The Board of Directors of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) scrapped plans to form a new committee at its meeting yesterday, while tempers flared during a discussion about the past conduct of one of the directors.
Board members voted to discontinue efforts to create a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), a panel of local residents that would make recommendations for improvements to the district. Board members also discussed, but did not pass, a resolution presented by IVRPD Director Bryan Brown to remove fellow Director Diane Conn from every IVRPD committee on which she currently sits. The board also heard updates on the status of upcoming Halloween events, which will be held in district-owned parks, and on the board’s fundraising efforts for various other projects.
Brown said only Global & International Studies professor Mark Juergensmeyer and I.V. property owner David Gerrity submitted applications to the CAC by the Oct. 5 deadline, and the IVRPD board decided there was not enough interest to make the project worthwhile. IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said the committee could theoretically exist with only two members, but the board chose to table the creation of the CAC and focus its efforts on the I.V. Community Center Task Force instead.
Brown said he is happy about the two candidates that applied to the CAC, but disappointed that so few people applied. He said many prominent community leaders expressed interest in joining the committee, but none of them filed applications to be on it. IVRPD Director Eric Cummings said he wishes he could have convinced students to apply to the committee.
“I’d like to see more community involvement, especially student involvement in I.V., and I think I.V. will become a better community if we get more students involved in it,” Cummings said. “I am disappointed in myself in that I should have done more to get people to come out.”
IVRPD Director Kelly Burns said she and Brown will reassemble the Community Center Task Force as soon as possible and plan to focus on community outreach, in addition to fundraising and planning for the community center.
Brown said the resolution to remove Conn from IVRPD committees was motivated by an incident at the board’s last meeting in which Conn was disrespectful toward the other board members. He said the resolution is a warning for Conn and the directors should undergo mediation to resolve their disputes.
Board members started to discuss the resolution calmly, but began to interrupt each other as the dialogue grew more heated. The other directors told Conn that she often alienates people by speaking to them in a confrontational tone. Conn defended herself, saying she cares deeply about the community and only wants to do what is best for I.V.
IVRPD Director Logan Green accused Conn of being inebriated and acting inappropriately at two public functions. During one of the instances, Green said, Conn allegedly told a member of the community to “fuck off.” Following Green’s comments, Brown said the board should suspend its discussion and adjourn the meeting.
Conn said she wishes Brown and Green had chosen a different forum in which to air their complaints. She said she would like to have some sort of mediation with the other directors, but she said she thinks the board should focus on IVRPD business during its meetings.
“We’re there to discuss issues and our role in the community,” Conn said. “I think Logan has some personal issues with me that are totally inappropriate for a board meeting.”
Green said he would have preferred to have the conversation with Conn under different circumstances.
“This is the sort of conversation that I wish could take place one-on-one, but it can’t,” Green said. “I don’t think she makes a good representative of the district.”
Brown said Green’s comments were not the type of discussion he intended to start when he proposed the resolution to remove Conn from the board. He said the behavior Green referenced was not an IVRPD matter.
“If, in fact, those things did occur, [Conn] was not representing the district when she acted in that way,” Brown said. “She was representing herself. The district does not condone that kind of action.”
During the meeting, board members also heard an update on the planned construction of a new skate park and soccer field in I.V. Johnson said the IVRPD is still raising funds for both facilities and UCSB’s Office of Student Life has been helping the district write grant proposals for the projects.
Eddie Boquilla, who is coordinating an Oct. 31 Halloween Festival in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and the annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration, told the board that preparations for both events are going well.