Cart It Away

Raul Hernandez

Santa Barbara bills itself as the American Riviera. Cruise ships and millions of tourists visit our city every year.

The city is proposing to build a downtown beautification project that will cost taxpayers multi-million-dollars. Yet, since I have lived on Eucalyptus Hill Road, 20 years, we have had problems with shopping carts — sometimes eight to 15 carts in front of apartment complexes.

Some of the carts sit in front of these properties for several weeks. Last week, someone put a TV set and printer near the sidewalk. This week it is a large couch.

My emails detail my efforts to remove these shopping carts including sending email texts to the mayor and City Council. Nothing has been done. As quickly as the carts are hauled away, they reappear.

Apparently, businesses allow this to happen because they send a truck to collect them after they pile or stack up. But the truck comes after there are many shopping carts littered all over the sidewalk.

It is also a safety issue since these carts have wheels and can go downhill. I once saw a cart roll downhill and hit the bumper of a car.

This makes the city and our neighborhood look like a dumpster. These people should be fined or given warnings about taking shopping carts out of grocery stores or pharmacies or other businesses.

There must be a city ordinance against this, and managers or owners of businesses should do something to stop people from taking their carts home and dumping them through neighborhoods.

Councilman Eric Friedman, who works at Trader Joe's, sent an 800 number. I called and spoke to a woman named Martha, nothing happened. Councilmember Jason Dominguez said last week to call him if the carts weren't picked up. I called him and called Santa Barbara Code Enforcement.

Also property values go down when people see the shopping carts there. Who would want to rent apartments when there are shopping carts in front of these properties? They also block the view of traffic traveling around curb from the hill.

Owners of these carts should be held accountable, including Trader Joe's and the 99/Cent Store.

First impressions of this city are lasting impressions too. What impressions do tourists get of the "American Riviera" that is littered in some neighborhoods with shopping carts?