Yesterday I was driving on Camino Pescadero, when some crazy lady flew through a stop sign and made a left turn right in front of me. I missed her by a fraction of an inch. As I craned my head to scream at her, I caught a quick shot of her face — she was laughing. Excuse me? You nearly pummeled head-on into my tiny Ford Focus with your I-feel-safe-because-my-SUV-is-so-big-that-I-get-six-mpg-
with-Daddy’s-visa, fucking SUV after running through a stop sign, and you think this is funny? Unbelievable.
Coincidence? Not bloody likely. This past week I witnessed a group of pathetic-looking guys harassing decently dressed girls just because they had the nerve to walk down the street in front of the “wrong” house; water balloon assaults on random bikers; guys soliciting assistance for blunt rolling from random people who walked by their porch — note to these guys, learn to roll your own damn blunt before you even think about giving me shit for not stopping to help you — drunken girls walking right into trees while their guy friends chuckled and withheld helpful shoulders; people knocking down parked bikes just for the hell of it; a conversation about how two people had inadvertently stolen the same bike and how they steal bikes for fun all the time; racial slurs shouted at one of my friends as a car drove away; and some dude that pounded on my trunk and made a “hardcore” face at me as I headed toward my driveway. What the hell is wrong with this place?
Where in God’s name is our sense of community? Do Isla Vistans take pride in our willingness to antagonize everyone who lives here? Why are we doing this to each other? Do we not understand that no one is looking out for us? The University administration, in an attempt to “remake” our school image, has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to “crack down” on our behavior with parental notification and grants for programs that aim to curtail our drinking. Why embrace this community as one that studies its ass off and still manages to have a good time when they can try to sweep it under the rug with draconian programs? Isn’t it better to treat the symptoms of our neglect rather than the root causes?
The city of Goleta wouldn’t take us. The city of Santa Barbara doesn’t want us. Any attempts to form local self-government are torpedoed by business interests. The cops really seem to enjoy busting our heads. Our landlords charge us an arm and a leg for decaying, dilapidated housing, and when we call them to request that they fulfill the terms of their contract and get an exterminator to take care of our vermin infestation, they hang up on us and threaten to evict us when we finally get the county inspector to come out and notice that the roof of our garage is about to cave in.
I’ve had enough of this shit. I’m through with rugged individualism. We laugh at each other’s misery every week in a section of this very paper called “Police Blotter.” This is a fucking feature. Why? Those poor sops are us; we’ve just gotten lucky.
I’m sick and tired of us terrorizing our own community; we’ve got plenty of folks who will gladly do that for us. I don’t want to hear about how 15 years from now, Isla Vista will be redeveloped and improved. We live here now. We need change now. We need to start taking a vested interest in our own community. They think that by pitting us against one another, we’ll ignore the fact that they’re swiping the wallets from our back pockets. We have the power to stop them.
Is anybody else as pissed off as I am? There are things we can do to make it better. Join our Tenants Union. Vote. Come to the A.S. Congress on Oct. 26 and help set the goals for our legislative council. Go to IVRPD meetings. Hound our administration until they acknowledge our squalor. And for god sakes, let’s stop being assholes to one another and start looking out. No one is going to do it for us.
Adam Graff is a fourth-year biology major and is the A.S. internal vice president.