Associated Students Legislative Council discussed their responsibility as an association to families living in Isla Vista during last night’s three-and-a-half hour meeting.
The council proposed potential solutions to community-wide problems of food scarcity, health threats and alcoholism. They also talked about problems within the council maintaining healthy attendance at meetings.
Aaron Jones, A.S. associate director for community affairs, said the Isla Vista Community Collaborative — composed of parents, teachers and groups that tackle issues facing local children of kindergarten age and older — conducted extensive research revealing that local children don’t have access to nutritious food.
“The collaborative did a survey on access to healthy food and the results were eye-opening,” Jones said. “There are zero supermarkets, no farmer’s markets, three small markets — one of which is called Keg-N-Bottle — and 19 fast food outlets.”
However, Jones said the sustainable café with local, organic and free trade food that A.S. plans to open next school year on Pardall Road could provide families in I.V. with healthier food options.
Off-Campus Representative Alfredo Del Cid, on the other hand, said low-income families won’t be able to afford food served at an organic eatery.
“When we talked about the restaurant, every time I hear organic and healthy then comes the conversation of it being more expensive,” Del Cid said. “It’s easier for me to go and get two tacos for $0.99 than to buy an organic meal. I would like to have a conversation about this because Dan [La Berge] who drafted the plan did say it would be more expensive and I want to talk about how we can make it more affordable for these families.” Additionally, the council discussed the transportation dilemma for local families who cannot afford automobiles face.
Off-Campus Representative Tiffany Mayville said Environmental Affairs Board could potentially offer free bicycles that would provide low-income families easier access to supermarkets in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
“Last year EAB set up a special auction with [the Community Service Organization] and bought bikes and then taught families how to fix them up and then gave them the bikes,” Mayville said. “CSO impounds thousands of bikes that are just abandoned every year on campus so we should do something with them.”
Jones also said youths growing up in I.V. are often negatively influenced by college students’ lifestyles.
“The living style in I.V. is an issue too,” Jones said. “There are very young youths developing substance abuse problems because they are drinking what is left in bottles that they pick up for recycling with families.”
The board also debated at length problems facing the council, including members’ poor attendance and inattentiveness during public comment sessions.
Del Cid said he couldn’t remember a single meeting that was attended by all elected representatives.
“I understand that things happen and sometimes people can’t make it to meetings,” Del Cid said. “It says in our bylaws though that after school, this is our first priority. So be accountable; we’re not kids.”