Letter to the Editor: Tables Turned

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Gabriel Pragin

Andrew Gabriel Pragin

Those that have registered to vote in Isla Vista will cast the decisive ballots in some of the most hotly contested issues in local history this Nov. 8. From the election of a swing-vote County Supervisor to the decisions on Measures E and F, Isla Vista will determine its representation for years to come.

The following are races in which Isla Vistans will make an incomparable impact this November:

The Race for Third District County Supervisor

This is the seat that is responsible for advocating against the militarization of our police force. This is the seat that has the ability to establish a sobering center and prevent our residents from being thrown into county jail. This is the seat that enacts ordinances — those that protect low-income residents from mass eviction, those that specify the times that noise is allowed, those that close down beaches on Deltopia.

You may have heard of IV’s very own Jay Freeman running in the primary. We did incredibly well upon a platform of response to local issues and got 12 percentof the vote throughout the third district. Now, the election comes down to two candidates: Joan Hartmann and Bruce Porter.

The County’s Third District Supervisor, which Isla Vista has historically decided, is the swing-vote countywide. This is the seat that Isla Vista decided by 800 votes in 2008 with little to show for it. The district itself is about two thirds rural and more conservative voters, and another third urban liberals (though turnout is ~50/50).

Claims of voter suppression should be taken with a grain of salt. The Democratic Party of Santa Barbara’s Chairperson has previously spoken in favor of this classical example of gerrymandering — liberals, though less populous, retain a voting majority through claims to a stronger student voice. In a way, the Isla Vistan votes work to suppress the majority views of our district. Perhaps for a greater good?

The Race for Isla Vista Recreation and Park District Director

Two long-term homeowner incumbents, a college graduate with a finance degree, a Housing Co-Op devotee, and a pair endorsed by the Santa Barbara Democrats make a run for the three available seats on the IVRPD Board.

The general manager of the IVRPD is currently positioned to coordinate cultural events in the parks and represent Isla Vistan interests at meetings coordinated by the District Attorney’s office. As the only publicly elected governing body in Isla Vista at the moment, these representatives hold more than just parks in their hands.

With the possibility of a special tax this following year and projects that lay the groundwork for sustainable management of park-lands such as the extension of wastewater piping into Isla Vista, this group of people will represent your interests and (hopefully) steward our 25 magnificent parks into a new era of rains and grass that isn’t brown.

The Race for Isla Vista Community Services District Director

Not only will you be voting for those that will represent you on the Community Services District, but you will be voting on its existence (Measure E) and funding (Measure F) as well.

The creation of the CSD provides for our community an institutionalized soapbox upon which we can stand and advocate, which is especially great considering the history that our community has experienced at the hands of the powers-that-be.

This board will be the voice of Isla Vista for years to come, and its colors should be picked with the utmost care. Be sure to attend the debate at the end of October and decide to the best of your ability. Though there are eight people on the ballot for five of the seven seats on this board, only two of these seats are up for election by the people of Isla Vista. The others have been decided due to a lack of contest.

The four candidates running for the two seats to watch are Michael Kile, Jon Hedges, Andrew Gabriel Pragin, and Natalie Jordan.

Regardless of your vote on the measures that determine the CSD’s existence, you have the ability to determine a representative that knows the heart of your issues. It is a responsibility that should not be squandered.

Ask yourself what it is that this community is lacking. Attempt to find a representative that would make the most change towards the end that you prioritize. We have the power. Take action.

Andrew Gabriel Pragin is a long-time contributor to the Isla Vista Community Center project, former organizer of Isla Vista First* Fridays, and candidate for Isla Vista Community Services District Director.