Santa Barbara County wants your money now. Did you think the misbegotten Isla Vista parking permit plan has been forgotten by county bureaucrats? By limiting nonresidents’ access to Isla Vista parking, the plan reduces beach access to the public by 96.5 percent.

Thank former External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) Logan Green from the Student Action Coalition for that. Today, the California Coastal Commission will conduct the final vote on the parking permit program. Parking in Isla Vista is terrible; however, the current parking permit plan is not the right solution. The permits are expected to cost $150 per year, which means that people who live in I.V. for three years will pay $450.

The permit system affects hardworking families in Isla Vista the most. $150 is a significant portion of a struggling family’s monthly income – and let’s not forget about the hardworking students either. There are students at UCSB who support themselves or come from families whose budgets are tight. Consider this: From 2001 to 2004 our tuition increased 46 percent. Imagine paying for rent, books and food only to realize an extra $150 is due that month in order for you to park the car you drive to work in order to support yourself. Your permit cannot be used on your roommate’s vehicle either. Creating a tax for public parking that used to be free does not make students’ financial futures any brighter. And this tax will only be used to fund a county bureaucracy whose duty it will be to impose the program and ticket our friends.

The parking permit plan doesn’t even guarantee that you will have a parking space. Rather, $150 buys you the opportunity to do what students are already doing: searching for the most desirable place to park. Any time friends from out of town, Goleta or even a greek house visit they will have to either pay $3 for a visitor permit or illegally park and risk being ticketed or towed. Isla Vista receives an unfair allocation of municipal services in comparison to the amount of money it generates for the county – consider our sidewalks or streetlights.

This is not just about money – coastal access is at stake too. Only 106 parking spaces will be designated for “coastal access,” and people who have permits will be unable to park there. Currently, 100 percent of I.V.’s approximately 3,000 parking spaces can be used for coastal access parking. Under the permit plan only 3.5 percent of the spaces will be available for coastal access.

Competition for the 106 spaces will be fierce between beach users, commuters to the university and friends of residents. And we haven’t even considered future population growth in the county or at the university. The number of cars in Isla Vista will have to be reduced by 106 before the program translates into more parking spaces for anyone. Levying a tax upon the students will not solve the problem: There is an inadequate number of parking spaces. The parking program may ultimately preclude the public access to the beach due to increased demand for the limited spaces.

Backers of the plan assert that it has the backing of the Isla Vista community. The PAC/GPAC voted in favor of the plan. However, at that meeting, 23 of 29 commenting members of the public were in opposition to the plan. It has also been claimed that the IVRPD supports the program. New IVRPD board member Kelly Burns, Students’ Party candidate for EVPLA, opposes the plan. After admitting to violating the Brown Act, the IVRPD has proven to not always be open to the public. There was also poor outreach to the Latino community, which is hurt by the program. The students of UCSB and SBCC simply do not support the plan, nor does anyone in the community who believes in the right to beach access for the public.

Isla Vistans lose money, the public loses beach access – the only winner is the county’s coffer. This is undue taxation, and the approximately 13,000 students in I.V. need representation. It is critical for students to send an e-mail to the decision makers or attend the meeting Wednesday at 10 a.m. at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd in Santa Barbara. Send e-mail to California Coastal Commission Chair Meg Caldwell (, Vice-Chair Patrick Kruer (, Representative Scott Peters ( and 3rd District supervisor Brooks Firestone ( Be sure to put “attn: item We 15d” in the subject heading.

Jared Renfro is a senior political science major.