Editor, Daily Nexus,

The article in the Nexus somewhat mischaracterized the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ subcommittee that was appointed to look into the Halloween celebration in Isla Vista. This is not an “Anti-Halloween” committee, but rather an effort to take a serious look, along with the Isla Vista community, into what has become of the days surrounding Halloween.

To say that there is no problem is to be blind to the facts. The Halloween weekend has become an invasion of Isla Vista and a major public safety challenge. Personally, I have experienced a deterioration of the spirit and atmosphere of the event and have observed the intrusion of the outside world into our community. The other supervisors are concerned about the costs associated with the event and the concentration of public safety in one area over a weekend. It did not help that there was a gang-related shooting in Santa Maria on Halloween Saturday night, which caused deputies to be brought back to their base in Santa Maria from their temporary duty in Isla Vista. The North county is asking why.

The situation of an area becoming a magnet for partygoers is not new and has occurred many times in our state. Most recently and more dramatically, San Luis Obispo experienced an invasion and near riot situation that caused the community to severely clamp down on that event. For details, look up MardiGrasSLO.com and read about the measures taken in that town. We are nowhere near this situation, but it could happen.

The Board asked questions like: “How much does all this effort in Isla Vista cost? What are the options for returning the Halloween weekend to the students and residents? What are the real feelings from the students and residents about the weekend? What are the potential implications of the event truly getting out of hand as has happened in other events and communities? If the status quo continues, what can be done better and how will we handle the costs associated with the weekend?”

These are legitimate questions. The subcommittee will begin accumulating facts and options and listening to opinions. If anyone has any early observations, please let me know at bfirestone@co.santa-barbara.ca.us. This is no “Anti-Halloween” committee, but rather a legitimate effort on the part of the county to do things better.