Executive Managing Editor
Isla Vista may take another step toward self-governance this November, when I.V. residents will vote on the formation of a special Community Services District, as well as on a tax that would fund it. In the meantime, Assemblymember Das Williams and other local politicians have been talking to University of California, Santa Barbara students about the opportunity to sit on the district’s inaugural board of directors.
Williams held an information session with a handful of students on Tuesday at the Pardall Center, where he emphasized the need for students to understand why the CSD is important. Forming the special district would allow local women to feel a better sense of safety, he said, since the district would add more local law enforcement. Williams referred to his own experiences growing up in I.V., saying he “lucked out” as a male, and noted that women’s circumstances would be better aided by community involvement.
“In a few years, there will be students here who don’t know Elliot Rodger,” Williams said, alluding to the perpetrator of the 2014 Isla Vista killings. “If they have heard of him, it will have been when they were midway through high school.” The key to the district’s success, Williams said, will be ensuring those who are normally not politically engaged be galvanized to care.
Williams also spoke of the need for a governing council to represent members of the community. Without a board, he said, students will continue to need lawsuits to settle problems with their landlords. According to Williams, landlords in particular will be the main source of opposition to his campaign’s efforts.
The new board will oversee the district’s efforts to implement tenant mediation, additional law enforcement and better parking establishments. These endeavors would be funded largely by an eight percent utility user tax, applied to consumption of I.V. services like water, electricity, garbage, sewage and gas.
The special district board will comprise seven seats. An election, also in November, will determine five of the positions. UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang and the county board of supervisors will appoint the other two, respectively.
FOR THE RECORD
July 24, 3:10 p.m.: This article previously stated that each CSD board director would serve two-year terms with a maximum of three terms total. There are no limits to the number of terms, according to Assembly Bill 3—the legislation that proposes the creation of the CSD. Also, not all members will serve two-year terms. Most will serve four-year terms.
Four of the five directors voted in by the district will serve four-year terms, while the remaining one will serve a two-year term. For the first election, two of the four directors slated to serve four-years will only serve for two years. The director appointed by Yang will serve a four-year term, while the director appointed by county board of supervisors will serve a two-year term for the first appointment, and then four-year terms thereafter. There will be no term limits imposed.
Santa Barbara City College trustee Jonathan Abboud has also been encouraging students to understand I.V. self-governance. Abboud said he hopes to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to run for the board of directors. “I will work with the five best candidates for the board,” he said.
Determining the “best” will come down to gauging an awareness of responsibility and commitment, Abboud said. A qualified candidate, according to Abboud, is one who recognizes the diversity of I.V. and is committed to fulfilling an entire term in order to build trust within the community.
In addition, Abboud will support candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara. However, he noted the candidates will not function on partisan values and said he encourages Republican candidates to run.
Abboud echoed Williams in saying that I.V. landlords will be the primary adversaries to the formation of the CSD, since the presence of a council will be able to stop landlords from having too much power. “The landlords have been trying to stop this since the 1970’s,” he said.
Abboud said his ultimate cause is to raise visibility to the opportunities Isla Vistans have. He said he plans to frequent the university campus and go door-to-door each day to ensure every resident is registered to vote and has all the information possible.
“[The IVCSD] is historic and it’s the first time ever that it’s on the ballot,” Abboud said. “This will be a big decision for I.V. to make.”
July 24, 3:10 p.m.: The name CSD board of supervisors is now referred to as the CSD board of directors, and clarification on term limits has been added.
July 28, 2:51 p.m.: A previous version of the article stated that the candidates Abboud selects will also earn support through his party ties in the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara. Abboud will back candidates who the Democratic Party endorses, and will not have influence over the party’s endorsement.
This article was originally published at 1:00 p.m.