Representatives from California state assemblyman Das Williams’ office held his weekly Isla Vista stakeholders meeting yesterday evening at the I.V. Clinic building to discuss public issues in I.V. with long-term residents, students and staff.
Tuesday’s forum featured a continuation of a discussion from last week’s meeting concerning parking problems and deliberation on ways to popularize arts and culture in I.V. The stakeholders meeting is one of several held weekly for the past few months concerning pending legislation in the California state assembly to turn I.V. into a community services district (CSD). A larger-scale town hall meeting will also be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 at Santa Barbara Hillel to discuss potential services that would be offered by the proposed I.V. CSD.
Long-term I.V. homeowner Steve Fisher said there are 3,100 legal parking spaces in I.V., a significantly small amount compared to the number of I.V. residents.
“There are 3,100 parking spaces [and] 21,000 residents,” Fisher said, “That’s one parking space per seven residents.”
According to A.S. Executive Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA) and fourth-year psychology major Cameron Schunk, investigations concerning parking in I.V. may be conducted through collaboration with the university geography department.
“Right now, I was thinking about getting in contact with the geography department, and seeing whether that was something they would even want to change,” Schunk said. “Because for all I know, they’ll say maybe, ‘We don’t care enough,’ or ‘we have other things focus on.’ It’s contingent upon whether the geography department is willing.”
Art professor and long-term I.V. resident Kim Yasuda said increasing available parking space would decrease available public gathering space for arts and culture events in I.V.
“Essentially, what’s replaced [public space] is parking,” Yasuda said. “Parking has actually taken up all of our formal public spaces that you would have in Europe, and Mexico, such as public plazas.”
Yasuda also said I.V. First Fridays at People’s Park is an example of how the availability of more space can provide a safe environment for showcasing art and gathering community members in I.V.
“I.V. First Fridays is the gathering of some 400 people late night that’s safe and public and engaging,” Yasuda said. “So I’m making the case for public space access both during the day and after hours to be part of this whole arts and culture concept of Isla Vista.”
James Joyce, deputy district director for State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, said among other services provided in I.V. such as water, lighting and policing, discussion concerning arts and culture related services is seldom prioritized in self-governance.
“When you’re looking at the arts and culture I can understand that there may be a resistance when you see it among the other options and services,” Joyce said.
According to Joyce, arts and culture is an important community aspect that should not be neglected in the self-governance discussion.
”When in history have artists not come in to save the day?” Joyce said. “Whenever there is a rebirth or a renaissance or something along those lines, the artists are always the first ones in. The starving artists. Why? Because they’re cheap, and because it helps rebuild things … that’s kind of my mindset.”