly excited for the future that this holds for our community,” said Field Representative for Williams’ office and UCSB alumnus Cameron Schunk. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, and that’s not even related specifically to AB 3 or the CSD. I think the primary benefit that’s come out of this is bringing a lot community members together, and really enabling people who may not have interacted before to get know one another and strive together for a common goal.”
“This has been one of the most community driven bills the legislature has ever seen,” stated Williams in the press release, adding that after 45 years, IV residents will have the opportunity to vote on self-governance.
Williams stated that the contents of AB 3 were reviewed at weekly community meetings in order to bring it to fruition. The meetings will continue to take place, and are held in the IV Clinic at 970 Embarcadero del Mar every Tuesday from 6 PM to 8 PM to discuss further action on AB 3.