DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
“Burying your head in the sand does not make you invisible. It only leads to suffocation.”
― Wayne Gerard Trotman
Did You Know? is trying to return to a sense of normalcy after such a year, which is a daunting process in Santa Barbara.
With law enforcement being hampered by the lack of intelligent leadership — coupled with these chronic homeless problems that were certainly not addressed effectively before the pandemic — we see no changes for the better with this current city government.
It’s laughable – do you remember the Chinook? We giggle just saying the word. We are thinking of the 1970s motorhome, which has set up camp since Memorial Day, 10 to 15 feet from the railroad tracks nestled on Union Pacific’s corridor below the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Who knew they would go so far?
Pup tents, dome tents, tents for four — how far will the Santa Barbara City Council’s compassion carry us? Or is this just another serving of their complacence masked as hand wringing?
The motorhome is by Highway 101. However, as you pass the northbound Cabrillo Boulevard exit at the median is another hidden encampment. Caltrans picks up the trash as it spills onto the freeway. Even Union Pacific must play a part in this upset, as they must blow their train whistle continuously to warn the transients that they are coming through. Who doesn’t love the sound of a train whistle, but this is loud.
Do you know the number of military personnel sleeping all over the world — not in hotels or barracks, but in the heat, without shade?
Even in our own country, National Guard troops slept on the concrete of a Washington, D.C., parking structure, where there was one bathroom with two toilet stalls, one electrical outlet and no internet. These were the thousands who were protecting us and the employees of our Capitol.
Yes, this is happening while our local government shows empathy for the homeless to the point of ignoring the issue of these campers and tent dwellers endangering the lives of those who live in the city.
How do we make sense and keep this focus on the Emergency Declaration, which is to protect the taxpayers, not the comfort of the transients who are squatting and trespassing on public land that the taxpayers fund?
No one’s hard luck story is everyone else’s responsibility. Last time we checked, trespassing is still against the law.
Trespassers from the Jan. 6 incident at our nation’s Capitol are still in jail, charged with only the crime of trespassing, yet homeless in our city, and all over the state, again seem to have a hall pass to plop themselves down where they choose, to the detriment of the community at large.
Just this week, a Did You Know? contributor, while walking to Mass, witnessed a transient urinating outside his tent in A lameda Park.
Did You Know? wants to know: If we have had the homeless among us since day one, why do we now see tents in Alameda Park, and on already identified city and county properties. This was happening before COVID-19, so it can’t all be about the pandemic and the rules not to move the homeless to curtail the coronavirus’ spread.
To prevent dehydration, our servicemen can be ordered to drink bottled water left in the sun, yet the homeless are given breakfast, cable TV and $100 a week for food, if they get signed up to “the program.”
We know the world is upside down, but isn’t our backyard small enough and aren’t we big enough, smart enough and resourceful enough that we can fix this homeless crisis for the good of the whole? Limits must be set, and rules must be followed.
None of this is due to evictions during COVID-19. Evictions are not allowed until June 30 when the moratorium ends, according to the mandate from the city, county, state and federal governments.
Speaking of COVID, before you got your vaccination, weren’t you told to abstain from alcohol before and after the injection? Yet our local news station televised a promotion for a bar, “… If you take a shot, we will give you a shot (of tequila….)”. Where was Dr. Van Do-Reynoso’ guidance for this incentive program? Or does she support such measures?
As of last Tuesday, COVID is over and masks are gone. Just like that, no more colored tiers, even though 35 new cases and two deaths are reported in June alone in Santa Barbara County.
Four weeks ago, a transient camp was documented on the city’s encampment website. The response by SB Act when an inquiry was made to the status was — “oh , that’s in the city.” Why then is the city of Santa Barbara issuing checks to SB Act?
Is this why nothing gets done? Often it’s someone else’s jurisdiction, someone else’ job, “not my pay grade,” “not my work schedule,” etc. Where is the collaboration in this? Can you imagine if you conducted your organization with such a lack of customer service and a laissez-faire attitude? You would be out of business!
On Tuesday, the three-year Economic Development Plan was adopted unanimously by the City Council, although Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon pointed out the document lacked no specifics for the plan.
Created by new Economic Development Director Jason Harris, the plan’s scope includes enhancing downtown vibrancy, the city’s economy, social equity, environmental protection and celebrating Santa Barbara’s historic character, cultural resources, and art.
One of the goals is evaluating a permanent parklet program and organizing “business assistance training opportunities.” Sounds lofty.
Yet, there’s no mention of the fixes for problems that plague State Street and the downtown area of the growing aggressive transient population, or the lack of public safety or sub-par police response. (There was a story on the front page of Friday’s News-Press about an incident at Natural Cafe and general problems in the 500 block of State Street, where businesses are seeking an increased police presence. See newspress.com/news-press-special-report-500-block-seeks-more-police-presence.)
On the other hand, thanks to Transportation’s Rob Dayton and Mr. Harris implementing the State Street promenade’s closures and obstacle course, the police department’s Interim Chief Melikin said during budget hearings that the police response times are delayed due to the officers being deployed on bikes. Going after serious crimes on bicycles. What a low blow for our law enforcement and for responsible protection of our community.
Talk about doing your jobs properly, parents are you doing your homework? Your research? $130 billion of federal money was allocated to the school system for reopening. Along with that, the school boards in New Jersey decided that school holidays will no longer be called by their traditional names.
We collectively stood by while Christmas and Easter were changed to “Happy Holidays” and “Spring Break.” But now no holiday is honored by its name. Make no mistake. This is a way to obliterate successful markers of our history.
Our local school boards are still promoting critical race theory and inappropriate sex education for youngsters and who knows what else. One and seventy sex traffic victims were rescued locally, within our own county. Parents, it’s your time and your duty to speak up and protect your children from child abuse masked as sexual education.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
— Sigmund Freud
While we were under the cover of COVID-19, our markers of our history are being removed from our everyday lives.
The statues of revered men and women are being pulled down. It was not enough to change school names, including one named after the first female mayor of San Francisco, U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the statue removed of “the America the Beautiful” singer Kate Smith. Now they are gunning for the names of our holidays.
This is a serious offense to erase our history. If they continue to obliterate our history, what will be left? Will it come down to which factory you will be assigned as a worker?
Remember, we mentioned the “wrap around services” for the homeless, which is costing taxpayers millions of dollars? Instead of getting signed up and on the government’s dole of handouts, housing etc.
Is the U.S. military offered as an option to the age appropriate homeless? The future could be theirs; with the G.I. bill (Veterans Administration housing loans, education paid and more) and even a career if they excel, all this as a benefit for a brighter future.
This opportunity can offer guidance for those with absent fathers, and they often become part of a military family. It is referred to as the security provided by “3 hots and a cot”.
Sacred is the security of family, parents and siblings, but today we celebrate our fathers. Everybody has a father, and many men have stepped forward on occasion to fill in for one who could not be there, or just did not know how to be a father.
Happy Father’s Day because we all have a need of a father’s love.
A father does not tell you that he loves you, he shows you.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
— The Rev. Billy Graham
Military and the transients both have something in common. Some serve, others need services. Both, however, are a father’s and a mother’s child — mostly all grown up.
A dad from San Luis Obispo needs help. He is a National Guard sergeant 1st class, and his son is in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with stage 4 cancer. The father needs housing for the next three weeks while his son undergoes treatment.
The Salvation Army has offered him a bed for the night. This is classic for Santa Barbara. The homeless get the hotels, and the veteran gets the shelter.
Contact the father, Leo Castillo at 1-619-261-3484. Or Santa Barbara police officer Craig Burleigh at 805-331-6453.
Update: The Santa Barbara Hotel Group’s Best Western Plus Santa Barbara is housing this family for two weeks, because community is important, and it is an honor to give back.
Tomorrow, celebrate Solstice –– the longest day of the year. Search Solstice SB 2021 for a Virtual Experience, the theme is Bloom.
Viva La Fiesta! It is almost a go!
While no parade or Mercados, as of now, we celebrate resumption of Fiesta Pequena and Noches de Ronda.
Regarding the Mercados, we believe the nonprofits with all their years of experience can pull it together in seven and a half weeks and be ready for their annual fundraiser. Let us support an “old school” local Fiesta, and nix the merchandise trailers from Los Angeles.
It’s the least we can do for our local retailers, after such a year.