A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident

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A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident
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By Christina Muoio

Former Isla Vista resident and activist Carmen Lodise released the second edition of his book, “Isla Vista: A Citizen’s History." Santa Barbara County Supervisor and Isla Vista-born Das Williams wrote the foreword.

Detailing the rich history of the community, Lodise follows the origin of Isla Vista from Chumash land to a capitalist venture, and finally the current college town that many UC Santa Barbara students call home. 

As Isla Vista's (IV)  primary historian and the former leader of the Isla Vista Free Press, his second edition details activism efforts by himself and other members of the Isla Vista community. Initially banned from the UCSB bookstore, the Free Press became a 64-page booklet that slowly morphed in the book that is today. 

Though Lodise never attended UC Santa Barbara (he came to the area to do research), he stayed in IV and was inspired to write a book on it because of what he calls “the Isla Vista experience.” Between meeting new people who come together because of the university, to the small town feel, and the opportunities for activism, Lodise, like many UCSB students, carved a home in the seaside town by UCSB. 

The book details decades of activism in IV that both students and community members participated in, such as lobbying for IV’s cityhood, IV’s struggle for self-government, and the everyday issues that plague the IV population, such as scummy landlords, rent hikes, police corruption, etc. 

Lodise also describes activism efforts in detail; for instance, he writes extensively on the 1970 Bank of America burning, and the details other community activism events such as the creation of the Isla Vista and Park District, as well as the many unsuccessful attempts to make IV a city. 

The tragedy of 2014 is also detailed in the Second Edition, and “discusses both Deltopia and the Rodger incident as catalysts in starting up the fourth self-government movement that resulted in the formation of the CSD (Community Services District),” Lodise says. 

The second edition features seven new chapters written by five different authors, all of whom are personally involved in their topics and who are in touch with Isla Vista’s day to day going ons, which Lodise hasn’t kept up with due to a move to Mexico. New information includes the development of a new community center (Chapter 21),  new accomplishments by the IV Co-op (Chapter 17), and IV Youth Projects (Chapter 18)

Lodise not only details Isla Vista’s history, but his book also details the relationship that the University has to Isla Vista. In Appendix A, Lodise describes the responsibility that UCSB has to Isla Vista with regards to housing, called the Trow Report. Appendix A also includes some detailed excerpts from the report’s preface and includes 100 pages of observations and recommendations. Chancellor Yang, the current UCSB Chancellor, also positively weights in about Lodise’s effort to publish the First Edition back in 2008.  

The student population of UCSB, and those that live in IV, can get involved in activism in various ways. Lodise urges students to pay attention to the priorities the IV CSD is developing, and participate in them. Events like the GIVE benefit sale is an easy way to get involved as well, considering it is move-in season and many people are getting rid of things they no longer want. Students can also volunteer to help with the GIVE benefit sale. Volunteers can contact Viviana Marsano.

Lodise’s book is available in paperback on Amazon Prime. Below is an excerpt of Chapter One from "Isla Vista: A Citizen's History."


Christina encourages everyone to get involved with activism events in Isla Vista in order to make it a better place for everyone

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mtndriver Jun 30, 2019 09:02 AM
A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident

I've never read a book or magazine article about something local I had first-hand knowledge of that had much connection to what I knew about the event or place. I remember reading the Time magazine article about the IV riots in 1970 and just shaking my head in awe at the misconceptions and inaccuracies. When journalists try to make a story more coherent, they end up ignoring all the parts that don't support their overall picture of the people or the circumstances. Impossible not to have some kind of bias creep in.

Artemisia Jun 30, 2019 08:03 AM
A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident

As a UCSB undergrad from 1965-1970, I remember Carmen Lodise. It's entirely appropriate for him to write a history of IV. But it really needs an editor to fix the many factual errors and misspellings in just that first page about the Chumash.

a-1571500095 Jun 29, 2019 06:27 PM
A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident

"Student Ghetto?" That's a bit harsh, man. The writing in this book is decidely subpar. My Magazine Journalism professor at SBCC would have so much fun with his red pencil.

Factotum Jun 30, 2019 12:40 PM
A History of Isla Vista Told By a Former Resident

Keep drinking the koolaid, bro. Das shovels money out the back door to his union buddies when yu are dazzled by his eco-creds. Far more than onelone eco-warrior keeps our beaches clean. There is no business advantage for any industry to get bad PR, let alone leave a trail of verifiable damage. Do occasional accidents happen, of course. But the long term track record of the oil industry long before Das Williams and long after Das Williams speaks a lot louder than Das polishing his environmental crown for one more election, and revolving door re-election.

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