Greetings, returning and new UCSB students. I write to inform or remind you that Isla Vista is both a “college town” and a “coastal community.” In fact, it started as a coastal community before UCSB was built and the original population was all locals, no students. The locals have never, ever tried to drive out the students, make them feel unwelcome or use power and money to take away resources.
However, ever since the university became a large entity, there has been a plot and general conspiracy to take over the town and drive out the locals! The mass evictions by Conquest Student Housing properties to convert the largest apartment complexes to “students only” are not a new phenomenon. In fact, it is one of a long series of such moral crimes which begun (to my knowledge) with Wolfe & Associates, Inc. evicting a whole building on Segovia Road over a decade ago.
Concurrently, the university has tried to buy up all of the large commercial buildings in town and succeeded in taking away the public theater and our dance/concert hall – the former Bank of America building. They also tried to get the music rehearsal studios on Seville Road to simultaneously get more “floor space” and to kill the local rock music scene. Each property grab has the dual purpose of adding to what students get and diminishing resources for locals, to drive us out. Truly so.
All this is a really rotten way to treat a town that welcomed the university and students all along, allowed students to become a majority despite increased noise and volunteered an immeasurably huge amount for innumerable projects that have helped students in uncountable ways.
This general takeover reminds me of how the Native Americans greeted the Pilgrims in 1620 and the despicable treatment that was given in return. Truly so. Imagine if the ultra-rich bought up every house in the nation and said “rentals only.” Marginalization in any form is fascist!
Brent Baker is a long-time Isla Vista resident.