Human history has always revolved around “who holds the power.” Power is a universal concept. Everyone understands power at an instinctual level, but we rarely directly talk about it. We need to talk about power in Isla Vista and who wields it. Measure R is all about rights, resources and representation for I.V., but most importantly it is about who will have power in I.V. Voting Yes is in favor of those who live here, while voting No is in favor of those who don’t.

In Isla Vista this year, we are voting on Measure R. It’s a small tax (3-4 bucks per month max for the vast majority of people) that gives us the power to locally decide on and fund services to protect tenants’ rights, build more lighting, implement community-policing instead of over-policing and make it easier and safer to park near your home by increasing the number of spaces available. Measure R will give Isla Vistans the ability to invest in our community to make it what we believe it can and should be, through our locally elected and growing I.V. Community Services District.

Will Tran / Daily Nexus

I.V.’s infamous corporate sleazy landlords, led by Chuck Eckert, Wolfe and Associates and Meridian, are against Measure R. They’ve named themselves “Isla Vistans Against Higher Taxes” even though none of them live in Isla Vista. Why? Let’s break that down.

First, let’s assume they are paying the cost of the tax directly. It’s not that much. They already make massive profits, pay very little taxes (due to Prop 13) and have a monopoly on 15k students’ housing options in I.V. They’ve got a perfect market situation to make a lot of money – and we all know they do. This is something they can afford and that might actually RAISE their property values by making I.V. a better place to live with more resources for community members. But they’re still against it.

In their campaign against Measure R, the corporate landlords have very clearly said (with 1990s clipart) that they will forward the full cost onto the residents – 3-4 dollars per month. They are using fear tactics in the most cruel way – preying on people’s housing insecurity by saying “RENT WILL GO UP.” That is a pure lie. The corporate landlords are the ones jacking up prices at least $100/month year after year after year – despite not paying any new taxes – to keep profiting off of our backs.

It’s time to take back I.V. for the people who actually live here. It’s time to make it OUR Isla Vista, not anyone else’s to make a profit off of.

But wait – if the landlords are going to pass the FULL cost of Measure R onto the residents (again, 3-4 bucks per month), then why are they against it? What have they got to lose? It will have ZERO financial impact on them since we, the people, will be paying it.

Power. Power is what they will lose. They are mounting a multi-thousand dollar campaign against Measure R, which has a volunteer-only campaign, to defeat it because they are absolutely terrified of losing power. If Measure R passes, the people who live in I.V. will finally have an actual say over what happens here instead of the absentee corporate landlords or any other external force. No longer will we be powerless on issues like blatant code violations, unnecessary loss of our security deposits, or be required to invest thousands just to get justice in court. They enjoy their stranglehold on the power and use it to maintain our broken status quo, they don’t want us to have power.

Isla Vista was built in the 1950s by similar money-hungry developers, oil companies and banks in order to capture the future market of students and totally control the situation by keeping UCSB out of the housing market and preventing any local governance. They convinced the County to give them special zoning to pack in more students, build less parking and even have less open space (also why the I.V. Rec and Park District is so important, and why it  too has been opposed by the corporate landlords since Day 1 in 1972). This group, while the individuals change, has opposed anything good for Isla Vista for decades. Why should we listen to them now?

We should instead support the future and sustainability of local governance through the I.V. Community Services District for the benefit of the students and families who live here. In only one year it has already created the I.V. CSO Safety Stations to strengthen community policing, made the I.V. Community Room a vibrant space and planning on turning it into a Survivor Resource Center on weekend nights and afternoons and launched a pilot housing mediation program to solve disputes between landlords and tenants. Even though we had limited funds, we have limitless passion for our community. Imagine what we all could do together to make I.V. a better place for ourselves and all future residents, if we had the tools and ability to do so. The IVCSD is our tool for community investment and improvement.

It’s time to take back I.V. for the people who actually live here. It’s time to make it OUR Isla Vista, not anyone else’s to make a profit off of.

Vote YES on Measure R on June 5th. Sign our pledge card. Volunteer for our grassroots campaign. Like our page Vote Yes on R – Our Isla Vista and share the campaign video. Take a small action to secure Isla Vista’s future; thousands of future Isla Vistans will appreciate your contribution to our decades-long struggle.

Jonathan Abboud wants Isla Vistans to know that a Yes vote for Measure R will put the power into their hands .