A wise guy came up with a map of renamed California counties.
The new names depicted the sobriquet of each county. For instance, Kern County was dubbed “Basically Texas.” Santa Barbara was dubbed “Usually on Fire.” Not funny, right? Well, the truth still hurts.
My lifelong genius professor mentor friend has a favorite word. Feckless.
I will save you the time of grabbing a dictionary. “Feckless” means lacking initiative or strength of character. How could the Riviera of the West Coast; the home of the Montecito rich, famous and beautiful; the home of world-class UCSB, be considered feckless?
Well, wake up and smell the embers.
Whereas, some people are homeless through no fault of their own, instead of helping these people, your woke Santa Barbara City Council is trying to avoid spending $100 million to relocate several hundred homeless people because they rightfully fear these mentally and emotionally addled bums, derelicts, drunkards, and drug addicts will otherwise burn your town down.
After a dozen fires in the recent past, and the subsequent deadly Montecito debris flow, they finally figured that out? Well, not exactly.
The awful truth is neither the City Council nor the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors have figured out anything. They are still intent on protecting the fuel load in the name of habitat preservation and they keep doling out services — read that all carrot and no stick — to attract and coddle more and more homeless into our communities.
So now we find ourselves trying to plead, cajole and lure hundreds of “house-challenged” individuals from camping, replete with campfires, in our creeks, highways, byways, parks and beaches. How does the so-called birthplace of the environmental movement tolerate tons of trash, feces, hypodermic needles, stolen bicycles, couches, abandoned cars and the like being dumped into creeks and river beds that are otherwise considered sacrosanct?
Well, it all has to do with the feckless politicians you keep electing time and time again.
They have mistaken tolerance for mercy and compassion. The difference? Tolerance withholds any form of judgement. This mind set considers all these homeless people to be victims that society failed. None of them are held accountable for their criminality and the degradation they bring on this community or their unwillingness to accept the help they really need.
Instead, we are told we need to help them by throwing a house their way while virtually ignoring all their underlying conditions and complicity. Honestly, that will have the same result as when Dorothy dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the West. This may not be Oz, but it is the home of Oprah, and that is a distinction without a difference.
These people are homeless because they burned every friend and relative they had. Now they are fixing to burn the town down. In places like Kansas, at least in days of old, they had mercy and compassion on the downtrodden, but they also had reasonable expectations of sentient human beings. That is, they would help the poor but not the shiftless.
And if the shiftless posed a danger to society or themselves, they went to jail or an institution. Pure and simple. But we don’t do that here anymore because “being homeless is not a crime.” However, building campfires in dry brush is a crime!
The only house that will help is some form of house arrest, replete with services, rather than countenancing a squatter settlement, the true hallmark of a third world ghetto, in the heart of Santa Barbara, at De La Guerra Plaza, no less. Of course, we won’t arrest or institutionalize these people. We are too woke. We are too tolerant. We are too progressive.
And we are constantly on fire. Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of “The Andy Caldwell Radio Show,” weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press Radio AM 1290.