Today, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) Board of Directors will consider banning the consumption of alcohol in all I.V. parks unless park-goers have a permit.
Currently alcohol is banned in some parks and not in others. Why? Well, there are a number of chronic inebriates who hang out and drink in the parks. They harass park district staff, urinate and defecate in the parks, pass out, throw-up, harass people and generally make the parks unpleasant and unhealthy for others. They are deterring people who live in Isla Vista and who pay for the parks from using them. So far, the only way we have been able to reduce this problem at all is to ban alcohol in the parks. Basically, the unacceptable behavior of 10-25 people has prompted the IVRPD to ban the use of alcohol for the approximately 15,000 adults who live in I.V.
Anisq’ Oyo’ is a “dry” park, meaning you need a permit to legally drink. While people still drink alcohol there and cause problems for staff and other people who want to use the park, the problem is less than it used to be. Isla Vista’s other dry parks are People’s Park, Perfect Park, Little Acorn, District Office, Estero Road Park, Children’s Park and Sueno Park. Alcohol is allowed in all other parks. Alcohol consumption is allowed at Gaffney Park – better known as Dog Shit Park – because it is a county park. You can also drink on land owned by the I.V. Redevelopment Agency, which includes Pelican Park, the 6700 Del Playa bluffs and coastal accesses stairways.
There is also a movement underway to ban alcohol in the county parks as well. The county has no permit system, so that ban would be a complete ban. No more sloshball at Dog Shit Park.
Currently permits to drink alcohol in the parks are usually issued with an event permit, like the one issued for Earth Day. These require a fee and deposit. The IVRPD is looking into adopting an alcohol permit for between one and 10 people that would be valid for four hours between 10 a.m. to midnight. These permits would be issued from 2-4 p.m., Monday through Friday at the IVRPD office at 781 Embarcadero del Mar. They would cost $10 per person, or $35 for two to 10 people. So if you and a friend want to have a picnic in the park, with beer or wine, you would need to fork over $35. Right!
So what would the penalty be? The IVRPD was looking at an infraction with a fine between $100-200. However, due to action by our state legislature, the Park District cannot determine the penalty. State law requires that it be a misdemeanor, which can get you up to six months in jail and even a $1,000 fine. The district attorney’s office could decide to treat a violation as an infraction, with lower penalties, but the IVRPD would have no control over that process. Isla Vista residents would be at the mercy of the DA’s office!
The IVRPD board will be making this decision. If you are concerned about this issue you can email the board at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you also can attend the meeting, tonight at 6 p.m. at the University Religious Center at 777 Camino Pescadero.
Diane Conn is an IVRPD board member.