Former Isla Vista Civic Leader, David Hoskinson, Dies in Florida
Shortly after graduating Quincy College in 1974, David Hoskinson hitchhiked to Isla Vista, Calif., a densely populated town of 12,000 (now 20,000) located within the campus of UC Santa Barbara measuring barely one-half square mile. A college friend, who preceded him, had written that both the women and bud were beautiful in I.V., the perfect testing ground for a young man breaking free of his Catholic working class childhood. But the friend had left before David arrived and he spent the last of his money on an apartment.
I picked him up one day hitchhiking back from Santa Barbara, both of us having spent the day applying for jobs. He hadn’t eaten for days, so I invited him home to dinner and because he reminded us so much of a friend from the time before we arrived in I.V., we more-or-less adopted him. David and I ran as a slate for seats on the Isla Vista Community Council (IVCC) that November and won handily. But he soon resigned to accept a full-time job as a dog catcher-trainee via the federal CETA job training program.
At the time, the county permitted the IVCC to establish its own rules for animal control enforcement and within a few months, the problem of roving packs of dogs – common to most college communities in that period – was solved. This happened in the early days of Isla Vista’s community-building movement that rose out of the ashes of the razed Bank of America building. It was one of the foremost examples of how self-government could solve this town’s myriad problems created by the misrule of both the University and County (see The Trow Report (1970) commissioned by the UC Regents).
The job lasted 18 months and then he hooked on as an assistant director of the local free clinic, although he soon graduated to director. During his tenure, the Isla Vista Open Door Medical Clinic flourished, adding a dental clinic and a mid-wife program and was able to purchase its building with a grant I scored and David implemented cleanly.
As Cliff Harrison, a community leader of that time commented on David’s passing: “He had a kind of dedication to the work of the community that could be really trusted and was never self-serving. If he said he would do something… it got done… and done well. He was one of the folks I missed most when I left Isla Vista.”
Before leaving for UC Berkeley about 1982, David introduced a Chicago-wrinkle to the local poker club in which players who stay in to the end but lose have to match the pot for the next round. We called this gambit “Mad Dog” in his honor and him too, although he often reminded us that “My friends call me David.” He also popularized among his friends such surprisingly fitting clichés as “Space is the Place for the Whole Human Race” to note something slightly off center and “What are the odds?” for something that stretches credibility.
After obtaining a double-MA in public health and business, David became M&A director for Catholic Hospitals West, merging, among others, three local hospitals (French in San Luis Obispo, St. Francis in Santa Barbara and Miriam in Santa Maria) into that network. For the past 15 years, David was an executive for Pediatrix, a pediatric group practice serving thirteen South-eastern states. Pediatrix is based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and according to Hoskinson was the nation’s largest Medicaid biller. AS you might expect David was active in Ft. Lauderdale in business, artistic and social services. LINK to his Ft. Lauderdale obit: CLICK HERE
Although it’s been 30 years since you left Isla Vista, David, you’re still in our hearts and we’ll miss you forever.
A memorial get-together among David’s friends will be held Sat. Jan. 19th, 3 pm-Midnight: program at 4:30. At the residence of Dr. David Bearman, 373 Hillsboro Way – Goleta. All of David’s old friends and acquaintances are invited to get together to reminisce and celebrate life. Please RSVP to 961-9988.
An activist in Isla Vista for over 30 years (1972-2004), Carmen Lodise is the author of the book, ISLA VISTA: A Citizen’s History (2008).