A long-time Isla Vista resident and political activist will release a book on the history of the I.V. community this Saturday.
The book, “Isla Vista: A Citizen’s History,” is the updated and expanded version of the author’s original work, which is available online. The 200-page book includes over 150 pictures and first hand accounts of significant occurrences in the vibrant half-square mile college town that is Isla Vista.
Author Carmen Lodise said he hoped the book would remind Isla Vistans of the community’s unique history.
“No one had written the history of Isla Vista,” Lodise said. “The vision of Isla Vista, what it could be … has dimmed, and I am trying to reignite it.”
According to the author, the book has been in the making for over 30 years and reveals how local politicians, greedy developers and university officials conspired to build a company town that 40 years later remains a community composed of 96 percent renters. Lodise gives accounts of key events in Isla Vista’s history, such as the burning of the Bank of America building during a riot in 1970.
Lodise first moved to Isla Vista from Michigan to work as a research assistant. Lodise said he fell in love with the college town, and soon became involved in campaigns to improve I.V.
He was involved in the community as an activist for 30 years and was the Editor in Chief of Isla Vista’s longest running community newspaper, the Isla Vista Free Press. In the 1970’s Lodise was elected to the Isla Vista Community Council and Park Board and participated in three attempts to incorporate Isla Vista. He also served on the steering committee for the construction of the monument that stands in Isla Vista Perfect Park.
In a statement, UCSB alumnus and former member of the Isla Vista Park Board David Fortson said Lodise was an influential member of the community.
“For a town with so many people simply passing through, Carmen has inspired me and many other activists with care and love for our community,” Fortson said.
In 2005 Lodise retired to a fishing village in Mexico, although he said he remains interested in the history and culture of Isla Vista.
“It is a liberated town,” Lodise said.
The original form of the book is available online at www.Islavistahistory.com, which has received over 1.6 million hits without any advertisement since it was established in 2002. The print edition of the book will cost $17.50.