I am so sick of cleaning up after vagrants and criminals.

Mid-day last Thursday I went out to our recycling bin to find our entire food waste bin emptied on the ground in our trash enclosure. On inspection I could see that it was dumped out on top of several large piles of human waste (see photos). This was in broad daylight, in the alley near Parking Lot 4 and CVS — maybe the most traveled real “paseo” in Santa Barbara. It was the second such event in two weeks. It took me 45 minutes to clean and disinfect the area — all while dozens of normal citizens and their families walked by and clearly saw what I was up to. Many were obviously visitors. Such a nice intro to Downtown Santa Barbara.

I went through the building’s camera videos and clearly captured images of the guy who did it and sent them to the city and the Police Department. This guy was not a “homeless” person, not a vagrant — he looked like someone I would not have confronted had I caught him in the act.  Never seen him before.  Doubt he has spent much of his life not in prison.  

The police confirmed what I already knew — even if my cameras had caught him in the act the most, he could be charged for was “littering” and given a citation. This is where we are at. A guy who should not be out mingling with the public is wandering around, but because of state laws and society’s unwillingness to defend public and private property, he is out shitting with no consequences. Public Health and Common Decency are dead.

Something else you may not know, but think you know. The S.B. film festival is not really “good for business.” Slowest two weeks and weekends in a year. Not just us, but the coffee shop up the street, the lunch place in La Arcada, my tenant, all of us. Parking lots half empty. Those out-of-towners who did wander in had a lot to say about the condition of downtown and State Street. “What happened to Santa Barbara?” was the familiar refrain.

Sorry for the photos, but you need to see this. So you can’t claim ignorance.

When this behavior becomes commonplace, when characters like this are numerous on our streets, all the utopianism in the world will not reverse the decline.

Only Common Sense and Common Decency will.


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