Friday, April 17, 2009
Rogue Shopping Carts
Oh those Abandoned Shopping Carts that line our sidewalks, smash beautiful parkways, side walls, and occasionally skate up and down traffic is our topic today.
Yes, you know what I'm referring to: urban blight.
We all see them. But, do we all call the Abandoned Shopping Cart Hotline? 1-800-252-4613 and wait for the 1.5 minute message to play all the way through? (No, there is no way to by-pass this message). Once you describe the location and the cart's owner (Ralphs, Vons, Longs etc.) you can sit back and enjoy the view from your front porch for at least two days, before they are picked up, or another metal or plastic beauty makes its debut.
Now wait here. SB Municipal Code (SBMMC 10.56) states that removing shopping carts from stores is illegal (without owner's permission), and therefore a misdemeanor.
CA State Law States: The unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from a store parking lot is a violation of State law. (California Business and Professions Code, Section 22435).
Officers rarely cite those who are in possession, and one even went as far as interpreting the municipal ordinance by stating that was "not illegal" or a "big deal". In fact, it was "okay", "as long as they pushed it up onto the sidewalk for pickup". What!?
Well, here's the problem: Shopping carts end up abandoned around our homes, sidewalks, and streets further contributing to urban blight.
Now, isn't up to city council to pass laws/city ordinances and the city police force to enforce the rules/laws? (not to interpret them like the officer--let's leave that up to the courts).
Well, let's really get this good old fashioned system rolling. If the laws were enforced more frequently, people would be reluctant to remove private property for the fear of being cited.
Now SB, let's get tough and re-enforce the law like Oceanside, San Francisco, Fresno, and Madison Heights etc. Let's keep Santa Barbara beautiful!
Oh, one more thing: It's not very green either. Abandoned Shopping carts get filled with refuse, needles, and other debris that end up in our streets, and ultimately flows to the ocean. Oh yes, I have seen some in our creeks! Good Grief!
Here's an alternative (see below): Longs, Home Improvement carries them for $20. Let's encourage our stores to post signs with strict rules clearly stating the consequences of shopping cart removal from store premises. Any other suggestions/solutions?