Regarding the decline of State Street, I travel to Santa Barbara to visit clients or Samy’s Camera, and while I love my clients and the gang at Samy’s, it is never a pleasant experience.
I travel by motorcycle and find my safety threatened on every visit by crazy (literally crazy) jaywalkers who roam the streets practically daring vehicles to hit them. Their effect on already irresponsibly distracted drivers puts everyone on the road at risk. While yesterday’s experience of three such events was extreme, it cemented the Santa Barbara Brand in my mind — it’s a place of crazy poor people and careless rich people. (A Porsche SUV blaring its horn at a proudly unfazed woman crossing the State and Anapamu intersection diagonally illustrated the situation nicely.)
I’m not proud to have found the limits of my compassion. I know that most homeless mentally ill people mean no harm, but some are unpredictable, and unpredictability breeds anxiety, and anxiety makes strolling or riding or driving through downtown Santa Barbara a hassle to be avoided.
I don’t know if professionals in the psychology field do pro bono work like lawyers, but I’ll bet there are enough of them to adopt all of the homeless people in S.B.
I wish I could offer a better solution.
P.S. Santa Barbara’s policy of free parking for motorcycles in city lots is a fantastic safety measure I wish every community would emulate.