Tuesday, August 03, 2010

IV Reunion Photos

Robert Bernstein shot some great photos of the reunion, July 31, 2010, at Anisq'oyo' Park:

Isla Vista Reunion - 31 July 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bob Potter (1934-2010)

Bob Potter passed away in July 2010, after having given so much to the communities he was an active participant in, including Isla Vista and especially UCSB. Please follow the links to learn more about Bob:

SB Independent: Bob Potter, 1934-2010, In Memorium

SB Independent: Bob Potter obit

Bob Potter’s Speech
Dedicating the Monument to the Anti-War Movement, in Isla Vista’s Perfect Park, June 10, 2003

"For years I watched him find the light in dark moments, provide clarity amid complexity, and express courage when threatened with violence. As a man of letters and action, he was truly a man for all seasons and those he touched will miss him forever." -- Carmen Lodise, July 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

IV Reunion, 7/31, 12-8pm

The biggest reunion of Isla Vistans and mostly former Isla Vistans takes place Saturday, July 31, 2010 and goes from noon to 8pm:

You're invited to Isla Vista Reunion - July 31, 2010 on Jul 31, at 12:00PM

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Real ’70s

Community Builder and longtime Isla Vistan Carmen Lodise recently wrote in to the SB Indy about the true legacy of the Isla Vista Riots:

The Santa Barbara Independent: The Real ’70s, by Carmen Lodise

Friday, April 16, 2010


KCSB-FM has been re-airing newly remastered and interview-supplemented episodes of Don’t Bank on America, Malcolm Gault-Williams’ 36-part radio documentary on the history of Isla Vista and its three 1970 riots, well-known as I.V. I, II and III.

Explained Ted Coe: "Rest assured that the KCSB crew is not simply pulling the shows, last aired in the late 1980s, out of the mothballs and throwing them on the air. The episodes are being newly remastered straight from their original reels of quarter-inch audio tape, and augmented with conversations featuring the shows’ creators and subjects. The first chapter features a discussion between series creator Malcolm Gault-Williams, who DJed on the station in the 60s and managed it through the 80s; KCSB development coordinator Ted Coe; and Art of Peace host Philip Levasseur. The three discuss the origins of the series, the challenge of capturing and conveying the times in audio, and what it felt like to be right there in the midst of so much social change.

"'I had begun commercial broadcasting in 1968 as a freshman in Arkansas,' Gault-Williams says in the segment, recalling his beginnings in the medium. 'When I transferred to California, I was a City College student. The station let me in the door even though I wasn’t a UCSB student. I started filling in over Christmas break 69-70. It was my first experience with freeform radio; it made a big impression on me, that style of programming, and I tried to continue with that through my radio career. Unfortunately, the changes in radio and formatting as time went by made the opportunity to do that less and less. But when I was here at KCSB, it was mostly as what we called a "night owl" DJ, holding down the FM shift between midnight and eight in the morning.'"

Colin Marshall, in his column in the Santa Barbara Independent, March 15, 2010, gave some more detail on the series, its re-airing, and the context of the Isla Vista Riots of 1970.

The remastered Don’t Bank on Amerika currently airs every Friday morning from 8-9 a.m. on KCSB-FM, 91.9 (streaming on Internet, also.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

40th Anniversary of The Bank Burning

Forty years ago, a mob of students stormed the Bank of America building.
Isla Vista would never be the same

By Taylor Haggerty / Staff Writer
Published Thursday, February 25, 2010
Issue 86 / Volume 90

Photos courtesy of Greg Desilet

On the night of Feb. 25, 1970, second-year student Greg Desilet grabbed his camera from his apartment on El Nido Lane and joined the crowds swarming the streets of Isla Vista.

After a year of high tension, unrest and anger, rioting students had looted and set fire to the local Bank of America, which stood on the site of today’s Embarcadero Hall.

“It was quite an extraordinary scene that night,” Desilet said. “People were in all kinds of different moods — happy, celebrating, freaked out, others shocked, stunned by what was going on. The police never did come the entire evening, nor did the firemen.”

Earlier that afternoon, William Kunstler, a defense attorney who represented well-known defendants in the Chicago Seven trial following the anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, spoke at the stadium on campus.

Authorities anticipated an inflammatory reaction and showed up in full force to control the crowd. As a group of students walked back toward Isla Vista after the speech, police beat 22-year-old student Rich Underwood into submission and arrested him for carrying a bottle of wine they assumed was a Molotov cocktail.

“Imagine being in Harder Stadium and having the lawyer of a high-profile national trial … draw connections between what has been happening nationally with what has been happening on campus,” then-Santa Barbara City College student and KCSB broadcaster Malcolm Gault-Williams said. “And then imagine a large part of those attendees leave the stadium and … watch as police not just arrest a student but beat the shit out of him.”

According to John Riley, a second-year student living on Del Playa Drive at the time, the police’s actions fueled student anger.

“Cops arrested this guy and set everything off,” Riley said. “It was like throwing a match into a gasoline can, everybody just went nuts.”

Later that night, the bank was looted and set on fire on two separate occasions — once between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. when a dumpster was lit on fire and once around midnight when gasoline was used to rekindle the blaze.

According to Professor Emeritus Richard Flacks, a well-known liberal leader whose appointment to the Sociology Dept. in 1969 caused a stir among conservatives including then-Governor Ronald Reagan, the burning of the bank was not a premeditated event.

“By evening I would guess hundreds of people were in the street and at some point people lit a trash dumpster and pushed it through the bank doors,” Flacks said. “I kind of never believed people thought that would happen.”

Some students saw the bank as a symbol of big business, capitalism and the Vietnam War, citing its ties to the defense industry.

“It was the biggest capitalist thing around,” Becca Wilson, a fourth-year student and then-editor in chief of El Gaucho, the predecessor to the Daily Nexus, said. “It was a symbol of the corporations that benefited from war and were oppressing people all over world, in whose interest government was acting.”

Others maintain that the bank was burned purely out of anger and frustration with overwhelming police presence.

“The day afterwards a lot of it was rationalized as anti-war,” Desilet said. “The bank was seen to be in league with defense corporations providing armaments for Vietnam. That was the rationale given, but in my view it was more. It was locally centered with a lot of local anger toward police that had developed over time.”

“People were just pissed off. They were really pissed off”

The 1969-70 year was tumultuous in the school’s history, with tension on campus growing alongside national unrest and disagreement over the Vietnam War.

The voting age in 1970 was 21, but after the lottery system was instituted for the draft, many younger students received numbers that increased their chances of deployment after graduation.

Wilson said that the draft was what really brought the reality of the war home to students.

“When I started in fall of 1966, there were literally a handful of people demonstrating, just a quiet little vigil in front of the library,” she said. “Three years later it was a widespread movement where probably most students were against the war. By that time, students started to be drafted. It changed the whole atmosphere, became much more personal.”

The charged political climate of the time was evident well beyond the confines of Isla Vista, too.

“It’s hard to imagine now, but the whole country was just boiling then, with the Chicago Seven, the war, people getting drafted … the whole country was pretty well out of control,” Riley said.

According to Desilet, many of the students targeted their rage at the ever-present law enforcement officers patrolling Isla Vista.

“Tensions were high in I.V. toward anything and anyone who represented enforcement of the status quo, and the most immediate and visible representatives of this status quo line of defense turned out to be police and narcotics agents,” Desilet said. “The accumulated rage of the disenfranchised and the waiting and unwilling recruits in line for Vietnam landed squarely on the county sheriff and his agents.”

On top of this, the growing drug culture and hippie lifestyle of the time widened the generation gap between students and police, who patrolled Isla Vista and campus in riot gear, often using tear gas to disperse crowds.

“There was nobody over 25, hardly, and this counter culture, drug culture climate, which meant police were unable to understand, or appreciate Isla Vista so to speak,” Flacks said. “[The police] really thought the students were bad guys and that they were at odds with students. And vice versa. Students knew if they were driving [a] Volkswagen van painted up or generally had long hair hippy attire you were going to be harassed by police, stopped in traffic, pulled over, etc.”

Although many students were not embroiled in conflict with the police and demonstrations against the war, anger was the primary motivation for those who played a role in the burning of the bank.

An Occupied Territory

Once the smoke cleared on Feb. 26 — with the Bank of America building in ruins — Gov. Reagan declared a state of emergency.

“[Isla Vista] was just dramatically changed,” Gault-Williams said. “Everybody was walking on eggshells. Some were happy, some angry … all kinds of moods. Everyone began to unite even more so after the bank burning in respect to police.”

A curfew was instituted in Isla Vista and nearly 300 people were arrested and taken to the county jail.

“Everybody sensed huge confrontation the night after,” Desilet explained. “I went out on street again to photograph in the early evening. When I was on Ocean Road taking pictures of police in the San Rafael parking lot … they arrested me and I was taken to their staging area. We were then bussed out to fire station down on Storke Road and eventually over to the new county jail, which was so new that they didn’t even have it open yet.”

The National Guard and Los Angeles County SWAT teams were called in to help maintain order. Bank of America declared that it would not withdraw from Isla Vista and constructed a trailer as a makeshift bank, which quickly became the target of numerous demonstrations.

On April 18, a rally was scheduled against the temporary bank. Associated Students President Bill James went on the radio to speak against further violence, urging students to protect the bank from vandalism.

Police arrived in armored trucks, dressed in riot gear and armed with tear gas. Amid the confusion, 22-year-old UCSB student Kevin Moran was shot and killed.

Although the police claimed the bullet originated from a sniper in the crowd, a ballistics test determined that it came from a policeman’s rifle. The incident was deemed an accident, and the officer was later exonerated.

On June 3, 17 students were indicted for the bank burning, after supposedly being identified from photographs taken on Feb. 25. The indictments were met with controversy, however, as several of the students had solid alibis.

“What was obvious was that they were all well-known campus activist radical leaders,” Flacks said. “The idea that that particular group of well-known people were all together around that dumpster was outlandish. Especially since some of them were among those arrested the day before and were actually in jail when the bank burned.”

“Social Change, Fair Play and Peace”

The rallies, tear gas and arrests continued throughout the course of the year, and according to former students, fundamentally changed the face of Isla Vista.

“The riots destroyed the town,” Riley said. “Before the riots it was this cute little town, nice cinemas, new bookstores, more like a Santa Cruz or something, and after it was … burned out. It just destroyed the town.”

Yet a new Isla Vista emerged from the smoldering ruins of the Bank of America.

“It suddenly created a lot of attention on Isla Vista itself and how students were living and sparked the creation of many community organizations and grassroots movements that turned into institutions,” Wilson said.

The Bank of America closed its Isla Vista branch in 1981, opting to open an ATM on Embarcadero del Norte instead. Embarcadero Hall stands in place of the bank today. A plaque in front commemorates Kevin Moran.

It reads, “For Social Change, Fair Play and Peace.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

DBOA Audio 13-36

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Isla Vista Riots, here are the remaining audio chapters of the documentary series I produced in the mid-1980s. Tape quality sometimes is poor, as these recordings were digitized two decades later from my personal cassette copies of the original programs that are still archived in the KCSB Public Affairs archives.

I was never much of a radio announcer/producer. In order to do it right, you have to go with the very best take and if that one's not good enough, you cut it again and get it where it needs to be. I never felt I had that kind of time, so I slapped these 36 individual audio documentary episodes together as best as I could, as fast as I could, without taking more time than I was willing to give. Even so, I believe it is still listenable, certainly educational, and even fun hearing protagonists of the day along with music of the era.

I hope you enjoy it, warts and all...

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  • dboa25 - lost

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