Editor, Daily Nexus:
I am writing this letter in response to a column by Mr. Harry S. Rouse (Daily Nexus, "Students Must Not Block Goleta Cityhood," Nov. 14), which argues that the residents of Isla Vista should be segregated from the proposed incorporation of Goleta. Mr. Rouse has accused the residents of our area of some rather egregious charges, and indeed, has done so without much proof or accuracy! It would appear that Mr. Rouse, not the residents of Isla Vista, is "motivated primarily by [his] own selfish, short-term interests." His attempts to ban our community from incorporation are certainly selfish.
By attempting to deny city status to Isla Vista, Mr. Rouse is denying us our voice; thus undermining one of the most cherished of American rights. While I do not live here year-round, I have many acquaintances who do, and therefore, are equally as deserving as Mr. Rouse in choosing their local representatives. Without the power to exercise that choice, we risk having our town ignored because officials elected by Mr. Rouse and those like him would be far more interested in protecting the rights of the "stable, industrious, home-owning tax-payers" of Goleta. We may not be here to see the changes that we have made, but the future students of UCSB will, hopefully, benefit from our decisions. What appear to be my short-term interests will also be their interests, and that makes my opinion important.
I intend to remain in one apartment for as long as I am enrolled in school. This is contingent, of course, on my landlord not renting it to another group of students without informing me. Yes, Mr. Rouse, that does happen. We are victims as well – victims of our landlord’s desires for excessive profits and abusive control. The exorbitant rent that is forced upon us for run-down, insect-infested apartments bullies us into becoming a transient population. For this reason, many of us don’t enjoy living in a single apartment for longer than we have to.
We are overcrowded here, but we have no other option! We work to pay for tuition, rent, miscellaneous bills and taxes; this leaves us with no money for gas, car insurance or even the cars that would be required to get to campus from other areas. Riding a bike or walking to campus is easy to do from Isla Vista. It not only saves money, but also protects the beautiful environment that both our communities cherish. Those jobs are also the ones that help keep small businesses, which are owned and operated by Goleta residents, flourishing.
As for the accusation that we are ignorant of our civic responsibilities, I feel that I am obligated by the citizens of Isla Vista to inform Mr. Rouse that the turnout of UCSB students on voting day was one of the highest it has ever been. Are these the actions of apathetic students, or have the students perhaps elected officials who do not hold the same views as Mr. Rouse? Our community also boasts some of the highest rates of volunteerism in the county. How can Mr. Rouse claim that we lack a sense of civic duty and at the same time berate our notoriety for protests and demonstrations? Sadly, I feel that the editorial represents too many of the uninformed opinions found in our area. The residents of Isla Vista are not the enemy, Mr. Rouse. Your attack on us, the claims that we are not being responsible or emotionally mature, and the accusations that we do not have the desire to be good citizens are full of the flimsy reasoning you claim we possess. I, instead of accusing, invite you to come to Isla Vista and spend a day with one of the students you so obviously underestimate. You might remember what it was like to be our age and perhaps come to appreciate the community you despise so much.