Every time I go to a Legislative Council meeting, it’s hot. Fall, winter or spring – it’s muggy in there.
It’s not the room, either. In the three years I’ve been going to Leg (pronounced “ledge,” as in what those meetings make me want to jump off of), they’ve been held in three different rooms. Ventilation varied, but it was hot in all of them.
Part of it is the heat generated by student government: 22-plus people breathing through their mouths. But there’s got to be something more to the temperature. I’m not a spiritual man, but some ancestral Catholic part of my brain tells me the heat is the slow simmer of purgatory. I sit roasting in those meetings and wonder if I’ve sinned or if I’m just a tourist, keeping an eye on the sinners.
It must have been extra hot during the summer, when the leggies did some serious sinning. When few students were around, the council backed a plan to neuter Isla Vista’s voters and change the balance of political power in the county.
Leg Council passed a position paper to drop I.V. from the 3rd district and move it into the 2nd. Isla Vistans, they said, have more in common with the ritzy Santa Barbara waterfront than Solvangians or Vandenberg Airforce Base personnel.
This is true. I have been to Solvang. I was a stranger in a faux-Danish land. But fair representation has approximately two things to do with redistricting: jack and shit. Redistricting is about power politics.
Right now, liberal Isla Vista swings the election and puts a liberal on the County Board of Supervisors. Three out of five supervisors are considered to be some species of liberal, and one liberal supe (pronounced “soup”) hails from the Santa Barbara waterfront. So, if I.V. moves into the second district and North County rules the 3rd, there would be two liberal supes and three conservative supes instead of the other way around.
South Coast conservatives do not like Isla Vista. A local powerbroker once told me students are “transient mush-heads only interested in getting laid and drunk” and vote the way their wacko leftist professors tell them to. Conservatives here have suggested that UCSB students should not be allowed to vote in local elections.
A move into the 2nd district would effectively accomplish just that.
An interesting side note: liberal leggies supported this Machiavellian moment in local politics. Still pissed at 3rd District Supe Gail Marshall for selling I.V. out on Goleta cityhood, Leg liberals read a position paper full of talk about increasing fair representation and voted for it.
At Leg Council, it’s not just the heat, it’s the stupidity.
There is a happy ending to this story. I.V. is still in the 3rd District. Why? Because Marshall knows that if I.V. isn’t in the 3rd District, she’s out of a job. And Marshall has actual power, unlike Leg Council. Marshall and the liberal-lites left I.V. where it is and themselves in power.
Leg council meetings may be hot, but like trash can fires, people don’t take them very seriously.
The following is not necessarily the opinion of the Daily Nexus. “Mongoose” is a highly-opinionated and sharp look into local politics. Mongooses, or mongi, are sharp-toothed and mean-spirited rodents. They are useful, however, for killing snakes. This column is meant to represent that noble weasel and is the opinion of one person, only.