Saturday, December 09, 2006

Master Plan Failure

[ Opinion piece published in the SB INDEPENDENT, December 7, 2006 ]

How the Isla Vista Master Plan Fails the Community

by Carmen Lodise, a community activist in Isla Vista for nearly 30 years. During the ’70s, he served on the Isla Vista Community Council and the Isla Vista Park Board. His Isla Vista: A Citizen’s History is available at

Isla Vista got hosed again two weeks ago, after getting hosed pretty good last June. Both of these are follow-ups to the Big Hosing of about 40 years ago.

Ever wonder why I.V. apartments are packed together, with little off-street parking, and some structures are built so close to the bluff they’re falling into the ocean piece by piece? Back in the ’60s, a couple of UC Regents owned large properties in or near Isla Vista. Decisions were made to leave I.V. for private development and to maintain UCSB’s enrollment at 25,000. This set off a building boom in Isla Vista, which was mostly financed by a Goleta-based savings and loan with a board of directors that included agents of these landowning regents and the UCSB chancellor. The county did its part when the supervisors created zoning allowing shorter setbacks and fewer parking spaces per bedroom than anywhere else in the state.

The university and county fought like cats and dogs to keep Isla Vista under each of their iron fists, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fend off three widely supported campaigns throughout the ’70s and ’80s to form a City of Isla Vista. An elected city government, you see, would likely force absentee landlords to keep up their properties, police officers to treat all residents humanely, and an auto-centered transportation system to be mostly replaced by a bike-centered one — all things offensive to the local ruling classes. For example, one supervisor at the time was a Ford dealer. All three campaigns to hold an election on establishing a City of Isla Vista were defeated 4-1 by a county panel that was 4‑1 Republican during an era when more than 75 percent of Isla Vistans voted Democratic.

It was never clear why the university fought Isla Vista self-government so fiercely. But what does it say about an institution that doesn’t trust the brightest young people in the state to govern themselves in a small town of 20,000 people? Especially since the university/county cabal was doing such a lousy job. After all, the UC Regents’ own study of the causes of the traumatic civil disturbances of 1968-70 blamed the university itself for “failing to create a viable university community.”

But by the 1990s, the jig was up. With encouragement from UCSB, the county declared Isla Vista so “blighted” that it established the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) in I.V. with a long-term budget of nearly $80 million. Many student and community leaders saw this as an opportunity to greatly improve the quality of life for generations to come. But what actually happened? The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the I.V. Master Plan came out last spring, with public hearings set during Dead Week (the week prior to finals). How insulting to a community that’s roughly half students! Adding insult to injury, the proposed final EIR came out just before Thanksgiving, with hearings set to continue through Dead Week and finals. We can safely assume that the Planning Department of a City of Isla Vista would better accommodate student schedules.

Even more appalling is that the draft EIR studied only car-friendly options and dedicated 60 percent of the redevelopment money available during the first few years to adding parking structures — this in a town that has long supported auto-reduction as a major community goal. Because of this, several former elected officials in I.V., including myself, officially requested the final EIR include an auto-reduction alternative. Some of our suggestions — which eliminated at least 10 of the two dozen negative environmental impacts of the plan — included closing off the downtown district to auto traffic, keeping open the east-west streets to serve it, and opening up the eastern streets to Ocean Road on the UCSB Main Campus. We also suggested banning undergraduates from having cars, as many universities already do, and a wider use of speed bumps in the 6600 blocks.

In this era of global warming, Isla Vista is the perfect place to teach people how to get along without the automobile. After all, the town is only one-half square mile in size; has a mostly college-student population, 70 percent of which is between the ages of 18 and 24; and is a place where traffic on bicycles greatly exceeds that via cars and where about 95 percent of private property is absentee-owned. All of this has been true for more than 35 years and will most likely remain true for the next 35.
Our requests have been ignored in the proposed final EIR. A chance for the county to finally get it right in Isla Vista has been squandered for the benefit of propertied interests rather than the wider community. That’s why the county doesn’t want the vast majority of Isla Vista residents to see what it’s doing. These hosings will continue until Isla Vista becomes a city.

( Photo courtesy of UCSB )

Article as it appears electronically at the SB INDEPENDENT (including comments from readers) can be found by going to:

The Santa Barbara Independent :: opinions :: I.V. Autonomy

Saturday, November 04, 2006

SBI: Eye on Isla Vista

The SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT now has an Internet-accessible-only section to the newspaper stictly dedicated to Isla Vista. It's at:

The Santa Barbara Independent :: online onlys :: Eye on Isla Vista

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two I.V. Yahoo Groups

Many of you already know about the two Isla Vista Yahoo Groups. For those of you who do not, here's some basic info:

Isla_Vista_Community Yahoo Group

"This as a place where current and former Isla Vistans can meet up with old friends and talk about what IV meant to us.

"We’re interested in IV in the years 1970-1988 (from the Burning of the Bank of Amerika to when the Isla Vista Community Council disbanded). These were the community-building years, a period of social and political activism, experimentation and idealism.

"What was it like being part of or close to those events? We know there are some great stories out there that aren’t widely known and we’d like to begin sharing them. In the process, we’re hoping to create a new archive of institutional histories, photos and documents.

"We also see this Group as a means to reconnect with old friends and catch up on what we’re all doing now. You can share PHOTOS (both past and present), get information on what’s happening with those you’ve lost track of and much more.

"We’ve established a few GUIDELINES for making the Group a rewarding and safe place. Please read these before you begin posting messages; they’re in the FILES Section. We have also prepared “Help with Using the Group,” which may be useful for members and can also be found in the FILES Section.

"We also recommend you visit our DATABASES Section, which has:
• FAQs, with answers to most questions
• PERSONAL, where you can insert stuff about yourself
• WHERE ARE THEY NOW, with info about other former Isla Vistans you've kept in contact with
• RIP, containing obits and tributes to friends who have passed away
• SEARCHING FOR information describing people with whom you'd like to reconnect.

"We hope you’ll enjoy and contribute to this Group. If you have suggestions about other features we should have, or problems with the Group or a fellow member, please contact us at"

Fred Stang, IVCC 1974-75
David Pye, IVCC 1974-77
Carmen Lodise, IVCC 1972-73
Ed Isenberg, Co-Owner, The Town Crier


IslaVista Yahoo Group

"This is an open discussion of Isla Vista Past-Present-Future and just a place to get to know folks. I'm a 27 year resident of IV who truly loves the place and an experienced list owner and moderator (AUM and Autismlist at yahoogroups). The core group here are bank burners and IV community builders and founders. I'm originally from upstate NY but lived in my college town of Oneonta, NY until I was 31 when I moved here to IV. So I'm also an experienced hand at college towns. Please click on DATABASE / FAQ to read common questions and answers about our group. Please add your contact information (only as much as you want to share) by clicking on DATABASE / CONTACT LIST. You can also ask for information on non-members, and check what we already know, by perusing the other DATABASEs."

Tom Smith (QIM)

"PICTURE ON RIGHT is of the Isla Vista Oak tree which once was on the edge of the cliff in Dog Sh-t Park, officially called Isla Vista County Park. That Oak Tree is the symbol of Isla Vista but fell into the ocean during the El Nino storms in 1983. The picture is courtesy of Carmen Lodises' Isla Vista History Page at:"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

IVRPD, Summer 2006

[ Excerpt from DAILY NEXUS, September 24, 2006, article by Lauren Crecelius: ]

Despite three resignations and what one former member said was a $30,000 setback, this summer the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District focused on creating a community center as well as ways to reduce gang violence.

Plans for the community center in Estero Park continue, and IVRPD hopes to break ground in fall 2007. As for gang violence, the board is considering placing a curfew on Children’s Park, which according to the I.V. Foot Patrol has had a recent upswing in gang-related crime.

Concerning the resignations, Bryan Brown and recent UCSB graduates Logan Green and Eric Cummings left IVRPD for differing reasons.

While Brown resigned because he is moving out of the area, former board member Cummings said he and Green resigned in frustration over actions taken by IVRPD concerning plans for the community center.

The board originally hired consultants from Culver City for about $30,000 to design the community center as well as various other facilities in Estero Park. The designers suggested moving the 32 plots of community gardens in the park across the street in order to fit a soccer field in the plans. However, several community members rejected relocating the gardens...

Cummings said he and Green both felt frustrated with IVRPD’s actions, which they voted against, and he said he did not want to work with the board anymore. He said the board recently appointed a new member, long-term I.V. resident Kellie Ann Prichard, who he said will not work for changes.

“I just saw the same battles coming up and I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Cummings said. “[Under the new board] the money for Estero Park will probably be wasted again.”

In addition to Prichard, another long-term I.V. resident - Arthur Kennedy - will soon join the board, said IVRPD General Manager Dale Sumersille.

IVRPD Board Director Kelly Burns said the board is also looking for a new director to serve up to a four-year term. Applications will be available Oct. 3.

Meanwhile, IVFP Lt. Sol Linver said over the summer officers saw an increase in gang activity in I.V. Linver said teenage gang members have been loitering in Children’s Park, on the 6600 block of Picasso Road. In May, several unidentified attackers stabbed a juvenile in the park.

“Over the past six months and over the summer, we’ve been having issues with Children’s Park,” Linver said. “There are two gangs that claim it and for the last six months there has been graffiti damage, drug issues and stabbing in the park.”


“We don’ t have an hours ordinance in that park [currently] so we saw that as a possible tool to get them to move out of the park,” Linver said. “The design is to take the parks back.”

... In other news, Sumersille said two programs IVRPD will be heavily encouraging this new school year are the Adopt-A-Block program and the Adopt-A-Box program. The Adopt-A-Box program will assign artists to paint murals on utility boxes and cable boxes to prevent graffiti tagging, and Adopt-A-Block will focus on cleaning up trash in I.V.

“We want to beautify the city,” Sumersille said.

Gang Activity Drives I.V. Park Improvement Plans - Daily Nexus Online

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Free Speech Movement

The State of California has unveiled it's "Calisphere," a portal to eucational digitial content. Worth checking out. I took a look at it's doorway to the FSM:

To see more, go to:

Calisphere - A World of Digital Resources

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Protest New "Master Plan"


July 14, 2006 (Bastille Day)


Six former elected officials in Isla Vista have lodged a protest against
plans by the County of Santa Barbara to add more people and traffic to the
seaside university town. The preferred option among six alternative
scenarios under study would build out all remaining vacant lots, adding
nearly 4,500 new residents to the already overcrowded town. The plan also
calls for the construction of a multi-storied parking garage in Isla Vista's
intimate downtown, which would absorb over half of the total funds available
in the next few years to "redevelop" the entire town.

The six requested that the County include for consideration a scenario of
dramatically reduced cars in Isla Vista, an approach that has long been
supported by Isla Vista residents in polls and advisory elections.

"Whenever elections or polls were held in Isla Vista, the majority of
residents voted to support, maintain and perpetuate certain common ideas of
what Isla Vista should be," said Fred Stang, an elected representative to
the Isla Vista Community Council (IVCC) in the mid-70s. "They include as a
central idea that alternative transportation should be encouraged rather
than the use of automobiles, especially to get around within I.V., which is
small enough that walking and bicycling are more appropriate and practical
means of transportation than driving."


"Isla Vista has always been on the cutting edge of environmental issues,"
says Carmen Lodise, a former elected representative to the IVCC and Isla
Vista Park Board. "Consider its strong support for controlled-growth
candidates through the years and pesticide-free parks since 1973 -- a
practice only recently adopted by the City of Santa Barbara. To further
commit the town to dependency on the automobile in this age of global
warming is profoundly inappropriate, especially considering how much such
policies cost."

Isla Vista is a one-half square mile town in the center of the University of
California, Santa Barbara campus, which is located on the mesa immediately
oceanside from the Santa Barbara Airport. The 2000 Census indicated that
roughly 20,000 people live in this small area, although most observers agree
that this is a significant undercount.

The town was left to private development when the UCSB campus moved to the
Isla Vista Mesa from the Santa Barbara foothills in the 1950s.
Developer-friendly building regulations created by the County and unopposed
by the university during the rapid development era in Isla Vista (primarily
1960-70) permitted higher densities, fewer parking spaces, and construction
closer to the ocean bluff than allowed anywhere else in the state. These
regulations led to a maximizing of profits for landowners and developers
with little regard for how these over-crowded conditions would impact
residents. This "misdevelopment" was soundly criticized by two independent
commissions examining the 1970 civil disturbances in Isla Vista (see the
attached Trow Report Summary).

"The County is considering alternative futures for Isla Vista based on two
fundamental misconceptions: that Isla Vista needs more parking and that it
needs additional housing," says Malcolm Gault-Williams, a former elected
representative to both the IVCC and Isla Vista Park Board.

Together, the former elected officials have requested that the County
consider the financial and environmental impacts of excluding all cars from
the downtown area of Isla Vista, with service provided to businesses and
housing units by existing east-west streets off two major north-south
thoroughfares -- Camino Pescadero Rd. in Isla Vista and Ocean Rd. on the
UCSB Main Campus. They also requested that UCSB limit automobile usage by
undergraduates -- as many major U.S. and U.K. universities already do -- and
that the County cul de sac the entire tier of 6600 blocks in the seaside

"This is Isla Vista's one chance to get it right, but a so-called Master
Plan that doesn't even consider substantially reducing cars in town totally
misses the mark," says Lodise.

These officials were responding to the Draft Environmental Impact Report on
the Isla Vista Master Plan, which had a Public Comment period ending July
14, 2006.

The DEIR can be found on the Internet at; the Draft Master Plan (2003) is at


The following Comments on the DEIR were submitted to the County by Carmen
Lodise and endorsed by former Isla Vista Community
Council members Marcus Borgman , Gina Fregosi
, Malcolm Gault-Williams , and
Fred Stang <>. These Comments were also
endorsed by Jeffrey Walsh , Isla Vista Park Board,
1980-84. Lodise's Isla Vista: A Citizen's History (1990), can be found at

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The following are my comments sent to the county concerning the draft Environmental Impact Report on the draft Isla Vista Master Plan 2003:


TO: Jamie Goldstein, Deputy Director,
105 E. Anapamu St., Room 303 • Santa Barbara, CA 93101 • (805) 884-8050 • FAX (805) 568-2016

FR: Malcolm Gault-Williams • • (805) 966-3376

DT: 13 July 2006

RE: Comments on the Draft EIR of the Draft Isla Vista Master Plan (2003)

By way of introduction, I am Malcolm Gault-Williams, a former resident of Isla Vista on-and-off between the years 1969-1993 and an Isla Vista historian. In the mid-1980's, I was elected to two governmental bodies: the last Isla Vista Community Council (IVCC) and the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD). Additionally, I was appointed to the last Isla Vista Municipal Advisory Committee (IVMAC) by the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors. While my book "DON'T BANK ON AMERIKA: The History of the Isla Vista Riots of 1970" remains the definitive study of the student movement in Isla Vista and at UCSB, 1968-1971, this study also covers the subject of how Isla Vista was developed during the first half of the 20th Century. I bring these credentials to your attention so that you understand that the following comments and observations I have on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the Draft Isla Vista Master Plan 2003 ("The Plan") come from a person who not only has a long history of involvement in Isla Vista, but is a former elected official from that community, has served the community and its residents for a number of years, and one who has studied the historical causes for the situation Isla Vista finds itself in, today.

That Isla Vista has long needed a redevelopment plan backed up with suitable financial resources has been recognized since at least 1970 (UC Trow Commission Report, 1970). That the County of Santa Barbara is committed to implement a master plan redevelopment for Isla Vista is certainly a positive and long-overdue development for the community as a whole. A reading of The Plan shows that much staff time has been devoted to this end. In short, an Isla Vista Master Plan meeting the needs and desires of its residents is a great opportunity for Isla Vista.

This opportunity being recognized, however, I am compelled to draw your attention to the fact that both The Plan and its DEIR are based on two fundamentally flawed assumptions. These are: 1) That Isla Vista needs more housing; and 2) That increased vehicular parking would
benefit the community.


Isla Vista comprises Santa Barbara County's most densely populated community. It is probably the most densely populated community north of Los Angeles and south of San Francisco. How would an increase in its population benefit this area that is already impacted by overcrowding? How is it to be justified?

Any substantive increase in the level of additional housing in Isla Vista must certainly be recognized as a renewed effort on the part of the University of California to house more of its student population in I.V. It was precisely this intent that caused Isla Vista's overcrowding in the first place, in the 1960's. Additional housing in Isla Vista would be a boon for UCSB, enabling it to increase enrollments. So, the question must be asked: who is to benefit from increased housing in Isla Vista? It's residents or the University of California?
It is not additional housing that is needed in Isla Vista, it is improved housing. Toward that end, a studied Project Alternative similar to the DEIR's Alternative 6 should be considered, where incentives are given existing property owners to upgrade their buildings, but without
the sizeable increase in population densities outlined in the DEIR and its other proposed alternatives (excepting Alternative 1 "No Plan").


To my knowledge, there has never been a majority expression on the part of Isla Vistans for more parking in Isla Vista. In fact, the opposite has been true. Community leaders representing their constituencies have consistently moved ahead to find more open space, enhance that open space, and encourage the use of bicycles over motorized vehicles. Much of the recent problems with parking have been caused by students and staff at the University who choose to park for free in Isla Vista rather than pay for parking at UCSB. Instead of listening to these voices addressing a basically University parking problem, the county needs to consider the historical positions the community has taken toward vehicular use in Isla Vista over the course of the past 36 years.

To this end, a project Alternative built around AUTO-REDUCTION should be included in the DEIR on the 2003 Isla Vista Master Plan.


1) I formally request that a Project Alternative based on HOUSING & BUILDING INCENTIVES WITHOUT INCREASES TO LOCAL POPULATION be included in the DEIR of the 2003 Draft Isla Vista Master Plan.


2) I formally request that a project Alternative built around AUTO-REDUCTION be included in the DEIR on the 2003 Draft Isla Vista Master Plan.


Malcolm Gault-Williams

Friday, July 07, 2006

IV & Elwood Mesa Videos

Tom, at, shot some video on July 4 and 5th. Especially for those of you who haven't been up on the Ellwood Mesa in a while, they are a fun view. Two of his I really like:

1. Ellwood Mesa July 4th '06 - 03:08 minutes - "Pictures of Ellwood Mesa and Beach covering the 4th and the next morning with a short film clip of the fireworks at Girsh Park in Goleta
as seen from Ellwood Mesa."

4. Isla Vista and Ellwood - 02:37 minutes - "A tour of the area and it's characters, of which I'm now proudly one."

( Ellwood Mesa aerial view, circa 1971, courtesy of UCSB Geology Department. )

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Draft EIR: Master Plan

This message just in from Carmen Lodise:



The comment period on the Draft EIR of the Isla Vista Master Plan has been
extended to July 14. Just like the County, I believe the two public
hearings in Isla Vista on the Draft EIR were held during final exams.

It would be helpful if all you folks who know anything about the vision for
Isla Vista held by its residents and their elected leaders through the years
would take a look at it and comment.

Read the 5-year Plan first. It's a lot shorter.

You can find both at:

It would be helpful and reach a lot more people if you would post your
comments on the new Isla Vista Discussion Group:

This is the one chance Isla Vista has to be made right.



P.S. My quick read of the Draft EIR says it will add 4,350 people but only
440 new parking spaces.

Friday, June 02, 2006

More I.V. Master Plan

Criticisms of the I.V. Master Plan have been pretty lame thus far. Even the Associated Students are basically going along:

Residents Share Thoughts on I.V. Master Plan Options - Daily Nexus Online

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

EIR on IV Master Plan

The following is an excerpt from email sent out to the new Isla_Vista_Community Yahoo Group today from Carmen Lodise about his initial impressions of the currently proposed Isla Vista Master Plan.


"... I would suggest that it might be more helpful if every effort in the
next 30 days was spent reviewing and commenting on the EIR on the
Redevelopment Agency's Master Plan for Isla Vista -- the comment
period ends June 30.

"The proposal does, among other things, permit two-story buildings to
become three-story and adds roughly 1,500 new Dwelling Units.
Commenting on the EIR isn't "revolutionary" but it's the kind of
nuts-and-bolts action that once made many of us feel that Isla Vista
might become the model community its residents envisioned in
the '70s & '80s.

"I was only alerted to this EIR deadline by an emailed Nexus article
from Malcolm Gault-Williams. I hope that he will send that again to
everyone on this site and that everyone still interested in Isla
Vista's fate will take a look at it and comment.

"I will send around some notes on my impressions after I read the
document – by June 9.

"I will say, however, that I am not opposed to enhancements in the
business district and increased density – if it's done right and the
old Robber Barons who built the town aren't the main financial

"Of course, at bottom we all know is the University's desire to
increase enrollment and make the community more palatable to the
parents of potential students. These bureaucrats continue to wear
us down.

"Such designs are not exactly in line with what's best for a
community we all know has such incredible potential..."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I.V. Master Plan

Gee, I've lived and worked in and around Isla Vista since 1969... I never knew that what Isla Vista most needs is additional housing structures and parking lots! Where have I been?

Environment Study Shows Pros, Cons of I.V. Master Plan - Daily Nexus Online

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

IV @

Lots of information about Isla Vista and its history is contained at:

Isla Vista, California: Information From

Thanks to Susan Swift for the heads-up on this Internet resource.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Dick Flacks Looks Back

[ Excerpt from the SB Independent article on 5/11/2006 by Nick Welsh ]

UCSB’s Most Dangerous Professor

Dick Flacks is situated comfortably in his living room, the legendary ground zero of Santa Barbara’s progressive politics. Dressed in a loose, beach-bum T-shirt with broad horizontal stripes, blue jeans, and fleece-lined slippers, Flacks leans back into his couch. It’s a ridiculously beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Flacks is preparing for his retirement party, an exaltation of his career as activist and academic — a two-day event billed as Flacks Fest. But at the moment, Flacks seems a little miffed. Somehow, he was not included in the recently published book listing the 101 “most dangerous” college professors in the United States, written by David Horowitz, the one-time left-wing radical turned right-wing firebrand. “I was upset,” Flacks says, an ironic twinkle escaping the prism of his Coke-bottle glasses. “I wasn’t in there. I don’t know why not.”

Flacks is teasing. But he has a point.

When Flacks was appointed to a tenure-track professorship in UCSB’s sociology department in 1969, he’d already achieved notoriety at the University of Chicago as a radical anti-war activist. Ronald Reagan, then the governor of California, quipped that hiring Flacks was like hiring a pyromaniac to work in a firecracker factory. It was a nice line, and for Flacks, perhaps the ultimate backhanded compliment. But other reactions were less charming. Robert Lagomarsino, then Santa Barbara’s Republican state senator, went so far as to call for a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation. To keep any more of Flacks’s ilk from getting tenure, the University of California’s Board of Regents voted to take control of the appointment process. The Santa Barbara News-Press’s editorial pages quivered about the potential violence Flacks might unleash. And all that was before he even moved to town.

Flacks didn’t turn out to be the bomb-thrower his detractors predicted. As his UCSB friend and colleague, Harvey Molotch, once dryly noted, “Dick was never at all athletic.” Instead, Flacks spent the next 37 years on campus advocating a pragmatic brand of radical politics coupled with nonviolent civil disobedience. As a result, Flacks was allowed to operate with a relatively free hand, helping to radicalize generations of students. Both through his classes on social movements and his work with student groups, Flacks inspired young people to go into the world and “make history.”

As a “think global, act local” kind of guy, Flacks directed many of his students’ idealism toward the Santa Barbara community, where he secured them positions in many of the political and counter-cultural organizations he had helped to found. In most of Santa Barbara’s defining political debates — including growth, water, housing, homelessness, the living wage, immigrants’ rights, environment protection, and alternative transportation — activists nurtured by Flacks have played crucial roles. Harley Augustino of PUEBLO, the grassroots organization that helped bring 20,000 marchers to the streets of Santa Barbara in support of immigrants’ rights last week, started his career with the Isla Vista Tenants Union and then with the Living Wage Coalition thanks to a helping hand from Flacks. Geoff Green, the current director of the Fund for Santa Barbara, which finances progressive groups countywide; political organizer Ed Maschke, who kept Goleta developers tied up in knots for more than 20 years; and Rob Rosenthal, whose work with Santa Barbara’s homeless helped them emerge as a political force in the 1980s, all were mentored by Dick Flacks. Though most of his protégés have been men — known as the Flacks Boys — he has mentored a number of influential women including Roseanne DeMoro, the head of California Nurses Association, who last year chased Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger up one side of California and down the other in aggressive, successful opposition to four ballot initiatives he was backing.

The work of these men and women prove something that Dick Flacks believes with all his might: Small groups of individuals can make history.

From Red Diapers to String Quartets

The older of two children, Flacks was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1938. His parents David and Mildred Flacks — both school teachers — were born to Russian Jewish immigrants. Both were active union members and organizers; both belonged to the Communist Party. But when the Cold War began in the 1950s, the Soviet Union ceased being America’s ally and became instead its mortal enemy. Flacks’s parents were targeted by anti-communist investigators and fired from their jobs.

Under Khrushchev’s leadership, information about the horrors of Stalin’s blood-thirsty regime became more generally known. Then, in 1956, the Soviets invaded Hungary. Flacks — a scholarly young teenager — began to find the blindly pro-U.S.S.R. position of the U.S. Communist Party, and his own father, repellent. At the same time, the rest of the American left had become virulently anti-communist. Radical red-diaper babies like Dick Flacks were having a hard time finding a place to call home. Then, in 1957, Flacks met Mickey Hartman, the daughter of Yiddish-speaking, Russian-born immigrants. One year later, the two married, beginning a 48-year partnership that produced both a family and a political juggernaut.

Together, the two students stumbled onto an aging American revolutionary named A.J. Muste, whose political vision fused Christian social justice, American populism, and nonviolent civil disobedience. For them, it was as if the sky opened up. “Revolutionary nonviolence? No one was putting those two words in the same sentence back then, let alone giving it serious thought,” said Flacks. “Muste became a complete role model for me.” So much so, Flacks gave his second son the middle name “Ajay.” Stifled by the political claustrophobia of Brooklyn, the young couple set out for the University of Michigan, where Flacks attended graduate school. “We didn’t want to be part of New York,” Flacks said. “We wanted to be part of America in the much broader sense.”

In Michigan, Flacks sought out other young activists whose politics emerged more from Midwestern prairie populism than from Marx. One such activist was Tom Hayden, who would become Flacks’s lifelong friend and political partner. Inspired by the death-defying courage of Southern civil rights workers, who also followed a nonviolent approach to social change, the Flackses joined Hayden in reorganizing Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), then an obscure group loosely affiliated with the United Auto Workers Union. In 1962, Flacks, Hayden, and about 60 SDS activists gathered in Port Huron, Michigan, to pen what would become the rhetorical anthem for the New Left. An almost hormonal celebration of the democratic impulse, the statement began, “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably at the world we inherit.” It blasted both major superpowers — the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. — and supported democratic principles that they believed could coexist within socialistic and communistic structures. Acknowledging the raw audacity of their vision, the authors wrote, “If we appear to seek the unattainable … let it be known we do so to avoid the unimaginable.”

While in Michigan, Dick and Mickey Flacks began developing a lifestyle that not only kept them sane, it kept them human. They discovered college football, attending all of Michigan’s home games. Mickey remembered once having to yank Dick from an interminable SDS meeting to get to the stadium on time. No one could believe where they were going. Football before global liberation? “They thought we’d lost our freaking minds,” Mickey said. “But we’ve always made it a priority to take time for ourselves. We like going to the movies, eating out in restaurants. We have balance in our lives. That’s our secret.”

As a fledgling academic, Flacks was very much the hot young thing. In 1964, he secured a tenure-track position with the University of Chicago, then among the world’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning, not its current incarnation as a hotbed of neo-con political thought. Flacks resigned from SDS when he took the appointment, but he didn’t stop his political activities. That did not sit well with the school’s administration. Nor did his support of the 121 students who were expelled for sitting-in against the Vietnam War.

At that time Flacks was researching what would become his first published work, Liberated Generation. In tracking the family history of young college activists, he determined their protests were not examples of adolescent rebellion — as noted scholars such as Bruno Bettelheim were insisting — but extensions of the values they learned at home. The book — and its notion that young people could operate as an independent force in American society — put Flacks on the map. Soon publications like Newsweek and the Chicago Tribune sought his opinions on the political activism of the exploding youth culture. At the University of Chicago, however, most faculty couples led social lives that were decidedly old world. Their dinner parties with string quartets and black servants were too bizarre for the Flackses. As Mickey described it, “It was the last bastion of 19th-century male-dominated, super-intellectual elitist nonsense. It wasn’t our scene.”

But by then, UCSB’s sociology department — which was beginning to enjoy a distinctive, quirky reputation — had been courting Flacks. When the University of Chicago did not grant him early tenure, he started looking westward. The last straw came when Flacks was brutally attacked in his campus office by a man posing as a newspaper reporter. The attack — which police believe was administered with something like a crow bar — left his skull cratered in two spots and his right hand nearly severed at the wrist. Flacks’s assailant was never found.

Flacks hoped a sunny campus by the Pacific would offer the quiet he needed. How wrong could one man be? He arrived with his family just months after the historic Santa Barbara oil spill and just months before the burning of the Bank of America in Isla Vista.

Campus Guru Meets the Thursday Club

Flacks’s 1969 appointment stirred significant concern that his assailant might strike again. Even relatively conservative faculty members like Otis Graham volunteered to guard the Flackses’ new home. On the other hand, a new neighbor volunteered to spy on the family for the sheriff and the FBI. “But mostly, people were really, really nice,” said Mickey. For Flacks himself, the times were exciting, bizarre, and nerve-wracking. “Between 1969 and 1979, there was not a single normal moment on campus where you could go about your routine,” he said. “Most of the classes were held in I.V., not in the classrooms; there were bomb threats constantly; fire alarms going off; huge dogs named Trotsky walking down the hallways; and every shade of hippie-dom you could imagine.”

Flacks was too old — and too straight-laced — for the hedonistic celebration of flesh and pharmaceuticals then accompanying the anti-war movement on college campuses. He managed to establish himself as a bona fide campus guru nonetheless. “The deal was if you took politics seriously and you took social change seriously and you did not ask Dick to smoke dope with you, then he would take you seriously,” explained sociologist Harvey Molotch. “That was a deal many people were willing to make.” Those who did found that Flacks could be both seriously intimidating and a friendly adviser. They also found he was passionately curious about what students think and ferociously dedicated to their right to express themselves.

Contrary to urban folklore, Flacks was not involved in the burning of the I.V. Bank of America. In fact, his friends made a point of shooing him away from any protest that looked potentially unruly because handcuffs could seriously damage his still injured wrist. For his part, Flacks does not consider the bank burning a positive political act; it happened, he said, in the spasm of the moment and in response to escalating police violence. “I don’t think anybody planned to burn the bank down,” he said.

It was after the bank burning, however, that Flacks really made his mark on Santa Barbara. He and Mickey started something called the Thursday Club, an evolving collection of high-octane activists who met every Thursday at their home. “We knew we couldn’t continue with this violence,” Flacks said. “We had to build positive organizations and we had to have a voice.” The Flackses’ living room served as a Petri dish where ideas mixed with the seed-money of wealthy left-leaning patrons such as Stanley Sheinbaum, Kit Tremaine, Herman Warsh, Maryanne Mott, and Katy Peake. The Thursday Club produced an alternative community school, medical clinics, food co-ops, and a host of other community groups that gave expression to a new value system struggling to define itself. Though many of the original organizations have disappeared, they have been replaced by newer versions, with similar progressive values. The Santa Barbara Independent, for example, is a direct descendant of the News&Review, the worker cooperative weekly newspaper for which Flacks served as trustee and adviser. (One of The Independent’s four owners — Richard Parker — was an original founder of the News&Review.)

On the idea that all politics is local, Flacks turned his attention to elected offices. At the time, Flacks said, the Santa Barbara City Council was dominated by “Republican board-of-realtor types and development interests.” Despite the hard work of earlier, more traditional reformers such as Pearl Chase, the city was in danger of becoming another overgrown Orange County. Dick and Mickey Flacks helped start the slow-growth Citizens Coalition, which succeeded in electing a more environmentally minded council majority. Flacks jokes how conservative those candidates would be judged by today’s standards. Of the four, one is now a Republican city councilmember in New Mexico, one was a nuclear engineer, one was a Westmont administrator, and one the wife of a prominent conservative Republican.

When development interests wrested back control in the late ’70s, Flacks and his wife joined with others to start Network and the Gray Panthers — in which Flacks’s parents, who had moved to town, were extremely active — to give the progressive community a consistent political voice at City Hall. After about 15 years these groups also faded out. But Dick and Mickey did not. In 2000 they got together with other concerned citizens — some of them ex-students — to form SBCAN. Its charge is to fuse the goals of the environmental and the social-justice movements — not an easy task when two visions of a perfect Santa Barbara are colliding: affordable housing versus small-town neighborhoods. How is it possible to have either in a market of million-dollar cottages? Simple problems don’t seem to interest the Flackses.

His Work, Their Lives, Our Town

Dick Flacks’s academic work reflects the same electrified lightning that has illuminated his own life. His research and writings all try to capture that flash, to document it, to analyze the source of its glow. Even as a student activist, Flacks was studying student activism. What made the activists tick? Did they stay active later in life, and if so in what ways? Why? How did activist students differ from students who weren’t active? Could you identify which students were most likely to become active? All of this research — conducted over long intervals, through elaborate surveys, and in detailed personal histories — focused on measuring the extent to which ordinary individuals can jumpstart historical change.

Flacks is now looking forward to a “retirement” that he acknowledges few people have been able to enjoy. He’ll still teach a couple of classes a year, keep his campus office, and program his weekly folk-music radio show, The Culture of Protest, which is the longest running program in KCSB history. And he and Mickey will travel. But of course there always will be politics.

Flacks’s political beliefs have shifted a bit since first moving to Santa Barbara. He once believed that a ruling elite had usurped democratic control from a complacent population. Now he is not so sure. As Molotch explained it, in the present reality of Bush incompetence, “A ruling elite would be good news.” Where Flacks once regarded the university as a hatchery for intellectual worker-bees to maintain the corporate power structure, today, he’s a passionate defender of the university. In times of budget crisis, Flacks fights to keep funding whole. He is also working to rewire the UC’s admissions system so that the children of immigrants, working parents, and minorities will be able to get a foot in the door and a seat in the classroom. At his core, Dick Flacks remains very much the same man he was when he first arrived in Santa Barbara. Then as now, he believed great social movements were created by historical forces. Then as now, he believes that even the smallest group of individuals can make history.

Flacks does acknowledge that times have changed. For the better, he noted that democratic participation in daily life has expanded hugely in the past 35 years. But for the worse, he said, the powers-that-be have become increasingly resistant to change. With the rise of global economics, national governments are less able to make economic concessions in the face of democratic demands. Still, people have to try. “If you took this town in 1969 and looked at what it was like then, you’d see that it’s changed enormously. There are Farmers Markets, environmental organizations, community health clinics — these are all mainstream. The assumed values in our political debate have changed, too. I’m enough of an anarchist to think we can’t change the government at large. But can people do things to make small-scale changes that have meaning? We did. It’s a point of great pride to Mickey and me, that we have been involved with this,” he said. “In whatever time you are living, there will always be spaces for initiative.”

Flacks ought to know. He made the most of his. And that’s what makes him such a dangerous man.

By Nick Welsh | May 11, 2006

The Santa Barbara Independent :: cover story :: UCSB’s Most Dangerous Professor

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

IV CC - Phase 1

Background on Phase I – Development of Outdoor Recreational Facilities

In 2005, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) submitted a proposal to the California Department of Parks and Recreation that resulted in a $1 million award to construct a regulation size soccer field in Isla Vista’s Estero Park. This million dollars—the largest award granted in the state—gives project partners (which include IVRPD, UCSB, and the Channel Islands YMCA) significant leverage to pursue construction not only of the soccer field, but also of the skate board park, basketball courts, parking lot, and public restroom that will provide Isla Vista with a brand new, state-of-the-art outdoor recreational complex. We are extremely excited about this project, as it has the power to transform Isla Vista in a number of respects.

· The regulation-size soccer field will enable youth from Isla Vista’s large low-income and Spanish-speaking community to play league soccer (which they currently cannot do, because they lack transportation to fields outside of IV). The field also would bring league teams from Goleta and Santa Barbara into IV where they not only would play in soccer matches, but also would add to the IV economy by patronizing local restaurants and other businesses after the games.

· The skate park, which would reflect IV’s long association with and conduciveness to board sports, would serve teens from IV and surrounding areas while attracting large numbers of UCSB students. Having the skate park and soccer field in the same Estero Park complex would bring two diverse segments of the IV community (Latino youth and UCSB students) together to recreate.

· The lighted, outdoor basketball courts would be available for after school, evening, weekend, and even late night use, thereby providing safe and healthy activities for teens and young adults. The availability of recreational facilities could help combat some of the ills from which IV suffers, including gang activity among disenfranchised youth and alcohol abuse among college students.

By bundling the soccer field, skate park, and basketball courts together, we can pursue only one planning and permitting process (rather than three) along with one fundraising campaign. The significant seed money from the state, combined with additional funding from IVRPD, the county, local foundations, and other local sources, gives us a great start toward realizing this important project. For further information about project funding, please contact Laurie Hoyle at

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dick Flacks Retires

[ Excerpt from SBN-P article by SHELLY LEACHMAN, 5/5/2006 ]

His walk is slow but sort of bouncy, his speech both thoughtful and quick. He takes his coffee black, which seems perfectly appropriate for a legend of social activism and radical politics. It wouldn't seem right for him to order a half-caf, nonfat soy cappuccino, and he doesn't.

In between sips of his dark roast, Dick Flacks slowly spins the paper cup with his left hand while reflecting on his career. Some 37 years after landing at UCSB, the iconic sociology professor is now retiring.

"There's only so much time we've got left on the planet -- how much of it do you want to spend in meetings?" he joked through a sly, conspiratorial grin. "Part of the reason to retire is so you don't have to go to meetings."

He's been to many a meeting. From his early days as a founder of the radical grass-roots group Students for a Democratic Society in 1962, to his years teaching at the University of Chicago, through his long tenure at UCSB, Mr. Flacks has always been beyond involved. And whether as an ultra-engaged teacher, a voracious researcher or a front-line democratic activist, he's forever a proud radical.

"When I came to this town, most people knew of SDS how the press depicted it, as a violent revolutionary movement, and if I was one of the founders, I must be one of those," he said. "Then they'd meet me and say, 'You're not radical at all. You're so calm and thoughtful.' I say, 'Yeah, but I am radical.' I believe that the roots of society can be changed. That's radical."

His humor is wry and distinct, but even the subtlest details about Mr. Flacks stand out -- physical manifestations of a unique personality. The sweater tucked into his jeans. The silver wedding band etched with a vinelike pattern. The watch turned under his left wrist. The thick specs that magnify his eyes. The way the top of his right ear turns down slightly. Those whispers of wiry gray hair. And then there's that deep depression near the crown of his head.

On May 5, 1969, Mr. Flacks was attacked in his office at the University of Chicago. Beaten by someone posing as a newspaper reporter, he nearly died after suffering two skull fractures, an almost-severed right hand and other injuries. His assailant was never caught.

"At some point you decide your life is more important and move on," he said this week. "It helped that I have no memory of (the attack). It was harder for my wife, who'd had to deal with not knowing whether I would survive. I was unconscious."

Barely one month after the assault, Mr. Flacks accepted a lifetime tenured position at UCSB. His appointment was met with loud objections by the California Republican Assembly and, for a time, the News-Press editorial pages, fearing his affiliation with sometimes-violent SDS would cast an unwanted radical pall over serene Santa Barbara.

In a June 1969 Los Angeles Times story, Gov. Ronald Reagan likened Mr. Flacks' hiring by UCSB to "a manager of a firecracker factory hiring a known pyromaniac because he makes good fuses."

But Mr. Flacks, then and now, said he chose UCSB because it seemed so calm -- and calm was what he wanted for himself, wife Mickey and young sons Chuck and Mark.

"It was a very sleepy campus," he said. "I came here partly because I had just been through a tumultuous time (in Chicago) and I was looking forward to a sleepy opportunity."

That opportunity was denied.

Mr. Flacks started at the seaside campus in the fall of 1969. Six months later, in February 1970, the Bank of America in Isla Vista was burned down, and ensuing riots turned deadly as the anti-Vietnam War movement heated up. Many people at the time accused him of being involved in the protests, said Mr. Flacks, who has written extensively about the era.

He wasn't involved in the local riots, but he remains sympathetic to and passionate about social protests and student activism.

"People are very worried about the state of affairs, but it makes sense in a strange way not to pay attention," said Mr. Flacks, citing his recent research that revealed only 7 percent of college students read a daily newspaper and 25 percent ignore the news altogether.

"If you think you're powerless, what good does it do to know more about it? Where are our empowerment possibilities?" he asked. "My whole research and teaching career can be summed up as trying to answer that question."

In the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s, Bill Shay tried to find that answer as a teaching and research assistant to Mr. Flacks, under whose tutelage he eventually earned a doctorate in sociology. Now an administrative director at UCLA, Mr. Shay picked UCSB for graduate school specifically to work with Mr. Flacks, whom he'd known of and admired since high school.

Describing his former teacher and now friend -- "I can't not keep in touch with Dick" -- as an intellectual troubadour, Mr. Shay likened Mr. Flacks to a folk singer who uses storytelling techniques to relate his experiences.

"He was masterful at that," said Mr. Shay. "He was singing the song of sociology in the classroom. And that was the heart of his impact -- he was a model of the way in which to take the experiences of common person and translate them into broader sociological terms."

Mr. Shay is among the many former and current students of Mr. Flacks who will lead discussions during a weekend conference honoring his career on the eve of his retirement. Being held today and Saturday at locations in Isla Vista and on campus, "45 Years of Democratic Activism: Legacies and Learning" will include lectures, workshops and an all-out bash of a banquet. The latter features a speech by Mr. Flacks' longtime friend and SDS co-founder, former state Sen. Tom Hayden.

After retirement, Mr. Flacks has one cruise planned -- an EcoCruise, naturally -- but otherwise, he will apparently be busy as ever.

Mr. Flacks said he intends to continue his research, write books, teach the occasional class and do his weekly KCSB radio show, "Culture of Protest."

He will remain active in local politics and social causes, doing all he can to encourage others to rise up and get radical.

"A frustration that a lot of people feel, that I feel, is that there is no alternative set of voices at the national level," he said. "Radicals are people who are really willing to make a fundamental, critical examination of institutions, of society, to entertain alternative visions. They're people who don't think that the way things are are the way things have to be, that another world is possible. That's a radical statement."


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

IV Community Center

(Isla Vista Community Center project plan layout)

The Isla Vista Community Center is taking shape. There is seed money, but the project still needs further financial support from community, businesses and I.V. Alumni. If you can, please spread the word and contact Laurie Hoyle at the Office of Student Affairs, at UCSB. Her email is:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

AS Presidents

The UCSB Associated Students present... "a forum featuring a reunion of Associated Students Presidents. This free public forum will be presented on Friday, April 7, 2006 at 1:30 pm in the UCSB MultiCultural Center.

"The UCSB Associated Students Presidents Forum will feature more than 25 former Associated Students Presidents reflecting on their experiences. Included in those expected to attend are Robert Scalapino (1939-40), founder of the Institute of East Asian Studies and Professor of Government Emeritus at UC Berkeley, Bill James (1969-70), the first student of color to serve as AS President who has gone on to work with the US State Department US Aid program and at the United Nations, and Claude Ruibal (1976-1978), CEO of the World Championship Sports Network.

"Also scheduled to attend are several former AS Presidents who served during the turbulent ‘60’s and 70’s when Isla Vista became a hotbed of activity which culminated in three separate riots and the historic burning of the Bank of America.

"Former Associated Students Presidents have been asked to share the highlights of their time in office and reflect on what impact the experience has had on their life. The Presidents will also be available to answer questions from the audience."

The full list:

Robert Scalapino 39/40
Howard Eckles 41/42
George Graves 47/48
David Hodgin 53/54
Robert Andrews 63/64
Jay Jeffcoat 66/67
Greg Stamos 67/68
Bill James 69/70
John Grant 72/73
Abby Arnold 73/74
Howard Robinson 75/76
Neil Moran 75/76
Claude Ruibal 76-78
Rich Leib 78/79
Marty Cusack 79/80
Tibby Rothman 80/81
Curtis Robinson 87/88
Michael Chester 90/91
Aaron Jones 92/93
Geoff Green 93/94
Brittany Oates 94/95
Wayne Byrd II 97/98
Jason Nazar 99/00
Mahader Tesfai 00/01
Chrystine Lawson 02/03
Miguel Lopez 03/04
Cervin Morris 04/05
Chaz Whatley 05/06

For more info, contact Andrew Doerr, Publications Coordinator

UCSB Associated Students
UCen Room 2537
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
(805) 893-3374 Fax: (805) 893-7734

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Goleta Slough

The Goleta Slough Management Committee's got a neat website with lots of high quality images of Isla Vista's neighbor. Go to:

Goleta Slough Management Committee

... Click on an area of interest on the map, then click on the picture that comes up in the header for a slideshow of that particular map section.

1782 Spanish Map of the Slough Area, Mescaltitlan -- the area of highest Chumash centralized population.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Isla Vista Today

At the website listed below, there's a detailed map of current businesses, complete with a legend and description of all businesses. Shows fairly well how much has changed since the goode olde daze...

Shop Isla Vista - Community Information and Resources

(Thanks to the Isla Vista Yahoo Group for the heads-up)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Libertarians vs. IVRPD

Libertarian Party Files Lawsuit Against IVRPD
Charged With Brown Act Violation, IVRPD Accuses Santa Barbara Libertarian Party of 'Gouging District'

by Mollie Vandor - Staff Writer, DAILY NEXUS
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

With the filing of a recent lawsuit, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) has found itself facing its second major legal battle with the Santa Barbara Libertarian Party in less than a year.

On Dec. 15, the Santa Barbara chapter of the Libertarian Party filed suit against the IVRPD with the chapter's vice chairman, Michael Lamboley, named as plaintiff. In the suit, Lamboley's lawyer, William Hansult, alleges that the board violated the Brown Act - a California law requiring meetings of legislative bodies to be open to the public - during three closed session meetings in August and September. IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said the board used the meetings to interview law firms looking to serve as the IVRPD's legal counsel. Since meetings dealing with district employment issues are exempt from the Brown Act, Johnson said the IVRPD did not violate the law.

"The district fully believes in the Brown Act," Johnson said. "We are confident in the district's position that the district lawfully met in closed session to interview legal counsel."

According to the text of the lawsuit, the Libertarian Party is asking Judge James W. Brown, who is presiding over the case, to issue an injunction against the IVPRD. The injunction would officially condemn the district's actions and prohibit the board from violating the Brown Act in the future. The party also calls for the board to pay the Libertarian Party's legal fees, as well as any other financial penalties the court deems necessary.

Lamboley said the IVRPD could potentially avoid a legal battle over the alleged violation if it admits that the lawsuit's accusations are correct and changes its procedures accordingly.

"The district can either say to the judge that [the Libertarian Party is] right and this is how they're going to fix it, or they can fight it and it could cost them money," Lamboley said.

According to papers Hansult filed at the Santa Barbara Superior Court in support of the suit, the Libertarian Party believes that legal action is the only way to keep the IVRPD from violating the Brown Act again in the future.

"The actions of the defendants ... were designed to purposefully and maliciously deprive the people of their right to know and to remain informed of the actions taken by the public body," Hansult stated in the supporting documents. "Further it is believed and hereby alleged that without this court's intervention and issuance of an injunction, that the board will continue to violate the Brown Act in similar ways."

IVRPD board member Bryan Brown said he thinks the Libertarian Party is using the suit to get money from the district.

"They have consistently made it clear they're out for money," Brown said. "This is an attempt to gouge the district."

However, Lamboley said the lawsuit was motivated by a desire to hold local governing bodies accountable to state laws.

"The State of California has some of the best good government laws in the nation, but there are no provisions in the budget for enforcing those laws," Lamboley said. "They're on the books, but it's up to individuals or organizations to enforce these rules and basically that's what we're doing."

Brown said the suit comes down to how the judge decides to interpret the Brown Act.

"They're claiming that by interviewing attorneys in closed session, we violated the Brown Act because an attorney is not an official employee, they're an independent contractor," Brown said. "The Brown Act says you can meet to discuss official employees, but there's a conflict in how the Brown Act specifies who is an employee."

In early 2005, a judge ordered the IVRPD to pay over $40,000 in fines stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party in November 2001 over another Brown Act violation. Johnson said the suit ultimately cost the district close to $300,000 in fines and legal fees.

"It made things tough," Johnson said. "It made the district's ability to provide its services tough."

Brown said the district has been bracing for the second lawsuit since Craig Geyer, who was the Libertarian Party's chief witness in the 2001 suit, attended one of the meetings in question and informed IVRPD board members that he thought their closed session agenda violated the Brown Act.

Geyer said he is not involved in the lawsuit and declined further comment. The lawsuit itself cites an anonymous citizen who attended an IVRPD meeting and informed the board about the alleged Brown Act violations.

Brown said the IVRPD hopes to have this lawsuit resolved more quickly than the last one, which was in litigation for three years. He said he thinks the two lawsuits show that the Libertarian Party is specifically targeting the IVRPD.

"I think they have a grudge against us for reasons I don't entirely understand," Brown said.

The district plans to discuss the suit in further detail at its Jan. 19 meeting, Johnson said.

Hansult could not be reached for comment.

Libertarian Party Files Lawsuit Against IVRPD - Daily Nexus Online

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Isla Vista Yahoo Group

There's an interesting thread going on currently at the Isla Vista Yahoo Groups site, which also invites new members for those of you who would like to write about Isla Vista on a more frequent basis. The thread excerpt, below, is just a portion of the current discussion:

> In a message dated 1/9/2006 4:43:45 P.M. Mountain Standard Time, writes:
> I remember Borsodi's (sp) Coffee House as the first coffee house I ever went to...poetry readings, guitarist/singers doing actual folk music...interesting place!

Borsodi (I can't remember his name) died a few years back, living in New Orleans. I think it was lung cancer. I think Linda left in the late 1970s? I remember they had this great mural on the inside ceiling that was the view from the center of the Bank of America the morning after it burned down, looking straight up, with the smoldering wood timbers sticking up on every side and the blue sky in the middle.

It occurs to me that if we put together a list of people and their estimated birth dates I could check my Social Security Death Index and find out if any passed on. It wouldn't be definite as in some cases there would be multiple people with the same name and birth year. More help if we had place they were born in but that is probably not known.

I told Dave that Joyce Roop passed away in Boston sometime in the past few years. I taught her massage (she lived below me at the Campus Crusade for Christ on the south side of the 1st block of Pardall (6504?).

Gotta stop. Could go on forever.

> I am SURE concerts have changed! We held them in People's Park, before and after they built what was easily the world's goofiest amphitheater! I remember we "sold" beer to raise money for the IVCC. Actually, people "donated" for the beer. We kept it cool (as in "proper" not chilled), and the Foot Patrol never gave us any trouble, because the way we ran it, there was never any trouble! By the way, the statute of limitations HAS passed on this, correct???
> Having caught up a bit with Ed, I was saddened to hear of the death of several people I knew, and delighted by good news about others.
> Isla Vista: It was an intense experience, that is for sure!
> I could go on for pages about life there in the '70s, it was indeed a very special place!
> Dave Pye
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