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Assemblyman Williams Submits Language to Accompany Isla Vista Self-Governance Bill

Specific wording to help guide the creation of a Community Services District comes out of more than 30 public meetings held to solicit input

Small groups discuss what a Community Services District board for Isla Vista should look like during a town hall meeting held earlier this month.
Small groups discuss what a Community Services District board for Isla Vista should look like during a town hall meeting held earlier this month. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Assemblyman Das Williams submitted language to accompany his proposed Isla Vista self-governance bill on Monday, and now his camp will wait and see the reception it receives.

After months of public meetings to discuss the controversial topic, more specific words will finally be added to AB3, legislation Williams proposed last December to create a Community Services District to govern the densely populated community of about 23,000 living on less than one square-mile adjacent to UC Santa Barbara and currently under the care of the county.

An informal outline of CSD powers were included in updated language, which goes to the Legislative Counsel before coming back in a more official form in the next two weeks, said Darcel Elliott, a community organizer in Williams’ office.

From there, the bill must make it out of committee to be up for a vote by June.

Williams, an Isla Vista native, proposed the bill after hearing concerns from community groups following the Deltopia riot in April 2014 and a mass shooting and stabbing rampage last May.

Isla Vista already has three failed cityhood attempts — 1972, 1975 and 1983 — and the latest push hasn’t been well received by local officials who could grant such powers.

Santa Barbara County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, which has jurisdiction over forming a CSD, submitted a letter of concern about the bill to Williams earlier this year, predominantly because AB3 didn’t yet have proper language.

Williams sought solid direction from community members at town hall meetings. The discussions were widely attended, granting a CSD the following authorities:

» The ability to fund a municipal advisory council, which would act as a voice to the county on the needs of Isla Vista residents

» The ability to fund an area planning commission

» The ability to manage a parking district within the community service district boundaries

» The ability to contract for additional policing services beyond what’s currently provided by the county and UC; specifically, the community was interested in hiring a community resource officer

» The ability to manage a tenant mediation program

» The ability to operate community facilities, such as a community center

» The ability to provide lighting, sidewalks, gutter and tree maintenance — the powers currently delegated to and funded by County Service Area 31

» The ability to abate graffiti

Elliott said a CSD would not have similar powers to the current Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, which could remain separate.

AB3 would also include taxation powers and board makeup, although residents were not able to agree on those areas at meetings.

A CSD board could have elected or appointed representatives — or both — and range in size from five to nine members.

“This bill is undergoing one of the most intensive community input processes the Legislature has ever seen on a district-specific bill,” Williams said in a statement. “We’ve done over 30 community meetings thus far and I’ve received some clear direction on what services the community would most like to see from those discussions and a survey we administered by going door to door in IV. Those are the powers we are amending into the bill.

“Meanwhile, we are continuing our community dialogue regarding funding these services and what the makeup of the governing board will be.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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