The city of Santa Barbara is a vacation destination for those of all social strata and classes? In fact, so desirable are we, and known for our world-class support system, that prisons across our state have an inmate release program that sends felons straight to Santa Barbara. Rumor has it, the comments that go with the rubber-stamp release go something like, “We’ll send you to Santa Barbara, they have everything you need.” White, unmarked buses, with black windows, regularly pull up to the train station in the dark of night, swing open their doors, and the release onto our streets is complete. Rumor also has it that it is more than just our state. Others send their “clients” to us for our expert care as well. PATH, rumor has it, imports their residents from Los Angeles. Did you know L.A. has 60,000 homeless on their streets? What percentage can we house? The consequences? Theft in West Beach, and crime, along with surveillance installation over the last few years, has increased dramatically. We watched a hustle at The Habit where a homeless man tried to sell postcards to tourists. An entire stack had gone missing from a souvenir rack down the street. This was a petty crime by comparison. A car was stolen right out of the train depot parking lot. The thief caught a needed ride to his next opportunity. We’re so proud of being a multi-talented resort location, simultaneously serving as a wayward station.
—Bonnie Donovan and Natasha Todorovic