If it weren’t for the people trying to fix Isla Vista, it might get fixed.

For the last 11 years, various crusaders, crooks and cranks on the I.V. Redevelopment Agency (RDA) have been working on a plan for Isla Vista. It’s such a great plan that it’s a Master Plan and it will save the town from overcrowding, erosion, crime, recession, commercialization, racism, pollution, poverty and a lack of cute boutique shops. Except there isn’t, in the strictly technical sense of actually having one, a plan.

The RDA paid $60,000 to not have a plan. It asked architects and city planners to submit ludicrous plans to overhaul I.V. (one firm suggested a monorail). The RDA picked the five least ludicrous of the ludicrous plans and gave the designers $10,000 each to make them slightly less ludicrous. From the revised plans, the RDA picked one and gave its designer – Berkley, Calif.’s Envision – another $10,000.

This plan is not the Master Plan. Ha, ha, no. Envision was paid $20,000 for their potential ability to someday come up with a fully non-ludicrous plan.

Since a Master Plan is so far off, the RDA wants a stopgap five-year plan – a term that brings to mind Uncle Joe Stalin’s schemes for the Soviet Union. Then again, Stalin actually had plans, albeit plans that involved murder. The RDA is not so efficient. It does not have a plan to go with its five-year plan. It is sure, however, that if it ever had a plan, said plan would cost $300,000 more than the agency has. The RDA could borrow money against increased property tax revenue from the improvements, which would work if a recession weren’t keeping property values down.

What’s a county agency to do? Create a committee, of course.

The Project Area Committee will make recommendations on how to spend money the RDA doesn’t have on an interim plan that doesn’t exist and is killing time for a plan that has failed to exist for 11 years. And they might be able to do whatever it is they’re supposed to do, except the 13 committee members come from groups that hate each other.

PAC will consist of: one renter, two business owners, one landlord, and one delegate each from the I.V. Association, Property Owners Assoc., I.V. Tenants Union, I.V. Youth Projects, Storke Ranch Association, Associated Students, Graduate Students Association, I.V. Teen Center and the Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-ops. The Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District thinks Latinos aren’t represented enough, business owners don’t think students should be on the committee, students think the landlords are evil and the landlords are threatening to sue the County for creating the committee in the first place.

If you ever wondered why it takes forever to pave a road in this town, now you know.

I do, however, have a solution – a Master Plan if you will. When the prospective committee members meet to argue over the committee on November 9, I propose they do so in an underground vault. Once all of these people are inside, we seal the doors and fill in the tunnels. Isla Vista will be greatly improved.

Maybe then we could get around to building sidewalks.

– Brendan Buhler