Malls are turning into crime zones

6 Oct
Mangrove Plaza

My husband  and I spotted this big ugly tag from the parking lot in front of Bubbles laundromat at Mangrove Plaza.

I think the biggest problem facing Chico right now is increasing criminal activity all over town. I won’t use the word “homeless” – that is not  the right word for the transient street people that are ruining our town.

One reason this problem has festered into such a mess is the agencies that get funding for feeding, housing, and otherwise facilitating these people. They blame mental illness, bad luck, tough breaks – things that every human being has to deal with in life, regardless of station. One difference being, how we all cope. Do you cope by shitting all over the rest of our parade?

Another difference being, how we are treated. It seems the more responsibility a person shows in life, the less slack they are given when they have a little mental breakdown, bad luck, tough breaks. The suits come after your money, your car, your home, your kids.  But today I read about a consultant who will be speaking before “homeless advocates” next week who says we should spend $30 – 50,000 per person on no-strings-attached housing for transients.  You have to be a total loser to get compassion from the homeless advocates.

According to Butte County administrative officer Paul Hahn, we already spend half the county budget on mentally ill and homeless individuals. I’ve sat in meetings listening to members of county Behavioral Health staff talk about adding “bed” (a space in a shelter facility) after bed to the county’s various facilities, 10’s of thousands of dollars per individual. That’s not to mention the salaries and benefits at Butte County Behavioral Health.

Wow, I was shocked this time, looking at the new information recently posted by the State Controller’s office. Can that be true? An administrative salary of $298,000? $54,000 in benefits? That’s – excuse me, I’m not a professional – fucking nuts!

So, get my point? A person who is yanking in that kind of dough to sit in meetings discussing the homeless problem

would want to keep the conversation going as long as possible. By their own admission they enjoy a budget of over $57 million.

Click to access BehavioralHealthDepartmentOverview2013.pdf

Chico Police Department and Chico Chamber of Commerce also masturbate away a considerable amount of time and paid energy toward the homeless. Regular public meetings held in different parts of town have been worthless. The last time I had a complaint about an incident I witnessed at Bubbles Laundromat there on Mangrove, Katie Simmons simply told me she’s meeting with those business owners on a regular basis. But the problem not only persists at Mangrove Plaza, it’s getting worse – should I send Simmons, who is paid with money received from the city of Chico “Community Block Grants”, a copy of the photo posted above? 

Tuesday I realized there are certain businesses that continue to be part of the problem. Mangrove Plaza merchants could do a lot more to help themselves. Like, how about cleaning up the sidewalks in front of your store Folks? Tuesday afternoon, my husband and I strolled by one pile of dog shit after another, stuck to the sidewalk in front of businesses like Sports LTD and Heel and Sole Shoes. You really have to watch your step on that sidewalk, all the way around toward Safeway, or you will get shit on your shoes.  And the general appearance of the sidewalk looks like Downtown San Francisco – looks like it’s never had  a broom to it. It gets worse as you wind your way toward the sandwich shop, Bubbles Laundromat, and then Rite Aid. The filth continues right into Rite Aid, where the smell of human excrement will take you a step back.  Not even the perfume and cigarettes stench of the dry cleaners covers up the scent of human filth that is starting to pervade that section of Mangrove Plaza.

The public sector is not going to do anything about this problem.  It’s time for property owners and citizens to step up.  I think we need an ordinance that says malls like Mangrove Plaza need to hire their own, on-site security patrol. I don’t believe the police department should have to patrol private property.  When you have a piece of real estate where no one is going to be at night, you are inviting creeps to do whatever they want. It is a crime zone, and it will get worse.

I know the management at Safeway cares. I feel for the employees at Safeway – they have to park in that parking lot at all hours. We don’t go to Safeway after dark if we can help it and neither do our adult children. Remember when Mangrove Safeway was considered “The Nice Safeway”?   One afternoon  we ran into a friend of ours at the check out, and we were discussing some ne’er do wells at the south entrance. They’d tried to start something with our friend when he didn’t respond to their request for a hand-out – he’s a big man, he’s used to people making remarks. He’s always telling us what a trial it is to live in his Chapmantown neighborhood with them walking right past his gate, sometimes tossing cigarettes into his grandson’s play yard.   He says he’d like to rip their arms off, but he knows he’d get the shit end of that stick from the cops, so he holds his temper.  The manager happened to overhear our conversation, and asked our friend about his encounter,  then went immediately out the front door and confronted the creeps, telling them they had to leave. 

Safeway Corporation doesn’t care, they don’t have to work there. Same with the owners of the malls at the south end of town, where the cardboard signs and shopping carts are stored in the bushes along the road. 

Chico PD should be patrolling Bidwell Park, but that’s another post.



8 Responses to “Malls are turning into crime zones”

  1. Rob October 6, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Juanita, I think the problem is, a lot of the public workers who make their living dealing with these people are transients themselves, and they don’t stay anywhere long enough to care.

    I won’t name names, but when I googled one local homeless advocate, I found he’d worked for behavioral health and housing agencies from Fresno to Alameda. Now he’s in Chico, living on a pension we pay for, telling us we need to do more for the homeless.

    It’s frustrating.

    • Juanita Sumner October 7, 2016 at 5:07 am #

      Thanks Rob, I agree about the public workers, I think they are 90 percent of the problem.

      Just think – $30 – 50,000 to send your kid to college, instead of house one of these creeps. And who gets the $30 – 50,000? I’m guessing it goes into salaries.

  2. Jim Matthews October 8, 2016 at 7:50 am #

    Rob has a good point. Much of the City management doesn’t even live in the City, and when things finally fall apart, they will just move somewhere else, taking their pension with them.

    • Juanita Sumner October 8, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

      I’m pretty sure Chris Constantin will be out of here within the next few months. It’s depressing to think these people make decisions that affect ours and our children’s lives with little or no consequences.

  3. looproadlegend November 7, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

    And there you have it! Let’s just solve the homeless problem by stereotyping everyone who is living outside as a derelict, criminal or addict, pass a few city ordinances that turn usual police “warnings” for such abhorrent behavior as resting and sleeping , into arrestible offenses. Round em all up and send em to the big house. Then they won’t be homeless! How dare those dirt legs tarnish my Sunday afternoon with their self deserved lives!

    Is this really how to deal with, yes , fellow members of society? Some bad apples do not necessitate the burning down of the entire fruit orchard.
    Skateboarding is not a crime today because our society decided to build parks where the could ride free and in peace.
    But just twenty years ago the police were constantly arresting throngs of skateboarding fifteen year olds at the mere whim of disgruntled businesses who called those kids punks that were trespassing and vandalizing their dirty parking lots.

    Homelessness has no recourse, no remedy and almost zero opportunities for redemption.

    Yes, it is a problem. Yes it’s getting worse. But it’s getting worse because our society refuses to address the issue with a viable and human solution.

    Basic fundamental needs for these people are being ignored by society and treated as if the problem was going to dissolve eventually , like some kind of trend or a passing phase.

    There are VERY few public restrooms in ANY city across our country.

    There are only a few facilities that provide any kind of shelter from the outside.

    We waste more food in one day than there is available for an an entire year for hungry people in our own backyards.

    Structure and adherence to guidelines for some kind of program is absolutely paramount for its success, but shouldn’t the goal be to rehabilitate the unfortunate instead of incarcerating them just so we don’t have to acknowledge their needs?

    It’s like picking up trash that you see somewhere other than the garbage can.

    Is the solution to send all litter bugs to prison for life?

    What if we ALL just started helping each other and picked up trash when we found it? Not just because some law mandated it, but because it is the right thing to do.

    Helping others get off the streets is the right thing to do too.

    People get together to fight this affliction, because our government does not have our interests in mind when they incarcerate more of us for making a few wrong decisions in life.

    Remember, the only real difference between the homeless and you is a couple of paychecks, a couple of wrong turns, and a couple of months.

    • Juanita Sumner November 8, 2016 at 5:39 am #

      the only real difference between me and you is you expect me to work my ass off and then hand over money to you.

      I’m sorry, the choice I made in life is to support myself and my family, not leeches who decided to make bad decisions.

      • Todd December 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

        Giving [more] to homeless will not end or curb homelessness, or even suffering. More food, more beds, more services—nothing will help them. It will only help the bureaucracy that profits from their suffering. In the history of our country there have never been more services available to the homeless and medically indigent. There also have never been more homeless people—specially, young, able people.

      • Juanita Sumner December 10, 2016 at 5:42 am #

        I agree. Crime is also worse here than I ever remember – can’t leave your car parked in front of your house at night, can’t get packages delivered to your house, bikes stolen out of the garage, etc.

        I feel the county of Butte is making this problem worse – the county administrative officer reported at a meeting that over half the county’s budget goes into programs for the indigent and mentally ill. We’re paying out millions in salaries, benefits and pensions for staffers who are not addressing the problem. Those people are the real problem.

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