On Nov. 6, residents in the 93117 zip code – excluding eastern Goleta and Isla Vista – will be voting on the future of Goleta, Isla Vista and UCSB.
Voters will support or oppose to Measure H, the Goleta cityhood proposal, and vote for five city council members from a pool of 10 candidates. The top vote-getter will serve concurrently as mayor.
The 10 candidates met during a forum organized by the League of Women Voters last Tuesday. Discussion focused on affordable housing, tax revenues, district versus at-large city elections and mainly on the issue of Isla Vista annexation.
In May 2001, the Local Agency Formation Commission and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved Measure H, which stands to create a city of Goleta, excluding Isla Vista and eastern Goleta.
City council candidates Cynthia Brock, Margaret Connell, Jack Hawxhurst and Jonny Wallis are all running on similar platforms, in favor of Measure H. Jean Blois, James Wasil, Robert Bernstein and Rey Ybarra] preferred a proposal that included I.V., but support Measure H as is.
Jonny Wallis said she thinks the new city should decide whether to annex Isla Vista and eastern Goleta after Goleta has been established as a new city.
“The issue was thoroughly discussed. Goletans have opinions about Isla Vista that may or may not be true. Yet the reality is through polling, through past efforts of city-hood, we know that Goletans will not vote for a city that includes Isla Vista. I’ve said I’m really excited about the revisioning process for Isla Vista and I’m certainly keeping the door open for cooperation and possible annexation at a later time,” she said.
“I share many of the visions of my community that Isla Vista students share for theirs. I think that it is entirely possible for us to work together in the future to produce a better Isla Vista and a stronger city of Goleta,” Wallis said.
Candidates David Bearman and William Gilbert oppose Measure H because it excludes eastern Goleta and Isla Vista.
“It doesn’t include a majority of Goleta Valley, it’s not financially viable, it doesn’t have the environmentally oriented voters from Isla Vista that could save Goleta from itself,” Bearman said.
The city plans to contract many of its municipal services through the county – a decision Bearman said is unfeasible.
“It’s basically not a city. This is an urban municipal area; it should have municipal services. They’ll still have to be done in a volunteer fashion like they are now. Some of the candidates are talking about having the city council volunteer, which means only the wealthy will participate,” he said.
Bearman said UCSB students and Isla Vista residents should be included.
“There are about 6,000 UCSB students who live in Goleta – and certainly, if not previously, in this time of heightened patriotism and heightened concern with democracy, they ought to participate. They ought to participate because the university is part of the community,” he said. “And while these students will only be here for four years, there will be other students that follow them. And furthermore, the average Californian only lives in one place for 3.5 years. They have just as much responsibility as the average Californian has for their community.”
Bearman encouraged UCSB students who are Goleta residents to go out to the polls on Nov. 6.
“I encourage students to take a look at this if nothing more as a laboratory of democracy in their own backyard,” he said. “If this passes there still will be no city of Goleta, there will be a city of 35percent of Goleta.”
Ron Wolfe, owner of Ron Wolfe and Associates, which manages property in I.V. and Goleta, said the new city does not make sense financially.
“I’m not a proponent of incorporation. I would have preferred to see a city that’s an expansion of the city that includes Goleta and Isla Vista. I think that makes a lot more sense logistically and financially. Where we create two cities that are competing for financial bases is a mistake,” Wolfe said.
However, Wolfe said the prospect of becoming annexed by the city of Goleta is unlikely.
“I think any small city that includes Isla Vista becomes a challenge, because for the most part Isla Vista has a lot of transitional types of people who come to school and then move on. I think a city should be more of a stable representation than that,” he said.
Diane Conn, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District director, said I.V. needs Goleta as much as Goleta needs I.V.
“The proposal is sad. I call it the lowest-common-denominator proposal. It’s really looking at a very narrow area that is really taking all the major revenues for itself,” she said. “It lacks vision and it lacks a comprehensive look of what needs to be done in the valley.”