Members of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District decided at a closed session meeting Thursday night to accept terms that would put an end to a lawsuit that has troubled the district for more than three years.
During the open session of the meeting, the board discussed agenda items concerning IVRPD legal fees and a proposal by IVRPD chair Logan Green to rename several parks. Following a closed session, IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson announced that the board would not appeal a $41,465.25 judgment in favor of the Santa Barbara County Libertarian Party, which filed suit against the district in November 2001. He also said the board had decided to reject a $25 million claim recently filed by the parents of a woman who was injured in a fall from a Del Playa Drive cliff in fall 2005.
Johnson said he was unable to comment on the decisions the board made during the closed session, and he said the board would resume the private meeting at 5 p.m. today.
The Santa Barbara chapter of the Libertarian Party filed suit against the IVRPD in November 2001. The lawsuit alleged that the IVRPD violated the Brown Act, which calls for public notification of all government meetings, and requested an award of $390,000. Johnson said the judge’s decision was substantially lower than the plaintiff’s original request.
“[The plaintiff] received one-tenth of what he asked for from the court,” Johnson said.
Green said the money needed to cover the suit would be “coming out of this year’s budget.” The board voted to reallocate $9,107 from IVRPD accounts, including the utilities and recreation equipment funds, to cover the legal fees incurred during the Libertarians’ suit. Johnson said the district’s legal expenses from the case totaled $19,857, leaving the board with little funding with which to continue its operations.
“We’re at the bottom of where we can go,” Johnson said. “We have exhausted our reserves at this point.”
Following the board’s decision to accept the ruling in the Libertarian lawsuit, Johnson announced that the IVRPD would be rejecting the $25 million claim filed by the family of Emily King on March 11, 2005, which alleges that the IVRPD is partially responsible for the unsafe conditions that contributed to King’s fall from a cliff on the 6700 block of DP.
In a 4-0 vote, with IVRPD Director Bryan Brown abstaining, the board approved a proposal to rename several I.V. parks, including Camino Pescadero Park, open space on DP and on Camino Corto, Trigo-Pasado Park, Sue