Hello! I’m Ethan Bertrand, board president of the Isla Vista Community Services District and former director of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District* (IVRPD). I’m writing today to urge Isla Vista residents to vote YES on Measure O this spring to invest in the continued excellence of our treasured parks, open spaces and recreational programs.
For over 40 years, the IVRPD has been a partner in making Isla Vista the special place it is. Born out of the environmental movement in the 1970s, our park district has preserved natural resources through the establishment of a unique network of neighborhood parks, the efforts of the Adopt-a-Block cleanup program and the use of organic maintenance methods. Committed to building relationships between community members, the park district co-sponsors Isla Vista’s best community events, leads an engaging Children’s Recreation Program and oversees an accessible community garden program. All of us are so lucky to benefit from the work of the IVRPD.
The large amount of service the park district provides is made possible by the grants, collaboration with other organizations and long-term investment of generations of Isla Vista residents. The park district receives most of its funding from bedroom taxes approved by voters in 1997. In consideration of the financial positions of I.V. residents, the IVRPD has worked diligently to provide services without raising taxes. In fact, the park district hasn’t asked voters for additional funding in almost 20 years. Today, friends of the IVRPD realize the need for a greater investment from the community to meet the the desires of residents and pay for long-overdue park and facility maintenance.
By voting YES on Measure O and approving a $28.75 annual bedroom tax for 10 years, you will make sure our park district can continue to keep our community green, enhance the quality of life in Isla Vista and support the vibrant nature of the paradise we get to call home. Generating approximately $2,500,000 for the park district over the next 10 years, funding from Measure O may be used to bring recycled water to the parks, pay for outdoor exercise equipment, establish a dog park, expand recreational programs for all Isla Vista residents and fund many other innovative projects.
Trust me, I understand that “tax” can be a scary word. Luckily, I have good news for you. Until the 2015-2016 school year, property owners (and their renters) were paying the same amount of money per bedroom to pay off a bond. This means that for most of us residents, there will be no increase in the amount of park district taxes and fees we have gotten used to paying. This election will be conducted through the use of mail-in ballots. Ballots will be mailed to the addresses of registered voters in Isla Vista beginning April 10. After marking YES on Measure O, be sure to place your ballot in the mail immediately. The last day for mail-in ballots to be postmarked is May 9. To avoid forgetting to vote or misplacing your ballot, I highly recommend voting at your earliest convenience.
Parks make life better, so I hope you will join my friends and I in voting YES on Measure O. Please talk to your friends about supporting our parks, and stay tuned for campaign updates.
*Titles used for identification purpose only.
Ethan Bertrand wants you to join him and his friends on voting YES on Measure O.