It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon on Oct. 30. I had just gotten home from work and headed to the Isla Vista Teen Center just down the street from my apartment on Sue–o Road.
The reason for my trek down there was to vote for the candidate of my choice to represent the residential tenants of Isla Vista on the Project Area Committee.
As one of the candidates, I must admit that my vote was for myself, but then again I could’ve easily voted for any of my fellow candidates since they’re all good people with good intentions for our community.
Any one of us could represent the community, all the time knowing that the door will be open for input from all in this community, including any of the other opposing candidates as well as the other candidates running for the business and residential homeowner job.
It was truly an honor and a great pleasure to be afforded the space on the same forum with these dedicated people who want to make a difference in our community.
It is with a great sense of sincerity that I extend hearty congratulations to the winning candidate, Lucero Marquez. She came out the winner of the election, but in this case we’re all winners.
I know that I not only speak for myself, but for my fellow candidates that were running for the PAC as well, when I say that Isla Vista is a fragile community that has survived in the face of adversity from the start.
From the riots in the late 1960s to the burning of the I.V. Bank of America in 1970, to drought in the late ’80s and the recent tragedy last March on Sabado Tarde Road, Isla Vista has shown the resiliency that very few communities exhibit.
And now we’re faced with a new challenge: the Isla Vista Master Plan. This is probably going to be the biggest challenge yet, but I have confidence that Lucero will do the job in a way that would benefit our community.
I also know that input from all the other PAC members will not go unheard because, after all, we’re all in this together.
From the homeowner to the business owner to the residential tenant, it is plainly obvious what we want – to make Isla Vista a better place for everybody. Safer streets, a functional public transportation system, better infrastructure, viability of small local businesses and affordable housing for students and working families alike, are going to be the issues facing those elected to oversee this Master Plan.
Things we don’t want to see are infrastructure sacrificed solely for aesthetics, drastic changes that will displace people, overcrowding and any attempt for our community to become another Westwood with an ocean of Starbucks, Chili’s and other large-scale businesses that will drive the long-time locals out. We also don’t want to see decisions based on spiteful, political differences. We’re all in this together; therefore, we can work together, as a community, as a responsible entity.
It won’t be easy, but it is a fact that the election winner, my fellow candidates and myself are up to the challenge. If you attended the public forum last Thursday night you would’ve seen that.
I’ve lived in Isla Vista for 13 years, 11 of those years in the same apartment complex. People often ask, “how can you live here for so long?” and at times I have to wonder myself. After all, am I crazy or just acclimated? I can’t really say.
Regardless, Isla Vista has been, is and will continue to be my home for a long time to come. My love for this community runs deep, and that is why I chose to run for the PAC as well as support the outcome of the election.
I hope many of you reading this took the time to make it down to the Isla Vista Teen Center on Tuesday and vote for who you felt to be the candidate of your choice on the PAC. If you didn’t, there will be many other chances and ways to get involved in the future. You have my word that regardless of who becomes your representative, you won’t be let down.
My hope was that you voted for me to be your representative, but even though I lost, I take comfort in knowing that any of my fellow candidates would have done a great job.
Right now Lucero Marquez is the candidate of choice, and we all wish her luck as well as unquestionable support and input promised from the start of the whole process.
Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident and, admittedly, a loser. But we still love him.