Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your editorial (Daily Nexus, “Betrayed: Supervisor Gail Marshall’s and UCSB’s Negligent Actions at Cityhood Meeting Abuse Isla Vistans’ Trust,” May 3) concerning my vote on cityhood boundaries at the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) hearing May 3.
First, one factual item: I am not up for re-election next spring. My current term does not expire until January 2005, so the election for the 3rd District seat will not take place until March 2004.
Second, one point we agree on: The UCSB administration had at least a year and half to get ready for this hearing. They were not ready, and according to their last minute letter, had not even started a process to evaluate the issues raised by the Goleta Now! proposal, let alone the issues surrounding the inclusion of Isla Vista in that proposal. Unfortunately, this is how the university seems to respond to important community issues these days. So, yes, they did let their students down.
Now, for my vote: As your editorial accurately points out, I made a 15-minute speech in support of including Isla Vista. In that speech, I summarized all my work over the past year to have Isla Vista added to the proposed city. I explained the criteria I used to arrive at my position. My speech was met with silence, and then followed by comments from each other LAFCO member explaining why they could not support my position. John Fox was the one exception. He explained that he could not support the Goleta Now! proposal because it did not include east Goleta. He did not speak about my comments about Isla Vista.
Given this total lack of support, I was faced with a decision as to what to do with my vote. I purposely asked to be last because I wanted to hear each person explain his or her vote. Six commission members said that even though they could not support including Isla Vista, they agreed that something must be done to address the needs of the Isla Vista community. John Fox, true to his earlier statements, voted no because it did not include east Goleta.
As I listened, I decided not to waste my vote as a protest. I decided that I would vote yes and come back to LAFCO as soon as possible with a proposal to do something in Isla Vista. I would come back and try to hold them to their word.
So now the important task is to gather our forces in Isla Vista and move on. Hopefully, the name-calling and ranting and raving is over. We must begin by carefully examining the fiscal analysis that was done on Isla Vista as a stand-alone city. That analysis says that I.V. isn’t economically viable. I want to know what it would take to make it viable.
I have offered to meet with Isla Vistans to begin this process. To date, no one has responded. My door remains open, and my pledge is to continue to work as hard for Isla Vista as I have in the past.
Gail Marshall is the 3rd District Santa Barbara County Supervisor and a member of LAFCO.