Santa Barbara City Parks to Close Earlier?
By Deanne Whitlee
This week the Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to close all city parks a half-hour after sunset, instead of 10:00 p.m.
The reasons our Parks Director cited were due to poor bathroom cleanliness, vandalism, trash, and not enough parks staff. She also stated the Parks Department spent $1.6 million in one year to clean up homeless camps and keep the parks clean.
Is this what our city has come to? Our parks are ruined for the majority because of the misdeeds of a few?
The 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled in April that if there is no room at area shelters, then members of the public (eg. transients) must be allowed to sleep without fear of arrest or prosecution.
So, the City of Santa Barbara decides that if any local person is watching the sunset and stays longer than the 30 minutes, we'll be asked to leave. But if a homeless person decides to set up camp and sleep in the park, it's ok. Should we all then pretend to be taking naps if the cops try and shoo us out?
One thing I do agree with, they voted to ban adults from designated children's playgrounds and play areas unless they accompany a child. Although, most of the adults creeping around playgrounds are transients who sleep and sometimes live in the parks.
Why not come up with a comprehensive solution to the homeless crisis so our parks will be enjoyable for everyone, State Street will be a pleasant place to visit again, and the City can stop spending money on cleaning up the mess and paying outside corporations to tell us what we already know?
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