There is a new effort to make the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara County a self-governed location by forming a Community Service District. Santa Ynez, Nipomo and Cambria are a few Central Coast examples of places that have previously chosen to go this route.
California Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) grew up in Isla Vista and is the lawmaker behind AB 3, a bill aimed at creating a Community Services District (CSD) for Isla Vista. Williams said that he chose to take the issue to the state because forming the district this way allows for funding options other than just property-based taxes.
"I think the tragedies of last year really awoke peoples' attention to Isla Vista," said Williams. "Not doing something is not an option anymore. We must do something to improve the services and safety of Isla Vista."
The lawmaker said that a CSD would put more power in the hands of the residents when it comes to handling community issues like the recent violence Isla Vista has faced.
"Hopefully something positive will come out of this process," said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes Isla Vista. There are a number of small communities scattered throughout District 3's unincorporated sections, "but none as densely populated and facing the number of challenges that Isla Vista has" Farr continued.
Williams is planning three town hall-style meetings to hear from those affected by a shift in governance for Isla Vista. He will use the information collected during these meetings to shape AB-3.
Far says she plans to be at the first of those meetings. It's being held Thursday night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara Hillel on Embarcadero Del Mar in Isla Vista.