Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 3:32 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Isla Vista Self-Governance Bill Clears First Committee

A state bill touting Isla Vista self-governance made it out of its first Assembly committee Wednesday to the delight of its local sponsor, Assemblyman Das Williams.

AB3 aims to create a Community Services District to govern Isla Vista, the densely populated community of about 23,000 living on less than one square mile adjacent to UC Santa Barbara and Goleta, currently under the care of Santa Barbara County.

The bill Williams introduced late last year following several violent incidents in Isla Vista has passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee, according to Lourdes Jimenez, Williams’ chief of staff.

“This is ultimately an issue of self-determination for the people of Isla Vista,” Williams said in a statement. “The formation of this bill has been happening at the local level in a way typically unseen in the Legislature. I’m glad the Assembly Local Government Committee has been respectful and supportive of our local process while being a helpful partner in the shaping of the bill thus far. Passing this bill out of committee is a huge step forward in moving this option for the community forward.”

AB will next move on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before being sent to the floor for a full Assembly vote. It must pass off the Assembly floor by June 5 to continue moving through the legislative process in 2015.

If AB3 passes out of the legislature by September — and is signed by the governor by October — it will go to the county Board of Supervisors so they can place it on the ballot for voter approval, Lourdes said.

The next countywide election would be in June 2016.

District operations would be contingent upon passage of a Utility User Tax by two-thirds of voters, she said.

Williams crafted the bill after a series of community meetings in Isla Vista, where locals in his hometown have voted down Isla Vista cityhood attempts in 1972, 1975 and 1983.

AB3 calls for community services including a tenant mediation program, the ability to contract for additional police services, and the ability to exercise the powers of a parking district. Stakeholders were also interested in a Utility User Tax to financially support the CSD by imposing a tax for utility services consumed, such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, sanitation and cable television.

Because some of those services don’t exist under current CSD law, the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission could not authorize creating the CSD — something typically falling under its jurisdiction.

AB3 asks to form a seven-member CSD board, with five elected at large from within the district, one appointed by the county Board of Supervisors and one appointed by UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang.

Although LAFCO is less than thrilled about AB3 skirting its normal planning process, Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents IV, testified in support of the bill Wednesday in Sacramento.

“Given the demographics of the population of Isla Vista, having appointed seats will provide some much needed stability to the board,” Farr said in a statement. “The county and the university provide multiple services to the community and giving them representation on the board will help ensure the continued investment into Isla Vista while providing a platform to hear directly from the community.”

Williams’ staff said community meetings are ongoing, hosted from 6 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday in the IV Clinic building conference room at 970 Embarcadero Del Mar.

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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