Sunday, June 28, 2009
Oxnard limits liquor licenses to reduce crime
By Scott Hadly. Sunday, June 28, 2009
Website link for Ventura Star access:
Or see the PDF file I made for this detailed news article, via this link.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It seems all the residents are indeed being evicted from the Cottage Grove house. Chuck reports that Pini came and talked with him last night, offering him a $750 room for rent on San Pasqual if he'd leave the $700 room on Cottage Grove.
Such a deal...
The plan, according to Pini, is to renovate (slightly) the house, and rent it to a family on July 1. Here's hoping for some great new neighbors, though with Pini as (slum)landlord, nothing's certain.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In short, not the kind of property one wants to have in the neighborhood.
Recently, two new tenants moved in, Chuck and Renee. I met Renee when she crashed an informal gathering in my driveway. I politely talked to her, let her know that I was going in to open a bottle of wine, and that I'd prefer she not be there when I came back out. I've been otherwise friendly to Chuck and Renee, even after the police came to interrupt their domestic disturbance, and they got back together 5 minutes later.
If we want to win our case with the police that we need better patrols and more beats on the street, domestic disturbances where the participants immediately get back together is not the way to get to their hearts.
Last Friday, I saw several tenants hustling out of that house. It appears that our notorious neighborhood slumlord, Dario Pini, oh he of the 'hey I'm housing all these illegal immigrants in rundown homes, solving the city's housing shortage' fame. Doncha' just love criminal capitalism of the Pini brand? Makes the Republicans look like a bunch of silly Catholic schoolgirls in comparison, yes?
So, apparently everyone's been evicted out of the Cottage Grove slum, and Chuck has decided that he wants to stay there...alone. He has a few receipts from paying the rent, though he has no rental agreement or contract.
For some reason, there is now a guy harrassing Chuck on the premises named Alejandro. He breaks in, crawls in through windows, and kicks down doors. Now who is Alejandro? According to Chuck, this is Pini's property manager. And he's threatening Chuck that he needs to leave NOW.
I haven't looked into rental laws in California, but it seems to me that it might be a wee bit harder to evict a tenant than Alejandro and Pini seem to believe. Not that I am all that fond of Chuck, but he actually has cleaned up the property quite a bit, and that's always a good thing. It occurs to me that we could maybe use this situation to draw attention to the wonderful slumlord problem in our neighborhood, and give Pini more of the negative publicity he loves so much. And while we're at it, what would the mayoral candidates and city council wannabes have to say about this kind of thing? Do they have any plans for affordable housing so that illegal immigrants can find a cheap place to live without bringing down a neighborhood like ours? Do they have plans to deal with Pini's multiple violations? Would they look at the house at the corner of Bath and Haley which is being ripped apart while renters are still living in it?
We spend a lot of newsprint and webspace on building heights. Yet there is this whole underground economy of slumlord and illegal immigrants receiving no attention at all, though they are contributing to the denigration of a neighborhood.
Seems to me that someone's missing the boat here.
On the plus side, at least I don't get maddogged when I walk by the Cottage Grove house anymore. I guess that's progress.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Commentary: When Taggers Aren’t That Bright
By Sharon Byrne | Published on 06.18.2009
I live in that famed part of city called “West Downtown,” where the neighborhood is coming together to fight big-city urban issues in the small-town enclave of Santa Barbara. Thursday morning, while walking the dog, I noticed that city-owned property at the corner of De La Vina and Haley streets had been tagged overnight. I had walked the dog past that same spot about 11 p.m. Wednesday night, and the tag wasn’t there, so it was a late-night tag.
First, I dislike the term “tagging.” Tagging is a subset of graffiti, where the tagger develops a unique — usually unreadable — signature for his or her work. Lately, we seem to see less graffiti and a whole lot more indistinguishable scribbles as tags. But my issue with the moniker tagging is that it seems like a fun description for what is essentially defacing public buildings. Why not call it defacing or vandalizing, rather than tagging? Tagging seems so much more friendly and fun and far less irritating than the straight-out defacement it is.
When passing by the numerous tags in my neighborhood, I often wonder why the author, if so intent on making his or her mark on a wall, couldn’t have at least said something of importance? Graffiti has long been with us, as even Roman, Pompeiian and Greek ruins contained scratchings that advertised brothels or condemned bad tavern owners. The 20th-century graffiti around the world often spoke out against oppression, racism and political issues.
I understand that youths want to make their mark and have their dissidence felt by the blind masses, so to speak. If you’re going to take all the risk of writing on walls, hang yourself over bypasses and possibly get arrested, why not use the opportunity to say something a bit more profound than the unreadable gibberish that shows up?
I don’t want to get Santa Barbarans up in arms, as we all dislike graffiti in our fair city. I am not throwing down a challenge to taggers to come up with clever catchphrases to paint all over our city in a sort of graffiti version of “American Idol.” But, hey, if they’re going take all this risk and make all this effort, why not at least do something with some intelligence and thought behind it? Why not provoke some insight into our political and cultural woes as a nation, a state and a city?
The overnight tagger thought he or she was indeed making such a profound statement. Unfortunately, because of poor planning, the majority of the message is lost behind a bush on the sidewalk. Those driving by won’t get the gist of it at all. Since the tagger used the entire side of a house to paint the message, he or she obviously intended a billboard effect. But what is seen is meaningless scrawls that dissolve into ... shrubbery.
Instead of being annoyed that we had been tagged — or defaced — yet again, I found myself laughing over the tagger’s silly mistake.
This is probably not the reaction they were looking for, but if you’re going to do something, at least try to do it well. If you’re going to mark up our neighborhood, be prepared, as an urban artiste wannabe, to have your work admired or scorned in equal measure, especially if you’re not smart enough to plan it out properly.
— Sharon Byrne represents the West Downtown Neighborhood Group.