One Santa Barbara City College student is creating some noise in Isla Vista with his current campaign to amend the current midnight music curfew for residents of the community’s 6500 block.
Keith Russell, SBCC Associated Students vice president of external affairs, is rallying for the support from both UCSB and SBCC A.S. organizations and I.V. residents to modify the current noise ordinance – which mandates that amplified music cannot be audible 100 feet from its source after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Russell said the county ordinance unfairly targets students, and is hoping to extend the cutoff time for noise in certain areas of I.V. by appealing to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Russell’s proposed resolution does not call for the retraction of the noise ordinance, but proposes I.V. be divided into three separate zones – based on the preferences of residents in every area – each of which would have a different cutoff time for audible music on weekend nights.
Russell said residents who want to play loud music for longer than the current cutoff time allows – like students – and those who would prefer noise be discontinued earlier – like the area’s families – are already respectively residing in sections of I.V. near those who share their preferences on the issue.
Russell said he thinks his resolution would solve more than one problem in I.V., citing the ordinance’s increasing prominence in the past few years – since the Isla Vista Foot Patrol began enforcing their “zero tolerance” policy on noise and alcohol related crimes.
“The advantage is simple – put all the loud people on one side of I.V. and all the people who want to sleep on the other,” Russell said. “Not only would this reduce noise-related conflicts between neighbors but it will give [the Isla Vista Foot Patrol] a chance to focus on more important crimes.”
Both UCSB and SBCC students are joining Russell’s efforts help pass the resolution. UCSB’s A.S. is organizing a town hall meeting slated for Nov. 15 at I.V. Theater to promote the issue. Russell said both student governments have unanimously voted to support the resolution. Russell collected signatures from residents in I.V. this weekend, hoping to eventually accumulate at least 3,000.
Russell said he is confident his efforts will be successful, despite some opposition for the proposal from members of the board of supervisors.
Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone, who would vote on the initiative, said he does not agree with the proposed changes because he does not believe all I.V. residents would support or benefit from it.
“I represent a lot of people in I.V. – families, people who are full-time residents, people who work, people who study, people who have athletic careers – a whole lot of people, and they like a normal amount of sleep,” Firestone said.
Russell said Firestone’s resistance to the proposal will tarnish his image with I.V.’s student residents as the area’s representative.
“Brooks Firestone is up for reelection next fall and he can’t afford to turn his back on 13,000 students,” Russell said.
Firestone said despite student support, he does not think the resolution will benefit I.V.
“There seems to be a lot of vocal support, but the resolution does not represent the general population of I.V.,” Firestone said. “This also isn’t a particularly good time to bring this up, right after the expenses of Halloween.”
Ryan Bodycombe, a fourth-year biopsychology major and Isla Vista resident, said he supports Russell’s ideas because of a recent experience he had involving the ordinance.
Bodycombe said he hosted a party last Saturday and was issued a ticket for excessive noise when he and his roommates were “just chilling.” He said the police’s reaction at the time of the incident was dramatic and unnecessary.
“Ten cops came into my house and said my party had become a ‘nuisance,’ kicked all the girls out, and then had the nerve to search all the bedrooms,” Bodycombe said.
Russell said he hopes the resolution will go before the County Board of Supervisors in early December. Until then, Russell said, he and the proposal’s supporters will continue their effort to spread the word about and pass the resolution.
“This is our chance to remind students of just how much power we have and to show the county that we will not stand for unjust laws,” he said.