WINTER 2009
Vol. 39, No. 3
 
FEATURES
Table of Contents
 
Column: Eye on Isla Vista
By Emily Einolander
  UC Santa Barbara Keeping Focus on Students During Economic Downturn By Rob Kuznia
  Transforming the Alumni Association Web Site into a Gateway By Andrea Huebner '91
  Gear Up for the 2009 All Gaucho Reunion in April
  Alumni Association Awards to Honor Gauchos Giving Back
  UCSB Alumni Association Annual Report 2007-2008
 
DEPARTMENTS
  Editor’s Note:
Defining Success for the New President
  Research Roundup:
Scholar Examines Global Trade of TV Shows
  Around Storke Tower:
News & Notes From the Campus
  Sports Roundup:
’78 and ’79 Cross Country Teams Honored
  Alumni Authors:
Food, Drink and Politics
  Milestones:
’50s to the Present
   
COVER
  Julie Ramos ’03 is one of the voices behind KTYD’s The Morning Show in Santa Barbara.

Cover photo by Alexandria Cooper
 
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View From Isla Vista
All Eyes on I.V’s Master Plan
By Emily Einolander, senior in Global Studies

Isla VistaIsla Vista, as many of you can attest, is a square half-mile hodge-podge. The community has always been difficult to define.

The town has businesses like Freebirds next to buildings with new occupants each September, impressive new residences next to those waiting for someone to spray-paint condemning X’s on their doors, children of affluent families next door to families of little means, and trash heaps beside lush gardens.

Members of the Isla Vista Parks and Recreation Board, however, have been striving to inject some order. For more than 10 years, they have been working on a state- mandated Master Plan to stimulate private sector investment and use the money to repair community infrastructure. The plan also aims to build multi-story, mixed-use buildings over Isla Vista businesses to accommodate 5,000 more students on top of the 20,000 current residents and to provide a uniform look to the “downtown” business area. The plan also proposes a bike boulevard down Sueno Road, metered parking in the Embarcadero Loop, and concrete dividers to separate parking spaces along the residential streets. The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission approved the plan on May 23, 2007, and its results can already be seen in the re-construction of Pardall Road. Changes are also evident in the construction of the San Clemente student residences and the adjoining parking structure on El Colegio Road.

Despite the local governance giving it the go-ahead, the Plan has been met with many UC Santa Barbara student critics. Facebook groups critical of the plan are fixed on the Web pages of new-wave student activists, and flyers papering the campus call others to unite behind the cause. Josh Cataldo, president of the I.V. Co-op Association, was recently elected to the I.V. Parks and Recreation Board and will be bringing a student opinion into the action.

The Facebook group Protect the Culture of Isla Vista: Fight the I.V. Master Plan says, “What we oppose are the projects of the Master Plan that focus redevelopment, not on improving the lives of residents, but on increasing population density and creating an environment where the interests of landowners and big businesses to come are advanced and protected.”

UC Santa Barbara professors are joining the debate, uniting local environmental groups to form the Sustainable University Now Coalition. The group will serve a watchdog function for Long Range Development in Isla Vista. The involvement of the permanent local community will no doubt serve as a more sustainable factor than a student body that changes with each passing year.

Not all student voices are dissenting, however. There are some who, after tripping over charred couch remains on badly lit streets or getting their bike seat stolen for the third time in a month, are ready for a change. Any change will do.

“It surprises me that there is an outcry against people trying to turn Isla Vista into a nicer place,” Aaron Wyse, a fourth-year business-econ major wrote in a letter to the Daily Nexus [Oct 6, 2008]. “Isla Vista is a slum, and anyone who disagrees is looking through rose-colored glasses.”

The University itself is intertwined in the Master Plan. UC Santa Barbara is the listed funding source for such catalyst projects as Ocean Road Faculty & Staff housing, a remodeling of the Pardall entrance to campus (the tunnel is going bye-bye) and the west side of campus (so are eucalyptus trees). They have been funding the plan since the ’90s, when the only Isla Vista project on which the university spent more was shoreline preservation. Both budget entries involved six digits.

The plan proposes to revamp the community via “small incremental changes that residents can see and approve and/or disapprove.” Measure D appeared on the November ballot, and proposed the selling or trading of Pardall Gardens and swapping of land-use rights from Ansiq’Oyo, People’s and Perfect parks. Though Obama v. McCain was the chief contest, Measure D opponents campaigned just as fervently on the UC Santa Barbara campus and in Isla Vista. The only difference was the political statements were made in permanent marker and sidewalk chalk, not mass-produced. This may have adequately captured the spirit of the No on D movement. Its grassroots ran deep, apparently, and the measure failed with 72 percent opposition.

The power of a homemade sign should not be discounted after the defeat of Measure D. Measure D was only the first of many proposed changes, though; with the Master Plan more than 100 pages deep, it’s a safe bet that there will be many clashes on the political scene in the future. The Master Plan, however it is rewritten by community dialog, will be reshaping Isla Vista for years to come.

Click here to see the full Isla Vista Master Plan