Last spring, many of us were caught by surprise after learning that the Isla Vista Project Area Committee/General Plan advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) had approved a parking permit plan requiring a $195 annual fee to park on the streets of I.V. The board of supervisors’ minimal reduction of the fee to $150 did not assuage many students’ irritation either. When approximately 70 students and other residents showed up at the April meeting to voice their opposition to the plan, it was clear that members of the PAC/GPAC felt that it was too little, too late. The parking permit plan had been in the works for quite a while and they wished that students had gotten involved earlier.
While students need to be more involved and stay on top of PAC/GPAC affairs, poor representation also deserves to be blamed. Last year’s A.S. representation was out of touch with students’ wishes and did a poor job of communicating about the parking permit issue. Once we finally heard from our PAC/GPAC representative, it came in the form of an obscenity-laced tirade toward car-owning students. I can assure this type of representation will not occur again this year.
The new A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs, Jared Renfro, has appointed me to the PAC/GPAC as the A.S. representative. Having served on the A.S. Legislative Council and on numerous A.S. committees, I have experience representing students and working with them. I’ve also spent considerable time over the last couple of months reading through the relevant documents to familiarize myself with the plans for I.V.
Out of the 20,000 residents in I.V., 13,000 are students. We cannot afford to be a silent majority and let the PAC/GPAC make its decisions without our input. The master plan for the redevelopment of I.V. covers a wide range of issues that will affect us, including the redesigning of streets, business facilities and housing. Landscape enhancement and basic property improvements will also be addressed so I.V. can simply look like a nicer place.
Since the master plan timetable goes years into the future, there is a temptation, especially for upperclassmen, to be apathetic. I am senior myself, but, having spent three years here already, I would have a hard time standing by while the redevelopment of our student community proceeded without student input.
When a major issue comes up, it may require a large meeting of students, but otherwise, anyone will be able to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any concerns, questions or suggestions can be sent there.
There will be a PAC/GPAC meeting this Wednesday at the University Religious Center, starting at 6:30 p.m. If you have concerns or would just like to find out more about the committee, I encourage you to stop by.
Todd Roberson is the A.S. representative on the I.V. PAC/GPAC.