Saying Isla Vista is awash in alcohol-fueled crime, 30 UCSB employees – many with ties to the same campus committee – are protesting a convenience store’s application for a liquor license.
Thirty of the 61 people whose names are listed in protest of the I.V. Deli Mart’s application for an off-site liquor sales license share the same name as some UCSB lecturers, professors, clerical workers and senior administrators – including the executive vice chancellor, the vice chancellor of administrative services and the co-chairs of the Isla Vista Action Group.
In addition to filing formal papers, some also wrote letters to members of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and to the Dept. of Alcohol Beverage Control in further opposition of the store’s application.
Students’ safety was one of the reasons Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services George Pernsteiner and others said they are protesting the license. In his Jan. 7 letter to then-1st District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, Pernsteiner said he is “convinced that the ‘party scene’ on Del Playa and neighboring streets is associated with and enabled by the consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
“I am convinced, further, that such consumption is associated with many of the large number of arrests and citations in that area. Therefore, I believe it inadvisable for yet another such license to be issued for Isla Vista,” Pernsteiner wrote in the letter.
Physics Professor Harry Nelson, co-chair of the I.V. Action Group, said another liquor license being granted would add to what he called I.V.’s deluge of cheap and available liquor.
“The five [stores with off-premise liquor licenses] that are there that compete … they do various things like have skateboard delivery and bike deliver,” he said. “I’m not opposed to liquor. It’s just that Isla Vista is awash in it and there’s this race to the bottom to sell as much of it as possible.”
I.V. Deli Mart owner Michael Hassan disagreed with Nelson’s claim.
“My belief is that [the] less or more shops that sell liquor does not solve the alcohol problem in I.V.,” he said. “Even if you close down all of the shops in I.V., students will still get alcohol.”
While he would sell the liquor for lower prices than local competing stores, the discount would not be enough to increase alcohol consumption, Hassan said.
“If someone has $10 to spend on liquor, maybe he can get it here for $9.20 instead of paying $10 at another store,” he said. “It’s cheaper, but he won’t have enough to buy another [alcoholic item].”
As he understands it, Pernsteiner said, there are already six business that have licenses for off-premise sale of liquor, and a seventh license in a population the size of I.V. would violate state law.
“It’s my understanding further that the only people who can ask for a waiver of that are the county supervisors,” he said.
Hassan said he entered and won a county lottery that offered off-premise liquor sales licenses to businesses.
“I have no idea why they are protesting,” he said. “We are running a legal business.”
A large number of the employees heard about the store’s application in a past meeting of the I.V. Action Group, Pernsteiner said. The organization is composed of UCSB students and employees whose goal is to improve the living conditions of UCSB students in Isla Vista.
Off-premise liquor licenses in I.V. were talked about at the meeting, and the I.V. Deli Mart’s application came up in the conversation, Pernsteiner said. Because of the short time span between when the group heard about the license application and when formal protest paperwork was due, the university did not file protest as a single entity.
“We did not have full consultation at the university, and so some individuals chose to make filings on their own,” Pernsteiner said.
The majority of UCSB employees protesting the license are not listed as residents of Isla Vista or Goleta. Most are listed as residents of Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Solvang or Ojai.
“They don’t live in I.V. and they are protesting the license,” Hassan said. “I don’t think it’s just [because of] morals.”
UCSB Faculty and Staff in Protest of the License
manager of Summer Language Institutes
chemistry and biochemistry management services officer
Cynthia M. Bowers, M.D.
Student Health Service director and physician
professor of Chicano studies
Jon D. Cruz
associate professor of sociology
associate vice chancellor of public affairs
associate vice chancellor of facilities management
Academic Senate senior analyst
Deborah K. Fygenson
assistant professor of physics
Helen G. Hansma
adjacent associate professor of physics
environmental studies finance assistant
Administrative Services operations and special projects administrative assistant
Information Systems & Computing financial specialist
Petra Van Koppen
chemistry and biochemistry lecturer
environmental studies and management services officer
acting executive vice chancellor, office of the executive vice chancellor
dean of Extended Learning Services
assistant to the vice chancellor of Administrative Services
professor emeritus of chemistry
professor of physics
vice chancellor of Administrative Services
professor of ecology, evolution and marine biology
director of Transportation & Parking Services
analyst for the Committee on Academic Personnel
Richard J. Watts
professor of chemistry and biochemistry
senior planner, Campus Planning and Design
John M. Wiemann
vice chancellor of institutional advancement
professor of mechanical and environmental engineering, Academic Senate chair