I struggle to stay optimistic, even though just trying to see a matinee at the Del Mar Theatre involves running a gauntlet of street maniacs who have decided they are entitled to all of the sidewalk, all of the street and all of the atmosphere. Yelling expletives, threatening to kill each other, decorating the benches and doorways with the contents of their 1) bathrooms, b) kitchens, c) lives, these packs of human hyenas aren’t the frail, tender, pathetic homeless or mentally impaired. They’re thugs, loadies and jerks somehow allowed to run amok. Why do shop-owners, tax-payers and those who love Santa Cruz continue to tolerate this? Freedom of expression is not freedom to infringe on the rights of others. Read John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” for a little refresher course on the freedoms our country justly prizes.
Over lunch with two friends who own a business in Carmel, we asked why that town doesn’t have this street scum problem. We were told that Carmel’s police are tough on squatters and vagrants. Offenders who continue to destroy the peace, accost by-passers and urinate, etc. on the sidewalks are given one-way tickets out of town. Waaaay out of town.

Sounds good to me. What about you?

A footnote to this issue. A lovely person who owns a restaurant next door to the Metro terminal between Front & Pacific, emailed me to ask if I would come check out her restaurant. It needed some patron oomph. What I really wanted to say to her was this: Your business could be selling genuine relics of the Holy Grail and it wouldn’t work because of location, location, location. I used to ride the bus. I am not being an elitist when I simply observe that those congregating in and around the Metro center are driving away clientele from otherwise deserving businesses, and driving down property values.

Everyone knows there’s something going wrong. But nobody is willing to do the politically-incorrect thing and fight back!