Saturday, November 24, 2007

IV Circa 1983-1987

Charles Hobbs recently wrote about his memories of Isla Vista circa 1983-1987, at the Isla Vista Community Yahoo Group ( ):

Welcome to IV, where the real education begins....

First day of school at UCSB, Fall 1983. Once I settled
in a bit, I grabbed my bike and started riding on the
bike path through the center of campus, passing Storke
Tower, etc.
At the edge of campus, I noticed an overpass.
Intrigued, I sped up and passed through it....and
found myself in a whole new world.

I found myself riding, not on a bike path anymore, but
in the middle of a real street. There were a few cars,
but mostly bicycles, bicycles, and more bicycles being
ridden all over the street.
Just like those old pictures of Beijing, China. Cars
crossing Pardall were stopped, waiting as if for a
train to pass, while the stream of bicycles zoomed by.

On the left, there was the Delta Tau Delta frat house.
I didn't really deal with frats much, but I mention
this one because
a. I and about 4 other guys did an "air guitar" gig
there in Spring 1984
b. A roommate of mine actually joined them (but kept
on living with us....maybe the house was full or
something). Anyway....

On the right, there was a planter full of cactuses.
(The county removed it within a few months, citing
liability if someone fell into it and got pricked...)
and a dead Taco Bell.
(In late Spring of 1984, the TB was torn down and
replaced with a Subway sandwich shop, a
(pre-Starbucks) coffee shop, an ice-cream store, and a
Chinese restaurant that
served dishes such as "Beef Isla Vista" and "Shrimp

College students lived on two things, pizza and beer.
There were four places to get pizza:

* Domino's. Mostly for freshmen who didn't know any

* Pizza Bob's. Jock/frat boy hangout that served
(allegedly) watered-down beer. Delivery hours were
somewhat limited (about an hour earlier than the
other places on this list). Now the place is (I think)
a coffee shop, last time I was in IV

* Perry's. Surfer-type hangout on Pardall. They served
pan pizza cut into square slices. (This was part of a
small chain, with
stores in Inglewood and Redondo Beach(?). I also
remember them trying to get into the post office
business, by opening a contract
postal station after the official IV Post office
closed....cost them goodwill as people got mad that
they couldn't buy stamps during all
open hours. (There's a funny cartoon in the Daily
Nexus about Perry's foray into the postal business).
They closed down sometime
after that.

* Woodstocks. IMHO the best pizza in IV. Still going

* The Habit. Served decent, if a bit greasy, burgers
and fried pies. There was another one in Downtown
Goleta, and now there is a whole chain of them as far
as Encino. In early 86, the IV branch shut down and
became a McBurleys, selling overpriced food ($3 for a
simple burger?) and beer. McBurleys was rumored to be
run by one of the more well-heeled frats, perhaps with
a good helping of parental funds...In a few years,
became a coffeeshop or some other type of restaurant.

* Borsodi's. Your quintessential hippy coffee shop.
They probably did poetry readings there too. Not my
scene so I never went inside. (This was also the IV
stop for the
Green Tortoise bus on its LA-SF run)

* Baba's Falafel: Before I got to UCSB, I didn't even
know what a falafel was. The dining commons served
what they called falafels, but were really just balls
of bland tofu. Yuck.
Baba's turned me on to a whole new world of Middle
Eastern cuisine....sort of. The little stand was
replaced by a strip mall in 1987. Baba's was there for
a while, then moved
(on campus?). Freebird's moved in, looked good, but I
never got to try it.

* Pappagallos. Italian? Never ate there, but I do
remember their pink neon sign beaming into my room all
night, during their summer of 1985....

* There was also a Mexican place near the tip of the
Embarcadero loop, never did get a chance to try it

* The Egghead. Served omelets and breakfast. Never
went there
* New York Hero House. Sub sandwiches. Never went
there either
* There was another really tiny breakfast-only place
as well. It had some sort of "flower" name (White
Lily?). Apparently it was quite good, because there
often lines out the door...
* Andrea's/Sam's to Go/Gerties: a few other names that
come to mind. I remember trying to go to Gerties one
evening and found that they closed early...never went

Entertainment and clubs
At least the first year, there was a lot of griping
about the lack of nightlife, as opposed to LA or some
bigger place. Of course, there were clubs in
Downtown Santa Barbara, but those were mostly 21 and
up (and carded).You'd also need a car, a friend with a
car, or $20 for a cab ride back to
campus (in these pre-Bill's Bus days). But in time, a
few things opened up in IV

* The Library. Somewhere on Pardall. I think this was
a 21+ place, so I never dealt with it (it was gone by
the time I turned 21)

* The Graduate. Opened in the old Bank of America
building in Spring(?) 1985. Did both 21+ and 18+
events, something for everybody. Fun to go out with
once in a while. Eventually became a UCSB lecture hall
after stints as a brewpub, a dance studio/gym, and who
knows what else...

* Magic Lantern Theaters: Fall 1983 was the last of
their existance as a movie theater. I remember seeing
a couple of flix with friends (Strange Brew and
National Lampoon's Vacation, I think) were
very cheap and the theater was still empty. They went
out of business shortly after that and were taken over
UCSB for use as lecture halls. (Campus groups could
also show movies there, or in a number of the other
on-campus lecture halls, as fundraisers)

* Video Madness/Side Pocket. In the James Ventura
building on Pardall.Had good crowds even after the
video game craze died down. Side Pocket was the
adjoining pool hall. Now a small liquor store and a
bar (the "Study Hall", at least last time I was up
there....late 2004?)

* Bank Arcade. In the old B of A building. Games
mostly in poor condition, went out of business in Fall

* Video Hideway. One or two "geeks" who worked in the
UCSB Computer Lab set up a little arcade near the Six
Pack Shop in Spring 1986. Free games for about a week,
ridiculously low prices (10 games for a buck or
something). Over the summer, the geeks took it home to
Santa Clara, and went into business there.

There were two record stores (anyone still remember
when record stores sold....well, *records*???)

* Morninglory. Best for used records. (I was too
poor/cheap to buy new ones). Also sold concert
tickets. For a while you could rent CD's, but the
copyright people put a stop to that.

* Leopolds. Just across the street. Mostly new
records, small selection of used stuff. After a
couple of years, turned into a surfwear shop.

* IV Bookstore. Handy alternative to the UCSB
bookstore (sometimes IV would have books that UCSB
didn't have, and vice versa). Usually cheaper on
by $1-2.

* Merlins. Near the IV Foot Patrol. Used bookstore
smelling of pipe smoke. Little of academic interest,
but ok to grab a cheap novel or two for that long bus
ride home...

* IV Market
* Pruitt's / Dave's Market
Two small supermarkets. I lived in the dorms so didn't
really do too much grocery shopping per se, but often
bought snacks, fruit, coke, etc. for those late night
study sessions.

* IV Food Co-op. Hippied-out place, sold exotic stuff
such as ginseng root beer. Prices high unless you
joined. Also the only place for miles where you could
single floppy disks (a whole box cost up to $50 in a
lot of places back then!)

* International Market
I had a lot of Asian friends, so I got to know this
place well. Cheap ramen noodles and beer (when they
didn't lose their license for serving underage). I
think this place
changed hands at least once; when it did, my roommate
(Vietnamese) quit going there. "The people act ugly
and rip you off" he said....

* Six Pack Shop/Lloyd's Liquors
Another place for the kids beer runs!

* Dougs Bougs.VW repair shop. Moved to Milpas in late
83 or early 84. Some environmental dust-up regarding a
leaking underground fuel tank, if I recall correctly.
Another car repair joint took its place...

* Kinko's. The original (really, this is where that
whole chain got started). Sometimes, course "readers"
(books made up of copies of articles) needed for
classes had to be
purchased here. (This got them in trouble with our
friends the copyright police!)

* The Alternative. Another copy shop, right next door
to Kinkos

* IV Bike Rental. Moved from Embarcadero (Del Norte?)
to Pardall at some point....

* Bank of America ATM's. Of course the real bank
(rebuilt from the 70's riots) had closed some time
ago. They did have a couple of ATM's open in IV

* IV Bike Repair. Fixed bikes, also had tools chained
to a rack outside for do-it-yourselfers. (Most
students took advantage of the on-campus bike shop,
with cheaper prices.
You needed a student id to use that shop, though).

* St Athanasius Church: Greek Orthodox. During the
long hot summer of 1985, I toyed with the idea of
going to one of their services. Never made it though.
That fall, though, I did
end up joining a Baptist church off Milpas, though....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

IV Wiki

A growing resource on the history and current state of Isla Vista is Wikipedia.

Go to: IV Wiki and add to the collection.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Frat Boys..."

A funny story from IV1, from

"Frat Boys, Ronny Ray-Gun, And Other Tales Of Krakatoa"

Let me set the scene. It was 1970. I was living in Isla Vista and we had just burnt down the Bank of America a few days earlier. It came to be known as The Isla Vista Riots No.1. I was living on the corner of Sabado Tarde and Camino Pescadero, about a block away from where Aldous Huxley had written Doors of Perception. The cops (Santa Barbara and Los Angeles County Sheriffs, and California Highway Patrol) were in a very pissy mood seeing as how we had kicked their ass so bad, they had to call in the National Guard. William Kunstler the Attorney for The Chicago 7 had come ashore in a row boat with a big sign saying "The Peoples Navy" and was giving a talk at the UCSB campus. After the talk everyone was walking back home when the cops showed up, declared us an unlawful assembly and proceded to arrest the first black man they saw who had a bottle of wine in his hand. Well people were already pissed off over the firing of a popular professor, but this highly unnecessary act got everyone pissed off even more. We kind of looked around, saw the police car, flipped it over, and torched the fucker. The car unfortunately was in front of the Isla Vista Branch of The Bank of America, a very potent symbol of the establishment and corporate funding for the war, so we burned that fucker down too.

The following 4 days and nights were open warfare and running battles, between the students and the police. On the second day the Santa Barbara County Sheriff asked the L.A. County Sheriff for back up. The third day they asked for reinforcements from the Highway Patrol, and on the fourth day Governor Ronny Ray-Gun called in The National Guard. We were throwing rocks, tipping over dumpsters and setting them ablaze in the middle of intersections, and flying black kites at night. Black kites at night? WTF? Ya the kite flying thing was cool. Since Isla Vista was built on a point there was always an ocean breeze. The black kites couldn't be seen cause we had shot out all the street lights, with sling shots and ball bearings, so the man had to ground all their helicopters. Another point of confusion was the position of the point. It faced due south, so when you were sitting on the cliff looking out over the sea, you were actually looking south, not west. And seeing as how the street signs had all been spraypainted black, the out of town cops had to answer calls like "the 3rd east west running street. They, naturally were looking for the 3rd north south running street.

We were standing on a balcony watching this Roman Phalanx of Cops marching down the street resplendent in their Plexiglas Riot Shields as they goose-stepped with military precision around the corner and out of sight. We decided the show was so good, another dube was in order, and as we stepped back inside to twist one up and refill the wine glass this thunderous cacophonous roar of voices could be heard. We ran back to the balcony just in time to see these 50 or so cops no longer information, running helter skelter every man for himself mode, for their lives, being chased by at least three hundred rock throwing, Banshee screaming tie dyed,
sandal wearing, patchoolie smelling, long haired, peace loving, college students. It was a glorious sight to behold indeed. And it was only day two.

One of my roommates Steve (RIP lost at sea) had these asbestos gloves, and one of those David (as in David and Goliath) slings, and a gas mask from the surplus store in Santa Barbara. The cops would fire a tear gas canister into the crowd and Steve would run over and pick it up and sling it back into the phalanx of cops marching down the street who had fired it. Needless to say that REALLY pissed them off. They finally figured out where he lived and retaliated in kind, but that part comes later.

Times were so different then. Let me give you an example. In my bedroom, in the bottom drawer of my dresser was where I made my living. I had a large jar there with a thousand hits of acid. Nothing fancy like Owsley or anything, just some very mellow generic pink tabs. They were $3 a hit. Everyone in town knew where they were, and we never locked our doors. People would come in, when no one was home, walk back to my room, get however many they wanted, and leave the cash in the drawer. No one ever stole the acid or the money. I was usually somewhere above the San Marcos pass hiking in the mountains and tripping, or sitting around naked in the hot springs. I had sat on the cliff over looking the ocean peaking on a few hits, and read The Hobbit in one night in it's entirety. My pad and Isla Vista were a very cool warm friendly place to live. Until…

Until the cops figured out where Steve lived, opened up the front door and lobbed in a canister of CS Pepper gas. The CS was banned for use in warfare by the Geneva Convention, but apparently was OK to use on scum, long haired college students. Now tear gas. If you get it into your eyes, can be washed out with water, but not this CS shit. Water intensifies the effects. The net result is that all our clothes and furniture had to be tossed, and we were unable to go into it for about 6 days, and only for a few moments at a time for several more weeks. So I've set the scene and the circumstances that resulted in me finding myself in this mansion.

Let me explain where I was. Hope Ranch is an uber rich snob community in Santa Barbara, a few miles south of Isla Vista. Uber rich, nouveau riche, assholes, with a "property owners association" run by bored uber rich snob bored housewives with nothing to do. Remember now this is 1970 and these houses are already in the million dollar plus range. I'm in this monstrous house being occupied by the opposing army. Uber rich snob frat boys who want to rebel against mommy dearest, anyway they can. The party is hardy, the wine (a dainty little Bordeaux Blanc stolen from some rich daddies cellar no doubt), Napoleon Brandy and good Columbian and Oaxacan bud. And of course the obligatory uber rich and uber trashy sorority girls.

You know now that I think back, partying with rich kids wasn't so bad. The kitchen in this pad was huge with one of those butcher block islands floating in a sea of Carrera marble floor tiles. The bathroom was so beautiful I felt shame defiling it's porcelain God by peeing in it. Everything was white. The tile floor the tile walls the tiled shower with a white frosted door. I mean even the toilet paper was white. With this place you would expect to have your butt wiped by the servants in Tuxedos and white gloves, using hand made French Lace doilies. White of course. The White theme was carried into the masters bedroom as well. Not to mention, I swear this is true, a goose down mattress. I was already scheming on how to lure one of those frat girls up there to try it out, but alas that was not to be.

So here I am, a homeless waif and war orphan in this Animal House, meets Cheech and Chong, meets Gone With The Wind pad filled with drunk and stoned frat boys who already have gotten too many notices from Scarlet O'hara, the head of the owners association about breaking rule #668 no loud noise after 10PM or some such shit, and Scarlet's 10 illegitimate drunk stoned Sorority Sisters.

I had gone back upstairs to take a dump in The Hall of Ivory toilet room. I just couldn't resist. It made me feel so special. I was getting ready to head down stairs again to peruse those frat girls. The front door was set in a 20 foot high wall with windows running across the top of the wall above the door. That's when I saw the police car pull up. Then the second one. Then the third one. Rolling up in full stealth mode with lights off. CRAP!

I ran to the bedroom and looked out the window. More of the bastards coming through the gate by the pool house. The oak tree was too far away to make the jump from the window sill. I WAS TRAPPED LIKE A RAT SINKING IN THE SPLENDER OF THE TITANIC! What to do, what to do? My first thought of course was drugs. No pot on me. Thank god, I hate eating pot, it tastes like shit. Three hits of acid. I could flush those before the cops turned the water off, but hey, why waste good drugs? So I threw them down my throat with some of that Chateau Lafitte Rothswhatever it's called wine. They
say desperate times call for desperate measures, and desperate men do desperate things, so not wanting to disappoint those people who make up all those "They say" sayings, I ran into the bedroom, and grabbed the white bed sheet off the bed, kicked my shoes under the bed, but left my white socks on, and headed for the bathroom. I climbed into the shower and waited and listened.

Now you're probably thinking WTF? He's in a shower in his stockings with a white bed sheet, waiting for the cops! This guy really is a nut case. Well ya,…this guy is a nut case, but I'm crazy like a fox too. I heard them bust down the front and back doors simultaneously. It wasn't long before I heard the steps on the staircase, and I put my plan into action. I flattened myself against the wall like the Q key for Sam Fischer in Splinter Cell, raise the white sheet above my head, and held it in front of me. I heard someone say "check that bathroom". So, I swear to God this Deputy Dawg comes in and looks around. He can see through the frosted
glass door without having to open it, cause he can see all the way back to the white tile, or in this case the bed sheet hiding his quarry. After about 15 minutes my arms are really getting heavy.

After about a half hour or so, I'm just fucking ripped on this acid, the bud and the wine, and this shower is looking like the cargo hold on that ship in "Krakatoa East Of Java". It's this one scene where this guy is strung out on Laudinum and they are trying to detox him by locking him in the hold. And he's hallucinating like crazy. Now Krakatoa East of Java was a really bad movie, even if it was in Cinerama. I mean Krakatoa is West of Java for Christ sakes. But it's one redeeming quality was the aforementioned scene. The Special Effects guy was definitely a head. Aside from the Cinemascope projection of the octopus on the wall, the rest of the hallucinations were the closest to the real thing I've yet to see from any film. Of course I did see it on Acid so maybe a re-screening might change my mind.

Anyway back to the shower. There was nothing left in this bathroom that was white. Colors and trails and colored trails, and trails off the trails. If you've never taken acid and are wondering what the hell trails are, go to the control panel click on mouse then go to the pointer options tab and set it for long pointer trails. Then sweep your cursor across the screen. That's what everything does when you're on acid, except with colors added. Now you know what the album title "Happy Trails" by Quicksilver Messenger Service was talking about. Not Roy Roger's theme song that's for sure.

In Carl Sagan's book "The Dragons Of Eden, he speculates on the idea that Marijuana might be responsible for Human civilization. He points out that the Pygmies are ambush hunters and can stay motionless for hours after smoking their dope that they do before the hunt. He says this ability to stay motionless is enhanced by the drug, and that maybe Pot was the first drug ever cultivated, giving rise to agriculture and civilization itself. Wouldn't that be a trip if it was real. We could all tell Harry Anslinger to kiss our ass.

Anyway it's been , it seems, like two hours I've been doing the Rain Forest Pygmy imitation, when all is quiet in the house, and to my great relief I can finally lower my arms. The dirty deed is done and the perps have gone, taking everyone with them. The house is mine alone. I go and flop out on that down mattress, albeit alone, and crash hard.

I'm jolted to consciousness by the slam of the front door, and yelling. Mommy and Daddy have bailed out Junior and are surveying the wreckage that once was their home, and giving junior hell. Probably telling the poor bastard that he's cut out of the will. DAMN! And I'm still stuck upstairs. Oh well, may as well make good while the time is there to be making it. I got undressed, jumped into the shower that was once my temporary prison, wet myself down, get out, rap a towel around my waist, walk out to the edge of the staircase, and make my presence known.

"Hey! Is there any coffee brewing?" I say in my best just woke up groggy voice, acting as if I had somehow been missed by the police and slept through the entire tawdry affair. "Whoa bro. What happened to the pad?" Dad was up the staircase faster than a mama rhino who's baby had just been threatened telling me to get my clothes on and get the fuck out of his house. Not being one to argue, I got dressed and with a last "Are you sure there's no fresh coffee? I could sure use a cup!" this boy was out the door.

I hopped into my '57 Vee Dub bus affectionately named The Blue Meanie, with a wooden back bumper painted with stars and stripes that said America Change it with Love, and bidding a fond adieu to that bastion of Reagonomics that still is Hope Ranch, I headed out to Hermosa Beach where a special sweet young lady had told me a few days earlier, I could crash there for a few days. But first I had to pick up a gas mask and make one last dash into the pad for... well of course. The jar in my bottom drawer, and any monies accumulated in my absence.


Disclaimer: As there is still outstanding John Doe warrants for the perpetrators of the bank burning, let me just say that that event never happened and my participation is strictly ficticious. And, if I'm not mistaken the bottle of wine was a gallon of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and was not chilled.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Perfect Park Peace Monument

Dedication of the Perfect Park Peace Monument

By Bob Potter , June 10, 2003

A third of a century ago, our forefathers - and foremothers - and fore-motherfuckers - hippies and yippies; speed freaks and Jesus freaks; Students radicalized by their professors; Professors radicalized by their students; Anarchists, Pacifists and Registered Republicans; Flower Children, Franciscan Friars and pissed-off Football Players; Marxist-Leninists and Proto-Feminists; Surfers, Sorority Sisters and Sexual Revolutionaries; Space Cadets and Vietnam Vets; the Hare Krishna and the Woodstock Nation; Visionaries in all colors and Mindblown lead guitarists of non-existent bands; not to mention winos, transients, alcoholics Anonymous and Otherwise, the Chairman of the Sociology Department and ordinary college students caught up in the pure adrenalin of the moment - All of these people, and indescribable hundreds more, made history with their asses, by sitting down on them here in Perfect Park, in violation of a Police Curfew Order, linking arms to defend their community.

What could have brought so many unlikely people - including more than a few still alive here in this audience - to that outlandish act of defiance? Tonight, exactly 33 years later, it is worth looking back briefly, and as unsentimentally as possible under the circumstances, to remember what a hell of a mess things had gotten into.

To begin with, there was the Vietnam Crisis. By early 1968, with the February Tet Offensive, the American public had begun to wise up to the fact it had been lied to (does that sound familiar?) and that the Vietnam War had become unwinable, though young Americans continued to be drafted and killed in action by the thousands. This quickly brought on a Political Crisis, as President Lyndon B. Johnson was driven from the race in that Presidential Election Year by antiwar activists led by Eugene McCarthy and later Bobby Kennedy - whose assassination after the California primary in June brought chaos and deceit in its wake, a tumultuously rigged Democratic Convention and a bloody police riot in the streets of Chicago. And this coincided with a perilous turning point in the Racial Crisis in America. The non-violent insurgence of the Civil Rights movement to overturn segregation ended in calamity, with the murder of Martin Luther King on April 4,1968, touching off catastrophic urban riots across the country, and calls for Armed Struggle. The backlash from all of this brought the election in November of Richard Nixon as President of the United States.

It was in the long shadow of these events that activism - violent and non-violent - came to the sunny shores of Santa Barbara. Thanks to the EOP program, an early example of Affirmative Action, the previously lily-white UCSB campus was integrated - though the Black students who arrived were unhappy enough with their treatment by campus bureaucracy and local law enforcement that one day they took over North Hall - the campus Computer Center! That every bit of the campus' computing went on in one small building tells you how long ago that was. The peaceful settlement worked out by the UCSB administration, brought the promise of more minority faculty and students, and new Black Studies and Chicano Studies Departments - but triggered a vicious denunciation from Governor Ronald Reagan, who had won his job in the first place by attacking student demonstrators at Berkeley, an ongoing Educational Crisis.

Concurrently an Environmental Crisis had erupted, with the Santa Barbara Oil Spill of January 1968, the single worst ecological disaster of our times, and the opening gun in a war of attrition between developers and environmentalists that continues along this coast to this very day. The oil-soaked dead birds on the beach turned surfers and ordinary beach goers overnight into radical activists.

Meanwhile, thanks to the baby boom, UCSB had doubled its enrollment between 1954 and 58, doubled it again by 1963, and again by 1967. Too busy building classrooms to bother with dormitories, the University solved its problems by steering this avalanche of students into substandard overcrowded apartment houses thrown up overnight by private land speculators and slum landlords, creating a demographic dystopia called Isla Vista, and precipitating a Housing Crisis (well, thereÕs always a Housing Crisis in Isla Vista).

And all of this, let's remember, was unfolding generationally in the throbbing context of the Countercultural Crisis of the 1960's, that sexually-pioneering, musically-energized, chemically-induced metaphysical vision quest and psychedelic light show. Oh, you should have been here!

But if you were, you'll remember the pain and disillusion of it too. Woodstock led on to Altamont. Repression and violence were as American as Apple Pie, as Black militant H. Rap Brown pointed out. There were signs of trouble locally as early as 1969, with the arrest of 7 Black student leaders by the Santa Barbara Sheriffs on the pretext of an eviction notice, bringing student demonstrators out by the thousands. And April of that year brought the first death, when a bomb set off in the Faculty Club killed an innocent custodian, named Dover Sharp - a senseless violent crime still unsolved.

In the fall came news of the firing of a popular (and decidedly countercultural) Anthropology professor. The Bill Allen Crisis, which culminated in massive demonstrations and a petition signed by 7,776 students demanding an open hearing on his personnel case, was at once a carnivalesque assault on academic pomposity and a serious protest against the ivory tower obliviousness of much of the faculty, at a time when the world seemed literally to be coming apart. Bill Allen had the temerity to speak to students about what was on (and in) their minds, and it seemed he had been fired precisely for doing so.

And speaking of injustice, there were nightly TV news clips of the bizarre show trial of the Chicago Seven, with Judge Julius Hoffman railroading criminal Conspiracy charges against antiwar activists who barely knew one another, with Black leader Bobby Seale gagged and bound in the courtroom. At the year's end, as Tom Hayden, one of the defendants, came to speak on campus, a Crisis of Justice was palpable across America. Could we trust our traditional institutions, or were they in the process of failing us, precipitating anarchy and revolution - or maybe fascism?

It was in such incendiary times that Isla Vista burst into flames 33 years ago, putting this most improbable trouble spot on the world map forever after. In the first few months of 1970 there were to be three major civil disorders.

In January came huge campus protests against the firing of Bill Allen, and the calling of Santa Barbara Sheriffs to clear the Administration Building of protestors, with Captain Joel Honey, the loose cannon of the Sheriffs Tactical Squad, leading the charge. As Allen's appeal for an open hearing was turned down, with the arrest of 19 student leaders, matters careened off campus and out of control. On February 26, after a rousing speech by William Kunstler, the lawyer for the Chicago Seven, and the beating of student leader Rich Underwood by police, crowds gathered in the Isla Vista streets and attacked Realty Offices and the Bank of America, seen as the prime local symbol of the Establishment. Later that night, having chased off the police presence, the crowd set a fire in the lobby of the bank and then watched in amazement as the place burned to the ground.

The ashes of the bank were still smoldering the next day as Governor Ronald Reagan arrived in town to vilify the bank burners as "cowardly little bums" and call in the National Guard. The Bank of America took out nationwide full-page advertisements offering a $25,000 reward for the arrest of the arsonists, vowing to rebuild the bank. Reagan's call for a campus crackdown seemed to be heeded shortly afterwards, when Chancellor Vernon Cheadle banned Chicago Seven defendant Jerry Rubin from speaking on campus, saying it would "seriously threaten the welfare of the University." Unappeased, Reagan made a speech to a Growers Convention on April 7, in which he made the following infamous statement about campus disorders: "If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now."

It seemed he didn't have long to wait. On April 16, after a campus speech by Berkeley radical Stu Albert calling on students to "rip off the pigs," there was an angry rally in Perfect Park, then a vacant lot at the end of the Embarcadero loop that had become an informal community gathering place. As night fell the new temporary bank was attacked, as were realty offices; other students - protesting the violenceÑ defended the bank and extinguished fires. The police waded into the middle of this melee, firing tear gas and birdshot into the crowd indiscriminately, from dump trucks specially outfitted for the occasion - an action that was dubbed "Operation Wagontrain". The next night the violence (and the resistance against it) resumed - with tragic consequences. As police arrived in riot gear, amid reports of sniper fire, anti violence students were attempting to defend the temporary bank from assault. One of them, Kevin Moran, was shot and killed.

KCSB the campus radio station was covering these events live, with reporters in the field, as they had previous demonstrations. Fearing that the reports were giving away police tactics and deployments, Sheriff James Webster demanded that the University authorities close down the station - an order with which Vice Chancellor Steven Goodspeed complied. So it was that the only recorded silencing of a radio station by government order in American history took place, right over there on the UCSB campus. The death of Moran was attributed to snipers, and a dawn-to-dusk curfew was imposed, with heavy police patrols and reports of beatings and apartments broken into. On April 20, as Governor Reagan made a speech blaming Moran's killing on those who "take the law into their own hands," it was revealed that a Santa Barbara policeman had admitted that his rifle had "accidentally" discharged at the time of Moran's shooting. In a subsequent Coroner's inquest, held with little public scrutiny, the shooting of Kevin Moran would be ruled to be accidental, and the policeman, Officer David Gosselin, exonerated and returned to duty.

Less than two weeks later President Nixon astonished the world, escalating the Vietnam War by invading Cambodia. The resulting firestorm of protest spread from coast to coast. At Kent State, Ohio National Guard troops fired into a crowd of protesting students, killing 4 of them. UCSB students occupied and closed the Santa Barbara airport, and surged onto the 101 Freeway, blocking it for many hours. As Universities across the country began to close down, the UCSB faculty was energized at last, moving quickly and effectively to keep our community together, by offering special "national crisis" courses focusing on the circumstances of the times.

It seemed that the school year might end quietly, but events intervened once again. On June 3 news leaked out that 17 people - student leaders and activists, the "usual" suspects Ñ had secretly been indicted, accused of burning down the Bank of America. One of those indicted had in fact been in jail the night of the bank burning. The resulting outrage led to further street and campus demonstrations, including attempts to torch the temporary bank. With disorder in Isla Vista once again, State officials, apparently acting on instructions from Governor Reagan's office, ordered the Los Angeles County Sheriffs to dispatch their Special Enforcement Branch to restore order. Instead, this notoriously violent paramilitary outfit, which had cracked heads in many urban riots, brought a reign of terror into Isla Vista. On June 8 and 9, enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew, the LA Sheriffs, accompanied by local law enforcement units, kicked down doors, dragged Isla Vistans from their houses, beat them bloody with their nightsticks, sexually harassed and intimidated, destroyed vehicles and personal property, sprayed mace and threw tear gas canisters into private yards and dwellings, threatening to shoot to kill.

At this very dark moment came Isla Vista's finest hour. With their streets under siege the next day, June 10, a group of faculty, student and community leaders met in the Methodist to seek a collective strategy. They decided to organize a sit-in in Perfect Park that night, to protest the police repression. By the time of the 7:30 curfew a quiet and determined crowd of some 700 had gathered, including UCSB faculty and staff and students of all social and political persuasions. When the police began arresting them for curfew violations, they reacted with calm, non-violent acceptance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. At 9:20, with nearly 300 arrested, police ordered the remaining crowd to disperse. When no one moved, the police sprayed pepper gas from a machine directly into the crowd. Then, as the Santa Barbara News-Press described it the next day, "gas-masked deputies swarmed into the crowd, flailing their nightsticks in all directions." Those arrested were hauled away to the still-unfinished New County Jail where many were subjected to further beatings, denied bail, abused, stripped naked, sprayed with mace and thrown into solitary confinement.

But a crucial moral point had been made. Judge Joseph Lodge ordered charges dismissed against all those arrested and, faced with an ultimatum from University officials, Governor Reagan agreed to end the curfew and withdraw the L.A. Sheriffs. Peace returned to the streets of Isla Vista. The promised bloodbath had been averted, and the task of creating new institutions for the Isla Vista community had begun.

In the aftermath of the 1970 riots, a whole array of community institutions came into being in Isla Vista. The IV Recreation and Park District would go on to become a dynamic force in the establishment of parks and other public venues for the first time, along with the dream of cityhood (with or without Goleta). The University began to provide funds, and pay belated if sporadic attention to its unruly stepchild; one tangible result was the IV Foot Patrol, putting officers into direct daily contact with the community. Also established were the IV Credit Union, the IV Medical Clinic (bringing the inimitable Dr. Dave Bearman to town), the Isla Vista Youth Projects, and the IV Food Co-op which remain vital and highly-value institutions to this day. In short a true community was born, out of the courage and solidarity of the Perfect Park sit-in.

It was in an effort to commemorate that event, and in a larger sense the spirit of peaceful protest that is the most important legacy of the Vietnam era, that some visionaries set out in the early 1990's to create a Monument in Perfect Park. They had to begin by saving the Park itself!

Perfect Park had been purchased in the 1970's by a Santa Monica doctor who wanted to build a Safeway Supermarket. Only the long Goleta Water moratorium prevented him from doing so. In 1992 - eleven years ago! - Isla Vista voters approved a referendum saving Perfect Park from the developers, and two years later the Park District bought the property. Carmen Lodise, the historian and unofficial Alcalde of Isla Vista, was probably the first to propose building a monument to the anti-war movement on the site. That Carmen was proposing it guaranteed that certain other people would oppose it - and so indeed they did. Critics denounced the whole idea as an attempt to glorify bank-burners and bomb-throwers, waste taxpayers' money and enrich unspecified cronies.

In 1995 - eight years ago! -the IV Park District decided to appoint a committee to study the issue, including both proponents and opponents. Against my better judgment (I had, after all, co-authored a book on the IV Riots) I applied to join it. Despite our disagreements we held some useful public forums and learned that the IV community generally liked the idea. Most thought it should be a positive symbol for Peace, to unite rather than divide the community.

When the committee was reconstituted in 1996 we adopted a mission statement that made clear our commitment to honoring peaceful protest. We further decided that the monument should be built with private donations rather than public funds - a noble idea, though easier said than done. And as for what the thing should look like, there were dozens of conflicting strong opinions. A consultation with the County Art Commission yielded the bright idea of a national design competition, which of course we couldnÕt afford to finance. Here the amazing people at the Fund For Santa Barbara came to our rescue in 1997, funding a $3,800 grant, which enabled us to reach artists all over the country.

To vet the entries we appointed a Selection Committee of arts professionals and community representatives (including John Muir, a combat veteran of the Vietnam war, who is here today). In June 1998 - five years ago! - the committee picked 6 finalists, who were given $500 grants to build models of their proposed monument designs. The following year, as fund raising began with a goal of $20,000, we held three public exhibitions of the models, on campus and in IV, gathering input and reactions to the designs; Santa Barbara artist Colin Gray's design for a cluster of arches proved to be the public favorite. In May 1999 - four years ago! - our committee voted to recommend Colin's design be built, and the IV Park District Board accepted the recommendation, authorizing the monument to be built on Park District land here in Perfect Park. Now all we had to do was raise $20,000.

Thanks to a flock of small donations, and a few large ones (thank you, Michael Douglas, and Richard and Tekla Sanford, for your $1,000 checks!) plus two generous grants of $2,500 from the IV Community Relations Council of the UCSB Associated Students, we had by June of 2001 - two years ago! - raised some $13,000.

They say that everything changed after September 11, 2001. That was indeed the case with our project. Suddenly, with the war in Afghanistan, a Peace Monument began to seem like a timely idea, rather than an exercise in nostalgia. People who had written us off as a bunch of aging hippies began to understand what we were up to, and pay attention. In January Congresswoman Lois Capps lent her name and support to our effort, speaking at a campus gathering where ColinÕs model was displayed, with television coverage from KEYT. In May 2002 -just a year ago! - filmmaker and film critic Peter Biskind came to town to show his infamous documentary Don't Bank on Amerika and help us raise over $2,000, and someone found a stash of old Burning Bank Check Posters and donated them to the cause.

As the Bush administration began its push toward war with Iraq, our small Peace project rode the wave of public outrage and protest as the Peace movement came alive all across the globe. Daniel Ellsberg came to town and joined our honorary board of advisors, which by then included Dick Flacks, David Krieger, Tom Hayden, Marc McGinnis, David Smith and Terence Hallinan In February of this year, as the war clouds gathered, the L.A. Times ran a prominent feature story on our project.

That same week, - less than four months ago! - still $9,000 shy of our new goal of $25.000, I picked up the telephone to find that I was speaking with someone who wanted the Perfect Park Peace Monument to be built - and had the courage and the money to make it happen. Thanks to that visionary donor - who has insisted on remaining anonymous! - we received an astonishing pledge of $9,000 and broke ground in April.

So thanks to all the hundreds of people who made this possible - Diane Conn, Dave Bearman and Carmen Lodise still on the committee, and all the others who served time on it, including Mitch Stockton, Karl Brunner, Brent Foster, Dave Fortson, Leila Salazar, Ariana Katovich and untold others. And let's not forget someone whose reckless and disastrous actions put our initiative back on page one, and turned the Peace movement from a distant memory to an international necessity - President George W. Bush!

But finally our thanks must go to the people who, 33 years ago tonight, made a commitment to non-violence and kept it so memorably, who took a beating unflinchingly, looked repression in the face, and pepper gas in the eye - the people who made this ground historic when they put their asses on the line.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Joe Melchione Photography

Joe Melchione is still doing photography and has a fine set of classic riots-era photographs online and, I think, available for purchase.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Che - 40 Years Later

Che Guevara was a hero to many of us at UCSB and in Isla Vista in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For me, he remains one to this day.

"The Martyring of Che Guevara,
By Robert Scheer, October 9, 2007 at TruthDig

The 40th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara elicited considerable media
attention, mostly about his iconic image captured on T-shirts throughout the
world. There were the standard snarky asides that many young people wearing
those T-shirts have scant notion of who Che was, but the journalists
reporting the story seemed equally ignorant. Little was reported about Che’s
life and what led him to shun the comforts of a physician’s lifestyle in
Argentina to fight as a revolutionary in the rugged terrains of Cuba, the
Congo and, finally, Bolivia—or why someone who claimed to be obsessed with
helping the world’s poor was executed, gangland style, on the order of a CIA

One exception was the BBC, which bothered to send a reporter to Florida to
interview Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-born CIA agent who was part of a team
of CIA operatives and Bolivian soldiers who captured Che. “Mr. Rodriguez
ordered the soldier who pulled the trigger to aim carefully, to remain
consistent with the Bolivian government’s story that Che had been killed in
action in a clash with the Bolivian army,” said the BBC report. Che’s hands
were then cut off and put in formaldehyde to preserve his fingerprints.

In his interview with the BBC, Rodriguez claimed that the order to kill Che
came from the Bolivian government, and that he went along: “I could have
tried to falsify the command to the troops, and got Che to Panama as the
U.S. government said they wanted,” he recalled, but he didn’t. Clearly, the
U.S. government was not unhappy with Rodriguez’s role in the bloody affair,
for he went on, as he boasts, to train the Nicaraguan Contras and advise the
repressive Argentine military government in the 1980s. He showed the BBC
reporter his CIA medal for exceptional service along with a picture of him
with the first President Bush in the White House. George H.W. Bush, it
should be remembered, had been the head of the CIA during some of the years
that Rodriguez worked there and was not put off by the man’s past deeds,
including his part in Che’s assassination.

So, what’s the big deal? Che was a Cuban Communist, and it’s a good thing
that folks like Bush and Rodriguez were able to defeat him before he spread
his evil message further—right? False, on every count.

First off, he was either an Argentine Trotskyite or an anarchist, but Che
was not a Communist in what we think of as the heavily entrenched,
bureaucratized Cuban mold. Che was restless in post-revolutionary Cuba
because his anarchist temperament caused him to bristle at the emerging
bureaucracy. He was, like Trotsky in his dispute with Stalin, skeptical that
the kind of socialism that truly served the poor could survive in just one
country; hence, he died attempting to internationalize the struggle.

It also turned out that killing Che was a big mistake, as his message was
spread more effectively by his execution than by his guerrilla activities,
which were, after he left Cuba, quite pathetic. This is the case in Latin
America, where political leaders he helped inspire are faring better than
those coddled by the CIA. Daniel Ortega, whom the CIA worked so doggedly to
overthrow, is the elected president of Nicaragua. Almost all of Latin
America’s leaders are leftists, some more moderate than Che (as in Brazil),
and others as fiery as the guerrilla (in Venezuela), but all determinedly
independent of yanqui control. Fortunately, they differ from Che in
preferring the ballot to the gun. But all recognize that poverty remains the
region’s No. 1 problem and that the free-market model imposed by the United
States hardly contains all the answers. Recall that the U.S. break with the
Cuban revolution came before Castro’s turn toward the Soviets, and that it
was over his nationalization of American-owned business assets in Cuba
ranging from Mafia-run casinos to the electric power grid.

These days, few politicians in the United States even seem to care about the
subversive Cuban influences in our own backyard that once haunted them. The
embargo on Cuba remains to mollify Florida’s aging Cuban community, but
what’s important to Washington today is Mideast oil, not protecting the
peasants of Bolivia from the likes of Che Guevara.

On Monday, Che’s death was marked, in the Bolivian village where he was
killed, by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who proclaimed his movement “100
percent Guevarist and socialist,” which hardly registers as a propaganda
success story for those favoring CIA assassinations. They turned a
failed—and flawed—guerrilla fighter into an enduring symbol of resistance to


A good site for links to stuff about Che:
Che: Selected Writings

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chant 1447

Surprise, surprise...

[ Excerpt of "I.V. May Add 1,447 Housing Units - Density, Dude," SB INDEPENDENT, September 6, 2007, By Chris Meagher ]

With the passage of the Isla Vista Master Plan last week, Santa Barbara County officials believe they have met the state’s housing mandate and have sent a letter to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) asking for final certification. As a result of rezoning included in the plan, 1,447 additional housing units can be built in the already densely populated Isla Vista area. Of those units, 1,415 can be “built at densities ranging from 25-45 dwelling units per acre” — a density rate consistent with state guidelines for lower-income housing in the county. The 1,415 units will sit on 259 acres of recently rezoned land in Isla Vista.

County planners knew the completion of the plan would help make up for the county’s overall shortfall of available affordable units, but wouldn’t speculate on how big the effect would be until the Board of Supervisors okayed the Master Plan. Up until that point, the county had a reported shortfall of 1,235 units out of a designated 6,064 units it had to zone for by December.

The state housing mandate doesn’t call on counties to build homes, but rather requires them to prepare for housing through policy decisions and incentive packages for builders. HCD crafts a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for agencies such as the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), which then divvies up that number as requirements for each city and county. David Matson, the county deputy director of long-range planning, said the primary consideration in placing housing units is providing a balance between housing and available jobs. The South Coast received 38 percent of the RHNA-zoned units in the county. Another 30 percent went to the Santa Maria area — primarily Orcutt — while Santa Ynez received 13 percent, Lompoc 14 percent, and Cuyama five percent. Because the greatest job generation in the county comes from the South Coast, Isla Vista was an appropriate place for the units, Matson said.

Meanwhile, some groups have stepped up against the choice to make I.V. housing even denser. Chris Henson, director of the Coastal Housing Coalition, called the move by the county “shortsighted,” opining that the housing units should be geared to an entire county community and not just I.V.’s student population. Henson pointed to a section of the county’s Housing Element which states that the “county shall ensure adequate sites zoned at densities that accommodate the county’s ‘fair share’ housing needs for the current planning period at all income levels and in all Housing Market Areas.”

When asked if the county was just putting the units in Isla Vista to get through this round of housing mandates, Supervisor Brooks Firestone — whose 3rd District includes Isla Vista — said that various options had been studied and that the option adopted was ideal. “The county ultimately must do what the state requires us to do,” he said. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said that while the housing crisis is by no means solved with this move, rezoning Isla Vista allows the county to move on and address the next cycle of mandates from the state. The county didn’t go about the last cycle in the most productive way, Carbajal said, but is working to improve this time around.

SBCAG is already working on the next cycle of mandates... As it sits now, the county will be forced to accommodate 13,312 new housing units between 2008 and 2014 as part of the RHNA program. SBCAG officials are attempting to negotiate with the state, saying a cookie-cutter mandate doesn’t work in Santa Barbara. “Housing Elements are a sham throughout the state of California,” Carbajal said. “The state is not providing the tools —

the creativity and the flexibility — to meet our mandates. It’s a bogus process that polarizes our community.”

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bob Goodwin, R.I.P.

Following the burning of the Bank of America in 1970 and the beginning of the community building period of Isla Vista's history, the area battles shifted to controlled growth in the wider Goleta Valley via a "water moratorium" enforced by the Goleta Water District. A major fighter in those battles was Robert Goodwin.

The following is excerpted from "Bob Goodwin’s Good Fight," by Barney Brantingham, SB INDEPENDENT, Augutst 16, 2007]

Water Warrior: Attorney Bob Goodwin received countless threats while defending the Goleta Water District hookup moratorium back in the 1970s and ’80s. Goodwin, who died last week at 64 in Livermore, was one of the main targets of the infuriated development interests who’d been busy trying to pave every inch of Goleta.

Under the good old boys previously running the board, the district was approving every project that came along, sucking up more precious water than could be replenished by nature. Over-drafting the ground water basin meant that, like it or not, at some point Goletans would have no choice but be forced to hook up to expensive state water, which in turn would produce even further growth.

According to Ed Maschke, former water board member, not only was Goodwin threatened, but he himself received threats from anonymous callers while at home with his children. “We will come and get you,” voices at the other end of the line said.

Donna Hone, also a former board member, recalled anonymous phone threats and being severely frightened at a forum when a developer fulminated, stirring up a crowd of burly construction workers with ugly accusations. “It was a scary business,” she recalled. “Passions ran high” in those turbulent days. “We were idealistic and the other side was looking out for its pocketbooks,” including the banking interests, Hone said.

... Until [1971]... few attended board meetings and directors were reappointed without challenge at the polls...

Through the 25 years the moratorium lasted, “Bob was a hero,” Bill Wallace, former Water District board member and county supervisor told me.

In the early 1970s, residents began rebelling against runaway development in Goleta, then known as the fastest growing unincorporated community in California. Young homeowners who had moved in as tract houses replaced lemon orchards were appalled by the unrestrained growth and lack of planning. The pro-growth Board of Supervisors just shrugged.

“People just woke up,” Wallace told me. “People said (the rate of development) was just too much.” So a group of young professionals — Llana Sherman, a teacher at La Patera School, and Raul Martinez and John McCord, engineers at one of the new research plants springing up — formed a slate that unseated the old Water Board majority.

All that Goodwin and the homeowners swept into district office in 1971 wanted was to enact a moratorium on new hookups until voters approved new sources. It was democracy in action.

“Bob Goodwin was a real superstar,” one former district official recalled. “I remember your comment about Bob being the Billy Martin of water law.” As the board majority shifted, Goodwin was bounced at least twice from his post as attorney for the district. (Billy Martin served as manager of the Yankees five different times.)

The hookup battle led to into a fight over who had the rights to underground water: owners of the land above or the public agency serving the community at large. “It was a classic struggle between private greed and public need,” Maschke said.

“He was a brilliant water attorney,” Hone said. “He tried to change California water law.” Goodwin argued that the public had the right to subsurface water, and he lost only when the case reached the state Supreme Court, Hone said. But the district still gained invaluable water rights.

“He was a genius,” Wallace added. “He really never would give an inch” in his battles with batteries of attorneys. “He would face eight or nine attorneys,” Maschke said. “Without him, we never would have kept the moratorium. It slowed the madness that transformed Goleta into another concrete bedroom community. He was the best and the brightest.”

Goleta also shook up the California water establishment with the then-revolutionary belief that “if you don’t have the water, you can’t build,” Maschke said. Now state regulations require that proposed developments must show that they have a proven water source. But back then, Goleta became a pariah among many in the state water industry, which traditionally served by and large as a pawn for developers, extending service out to new developments, then handing taxpayers the bill.

Early on, Goodwin and the new board also faced hostility from top district staff, who resented their philosophy and just wanted to keep over-drafting. They didn’t like me, either.

Rest well, Bob Goodwin, valiant warrior and good friend...


[Barney wrote some more in Bob's official obit]:

Robert Goodwin, a key figure in the Goleta water wars and a leader in the homeowner activist movement of the 1970s, is dead.

Goodwin, who died this week in Livermore, served as attorney for the Goleta Water District after a slate of young Goletans unseated board members they accused of bringing the fast-growing community to the brink of a water crisis. The newly elected board then imposed a moratorium of new hookups on grounds that supplies were insufficient to serve added demands unless voters approved new sources.

The water board election, paired with Goleta homeowner attorney Jim Slater being elected to the then-pro-growth county Board of Supervisors, sparked an electrifying ferment among young families that had swelled the Goleta population. A group of well-educated Goletans rose up against what they felt was out-of-control growth, lack of proper planning, and a water district policy of officially promising to serve new developments despite a looming water deficit.

But tumultuous political tides led to fierce disputes as the homeowners won and lost their water board majorities and pro-growth factions regained power. Goodwin, a water law specialist, was ousted as board attorney.

He moved to Livermore around 20 years ago and continued in private practice...

Goodwin graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1964 and its school of law in 1967. He has served as president of the Livermore Chamber of Commerce, president of the ValleyCare Hospital Foundation, director of the Livermore Rotary Club, director of the Eastern Alameda County Bar Association, and Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Family Jewels" Declassified

Washington D.C., June 21, 2007 - The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s, according to declassified documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden announced today that the Agency is declassifying the full 693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities by order of then-CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973--the so-called "family jewels." Only a few dozen heavily-censored pages of this file have previously been declassified, although multiple Freedom of Information Act requests have been filed over the years for the documents. Gen. Hayden called the file "a glimpse of a very different time and a very different Agency." The papers are scheduled for public release on Monday, June 25...

For more info, visit:
National Security Archives

NPR: Family Jewels

Saturday, May 26, 2007

IVMP Approved by SBCPC

[ Excerpt from: "SB Officials Approve I.V. Master Plan," by Matthew Weisner, DAILY NEXUS, May 24, 2007 ]

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission authorized the Isla Vista Master Plan yesterday morning, leaving it only months away from the desk of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors... the Planning Commission voted to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the IVMP...

The Isla Vista Project Area Committee, a group of 13 individuals that includes local residents, students and business owners, took six years to devise the plan. The finalized IVMP attempts to reach a compromise between residents who wish to see a more upscale I.V. and those who are concerned about overdevelopment impacts such as environmental damage and increased traffic...

[Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency Jamie] Goldstein said the planning commission was confident in the plan and he projected that it will go to the Board of Supervisors as early as this August. Goldstein also said in a recent interview that the El Embarcadero and Pardall Road revamping projects would likely begin by summer 2008.


For full text of this article, please go to:

DN: IVMP Approved by SBCPC


Additional coverage at:

SBI: IVMP Go-Ahead

(Jamie Goldstein image courtesy of Paul Wellman and SBI)

Sympathy for The Plan

[ Excerpt from: "A Not-so-Simple Plan," y Matthew Weisner, DAILY NEXUS, May 23, 2007

... Isla Vista is nearing a period of unparalleled growth and development that promises to change the face of this beachside community for years to come... the creation and implementation of the 736-page-long Isla Vista Master Plan will encourage an entirely new change. It changes zoning codes, gives I.V. a downtown facelift and updates parks and roadways throughout I.V. to streamline transportation.

... if it is approved, the project... could result in new two- to three-story buildings in I.V. as well as a refurbished soccer field and a new skate park.

One of the most prominent ideas in the IVMP is a publicly funded facelift for the “downtown” I.V. area. This plan would connect Pardall Road to Anisq’ Oyo’ Park with a passageway known as a “paseo,” which acts as a walkway for pedestrians. This facelift would establish Anisq’ Oyo’ as both a central point and corridor between apartments and marketplaces in I.V. The plan provides Pardall with widened sidewalks and bike lanes to encourage pedestrian access and safe bicycling.

The IVMP also aims to revamp the faade of the properties on Pardall Road, transforming its current stores into multiple story “mixed use” buildings, with retail stores on the first floors and housing above. In addition, the IVMP outlines the creation of similar “mixed use” buildings along the Embarcadero loop.

The creation of these structures will require changes to current zoning laws, and despite resistance from some residents who are wary of allowing such sizable construction in I.V., planners believe the zoning changes are an integral part of the IVMP.

Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency Jamie Goldstein, who has presided over several Master Plan meetings, said the changes would make downtown more accessible and help make Anisq’ Oyo’ Park a social center of Isla Vista.

“Narrowing Pardall to cars and making it more bicycle and pedestrian friendly will make that area a cool spot to come shop and hang out,” Goldstein said. “It will give businesses more sides, and make going downtown easier for everyone.”

Lou Ventura, a seat holder on the Isla Vista Project Area Committee - the committee charged with creating the IVMP - and owner of property management company Ventura Enterprises, said the challenge would be convincing property owners to pull the trigger on remodels and redevelopments...

Imagining the journey from the 6700 block of Sabado Tarde Road to Freebirds without having to walk in the middle of the street is difficult to comprehend for most Isla Vistans. However, the IVPAC claims the IVMP will improve pedestrian safety throughout I.V. with the construction of new sidewalks in areas such as Camino Pescadero, Sueno and Sabado Tarde Roads.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to resolve the overcrowded intersections of Pardall Road and the two halves of the Embarcadero Loop, the Plan seeks to add large roundabouts. The planners hope the roundabouts will ease traffic conflicts between bicycles and cars.

Currently, the preferred plan for improving traffic flow on El Colegio Road involves roundabouts at all major intersections, and improved sidewalks and bus stops all along the road. Goldstein said one of the possible solutions involves a consolidation of bus routes that would allow for more frequent public transit through I.V.

New zoning laws would allow more than a thousand additional units to the I.V. community - including low- and moderate-income housing in accordance with California State law and the Santa Barbara County’s Inclusionary Housing Program.

According to the law, new I.V. developments of five or more units must allocate at least 25 percent of the total units to affordable housing. Technically speaking, a unit that allows the tenant to spend less than 30 percent of their total income on housing is considered affordable, Goldstein said.

“The plan makes it easier for the private sector to come build and develop,” Goldstein said. “It should result in more affordable housing and increased property tax revenue that can be used only in I.V.”

However, Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Joel Rodriguez-Flores, who currently holds a seat on the IVPAC, said the effects are uncertain.

“I think it will have a mixed impact,” he said. “It will make it possible for more development of affordable housing and also increased revenues for Isla Vista, but it could also increase property values because of the renovations.”

According to the IVMP outline, the Master Plan seeks to “incorporate an appropriate amount of affordable housing within the community. Housing opportunities would be provided for families, students, university faculty and staff and area workers within Isla Vista.”

In addition, the County Redevelopment Agency will see increased revenues - currently about $2 million per year - with which they will fund the public projects outlined in the plan.

The changes introduced by the plan could lead to between 800 and 1400 new units throughout I.V., according to Kris Miller-Fisher, executive staff assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone.

“There hasn’t been the financial impetus for developers to build this much in the past,” Fisher said. “That could change with the passage of the Master Plan.”

Although the IVPAC had their plan for a parking permit program shot down earlier this year, the IVMP seeks to alleviate the severe lack of parking through a multifaceted approach.

First, the plan would install metered parking and minimize the number of red curbs along Pardall Road. Additional spaces could be obtained by negotiating for shared use of surplus spaces, particularly from private lots that planners believe are under-utilized. The combination of these efforts would add anywhere from 200 to 300 spaces to the greater downtown area.

Goldstein said the county hopes to eventually construct a parking structure to serve the downtown I.V. area. An underground parking lot is also being considered, depending on what space is available.

“The parking agency is in negotiation with land owners about a possible purchase for underground parking in I.V.” Goldstein said. “But it’s just too early to know where or how large scale it would be.”

In addition to the extra parking spaces, the IVMP could create a new community center, tentatively located at Estero Park, so long as the plan’s Environmental Impact Report - a document that details the possible environmental hazards associated with construction - is approved

This community center would include a nearby skate park, new basketball courts and a soccer field. The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, a five-member board which assists in developmental oversight, will fund construction of the new playing field in part with a $1 million grant it received from the State of California for new athletic fields.

IVRPD General Manager Dale Sumersille said soccer fields would be constructed first and the basketball courts and skate park would follow. In the meantime, IVRPD and active community members would attempt to accommodate the athletic facilities, the community gardens and the community center all within the confines of Estero Park.

Although Goldstein predicts sending the IVMP to the County Board of Supervisors for approval as early as this summer, the plan must also be approved by the California Coastal Commission, which will determine whether the environmental impact of the plan is acceptable - a process that could take up to 18 months.

IVRPD Vice-Chairman and PAC seat holder Ken Warfield said he was confident that the plan was environmentally conscious, but unsure of CCC’s future decision.

“You never know with the Coastal Commission because they think we have a single constituency,” Warfield said, referring to the greater UCSB community. “It depends on what UCSB’s development plan is.”

IVRPD member Diane Conn said the environmental impacts of the IVMP projects would increase the challenges I.V. currently faces.

“The plan proposes to increase the density of I.V. 20 percent, so you have all the same problems we do now up 20 percent,” Conn said. “There will be impacts to noise, parking, social and police services.”

While some individuals disagree with the Isla Vista Master Plan, all can agree that a monumental amount of time has been spent on it. Goldstein and board members have held more than 50 meetings about the plan and have spent countless hours planning and debating the future of I.V.

The process of creating the IVMP began in 2000...


For full text of this article, along with images of what is envisioned, please go to:

DN: Not So Simple Plan

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

IVMP Hearing 5/23/2007

The hearing before the Planning Commission, on the Isla Vista Master Plan, is this Wednesday:

wed. may 23, 2007, 9:00 A.M.
(anapamu and anacapa) near state street

Here's some email from Jeffrey Beltway about it:


Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 17:02:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: jeffrey beltway
Subject: isla vista,and ucsb the battle for the california coast

the isla vista and ucsb master plans.

the destruction of hundreds of trees,including the EUCALYPTUS CURTAIN,which was planted in the 1800's, which now have numbered metal discs hammered into them and white paint on some of them, yes these mighty living beings that stretch from harder stadium to the sea, sycamore, redwoods, so many other types of trees could be totally destroyed!

23 parks some that could be turned into parking lots. one proposed parking lot on the site of a former gas station, still leaking. BIRDS AND DUCKS etc. including, the gnatcatcher, blue herring,mallards,coonts,blue jays,blackbirds etc. etc. and fish and turtles,wildlife of all kinds, native habitat etc. The release of asbestos,and lead through the contruction of 3,400,000 square feet of condos and townehouses creating more CEDARWOODS (the eviction of 52 families with no cause) the most posted sign in isla vista is roomates wanted!

Air, water,traffic,congestion, density etc. An increase of 5,000 students (to a new total of 25,000).emission city. They want to turn isla vista into westwood (ucla) los angeles.

We believe if the EUCALYPTUS CURTAIN falls then the border of isla vista and ucsb will be lost, and that there will be no difference, it will all be ucsb. for the curtain has always been the border, because these beautiful eucalyptus trees were planted before isla vista and ucsb ever existed!!!! They are a great wind break and reduce utility bills, and retard the deadliest animal in the world----the mosquito.

Help us save them please!! Therefore if isla vista falls to the redevelopment agencys and ucsb's plan then isla vista is the domino that will fall and after that goleta,the goleta valley, naples, gaviota coast, jalama etc. until the
california coast becomes san angeles or santa francisco. Let us join the united nations 100% vote in declaring global warming a fact,and that is destroying the world. let us stop global warming here in isla vista and santa barbara county and tell the developers NO to
their cancerous overdevelopment.

wed. may 23, 2007, 9:00 A.M.
(anapamu and anacapa) near state street

time is running out!!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Joyce Elaine Roop

Friends of Joyce ~ Wikipedia has an entry for Joyce Roop:

Joyce Elaine Roop

Thursday, April 12, 2007

1969 Faculty Club Bombing

The 1969 UCSB Faculty Club bombing that resulted in the death of caretaker Dover Sharp is once again officially being being looked into. Full story at the DAILY NEXUS:

( Image courtesy of the DAILY NEXUS )

[ Following is excerpted from "Police To Resume Investigation of ‘69 Campus Bombing
Letter from Former UCSB Grad Student Spurs Police to Revisit Unsolved Homicide"
By Jessica Mullen / Staff Writer, DAILY NEXUS, April 11, 2007, Issue 100, Volume 87 ]

Before the riots, before the massive protests, before the burning of the Bank of America, an explosion rocked the campus community and took the life of one of its members.

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the UCSB Faculty Club bombing that claimed the life of resident custodian Dover O. Sharp and caused over $1,000 in damage. Since 1969, the case has lain dormant; however, a letter received by the Daily Nexus last Thursday offers new developments and potential leads. UCPD is currently looking into the content of the letter and is attempting to contact the author...

Former UCSB philosophy graduate student Steve Ander is the supposed author of the letter that was postmarked from a town in Switzerland and originally written on Feb. 23. He claims to have witnessed the bombing, and described two or three nameless and sturdily built Caucasians as having been responsible for the homicide.

“I saw the men who I think did it. There were two or three of them, tall, solidly built. That’s all I recall of them. Caucasian,” Ander said in the letter.

In the note, which was scribbled on pink graph paper, Ander expressed remorse for not having come forward earlier. The letter’s focus often strays from the topic of the bombing; at one point, Ander reminisces about his rented hillside trailer and his landlord.

However, later in the document, Ander asserts that the three individuals responsible for the bombing visited him at his trailer and posed questions regarding the condition of the custodian.

“I was at my trailer and saw the two or three men I spoke of walking down the road,” Ander wrote. “They asked me of the caretaker - I do not recall if they asked of him by name - [and] went down the road. I followed them. Naively, I took them as bill collectors.”

Three UCPD officers were on hand to receive the document from a Daily Nexus reporter Monday, but would not handle the document without the use of gloves. Among them was UCPD Public Information Officer Matt Bowman. He said that regardless of the credibility of the document, all evidence must be initially presumed to be legitimate in order to ensure safety.

“We must take all matters seriously until determined otherwise,” Bowman said. “We treat all things as equally serious.”

When the bombing occurred, authorities were unable to arrest any suspect or group, and the case has since remained an open homicide...

The explosive used in the bombing was described by law enforcement in El Gaucho [ predecessor to the Daily Nexus] as a sophisticated device consisting of a timer connected to a wine jug filled with a volatile liquid, and a 6-inch piece of pipe packed with an explosive compound. The blast threw Sharp about 20 feet. He died at the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital three days later.

Sharp, 55, had two children but was separated from his wife and lived at the Faculty Club, serving as the caretaker. The victim’s coworkers described him favorably, characterizing him as dependable but reserved...

According to Bowman, the recently received letter gives law enforcement an opportunity to revisit the unsolved case and determine if any new progress can be made in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“I am happy to say that this letter provided was new information to us, and now we can go back to where the investigation was concluded and see if this evidence sheds new light on a new lead,” Bowman said.

Bowman said the crime committed 38 years ago would still be tried in court if law enforcement officials are able to locate the person or persons involved.

“Even though this case is from 1969, it is an open homicide and we would still seek prosecution through the legal system,” Bowman said.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

1971 Indictments

[ March 29, 2007 Excerpt from the SB INDEPENDENT of "Firing a Federal Prosecutor - The Isla Vista Connection" by Bob Potter, coauthor of "The Campus by the Sea Where the Bank Burned Down," an official account of the 1970 riots in Isla Vista. ]

When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admitted “mistakes were made” in the firing of eight federal prosecutors, his choice of phrase had an oddly Nixonian ring to it. And with good reason. White House meddling in Justice Department affairs for political reasons was an all-too-familiar story during the Nixon years. One particularly flagrant case comes to mind... And interestingly enough, the triggering events occurred in Isla Vista.

Robert L. Meyer was appointed U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles by President Nixon in May 1970. An active Republican, former campaign manager for U.S. Senator George Murphy, and nominee for the state Assembly, he was immediately faced with several explosive and politically controversial cases involving civil rights violations and alleged police misconduct. These included the “mistake killing” of two Mexican nationals by Los Angeles police officers, the killing of L.A. Times newsman Ruben Salazar during a riot in conjunction with the Chicano Moratorium protests, and finally, widespread charges of gross misbehavior by L.A. County Sheriff’s officers during the June 1970 disorders in Isla Vista.

Despite strong pressure from L.A.’s elected officials, including Mayor Sam Yorty, Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess, and Police Chief Edward M. Davis, Meyer’s office pursued these allegations aggressively, convening federal grand juries to investigate the charges. In March 1971, five Los Angeles police officers were indicted by the grand jury, including three on charges stemming from the “mistake killing,” one for abetting a burglary, and one for forcing a female suspect to disrobe. These indictments ignited a huge political furor. In Salazar’s case, a coroner’s inquest ruled the death a homicide, but the police officer escaped prosecution, and no indictments were issued.

It was the Isla Vista cases, however, that brought about Meyer’s downfall. More than 400 reports of police misconduct — including beatings, break-ins, false arrests, and sexual molestation — had been collected from Isla Vista residents. In May 1971, indictments were returned by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles against an unnamed number of law enforcement officers, members of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Branch, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. With the indictments still under seal, Pitchess, Yorty, and Chief Davis all spoke out, with the latter warning that “an ill wind is blowing from Isla Vista.” Sheriff Pitchess flew to Washington, D.C. and met on June 3 with Attorney General John Mitchell. Subsequently the indictments were quashed and never issued.

In November 1971, Meyer was asked to resign by Assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray, acting on instructions from Attorney General Mitchell. “He told me they wanted my resignation, effective January 1,” Meyer recalled, “and that I could have it the easy way, or the hard way.” Meyer resigned his position and died of a heart attack a year later, at the age of 49. After leaving office, Meyer said he had been criticized as a “moderate” or “liberal,” rather than a “true conservative.” Many of his policies did not jibe with what his superiors wanted, but the big issue was “a philosophical area epitomized by the civil rights cases” (L.A. Times, Nov. 15, 1972).

Despite all the evidence, the accused L.A. and Santa Barbara sheriffs’ officers were never prosecuted. Mitchell and Gray, for their part, would go on to become notorious figures in the Watergate scandal. Gray, briefly appointed J. Edgar Hoover’s successor at the FBI, was revealed to have destroyed evidence from Howard Hunt’s safe and was indicted for illegal break-ins, though he escaped conviction. Mitchell became the first U.S. Attorney General to be convicted of illegal activities and sent to prison.

Their role in firing a fearless and nonpartisan U.S. attorney in Los Angeles is barely remembered today. But as we contemplate the current politicization of the attorney general’s office, it is worth remembering that quashing legitimate investigations is only a step away from instigating systematic injustice. That is the road the Bush administration, in its tottering final years, may find too tempting to resist.

History suggests the time to investigate thoroughly and clean house at the Justice Department is now.


Full Text available at the SB INDEPENDENT:

Firing a Federal Prosecutor

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I.V.M.P. Criticised

< Animated GIF courtesy of )

[ Excerpt from "Growing Pains" By Drew Mackie, SB INDEPENDENT, March 15, 2007 ]

Embattled I.V. Master Plan Nears Completion

... Adequate parking, uncongested roadways, and housing for people of varying income levels were among the concerns that drew together such entities as the I.V. Project Area Committee/General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC), UCSB, the I.V. Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD), and several neighborhood organizations in 2000. The PAC/GPAC presented the groups’ proposals for community improvement to the Redevelopment Agency, which was established by the county Board of Supervisors in 1990. Seven years’ worth of meetings after PAC/GPAC’s original presentation, the Redevelopment Agency is close to finalizing an I.V. Master Plan which, according to its proponents, compiles these findings to represent the community’s best chance of reinventing itself and improving its residents’ lives.

The first of three hearings on the Master Plan was held on March 7, allowing the public to give feedback to the Redevelopment Agency before the plan is taken to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Jamie Goldstein, Redevelopment Agency deputy director, said he was proud of the efforts made so far. “This is the most progressive plan the county has ever put together … . There’s not ever been as serious a look into such a relatively small area before,” he said of the document, which includes plans to turn I.V.’s central Pardall Road area into a “downtown” district with more commercial space.

According to Goldstein, outside input during the development of the plan yielded both positive and negative changes...

Many criticisms lobbed against the plan at the March 7 meeting revolved around the prospect of creating housing units for an additional 4,300 I.V. residents. “The biggest issues have to do with land use,” Goldstein said. “People are concerned with changes in population density.” Indeed, the meeting gave rise to concerns that are older than talk of a Master Plan. “You can’t add more population than the services can accommodate,” said Florence Klein, an I.V. resident since 1998. “They need to acknowledge our biggest problems are safety regarding fire and police, then traffic and the lack of parking, and the density of the population that is already here.” Klein, who attended the meeting bearing fragments of her dynamite-exploded mailbox, said she felt police and rescue services were already overtaxed moderating drunken student revelry. Goldstein explained new residences were a necessary trade-off the Master Plan included to meet county mandates for affordable housing.

Other meeting attendees — mostly business owners and longtime non-student I.V. residents — worried that redevelopment could hurt business and that restructuring I.V.’s central Anisq’Oyo Park could ruin a sense of historic preservation. Goldstein said some opposition was expected but maintained that the plan represents I.V.’s best hope for improvement. He also pointed out that only three of the speakers at the meeting spoke in favor of halting the plan altogether.

Ken Warfield, an IVRPD boardmember, defended the process that led to the Master Plan, saying, “Everybody who has had something to say about this has had ample opportunity to say it. … I.V. is going to change. It’s going to be built out and a number of additional people will live in I.V. How that growth and change is going to happen really needs a Master Plan so that it doesn’t become hodgepodge higgledy-piggledy nonsense that other communities have experienced.”

Klein remained unconvinced, noting that she and others will express their dismay at the next meeting on March 19, in the county’s Planning Commission Hearing Room. “We don’t know anybody here who’s really for this,” she said. “It’s madness in the name of greed.”

To read the full article please go to:

SB Independent :: Growing Pains

Friday, March 09, 2007

I.V. Plan Faces Opposition

More about the I.V. Master Plan and the first of three meetings to discuss it with the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.

Meetings 2 & 3 take place on March 19 and April 4:

Long-Term I.V. Plan Faces Opposition at Community Meeting

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I.V. Master Plan @ SBPC

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will consider the adoption of the Isla Vista Master Plan at a public hearing today to discuss the future of affordable housing, transportation and land use in I.V.

The meeting, which will be held in Santa Barbara, will be the first hearing focused on adopting the master plan...

Board Hearing To Examine I.V. Master Plan

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Isla Vista Rampage

UCSB's DAILY NEXUS has reprinted the original EL GAUCHO "Chronology of Events" from the night the bank burned down, 37 years ago. The chrono was prepared by reporters: Jeff Probst, Cindy Heaton, Larry Boggs, Mark Aulman, Becca Wilson and Denise Kessler:

Isla Vista Rampage; Bank Destroyed by Fire

Friday, February 23, 2007

Coal Oil Point

Beach Shelters Wildlife, Inspires Art

By Katie Miserany / Daily Nexus Staff Writer
February 21, 2007, Issue 79 / Volume 87

The crumbling wall known as “the jail” stands watch over Sands Beach at low tide. The heavily decorated wall features graffiti art from many local artists, lending some color to the brown sand that covers the shoreline. Local legend has it that The Doors’ frontman Jim Morrison spent an acid-addled evening on Sands Beach staring at the lights of nearby oil platform Holly, which inspired the song “Crystal Ship.”

The same view prompted former UCSB student and musician Jack Johnson to write the environmentally conscious tune “The Horizon Has Been Defeated.”

Indeed, Sands’ beauty has a history of inspiring both environmental activism on behalf of the animals that call it home, and art celebrating its sublime vistas. The surrounding area is also a productive petroleum field, home to a former opulent estate that was later transformed into a scandal-plagued mental institution and the vulnerable yet adorable Western Snowy Plovers.

( Image of "The Jail" courtesy of Rickey Mizuno / Daily Nexus )


Sands Beach was originally part of a Mexican land grant awarded to cattle rancher Nicholas Augustus Henry Den in 1842. Following his death in 1863, his heirs divided and sold most of the land, which included the area adjacent to Sands Beach. The land, including Sands, remained one of the only areas in Den family possession after Col. William Welles Hollister, for whom Hollister Road is named, purchased the land from the family.

Remnants of the beach’s past still exist, including a memorial gravestone to Colin Powys Campbell, a retired British army officer who built a major estate on the land when he purchased it in 1919. Many of the original buildings from the Campbell estate are still present at Sands today, including the access road, barn and the family’s mansion, currently the main building of the Devereux School for children and adults with developmental problems.

Part of the Campbell family’s former beach house, located at the base of the cliff, currently serves as the site of a display of brightly colored aerosol murals. Commonly referred to as “the jail,” the walls of the crumbling beach house are coated with layers of spray paint that have been documented by UCSB art studio professor Michael Arntz in a series of photographs on display in Davidson Library.

According to the description accompanying the display, Arntz said he wanted to capture the ever-changing artwork because it incorporates a wide community of artists into a continual process of cultural production.

He said each individual layer is not as important to him as the entire evolution of the murals through the different reevaluations and revisions of each separate artist’s additions.

The area has also historically been involved in oil production. Venoco Inc.’s offshore oil drilling operation near Sands’ coast may seem to mar the beach’s beauty, as Johnson suggests in his song, but according to Venoco’s website, the natural oil seeps present in the Santa Barbara Channel would make the beach virtually unusable if the oil rigs were not present. More than 1,200 natural petroleum seeps have flooded the channel with tar for centuries, which provided local Native Americans with a highly valued resource for caulking boats, waterproofing and other domestic and maritime tasks.

Beach Bums

In order to preserve the Sands ecosystem, the adjacent Coal Oil Point Reserve was formed with a mission to inform the public about the various species inhabiting the beach, restore coastal habitats and conduct research on human environmental impact in the area.

With their khaki safari vests and ample sunscreen, the Snowy Plover Docents have been a permanent fixture on the beach since 2000, when the reserve launched the program to monitor a fenced enclosure - the birds’ nesting area - that stretches along the reserve’s 150 acres.

Third-year environmental studies major and Snowy Plover Docent Coryl Dolfin said the Western Snowy Plover is a species similar to the Sandpiper, and is naturally attracted to the coastal environment at Sands.

The program, which has affectionately nicknamed the Plovers “Beach Bums,” aims to lure the birds back to the beach environment they abandoned in the 1970s due to increased human presence.

The Endangered Species Act currently protects the Snowy Plover, mandating that Coal Oil Point Reserve and the university encourage the species’ growth. Volunteers work a minimum of eight hours each month in two- to three-hour shifts to educate beachgoers about the Snowy Plover and to encourage bird nesting on the beach.

The docents say the program has seen great success - the plover population has grown from just one nest and one chick during the initial 2001 mating season to 57 chicks last year.

If beachgoers get too close to the enclosure or violate any of the other reserve regulations, docents are instructed to politely inform them of the reasons behind the rules and to ask their compliance. Dolfin said the Docents’ main goal is to further assist the plovers in repopulating, not to bother surfers.

“You can come look at the plovers, walk along the beach and stop periodically,” Dolfin said. “We just don’t want to do anything that would prohibit the plovers from feeding on the bugs in the seaweed on the shore, like leaving a bag or sunbathing near the enclosure.”

Dolfin said the program welcomes visitors to have a positive experience while they spend time at the beach.

“We want people to continue using the beach,” Dolfin said. “People think we aren’t connected to nature, but we are.”

Save the Whales

“So far today we’ve seen a lot of surfers and dolphins, but no whales,” environmentalist Michael Smith said during one windswept afternoon at Sands as he scanned the horizon for a glimmer of a gigantic gray whale migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel.

As Gray Whales Count Project Coordinator, Smith and his team of volunteers will be a common sight at Sands as they hope to collect data about population growth in the threatened species by counting the number of whales that migrate through the channel.

This year’s count began in late January, and will run for 15 weeks.

The project is an outgrowth of a joint effort by Coal Oil Point Reserve, the American Cetacean Society and the Cascadia Research Collective to conduct research and educate anyone interested in the once-endangered species. Though whale sightings are scarce at the moment, Smith said they will soon increase.

“In the spring they will pass by a lot closer with their calves.”

Catching Waves

Visitors to Sands are rewarded with great surf and a positive atmosphere. Frequent Sands surfer Taylor Ernst said the beach is one of his favorite places in Santa Barbara for the sights, waves and human interaction it affords.

“I can walk to it and I consistently have people I know there,” said Ernst, a fourth-year history of public policy major. “And, now and then, you can find yourself sitting next to a professor who taught you religious studies last quarter, and you can talk about the afterlife in between catching waves.”

Beach Shelters Wildlife, Inspires Art - Daily Nexus