A third attempt at Goleta cityhood will pass or fail by the ballots today.
The proposal, Measure H, excludes Isla Vista, UCSB and eastern Goleta, and will be voted on by registered citizens living within the proposed city’s boundary. Eligible voters will also select five city council members from a total of 13 candidates; the top vote-getter will serve concurrently as mayor.
Residents within and outside of the proposed city will also vote for representatives to three sanitation boards: the Goleta Sanitary District, the Goleta West Sanitation District and the Embarcadero Municipal Improvement District.
City Council candidate James A. Wasil said he believes Measure H will pass because I.V. is excluded. Cityhood failed in 1987 and 1990, when I.V. was included in the boundaries.
“I’ve been for it 100 percent. I’ve been working on it with Goleta Now!. I’ve heard all the arguments pro and con. I’ve been living in Goleta for 31 years. Why [previous cityhood proposals] have failed is because of Isla Vista.” Wasil said.
“People just didn’t want Isla Vista to be a part of a new city. I’ve heard that over and over again and time and time again. It’s been the same story. They’d rather be county-controlled than have Isla Vista part of their city,” he said.
Coalition Against Measure H and other opponents said the proposed city is too small and should not exclude eastern Goleta and I.V. They also said Goleta Now!, the group which drew the lines of the proposed boundary, did not take into consideration the desires of all Goletans and left established community leaders out of the process.
David Bearman, a physician and city council candidate, said he opposes Measure H because it is financially unfeasible.
“Isla Vista is definitely a part of Goleta,” he said. “More importantly, [the new city] is not financially sound and won’t protect the environment because there are insufficient funds for the city. There is no money for street sweeping or pollution control. Not to mention, it will be disenfranchising I.V. forever.”
Ken Pettit, County Clerk Recorder Assessor and Register of Voters for Santa Barbara County, said there is a lot of anticipation about the outcome of Measure H.
“Voter turnout could be somewhere around 40 percent [of registered voters],” he said. “Goleta cityhood is one of the hotter issues on the ballot. Any time you form a city, the emotions grab ahold of voters. I’m assuming [voters] don’t even know what sanitary districts do.”
Goleta City Council candidate Margaret Connell said she urges UCSB students who live in Goleta to vote.
“Because they are citizens they should exercise their rights as citizens to vote. They’re in the community, a part of the community, what happens here affects them too,” she said.
Robert Bernstein, who is also running for a spot on the council, said UCSB students should be aware of Goleta Now! proponents’ negative perception of them.
“The outcome is definitely going to affect them and, if it passes, the candidates have very different views toward students. The Goleta Now! people are quite hostile to UCSB students,” Bernstein said. “The election is going to affect UCSB students no matter what. The students in the Measure H boundary have the opportunity to take part.”