In scheme and intention the creation of the Community Service District in Isla Vista is the work of UCSB administration. It is a calculated effort to exert greater control over Isla Vista and the student population of the community.
The move to create the special district is a project of University administration. It is not a student movement and will be used against the students.
It comes from administration embarrassment over Isla Vista and the perceived need for image repair after the 2014 shootings. Chancellor Henry T. Yang has been quoted saying, “Isla Vista has become a drag on the University’s national and international reputation.” Parking restrictions are a fundamental goal of the special district. Restrictions will be used to limit student mobility and visitor access.
Local media has been covering this subject for over a year, and by my count I have read five or six versions of how this effort came about. From former students and retired professors, the UCSB Foundation and Trustees, the idea came from everywhere and anywhere, every story sliced very finely, scrubbed clean and intended to prove the impartiality of university administration. The idea was forced upon them; they had to be compelled to become the major organizing factor behind the special district and commit over a million dollars to its solvency.
An obvious fact about the drive for the Community Service District is that it is not a student movement. I remember the Isla Vista of the early 1970s when the original drive for Isla Vista cityhood took place. There was a highly politicized student population; scores of young people took part in canvassing and circulating petitions. Students crowded and overflowed the Board of Supervisors meeting room on many occasions. The project, however, ran into the same stone wall more than once: the denial of financial viability for the Local Agency Formation Commission.
If the original idea for Isla Vista self-governance came from the student politics of the 1960s, it would be a mistake to assume it was a cause embraced by all progressives. The simplest and most lasting criticism of Isla Vista semi-independence is that it will not work for the students. The situation favors the stable, lasting forces. The students pass through, while UCSB administration is always there. The students will always be playing catch-up, always at a disadvantage.
UCSB administration would not advocate and support the creation of the Community Service District if they did not think they could control it. What they once opposed as a student movement, they now advocate. They recruited assemblymember Das Williams to write legislation to push aside the Local Agency Formation Commission. The political machinery put to work with Williams’s help is the most remarkable I have seen in over 40 years of Santa Barbara politics. It is a steam roller of paid staff and political hierarchy that all comes from outside Isla Vista. It is fraud calling for democracy. It is a powerful institution with a politician in its pocket.
Parking restrictions are the most often-stated goal of the special district. The whole intention is to constrain, confine and sequester Isla Vista to prohibit its free and easy access. A cumbersome, expensive system of stickers and tickets and 24 hour supervision would be created. Students who expect their friends to be able to visit would be faced with numerous obstacles.
When students go to vote on Nov. 8, they will find a convenient slate of candidates, all approved by the UCSB-Das Williams machine. At this point, if anyone in Isla Vista feels like they are getting something shoved down their throat, they are. The cynicism of dominance pretending to be democracy is grotesque. This is not I.V. liberation. It is I.V. lockdown.
Dean Stewart is a local writer and historian.
While I respect Dean’s opinion, I think it’s important to point out he’s never spoken to any of us (the students and graduates living in IV and organizing for self-governance through measures E and F). In fact, Dean has never attended any meetings at all, leading me to believe his editorial is a compilation of secondary sources, rather than any primary sources (not good practice for a historian). A good 80% of this is completely factually inaccurate, especially the doomsday scenario about parking – the IVCSD could create any type of parking program it wanted, nothing says it has to… Read more »
Oh come on… I first met Dean at an AB-3 meeting he attended (though I think he was quite late); I believe “the wrong one” (as in, he wanted to show up to a parking meeting, but showed up to a meeting that wasn’t actually about that). I realize that the “party line” is to just keep telling people things like “this dissenter wasn’t involved in the process (even if they were excluded from the process or they actually did attend and you apparently simply didn’t care)” and “the decisions made at these meetings were unanimous (even when there were… Read more »
Dean, It is interesting you call yourself a historian, yet almost everything you have written in this piece is just plain false. The work on an Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) began in the early 1970’s and was resurrected recently (starting summer 2013) by students who were sick of the safety problems in the community. The UCSB Administration had and continues to have absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the CSD. In summer 2014, after the shooting, a committee was set up by the UCSB Trustees called the UCSB Trustee Committee on Isla Vista Strategies. They were… Read more »
Very interesting! I had a lot of the same concerns, but the parking district thing sounds even more worrisome than I thought. UCSB admin looks down on the “party culture.” I think it’s shameful of them. As someone who didn’t spend a huge amount of time partying at UCSB (less than Jonathan Abboud and Cameron Schunk probably did, at least) I think that the quirky party culture is a unique part of UCSB – it’s a reason why some students choose Santa Barbara over other UCs like Irvine (which I now live in close proximity to) and to kill it… Read more »
I agree with Dean and Jason Garshfield… it would be a shame if this passes. IV has worked fine for ages without a “CSD.” This will just create more bureaucracy and nonsense. Parking sucked in IV when I lived there in the late 90’s too. Get used to it – you think any UC school has ample parking nearby – well OK, maybe Davis? At least parking in IV is free. This is a covert effort by UC to impose further restrictions on the students who live in IV. “Give students a voice?” Bullshit – see through the nonsense and… Read more »