opinion reeferHello again and welcome to the annual “What’s Up With Halloween Again?” article, also known as “Wu-Wha?” Every year I try to answer some of the myriad of questions that members of the UCSB and Isla Vista community have about this upcoming Halloween event and how law enforcement is responding to it. This year, especially considering all that has happened last year, there have been a lot of questions and concerns from you. This was evident at the “Pizza With A Cop” held at Woodstock’s last week. As much as I would love to think that it was all of my fans and groupies coming to see me, I realistically recognize the power of free pizza in a college community.

However people got there, it was great to see so many people asking questions and being active with their community. There are a lot of different opinions on what is happening or what should be happening in the future. Too many cops, not enough cops, cameras, no cameras, should I be the gorilla or the banana — these are the questions we are asking each other. Of course we all have our biases and beliefs. When I talk to people, I don’t expect them to agree with me all of the time. I’m a cop with two gorilla costumes in his closet. Of course I’m biased! But agree or disagree, seeing the number of people who show up of at a town hall meeting to talk about the future governance of Isla Vista should give you encouragement that a lot of people want to make IV a better place.
Here are some of the questions I was asked at the Po-Po Pizza Party:

What is the best advice you can give to someone coming to Isla Vista for Halloween?
Directions. When all else fails, give the best directions you can to the person so they get here safe. Step 1: Drive east. Step 2: If you get to the Grand Canyon, keep going. You’re almost there.
But seriously, the best advice is to just not come. With all of the cops and no public parties, all it will be is a chance to park three miles away and walk to Del Playa where you will walk in a circle for an hour and go home. If you’re from out of town, we’re going Motel Five on you and not leaving the light on.

Where are they shutting down the streets?
Barricades will be going up on Friday and Saturday on Trigo Road at El Embarcadero, Camino Pescadero and Camino Del Sur. Then also on Camino Corto at Sabado Tarde and Del Playa. Okay, so stop squinting and pointing at the imaginary map in your head. Just remember that the 6500-6700 blocks of Sabado Tarde and Del Playa will be closed. The rest of Isla Vista is open to vehicle traffic. And by open I mean stuck in a traffic jam while 2,000 cars circle looking for that parking spot that of course the other 10,000 people driving around all day missed. Good luck Indy.

What’s up with the music/party rules?
This year the Santa Barbara District Attorney advised they would support the use of 28A-20 of the Santa Barbara County Ordinances. This section has to do with having an unpermitted event that affects the free flow and access of public streets and right-of-ways. So it says that any event that causes congestion in the streets or sidewalks needs to be permitted. Hence no permit for Halloween, if you do anything that would contribute to the event, i.e. play music that the crowds can hear, have a party that attracts a crowd or do something in the street or sidewalks that causes the crowd to congest, it would be a violation. Will we be issuing tickets? Possibly, but realistically we are going to be telling people to turn the music off so it can’t be heard outside, or keep the party contained to your residence. The goal is to not stop people from having parties in their homes, just keep them private and not add to the crowds in the streets. I know, not a popular position, but for now that’s what we have. Hopefully we can come up with some good ways to create a more mellow event.

How can we find a bus or taxi to get out of town?
This year we have reached out to all of the taxi and bus companies and encouraged them to go to El Colegio Road. We wanted to minimize the traffic congestion and large vehicles trying to make it through the throngs of people in the streets. So we are letting them use the red curbs on El Colegio for pick-ups. We will be directing people to go north to find the taxis. Few cars and buses in I.V. will hopefully help a little. We also have CSOs in I.V. doing escorts. Call 893-2000 and they will escort you to El Colegio Road!

Do they lower the legal limit for public intoxication on Halloween?
It’s not the legal limit that gets lowered, it’s the overall tolerance for public intoxication that will be much lower. On Halloween weekend there is a ZERO tolerance for any violation of alcohol or drug laws. Often times people who are intoxicated on a regular weekend that would probably be arrested if they were in some other town, don’t get a second look by the cops in Isla Vista. But on Halloween, there are so many cops, they have the time to look. So, please, please, please, if you are going to drink, stay at your house or at your friend’s house. Don’t go walking down the street intoxicated. You will see a lot of cops standing around watching the crowds. If you see them, they will see you. Just don’t take the chance. Stay sober or stay at the house.

Please remember that this is the first big event after Deltopia. The world will be watching and whether it’s out-of-towners or us, they will judge Isla Vista based on what they see in the media. Let’s give them a look at the best side of I.V. and show them we can all work together and have a safe event. Maybe next year I can take it off and actually use one of my gorilla suits for Halloween. Not to mention my wife’s costume. Yes, I’ll say it. That’s no banana, that’s my wife. Let’s just leave it at that.
Have a safe Halloween and if you have a question, please call or email. Whatever I can do to help you have a safe weekend, I’ll do.

Lieutenant Mark Signa has been trying to get the horse-mounted officers in on the gorilla costume idea. He really loved “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

If you have any questions about Halloween or other police issues, please contact the Isla Vista Foot Patrol at (805) 681-4179 or the UCSB Police Department at (805)893-3446. You can also e-mail Question Authority at QA@police.ucsb.edu and I will be sure to do what I can to answer your questions or help you out.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, October 30, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.