Every year a new influx of students moves into Isla Vista and takes over. They bring with them their ideas about partying, home maintenance, and their responsibility for the social good.
As everyone knows, many of the students are conscientious and thoughtful individuals who party sometimes, but not always, pick up their trash, and worry about the environment. There are those, however, who think that I.V. is their personal playground.
There are a load of stupid things these unconscious individuals do to upset the natural balance in I.V., but one of the primary problems is noise pollution. While you would think that all noise is bad, that’s not so in I.V. Some of the noise, like sounds coming from a party with a live band and talented musicians is acceptable; what isn’t is horrible music played at earsplitting levels with the bass turned up. Have you ever been driving down a road and felt your car shake with that boom, boom, boom sound from a radio in the car passing by? Well, that’s what many residents have to deal with on a weekly or daily basis.
The answer to this problem isn’t simple. Some I.V. residents seem to think that they have the right to play their music anytime they want and as loud as they like. In no other residential area would this happen. Other college towns, not all of course, have a different vibe. In an area near a big city, like Los Angeles, you would probably think twice before doing anything to cause the police to come to your house. In I.V., students apparently feel free to do whatever they please without consequences.
Another ongoing battle involves trash. Recently, a group of locals went around and photographed the beds, furniture, and other refuse left out in front of residences. Every year there are students who don’t give a thought about where the stuff they dump in the street is going to end up. As the year progresses, students become more aware of the rules and regulations regarding trash disposal and things seem to get better, but it is an ongoing struggle.
You would think that the use of BB guns wouldn’t be a problem in a college community, but it is. In the past, I’ve heard stories about students going out into the wetlands areas and doing target practice. There are birds and other animals that I’m sure would appreciate being left in peace. Students who shoot BB guns in the street or even in their backyards aren’t any better. No one, especially a neighbor, wants to worry about getting shot because of an inaccurate aim.
Another thing unique to I.V. is the fact that residents think fireworks should be set off year round. Residents have complained over and over again. Not only is it annoying, it is a terrible fire hazard. There are eucalyptus trees and dry brush near many of the residences. A stray spark from a firework could start a disastrous conflagration.
Sometimes students think it would be fun to set a couch on fire in the street. This is an old tradition that carries with it a heavy fine, but students still do it. There was a couch-burning incident this summer. A longtime resident gave me the background on why students burn couches, but it is a little too racy to describe. I’ll leave it to your imagination, or you might want to ask someone who has lived in the I.V. community for awhile.
There is no easy answer to all these issues. The only thing I can suggest is a bigger push to develop a sense of civic responsibility among students who live in I.V. UCSB and SBCC might have to step up their campaigns to create well-rounded individuals. By the end of their school years, students should not only be versed in book knowledge, they should be more enlightened about the world. If students were given information to help them make wiser choices, and alerted to the ills of making bad decisions, they might behave better.
Another way to combat this problem is to make sure that landlords feel responsible for the evil they inflict on the I.V. area when they rent to someone they have not checked out. Some landlords check out the people they are renting to and always have clean and quiet residences. Other landlords seem to rent to people indiscriminately. You would think that landlords would like to leave their properties in the hands of responsible individuals, but this is not always the case.
While there are a lot of people who have tried for many years to solve some of these issues, this does not mean that the problems are insurmountable. With more emphasis placed on creating a community of responsible individuals who are an asset to society, I.V. will become a more pleasant place to live.