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Isla Vista: A Citizen's History Paperback – October 24, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carmen Lodise was an activist in Isla Vista from 1972 through 2004. In the 1970s, he was elected to the Isla Vista Community Council and the Isla Vista Park Board where he was in the leadership of all three attempts to establish an election on Isla Vista becoming a city (1973, 1975 and 1984) and purchasing the town's first $1,000,000 in parklands. During 1987-89 he published a weekly community newspaper, The Isla Vista Free Press. Lodise came to Isla Vista in 1972 as a research assistant to cultural anthropologist Leslie A. White at UC Santa Barbara. He got involved in The Isla Vista Adventure almost immediately and was first elected to public office later that same year. Previously Lodise studied and taught economics at the University of Houston, North Dakota State University, and Western Michigan University. Before that he spent three years studying chemistry, biology, and history. After his work with White, Lodise became the director of the Santa Barbara Freedom Clinic, then the economic consultant to the City of Santa Barbara's analysis of down-zoning options published in 1976 as Santa Barbara: The Impacts of Growth. Over the years, he worked on community organizing projects for the IVCC, Bill Cirone's Center for Community Education, and the local community action agency (1978-81 & 1999-2004). During the NAFTA transition (1992-95), he was the finance editor of Mexico's English-language daily newspaper, The Mexico City News. Lodise retired in 2004 and now lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434824748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434824745
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FiberglassRat on October 17, 2009
I first lived in Isla Vista in 1967, and again at various periods in each decade since. I have a slide show perspective on IV; Carmen has filled in the gaps, particularly revealing the frustrations of a community trying to create a progressive, liberal, humanitarian town. The extremes to which an extreme right-wing minority, mostly not even residents, would go to thwart this effort by the vast majority of residents, are brought to light in Carmen's Book. There was a reason the Bank of America burned down in a POLICE RIOT; not just an expression of revulsion at B of A's funding of the Vietnam War, but an angry reaction to the constant abuse of the residents, and the financially and ideologically based thwarting of their attempt to create their utopian town. The police were used to suppress dissent, frequently attacking peaceful protesters violently and violating constituional rights of assembly and free speech. The citizens of Isla Vista merely wanted legal city status and representation for their vision of their community; but the reactionary "silent majority" refused to ever allow them self-rule.
Carmen also exposes the role of the University of California at Santa Barbara in the deterioration of living conditions in Isla Vista; continually broken promises of enrollment caps, environmental help, mitigation of overcrowding, and NEVER, with their vast resources, helped mitigate the University's impact on the most crowded square mile west of the Mississippi. Without the University's swelling population, IV could have remained at least a tolerable place to live with the aid of the IV Parks District, the de facto government of IV.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Gault-Williams on November 9, 2008
For the thousands of students and non-students that have called Isla Vista home at some point since the 1970s, this book is for us. Carmen Lodise fills in the political and cultural history many of us have known on some level, but never fully understood. His clarity of vision of what he fondly refers to as "The Isla Vista Adventure" reveals clearly the heroes and villains behind Isla Vista's successes and defeats and helps point us to what I.V. could be if more self-government were made possible for its residents.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Derevan VINE VOICE on November 8, 2008
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Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin famously mocked community organizers, wondering just what it was they did. This book, which documents four decades' worth of community organizing in the village of Isla Vista, California, is a lively textbook for anyone who really wants to know the answer to that question.

The community of Isla Vista, "96 percent renters and 33 percent paved over," is home to an ever-changing population of UC Santa Barbara students, who are attracted to the university's location at the edge of the Pacific as much as to its educational credentials. The world learned of its existence in 1970 when a Bank of America branch was famously burned, becoming a potent symbol of anti-war sentiment nationwide. This account fleshes out that story and many others that the rest of us only knew from news clippings and sound bites.

The author, a community organizer, elected official, and the publisher of the Isla Vista Free Press, was physically present during much of the history presented here. Through first-hand accounts and voluminous research, he presents the full story of this vibrant place from its beginning as an Indian settlement to the present day. He has assembled a treasure trove of photographs, news clippings, and interviews with the people who lived the history of Isla Vista.

Anyone who came of age during the turbulence of the 60's will recognize the characters in this history textbook that reads like a novel.
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By P. Masserman on February 21, 2012
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This book is politically focused, which is what I expected. I was hoping to find a better source to recall more local businesses and locations from the late seventies, when I lived in Isla Vista. Still, it was interesting to read about things that happened when I lived there, most of which I was not actively involved in. I was not a student and worked in Santa Barbara, although I was a member of the Isla Vista Food Co-op (still have my original membership card). Reading about the happenings brought back a lot of memories. An index would have really helped this book, as the formatting is all over the place with various photos and reproductions of posters stuck here and there. Still, I'm glad they used them.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey W. Zekas on November 12, 2008
I remember Carmen Lodise quite well: dark hair, outspoken, always hated by the university administration. Now that I am older, I realize that many interests conspired against his ideal of a liberal, independent city of Isla Vista: home owners, who were afraid of higher taxes; Santa Barbara power brokers, who feared a "loose cannon" left wing community; and of course, the wealthy community of Goleta, which would have lost political influence, had I.V. become a town.

But I am glad those long-ago times have been documented. The park was an amazing accomplishment. The cops finally mellowed (most likely due to numerous lawsuits). We thought we could change the world... think globally, act locally. But we failed. The fact that even Carmen finally left Isla Vista speaks volumes about how hard it is, even with friends, to change the status quo.

Good luck, Carmen, wherever you are... and remember: "be the change you want to see in the world".
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