By an edhat reader
Is it art or trash? Seen this morning in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens.
What the hell?
"Wanna be" art on the lawn? Trash on the side of the lawn?
It looks like the left overs from a "Save The Environment" rally !
I see trash in that location every time I drive by.
The homeless are allowed to just collect junk and call it "personal property". I've noted before that the area around the courthouse and administration building is a giant encampment filled with mentally unstable people and drug addicts. This guy in particular has been a problem for years and he seems to enjoy pissing everyone off. He loves throwing chidlike tantrums everytime someone tells him something he doesn't like. This guy should be in a mental institution if he's not playing a game.
And, I just heard we have a big cruise ship in town today, with lot's of tourists.
I say it’s trash. And even if it is art, one must get a permit to place art on most public property, and I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t qualify, especially in this location. Take it away.
The Courthouse is art.
I walked by this area during a jury duty break today. Afterwards, I saw a number posted legal warnings, dated today, saying that items would be removed in 3 days. I’d expect a change later this week.
Three days? That’s nuts. I understand that there are rules against disposing of homeless people’s belongings, but it really doesn’t look like “belongings.”
Don't touch it. Cathy and the Silly Council paid $75,000 to commission an avant-garde basket-weaving consultant who can finally increase tourism and business in the downtown area.
Trash. I saw a cop talking to the owner of the trash yesterday, cop car lights blazing. Maybe something will be done. I’m sympathetic to the plight of the homeless, but not when they have literal trash strewn about in a public place. If I wheeled my Marborg trash bin to the courthouse, or onto the beach, and dumped out its contents, I reckon I’d be cited, as well I should.
I called Marborg and they told me that they've been told NOT to ever remove anything that might be the belongings of a "street person." I called the police and was told if they do have such things removed they get involved with having to store them. I suggested that I, Josephine Citizen, might be in a mood to go take the trash and throw it in a dumpster and they said that'd be illegal. But if I, Jane Doe Taxpayer, dumped my trash there that'd be illegal and I'd be fined.
Our so called “mayor” Cathy and city council enable this sort of crap.
Talk to Dario Pini about illegal trash dumping. Why does he get fined, while vagrants get a free pass. Mayor Murillo, please address inequities caused by this town's dual legal systems: one for vagrants, and one for the rest of us. What do vagrants do that is beneficial in return, that balances their continued lawless conduct?
Who wants to organize a protest where we all bring our trash cans to city hall & dump them on the front steps, then dare the police to cite us, or to even remove the trash? Apparently they wouldn’t legally be allowed to do either. Maybe that’ll help highlight the absurdity. Who wants to organize it? I don’t (too lazy), but I’d certainly participate!
Personally, I think most of the sidewalk hoarders need mental health services. Rather than complain, let’s figure out a way to get them help.
They won’t voluntarily get help many of these people don’t even know what the hell reality is anymore or the time of day or probably even what year it is. In order to help the mentally deranged homeless population we would need to force them into mental hospitals in hopes that they are even curable and will continue with necessary treatment once they are released.
A-1578368936: I agree. Maybe a way to help them could be to show them that littering their hoarded items is not a way to be a healthy part of society. Nobody’s saying arrest them, we just need to change this specific behavior that is detrimental to them being accepted in the society that we’ve (for better or worse) come up with a set of rules about.
“I called Marborg and they told me that they've been told NOT to ever remove anything that might be the belongings of a street person."
Well then we have a clear policy-definition problem here, because almost any piece of litter “MIGHT be the belongings of a street person. I guarantee that nearly every homeless person has, amongst their possessions, an empty coffee cup. So are empty coffee cups prohibited from being picked up? Look, i see the difficulty of having to differentiate between trash and a person’s possessions, but it’s clear that the person who leaves the empty cardboard boxes, plastic 5-gallon buckets salvaged from a local restaurant’s dumpster that once held cooking oil (and might still?), and shopping carts that he certainly didn’t buy and doesn’t own, it’s clear that he doesn’t keep these items as personal property, he just collects them to throw them on the grass where children used to play, as a big middle finger to something or other.
What the hell is going on?! This is nuts. How do we not have any respect for our public spaces? Allowing this behavior is enabling people to act worse. Clean it up Santa Barbara.
Yeah somebody should do something.
I'll go clean it up. Should I take my pepper spray with me?
The Santa Barbara Municipal Code contains at least 100 separate ordinances regarding littering, illegal dumping, garbage, refuse, etc. You would think that our leaders would at least make an attempt to enforce some of these laws on their own land. Maybe SB city council should fine itself for noncompliance.
It’s County property until you hit the sidewalk; then it’s the city’s.
It would kind of be awesome to do a big "winter cleaning" of all the accumulated stuff in my rental, and just dump it on the Court House lawn while I deliberate. I may still want those chipped mugs, or maybe even the ripped napkins. Give me 72 hours, will ya? Alas, no. If I want to get rid of things, I have to pay for an extra haul, and there is no turning back once the fat, blue Marborg truck rounds the corner. Sad.
SEABIRD. While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed in your comment, you should know that Marborg gives each City dweller two free trash pickups per year. Just no construction stuff. Torn napkins, chipped mugs are A-OK.
It's been going on for months. Occasionally it's gone but the pile starts up again. I've even seen a "sister" installation across the street !
Is this more important than most of the issues in this world!?! You all really feel a need to chime in on this? Protest and dump more trash on the lawn, really?? Ignore reality everyone, and be distracted by this non issue! What’s wrong with us? What have we become. “Man in his infinite complacency...”
All politics are local. Yes, intentional and chronic trash dumping in public places, especially in this particularly community in this particular location, is an extremely important local issue. The act offends community sensibilities at every level. Voters can register their disgust to thelr local elected officials - both city and county.
Is the fact that people are commenting more important to you than other issues in this world? You really felt a need to chime in? Ignore reality, and be distracted by people's comments? What is wrong with you, what have you become that you are so distracted by people being concerned and bothered by this?
This issue is extremely important to me. I've seen this guy. Why is no one helping him? Where is his family? He needs mental health treatment. Maybe the fact that he camps out at the courthouse is a cry for help Why is no one helping him?
Hey is this from the guy who, last time I was in court, was camped in the archway right outside the door? He had all his stuff lined up along the wall as if he owned it. Not knowing his mental state it made me nervous as he could be dangerous if he attacked someone. I wonder what the tourists taking pics of the courthouse thought. I found it amazing that no one was going out there and telling him he had to move out of there. Maybe they finally did so instead, he set it up here? Unbelievable.
This looks like Stephen’s stuff. He’s mentally ill and very intelligent. There are legal reasons (not all silly) that law enforcement must err on the side of caution when faced with this sort of nuisance stuff. I wonder if it would be more efficient for private community members to collect and remove such obvious trash on their own. The potential for that to turn into a vigilante anti-homeless gang is troubling, however, possibly seizing and dumping people’s sleeping bags and other important possessions.
This issue has been ongoing for decades. The library lawn used to be a prime location for street junk until it was fenced off for the Art Museum construction materials storage. It’s an unpleasant symptom of a more unpleasant problem — mental illness in its many forms + a society that refuses to care for its vulnerable and resource less members. Those of us who have close family or friends who are seriously mentally ill understand what a terrible and frustrating state of affairs it is. What if mental illness were regarded like other disabilities - blindness, being paraplegic, etc.? No shame or rejection, just treatment, support, acceptance and incorporation into the functioning of the community?
To commit someone you have to have a place to put them. Since the State of California closed the state hospitals decades ago (“thanks,” Gov Reagan) there are very few facilities for the seriously mentally ill. The county of SB has some beds at the Psychiatric Health Facility on Camino del Remedio, there are a few beds at Cottage Hosp, the overflow have to be found available space in Ventura County or elsewhere. It gets very expensive, and there are not enough resources. Huge and complicated problem.
To be involuntarily hospitalized in a mental institution you have to be a danger to self or others AND suffering from a mental illness. I’ve seen that guy attend court proceedings and another time I saw him yelling at and throwing small items at a couple of police who were calmly telling him to move on. Until we legally designate yelling and litter as danger, the court homesteader isn’t going anywhere.
Trash, homeless trash left there by a very dangerous mentally ill homeless person. Just a matter of time he (Steve) will hurt someone. Get him off the streets before he does. He came at me a couple of times. But I stood my ground. I am not afraid of him.
Comment has been deleted by edhat
The SB Public Library feels safer now that they have security team. Perhaps the courthouse should hire them? It is just across the street from them.
Then what? Hire security for all our parks and beaches, too? One program I could get behind is the county handing out free or low cost pepper spray to women. If a homeless creep gets up in your face, 99% of the time it's because you're female and the bum thinks you won't pop him in the face. After a couple dicey experiences on local beaches and at a few of the parks, I now carry my pepper spray at the ready: not in my pocket but in my hand.
Enough of these platitudes from both sides. The real reason why this population is in the community creating tension and anxiety is that the public will not pay the cost of care to help them with these problems OR to house them voluntarily or against their will. The County Mental Health (now absurdly "Behavioral Wellness" I think) has always taken the least difficult cases and left problems like this in the community which too often means they end up in jail at greater (but politically saleable) expense. If the community wants this spectacle to stop please lobby your County Supervisors (not the city council which does not control this budget) to approve implementation of a real locked care or voluntary care system (not the 2d jail which they sold out to a couple of years ago) and lobby them further to demand the people in charge of the county mental health program actually inteface/met/serve real needy people and stop having meetings and creating "year" plans that are quickly revised. This stuff is not that hard to address if we actually hold people accountable for their assigned jobs.
Four years ago while walking my dog in front of the Red Cross Building on State St., between Constance and Alamar, I asked a disheveled man-who I found out later was Steve P.-to please move his two shopping carts full of trash and garbage from blocking the sidewalk so I could pass instead of having to step onto State St to walk beside park cars as traffic whizzed by.
He proceeded to scream that I was a Nazi B***, hated Jews, and I didn’t know who I was talking to because he had worked for Dan Rather at CBS News. (I found out that at one time he actually was a stringer in Florida for CBS). He proceeded to shove, scream and berate me all the way down to the corner of Alamar and State while I was talking to the police on the phone. As my dog normally sweet-natured dog was going ballistic trying to both protect me and snap at this dangerous man, I pushed back with the cane I was required to use at that time. Thank goodness for the Good Samaritan man who pulled over to ask if I was alright. Steve P immediately backed off. The police were slow to come, but they did arrive about 10 minutes later.
Officer Van Dyke was very congenial. He immediately knew who I was talking about. He said that five days prior he had thrown Steven’s 2 carts full of junk away. I requested to press charges. Officer Van Dyke asked if would I find it satisfactory if he talked to Steven P. to tell him he must never hang out in the area again. I reluctantly agreed. Officer Van Dyke gave me his card to call if I spotted the guy in the general vicinity again.
I later regretted not pressing charges because I owned a condo across from the Red Cross Building, (I’ve since moved), and was apprehensive Steven P wouldn’t respect Office Van Dyke’s strongly worded suggestion. Four three weeks prior to this incident, I had twice cleaned up garbage and trash strewn around the sunken sitting area in front of the Red Cross Building. I now realize it was this guy’s garbage. I also came to realize that several months prior, I had seen him bellowing and screaming at an obviously disturbed young woman as they walked down State St toward Alamar. He was ‘protecting her’. I asked her if she wanted me to contact the authorities. He proceeded to threaten me with a lawsuit, but said it ultimately didn’t matter as the police knew who he was and were afraid of him.
After asking around, here is what I found out. Steve P. is from LA, and has a sister who lives and works here in the medical field. He’s been given a section 8 studio but because he refuses to abide by the rules, was evicted, CHOOSING instead to live under an arch at one of the most photographed buildings in the country. If you walk through Alamar Park and look at the beautiful old stone masonry that lines the sidewalks, you’ll see his Neptune Radio Station stickers, along with other graffiti, etched into the masonry. It will take highly skilled artisans to try and restore it-that is if it can be rehabilitated.
I equivocated signing on to comment about my experience with this guy until I saw some people on this thread complain about how ‘we’ as a ‘society’ don’t care. I guess only ‘they‘ care. Rubbish. Excusing his destructive behavior is putting the onus on us. It’s a sly way to cast aspersions to any of us who have been directly or indirectly victimized by him. He is cogent enough to know to leave when another man gets out of his car to help a woman. He knows enough to never attack a young 6’2 man because of his short stature. He’s clear thinking enough to know how to try and manipulate the PD desk. He’s not hallucinating. He’s a public menace, and needs to be taken off the street and housed, under close supervision, before someone gets seriously hurt.
Dabbsie you show no insight into the human condition. Your exhausting narrative is about you and not society at large. Stop playing the victim and help with the improvement of society.
I absolutely PROMISE that if i had a pickup truck i would pull up to the curb, grab enough stuff that was obviously trash, load it into the bed, and calmly drive away. Kids were once able to picnic & play on that grass before all that dumpster trash has been able to leak its fluids into it. Sad that our city can’t solve this easily-solvable problem.
I have a pick up truck. Perhaps I should back it up to the courthouse lawn and dump my trash there instead of paying Marborg bimonthly. I pay a lot of taxes to live here, I don’t mind seeing homeless people, I mind seeing trash.