Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Two Letters and a new email to the Editor regarding Casa Esperanza
The Santa Barbara police department has noted that transient-related crime has increased over 400% in the immediate area since Casa Esperanza began its operations, and 20% in the city overall. Recently, Casa Esperanza has begun a jail release program, not conditioned in their CUP, and which certainly has the potential to increase crime further.
The City of Santa Barbara, the county, and other cities within the county all provide thousands of dollars in direct funding to Casa Esperanza. Indirectly it costs the city far more for police and emergency medical support for incidents related to clients of Casa Esperanza. These are significant funds that could be spent to benefit the community in other positive ways such as youth programs, parks and street improvements.
Many of us would agree that helping the homeless is a noble and worthwhile cause. We’d also agree that there should be balance between the needs of the community and helping the homeless.
Apparently, the voices for insisting on helping the homeless were louder than community members asking for balance.
by Milpas Street Business Owner:
As I headed through the round-about under the new freeway underpass towards the beach, a homeless man openly urinated on the sidewalk in plain view of lunch time commuters, shoppers and families heading to the beach or up to Trader Joe’s.
Wow, I thought, this is what we’ve come to. They’re now pissing on the city in broad daylight.
In a recent meeting, the cops told us that a recent ruling from an appellate court handcuffs them from diligently going after nuisance street crime. The judge said that in order for a nuisance street crime to be prosecuted, it has to be considered shocking to the values of the community. The cops can no longer arrest someone for urinating in public because it’s no longer shocking.
To a neighborhood that is being asked to absorb this unrelenting assault on our sensibilities, this is a serious problem. The veneer of civilization is very thin. Little crimes lead to big crimes. A sense of lawlessness and disorder does not bode well for our city’s health and well-being.
As neighbors, we’re no longer sad about this. We’re mad. Enough is enough.
Email received by Cacique St business owner in response to a job ad:
Subject: Re: Showroom associate
Thank you for your response. I’m afraid I won’t be coming by. I do not go in that area due to the rude, dangerous people who frequent there and the homeless shelter. I have stopped volunteering there due to the vulgarity, drugs and violence.
Good luck with your search.