To the Isla Vista Community,

This morning I woke up hung over. I couldn’t find my shoes as I walked out the door of a good friend’s house and found myself running to class. My driver’s license will tell you that I am 20 years old, and that I can be arrested in all 50 states for many of the things I did just last night. Can you relate?

My guess is that if you are a resident of Isla Vista, you have a few wild stories of your own.

Outsiders to I.V. can say what they will: that we’re alcoholics in training. I say that Isla Vista has character. We have character that only comes from the tight-knit community that we work all day and drink all night to create.

As I sat shoeless at the Arbor this morning, reading my Daily Nexus, my jaw dropping at the sight of a front-page story that blew my mind: “Taco Joint Says Hasta Luego to Liquor License” (Daily Nexus, May 11).

Any store that accidentally sells alcohol to minors will be punished if caught – it’s state law. If the owner of El Taco Amigo was pulled over for driving with a busted taillight, I would have an equal amount of sympathy for him. Well, not exactly.

I don’t think Martin Gonzalez’s customers would have commented in a heavily read newspaper to validate any rumors or speculation as to the condition of Gonzalez’s taillight. Why, then, are his customers speaking out in this case? Why did they speak out about rumors that could potentially land Gonzalez, a great guy, in jail, or get his license suspended? I encourage each and every one of you to ask them if you see them.

Furthermore, being a regular customer of El Taco Amigo, I can accurately state that El Taco Amigo does card, and that it is a friendly community restaurant. If you look at the walls inside the store, you will find the signatures of nearly all the members of that community. Mine is right next to the pickup counter. Where is yours? Where are William Cunneen and Sunil Ranatunga’s signatures?

Whether or not Gonzalez ever sold alcohol to minors is still in question. Both of the people who commented in the Nexus article are over 21, so their statements don’t really mean anything. I encourage any other customers of El Taco Amigo to leave the investigations to the police and not aid in destroying the El Taco Amigo community that Gonzalez and every person on the wall of that restaurant worked to create. Regardless of whether or not Gonzalez ever sold alcohol to a minor, he brought character to Isla Vista.

In Cunneen’s words, “There are sufficient alternatives for the thirsty student” to find beer in Isla Vista, but there is no sufficient alternative to El Taco Amigo.

So, this weekend, when you wake up hung over without your shoes, look under the bed, look in the icebox, look in the garage; they’ll turn up. They’re probably outside on the lawn. Once you find them, put them on. Walk down to El Taco Amigo, find your name on the wall, and thank Martin Gonzalez for the night you wrote it there.

Daniel Hawley is a junior English major.