Santa Barbara View asked the candidates running for Santa Barbara City Council, What will you do to reclaim State Street? Here is David Landecker’s response.
“I was a part of the decision of our community to redevelop lower State Street in the early 1980s. I was one of the Councilmembers who cut the ribbon on Paseo Nuevo, one purpose of which was to move “hobos” and “drunks” out of lower State and reclaim it for the community. The project was very effective insofar as the area is now lined with high-end bars and restaurants, boutiques and clubs that are attractive to tourists, students and residents looking for entertainment, food and drink.
But redevelopment did not make the complex and diverse group of people we now call “the homeless” disappear. In the wake of a major economic downturn, our very desirable city streets serve as the only home for mentally ill, down and out unemployed, addicts, as well as “travelers” who have made hanging out on the streets and begging for, or even demanding money into their occupation. It is the issue I hear the most about as I ask community members about their local concerns.
I am presuming that the question is asking how we reclaim State Street from the aggressive and objectionable portion of the homeless population, rather than either the well-healed “drunks” who frequent our bars, clubs and restaurants, the tourists or the shoppers, or even the members of our homeless community who are temporarily down on their luck.
I believe that we need to make clear that certain behaviors are simply unacceptable in our downtown, regardless of who practices them. This includes loud and obstreperous conduct, blocking access to the sidewalks or to businesses, public urination, or picking a fight through rude conduct or an assault. I believe that we should enforce the law on State Street, including the prohibition on bikes and skate boards on the sidewalks, drunk and disorderly conduct, littering, etc. for everyone.
I don’t think police resources are best used for some of the more routine patrolling and controlling of conduct on State Street. Indeed, perhaps some of those “down on their luck” could be hired, with proper supervision, to assist in promoting and enforcing our new code of civility and appropriate conduct. Force may occasionally have its place. But respectful persuasion and peer expectations and enforcement, might go farther with much less cost.”
David’s campaign website is at: www.DavidLandecker.com.