Catherine Flaherty, Marcos Aguilar and Ethan Bertrand were sworn into office on Dec. 8 over Zoom, beginning their terms as board directors on the Isla Vista Community Services District.
This will be the second board of directors since Isla Vista Community Services District (I.V. CSD) was formally created in 2016. Of the three inducted directors, Flaherty was the only candidate who ran opposed.
With Directors George Thurlow and Jon Hedges leaving their respective positions, the board will now skew significantly younger, with Robert Geis and Jay Freeman as the only members over the age of 35.
Below features brief profiles of the new directors and their statements after being sworn into office:
Flaherty is a third-year history of public policy and political science double major who ran on a platform of addressing lighting and parking needs in Isla Vista and coordinating closely with Santa Barbara County for public health directives.
During the meeting, Flaherty was unanimously voted in as board’s vice president.
In previous interviews with the Nexus, Flaherty said that she will use her platform as a director to better inform Isla Vistans about the hazards of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Making sure that everyone understands the risks and understands COVID and quarantine times and that you can test negative and still develop it within the next few days after exposure. So, I think really making sure that students have that information, I think can help deter a lot,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty is also the interim Internal Vice President of Associated Students (A.S.), but after January’s special election to determine the new A.S. president, she will return to being an off-campus senator.
After being sworn in, Flaherty thanked those who helped her achieve this position in her remarks, including Directors Spender Brandt and Ethan Bertrand, who endorsed her during the election against Daniel Mitchell, a third-year music composition major. Flaherty won against Mitchell with 79.76% of the vote, replacing Kristie Nguyen — who was appointed to the board in 2019 to serve the rest of previous Director Natalie Jordan’s term.
Flaherty’s two-year term will end on December 2, 2022.
A self-described “beach bum,” with at least five surfboards within view of his webcam, Aguilar is a UC Santa Barbara alumnus who’s lived in Isla Vista for over ten years. He currently works at the University Library in the Ethnic and Gender Studies Collection.
“What started as a venture into the new and exciting world of adulthood has blossomed into a way of life. Isla Vista has shaped my worldview for the better over the years, and I’m excited to give back to the community that has given me so much,” Aguilar said in his remarks after being sworn in.
Aguilar noted that some of his fellow beach lovers — who consider themselves counterculture — ribbed him for becoming a politician, but it has only made him more thoughtful about what he can do to help improve Isla Vista.
Aguilar’s four-year term will end on December 6, 2024.
This will be Bertrand’s second term on the board of directors after having served as president for the first two years of the board’s existence.
Bertrand was involved in the creation of the I.V. CSD as a director since its inception and was a large advocate for Measure R, a utility tax that brought the I.V. CSD to life. In looking back, Bertrand spoke about how proud he is to see how the board has progressed since 2016.
“I remember sitting in the I.V. Community Room on Tuesday nights and attending town hall meetings regularly starting in the fall of 2014 and into 2016, where we discussed the issues that our community faced and what we could do to propose solutions to those issues by creating a local government,” Bertrand said.
“I’ll admit, when I was sitting in those early meetings, I didn’t know what was going on. But I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I knew I wanted to make a difference with you all,” Bertrand continued.
In an interview with the Nexus, Bertrand said that his goals in his second term involve continuing to address I.V.’s COVID-19 safety concerns — as he and Brandt have done in Facebook videos — by spreading information about safe behavior.
Bertrand’s four-year term will end on December 6, 2024.