Friday, December 12, 2014

I.V.: A History, Pt. 3

The final installment of Peter Mounteer's 3-part history of Isla Vista:

http://dailynexus.com/2014-12-03/i-v-a-history-part-iii/

So proud to see my son carrying on our family's long association with Isla Vista (44 years to-date) and efforts to improve it:


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

IV History, Pre-1970

Taken from the pages of THE ISLA VISTA FREE PRESS from 1987:

"From Anisq'Oyo to Student Ghetto" by Carmen Lodise


Thursday, December 04, 2014

I.V.: A History, Pt. 1

A rather good series in the Daily Nexus. Here's part 1 of "I.V.: A History," by Peter Mounteer:

http://dailynexus.com/2014-12-01/i-v-a-history-part-i/




Monday, April 07, 2014

GT's History of Isla Vista

UCSB alumni director George Thurlow wrote what he calls an "Unofficial History of Isla Vista" that was published in the winter 2014 issue of the alumni magazine Coastlines:

http://www.ucsbalum.com/Coastlines/2014/Winter/feature_ivhistory.html




Carmen Lodise replied:

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the UCSB Alumni Association


I enjoyed reading your zesty and commendably comprehensive “Unofficial History of Isla Vista” in the recent issue of Coastlines.  Overall, I found it very informative.

While it’s true that I have played a “controversial” role in Isla Vista over the years, the question is controversial to whom?  The vested interests (the County, the University and absentee landlords) for sure.  And that quarrelsome clique of a dozen homeowners from I.V.’s West End that hate everything about UCSB, including its students.  However, in town I was always considered a “moderate”.  

What I found most problematic in your account is it gives me far too much credit for carrying too much of the major issues facing the town.  I’m a big boy; I can take it.  But it’s embarrassing among my peers, because you portray a significant social movement as a personality cult.  The perspective in your article seriously understates the contribution of literally hundreds of people that played major roles in Isla Vista’s community-building period following 1970.  Many of these people today play leadership roles in government and business, both locally and across America, and who credit their hands-on experience in Isla Vista as the foundation for understanding how society could work better. 

Most of these overlooked builders attended UCSB and many are likely subscribers to Coastlines.  In fact one of your readers wrote: I never knew you that well but his description did not fit you. And thanks Carmen for sticking up for us all. We DID try to create the kind of culture we wanted to live in and even if we failed, we all grew as a result and the effects are still with us.

Over a hundred of these folks have been attending Isla Vista “reunions” in recent years, something that is certainly unique.  How many towns have reunions?  It’s puzzling that these reunions have yet to be noticed by Coastlines, since the event last July had its banquet in the Mosher Alumni Center.

I make no apologizes that “Isla Vista: A Citizen’s History” is an account from the trenches.  Prof. Bob Potter said it was written in the tradition of Howard Zinn and I’m good with that.  However, you stated that the perspective of the book is “purely Lodesian”, when actually it packages the writings of several people.  In fact, the examples you offer are the writings of other, not mine:

1. The chapter featuring “a photograph of the former Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Captain Joel Honey wearing a medieval sword and mace on his uniform during the Isla Vista riots,” was written by UCSB grad Malcolm Gault-Williams.

2. You state that “Lodise argues that . . . under pressure from locals, the Regents backed off [a plan] to incorporate Isla Vista into the main campus and build its student housing there . . . and allowed Isla Vista to develop with little urban infrastructure, planning or oversight.”  In fact, the chapter in the book on the shenanigans of the University and County in the creation of Isla Vista has only minor changes from essays written by two other UCSB grads, IVCC rep. JoAnne Yokota and Associated Students president Abby Haight, not I.  Their documentation of that era is compelling enough that even you wrote it up nearly as they told it. 

In fact, well over half the book is composed of writings, speeches, and interviews of other major players in the town’s rich history.

Because I have conveyed the message, it’s often disregarded that I was reflecting the opinions of a lot of people during my 30 years of activism in Isla Vista.  For example, I was elected to the IVCC in 1972 along with Bill Wallace and Dr. Dave Bearman.  There was an advisory measure on the same ballot on the subject of local government options for Isla Vista.  Over 80% of the 4,000-plus voters supported an independent City of Isla Vista, so I worked towards that.  Eight more such elections over 15 years also supported it; I advocated on behalf of those results.  I didn’t invent Isla Vista Cityhood, which is what your “unofficial history” implied.

I appreciate your comment that: “Almost 45 years later [the 1970 Trow Report’s] recommendations seem as current today as then.”  Readers of your article may be surprised to find that this is also the stated conclusion of the 20-plus pages in my book dedicated to the Report’s text and analysis.  You perhaps aren’t aware that the IVCC asked the UC Regents to review the findings of the Trow Report in 1984.  However, Chancellor Robert Huttenback vehemently dismissed the request as a “red herring” and prevented even a vote on undertaking such an evaluation.

Your article quotes Ed Birch saying recently that the lack of government structure is “the” problem in Isla Vista, an observation I find particularly galling.  As Huttenback’s hatchet man in the community, vp Birch was in charge of the Administration’s campaign opposing I.V. cityhood in the 1980s.   First they claimed it wasn’t financial infeasible, then several months later hired a consultant to “document” that assertion.  This was quickly followed by Birch’s ending of University funding to the IVCC in retribution for its continued pursuit of cityhood after their declared disapproval.

However, the County’s EIR, which was completed under state guidelines by two UCSB professors, concluded that the proposed city was financially feasible if each resident would be willing to pay $18-per-year to have policy control over police, planning, transportation, etc.  When these study results were announced, a front page story in the Daily Nexus quoted Administration officials saying that students couldn’t afford what it would cost to run such a city.  At literally the same time, the Administration was promoting a referendum in which students were being asked to assess themselves $54-per-quarter to pay for an addition to the Ucen.  While it was IVCC rep. Mike Boyd, not I, who popularized the moniker of “Fast Eddie” for Birch, it was definitely well deserved. 

I was properly impressed with UCSB planner Chuck Haines vision of a more physically integrated campus and town presented in your interview with him.  But as to Birch’s recommendation that “the University should partner with local investors to upgrade the housing stock . . .”, good luck.  The partnership between the County and local investors through the RDA resulted in several new multi-storied apartment buildings.  The Icon structure, which you properly called “ostentatious”, has 105 beds but only 17 parking places.  This is hardly progress.
owever,

Finally, I found your summary statement that my activism was “often to no avail” was a bit over-the-top.  Today, there are a lot of parks in a town that had only one when I arrived and I was on the park board when the first million-dollar-package was purchased.  In addition, I was in the leadership of saving Perfect Park from a County-approved development and the later campaign to establish a monument there to the worldwide anti-war movement of the 1970s.  Also, the issues of my weekly newspaper, the Isla Vista Free Press (1987-89), were considered important enough to have been digitalized and made available at UCSB Special Collections (http://www.library.ucsb.edu/special-collections/research/ivweb/ivFP).  And then, there’s that book . . .


I only found a few points I would question for accuracy in your account:

1. “The University . . . did support Isla Vista being annexed to Goleta when that city incorporated.”  I believe that the U failed to state an opinion.

2. I don’t believe the census information you provided is about the half-square mile everyone knows as Isla Vista, which is still 95%-plus renters the last time I looked vs. the 83% you reported.  Your data appears to be that of the “Isla Vista CDP”, a 1.86 sq.-mile area that includes many owner-occupied residential units along Storke Road.

3. The decision whether the RDA-owned Clinic building is to be sold hasn’t been made yet – it’s due any day now from the state Dept. of Finance.  Your article didn’t mention that the community is also seeking the vacant RDA-owned building next to it as a meeting hall.  Together, these buildings would become the community center that the RDA proposed to build out on Estero Road, which also is not mentioned in your list of approved RDA projects scuttled by the state’s financial crisis.  This community center outcome is being supported by Supervisor Doreen Farr, Assemblymember Das Williams and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.  So, it’s a substantial issue pertaining to the community, one in which I’m involved.

It’s interesting to note that Chancellor Yang signed a “treaty” to end the 1994 hunger strike by minority students that committed the U to do everything possible to help establish a community center in Isla Vista.  Yet, the U hasn’t been heard from in this five-month old campaign to save the two RDA-owned buildings.  In case you’re interested, I’ve been told a copy of that signed document is available in Special Collections.  This failure to act doesn’t bode well for the “Promises to Pay” commitments you outline as UCSB expands enrollment to 25,000 over the next 20 years.

All in all, however, I believe your article fairly affirms the community’s shortcomings, although not its assets, and the foundation of the challenges it still faces – after all these years.

Sincerely,

Carmen Lodise


PS  You write that “Carmen Lodise was the irascible pot stirrer . . . .”  I had to look that up:

i·ras·ci·ble adjective: having or showing a tendency to be easily angered (irritablequick-temperedshort-temperedhot temperedtestytouchytetchyedgycrabbypetulantwaspishdyspepticsnappish

While I admit to being quick-tempered in some instances, I don’t believe I’m petulant.  But I admit to admiring your vocabulary skills.



There were some other comments about the article from long-time Isla Vistans. Some of them are included below:

Never give up, Carmelo.

kind of a ho-hum article.  i thought your response was more interesting...i don't understand how he could write an iv article and not mention the ivrpd and all the bluff top land that was kept in open space by bill wallace...

Random thoughts---Thank you for sharing this, Carmen, and for your reply! I don't even know where to begin in commenting on UCSB's dismal history with Isla Vista. The only good thing I can come up with easily is the foot patrol, which put campus cops onto community-based teams with sheriffs. I still use that as an example of authentic community-based policing when advocating for the cops to get out of their cars in the city I live in. IV taught me about the effects of capitalism on the housing market, and instilled in me a life-long commitment to renters' rights. 

 LOVE your reference to our community reunions!  They should be noted in national publications!  I recently told the Isla Vista story to a couple of fairly young union organizers as a way of explaining who I am today. One of them borrowed your book from me! We were always more stoned than drunk, though I do remember going down to the ABC office with Eileen Yamashita to ask them to give us liquor licenses in IV. Also the pot is so much stronger now.  I think the current party culture has more to do with the frat culture vs. the hippie culture.  You remember that one of the frat houses was leased to Das Institut during my time in IV. The current party culture is way over the top. My older son lived in IV one year (maybe 3 years ago) and it was even too much of a party scene for him. (and that is saying something!) I don't think that density is the problem so much as the culture.  I put a lot of blame on the starvation of California education. They don't provide enough services or small enough classes to keep students engaged and in relationship with older people. It is really easy for the students to get lost in the crowd, especially if they have mental health issues, substance abuse problems, etc. 

 I got a kick out of the reference to "in loco parentis". I think that change came about when I was a student, and we were very happy about it!  There is no question that Isla Vista should have formed a city, and that the University's opposition is what blocked it.  My life was fundamentally shaped by my Isla Vista experience. Every day I practice something that I learned there, including local government powers and organization, canvassing (we called it "community communication"), persuasive analysis and writing, community organizing, and advocacy with public entities. Truly, this is what I do every day, and I learned it in IV!


Thank you Carmen, I enjoyed the read.


I never knew you that well but his description did not fit you.

And thanks Carmen for sticking up for us all. We DID try to create the kind of culture we wanted to live in and even if we failed, we all grew as a result and the effects are still with us. 


Irascible or not we are lucky to have you.   You may stir the pot – but the ingredients for that toxic stew were designed by UCSB 


I am trying to understand what Thurlow means by a "Lodisean" history.  I guess you were pretty good at arch-criticism, so that if the emperor had any clothes at all, you could strip 'em bare, give 'em a fig leaf and a new descriptive nickname.  If I were to do the same to you I would frame your style to be fitting as a graduate student of Machiavelli.  But I never thought you to be amoral, but always to have a large part of your agenda in the realm of the public good.



You can submit comments to George at: george.thurlow@ia.ucsb.edu
And comments to Carmen at: Lodise0711@hotmail.com

Monday, July 29, 2013

I.V. Reunion 2013

The best and greatest reunion of IV activists took place in the summer of 2013.



Here's the link to many images from the reunion, courtesy of Robert Bernstein: http://swt.org/events/islavistareunion2013/

Saturday, September 08, 2012

1968 DNC Organizing

‎44 years ago, Bob Fass, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner and many others stormed Chicago during the DNC. Here's excerpts from a powerful film by Newsreel documenting those events:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When America Burned By The Sea

This month, Ski got back in touch with us and submitted his "rough cut" on the reasons and events surrounding the Isla Vista Riots. Here's the vid, the best that's been done on the subject to-date:



Recently, Ski wrote:

Hello All,

I realize that many of you have not heard from me since I interviewed you or tried to interview you for my documentary about the IV riots I was working on in 08. For this I would first like to apologize. The reality is life, school, and a mishap got in the way of me sending you a copy of the film which in various ways all participated in. Sadly when I was moving from one apartment to another in NY my friends car which contained my media drive, caught fire do to what seems to be from an oil leak in the engine. At the time I had though the fire had destroyed the only copies of the film. Though about two months ago I found a very early rough cut of the film and posted it to vimeo.com (I have attached the link below) as part of my body of work in post production. And to be honest largely forgot about it as it was in essence an incomplete version.

But about two weeks ago I joined the UCSB alumni linked in group and thought maybe someone would enjoy it. I figured that a few people would watch it and that would be the end of it. But the response, even though it is very rough and still contains place holder graphics and titles, has been very positive from both alumni and current students alike. The topic itself remains one of the top topics in the alumni forum, so i would assume the number of people that seen it will continue to grow for the near future.

This coupled with the fact that I have spent the last year working freelance got me thinking maybe now is the time to pick the project back up again and actually make it into a feature. Obviously I would have to raise money and apply for grants, but with the rise of crowd sourced funding such as kickstarter and I hope some private funding I think I could realistically raise the money in which to make the film. Now in order for me to do this I would have to ask those of you that have interviewed in the past to sit down with me again on camera. And those that I could not meet the first time to be interviewed for the first time. Obviously I do not have a time frame for when this would happen but I would hope if I could raise the money all of you would be interested in being interviewed again. As I do not think it would be possible to move forward with this if you feel the time for this has passed and you are no longer interested in being a part of this project.

Obviously, there is no pressure to commit to this as I do not know if I will be able to raise the money which would be required produce a film which is up to not only my standards but yours as well. But obviously I hope to find the financial support and have your support too. Below you will find the the link to the video which has a runtime of just over 30 minutes. Feel free to share it with whom ever you like. And I would also like to hear your feed back on things that could be improved upon. Though please keep in mind that this was a very early version so the titles and graphics are nearly all place holders which were replaced in the final version I handed in for grading. It also has not been color corrected and a few of the cuts are abrupt. So just keep that in mind.

https://vimeo.com/36123261

I hope you enjoy it and I hope to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Matthew M "Ski" Gajewski.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birth of The Environmental Movement

A nice video about the birth of the Environmental Movement that began with the Santa Barbara Oil Spill of 1969, which was a backdrop to the Isla Vista Bank Burning: