As a UCSB alumnus, I keep up to date with the Isla Vista news by reading the Nexus online. It’s awesome to see that the rafting craze that hit Del Playa Drive during my senior year in 2005 has turned into such an event as Floatopia. While things seem like they may have gotten out of hand, I strongly hope that the county doesn’t manage to dictate via legislation and that the residents of I.V. actually speak up for themselves.
I don’t think anyone would agree that drunken injuries or litter are positive aspects of this event, but the overall experience and fun seems to be something obviously enjoyed by many. Isla Vista has no governmental representation aside from the limited Isla Vista Recreation & Park District and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. The five individuals on the board have the sole authority to dictate the laws of Isla Vista. In cooperation with the university, which is desperately trying to turn I.V. into Westwood-by-the-sea, they use their legislative powers to contract and control the social rules of I.V.
Examples include the “Fall Offensive,” emails from the university stating “the party is over” on Halloween weekend, the banning of alcohol from parks, having kegs seized if they’re in public view and the parental notification program. These things would never happen in a town that was represented by a true distribution of its population. And now they want to ban drinking on the beach. I hope the current population of I.V. actually does something and speaks up to the board!
The county and university can do as they please because of the transient population of I.V. and having a new population every four years that never knows “how things used to be.” If you choose not to speak up, attend the I.V. Master Plan meetings or e-mail your supervisor, you don’t have a right to complain about the changes made by people who have no vested interest in Isla Vista besides trying to improve the university’s public relations.
Don’t let a bunch of outsiders take away the right to crack open a beer on the beach. They don’t live here, they don’t spend time or money here; you do. Speak up and save I.V. from another legislative grounding. It can work. In 2004, my neighbors and I successfully fought the installation of traffic islands down I.V. streets which would’ve taken away parking and made the streets more narrow and dangerous. If the county can’t install sidewalks and more emergency phones after this long, don’t let them legislate what’s not allowed to be fun for you.
The Beastie Boys were right: You’ve got to fight for your right to party, especially when you live in the county’s secret stepchild Isla Vista. They’ve already banned open containers (yes, you used to be able to drink in the street), made FT disappear, closed the liquor stores and bars at midnight and have tried to make it near impossible for any out-of-towners to park on Halloween. Speak up, or when you’re a four-year alumnus like me you’ll find DP will have had its name changed and keg cups have been banned.