Voting yes on Measure R is common sense for every voter in Isla Vista.

The 8 percent utility user tax would raise approximately $700,000 in funding annually for the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD), the local government formed by voters’ overwhelming support of Measure E in fall of 2016. If a utility user tax is not passed by January 2023, the CSD will automatically dissolve.

Seth Trujillo / Daily Nexus

Isla Vista self-governance and the state of affairs in I.V. have made significant strides from the days of Bank of America burning to the ground and regular rioting, yet challenges persist. The current approach of regulating Deltopia is neither sustainable nor cost effective, while both medical calls and attendance are on the rise. Forward thinking leaders must commandeer the definition of Deltopia to confront the risks posed by an increasing number of partygoers.

Aside from the public safety hazard of thousands of inebriated college students on Del Playa, residents face myriad traumatic issues daily. Sexual assault and Rape rape in I.V. warrant immediate action, yet our county sheriff recently proposed cutting the funding for the  I.V. Foot Patrol Community Resource Officers. Roads and sidewalks are in disrepair and poorly lit. Parking in I.V. is a constant headache for residents without a parking space or an on-campus permit.

Proponents of Measure R and the IVCSD have worked diligently with sparingly little funding. They launched a tenant mediation program for the lease change period to ensure tenants receive a fair return of their deposit. The I.V. Community Room is a hub in the community, for IVCSD meetings, tutoring programs for local children, and available for free of charge for organizations. The IVCSD greatly expanded the UCPD Community Service Officer Program to include CSO safety stations in I.V. every Friday and Saturday night. Our local government has a proven track record of fiscal responsibility and would only continue to expand services with additional revenue.

I.V. public safety issues persist partly because of a lack of resources, and an incidental tax is the clear solution.

Meanwhile, Machiavellian landlords are spending the exorbitant amount you pay in rent on a campaign against Measure R. They erroneously call themselves the “Isla Vistans Against Higher Taxes.” None of the despots who are funding this campaign live in I.V. and would not be subject to the new tax implemented by Measure R. The multimillionaires that we are depend on for shelter just received a massive tax cut from Congressional Republicans in the form of  H.R. 1. If the landlords in opposition are not financially impacted by Measure R, why are they vehemently opposed to its passage?

For those who oppose the proposed tax simply because it is a tax, consider the implications of your logic. Consider that without revenue generated by taxes, the public university that sustains you would cease to exist. Consider that every paved road you drive on takes taxes and the businesses where you shop at are subsidized by taxpayers. I.V. public safety issues persist partly because of a lack of resources, and an incidental tax is the clear solution. Eight percent of your monthly utilities is affordable, and an exemption exists for residents who qualify as low income. Voting no on Measure R is a vote against public safety in our community.

Succumbing to torpor and frustration from the sidelines does nothing for you or your community. If you do not like the direction that the your local government is taking, get out to vote and run for the IVCSD. Show up to Tuesday night meetings. The way to improve your community is not by acquiescing to your despotic landlord. Political apathy benefits those already in power, and business as usual will not suffice.

Isla Vista is a unique place with equally unique challenges. We are fortunate for local leaders on the IVCSD and on the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District who stay in I.V. well past the standard four or five years. Why should we take the passionate people who want to improve Isla Vista for granted?  Register to vote before May 21st and make sure to vote yes for Measure R on June 5th. The future of Isla Vista is in your hands.

James Ferraro encourages Isla Vistans to do their civic duty and support Measure R.