I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to ever enter Isla Vista for the first time and think, Damn, if I ever get enough money, I’m buying out the houses on the mountainside of Del Playa Drive. Erosion may take a while, but they’ll be ocean-side soon enough. Maybe my kids could live off the rentals one day. At least they’d be able to find a house if they ever wanted to go to grad school here. Come on, I was a dumb freshman, but at least I still had the moves to juke a few water balloons tossed my way.
After four years as a Gaucho, though, I can’t see myself as the grizzly landlord who doesn’t return phone calls, the landlady who can’t keep track of rent payments, or the slumlord who makes his tenants deconstruct their illustrious outdoor seating/viewing arrangements. These airhead “adults,” these members of the “real world” like James Baron who defame our community like to insist that the problems with I.V. lie in the naïve students’ laps. They need to touch up a bit on Marxist philosophy before pointing fascist fingers at us.
Supply and demand my ass. The only thing I.V. property-owners supply is false promises. The only thing they demand is overpayment.
Want to know why the streets resemble a ghetto with a shit load of cars? Stop blaming the students’ “party” or “stoner” lifestyles. Try blaming the landlords who pocket cash and never fix anything.
Want to know why graduation rates are lower at UCSB than those at other prestigious universities? Maybe it’s in part because students spend their time fixing problems with the run-down houses -problems their landlords consented to fix in the rental agreement – instead of studying.
Want to understand why a couch would be smoldering in the middle of the street? Maybe it’s because the leaky ceiling that has gone unfixed ruined the sofa and some money-hungry proprietor could care less what his tenants do with it – as long as it doesn’t cost him anything.
Care to guess as to why you see empty beer cans littering any lame attempt at landscaping? Well, hang out and look longer. The cans will be gone in a few minutes, snatched up into a garbage bag by those forced out of Isla Vista thanks to rising rental costs. Do you want them rummaging through a filthy trash bin in front of their ashamed children or bending over to the ground to feed their families? Some would call it a moral decision.
If you don’t live here you definitely think I’m exaggerating. If you do live here you think I’m not being harsh enough. But hopefully, either way, I struck an electron bouncing around in that brain of yours.
As students, I figure some of you have been scarfing down lunch between classes and have overheard somebody ranting about a clogged toilet that still hasn’t been fixed. What’s it been, three weeks now? Unless you’re one of the lucky ones living in I.V., you commiserate with your downtrodden brethren then flick the volume up on your iPod. You could throw your two cents in, but there’s not much you can do when the town’s plumbing is a slight notch above that in a third world country. If the landlords supply you with shit, then throw that shit right back at them.
You could move. Downtown is a lovely option. But that still leaves the rest of I.V. to wallow in their own burrito vomit. Then next year’s crop will have to live with the same problems you demanded to be fixed.
It’s not like the university cares. I’m sure the higher-ups have studied enough American history to realize that if you ignore the problem, you’ll eventually get the war you wanted in the first place. They could care less about us. They want us in and out, in and out. Pave the way for the grad student takeover! They’ve got more sense than us undergrads. And they’re not a bunch of drunks.
I.V. Master Plan? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. All I really want is my kitchen sink fixed.