Author and former Isla Vista resident Carmen Lodise hosted a book signing in Goleta last Friday to promote his new publication: Isla Vista: A Citizen’s History.
The 200-page book includes over 150 pictures and first-hand accounts of significant events in our vibrant college town. Lodise used a collection of articles written during his time in Isla Vista as a foundation for the book, which was first published last year.
Lodise said he chose to write a book chronicling the history of I.V. because of his appreciation for the infamous local community.
“People remember the burning of the bank, but it’s what happened after that was so important,” Lodise said. “Students and townies came together to make living in I.V. a better place.”
Lodise moved to Isla Vista in 1972 to work as an assistant to a cultural anthropologist, and quickly became involved in the local community. In 1987 he started his own newspaper, called the Isla Vista Free Press, which ran for two years.
“I couldn’t compete with the Nexus,” Lodise said, commenting on the short life-span of the paper.
In 2002, Lodise took several of his articles from the newspaper and published them online. He decided to expand his online work into a book in 2008 after noticing the site had received over 1.6 million hits.
Although Lodise’s book recounts the “dark ages” of Isla Vista — including charges of corruption, greedy landlords and the growing rift between students and community officials — the author said he has high hopes for the future of the community.
Lodise also advocated for Isla Vista to become its own city, noting several potential advantages.
“I.V. is a liberated territory,” Lodise said. “It’s a hell of a great little town. … If I.V. could have control over the community including police, transportation and the quality of housing, through becoming a city, then it would be a great place to live.”
Besides running a local newspaper, Lodise said he also took part in the establishment of the park district, worked to establish funding for the medical clinic, sat on the I.V. community council and helped start the annual joint rolling contest.
The book, priced at $17.50, is available at the UCSB Bookstore, the Isla Vista Bookstore, the Isla Vista Food Co-op and Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara. The book, in its original form, is still available online at www.islavistahistory.com.