The Hazards of Gardening In The ‘Hood…Be Careful Out There

Gardening in the ‘Hood is like gardening elsewhere…except for one additional chore.

If you live in the ‘Hood, you need to perform a daily check of your gardens for trash left by what I will call the “party people.”

They arrive during the afternoon or late evening…engines & mufflers announcing their arrival…

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They park, have a quick meal, and throw their trash on the sidewalk or in your garden…

Fast Food Trash

Fast Food Trash

Afterwards, they may quench their thirst with a libation or two…or three…

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Some may engage in additional activities…

Syringes & Needle Trash

Syringes & Needle Trash

Each morning you should carefully check on the detritus left by your visitors! The debris field can be quite extensive at times.  It is recommended that you use a trash pickup stick for this purpose. Latex gloves are also a good idea!

Fortunately, most of the trash is disposed of in quick order:

  • The empty beer and liquor bottles obviously go in the Recycle Can
  • Paper and food wrappers likewise go into the Recycle Can

However, the disposal of used condoms and syringes is another matter altogether.  Technically they are bio waste and should be disposed of accordingly. Blue Can or Gray Can?? I can’t decide.  Perhaps, the garbage company will provide Sharps containers and biowaste cans that we can strap to our trees…with signs>>”Used Condoms” and “Used Needles” Emoji

ADDITIONAL GARDENING TIPS

  • To reduce the risk of fire from the many discarded cigarettes keep dead vegetation and leaves under control.
  • To reduce your risk of getting a needle stick from the discarded syringes, use a pickup stick.

In addition, it is advisable to wear heavy gloves while pruning in case you encounter a discarded syringe in a hedge or bush. You don’t want to get a needle stick forcing you to get tested for all kinds of nasty diseases.

Happy Petaluma Gardening!!

P.S. Perhaps the Petaluma Garden Club has additional suggestions!!

See you at the Petaluma Arts & Garden Show!

Petaluma’s Trestle Restoration…In need of a cosmetic cover?

I have, for the most part, overlooked subjects that formed the basis of many a blog post here and elsewhere in the past. 

Sometimes, however, there are scenes that cannot be ignored and require further exploration.

Consider these photos from a walk after lunch Downtown on October 11, 2011…

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I am assuming that the area is in full compliance with local codes to prevent people from venturing out on the trestle.

Until the project moves forward, perhaps the general appearance in the area could be improved by the application of a tarp or new plywood to cover up the gaping holes.

Lose something? Baby Stroller? Grocery cart?

There is nothing like a casual trip across town–in this case late afternoon on June 7, 2011– for opportunistic photo ops.

This has always been the case, but this time there was a special twist.

Lost and alone in Petaluma’s urban wilderness…a baby stroller perched on top of a building at Water Street & Petaluma Blvd. in downtown Petaluma…

Over the years I have photographed many an unusual piece of discarded wheeled manual transport–shopping carts to be sure, but also hospital gurneys, baby strollers and wheel chairs.  But a stroller on top of a building was a first. There are many possible captions for this scene…but I, of course, could not possibly comment.

Turning now to regularly abandoned means of transport…our forlorn and forgotten shopping carts.*

Nicely and neatly  placed at the corner of East Washington & Sonoma Mountain next to the St. James Community Garden…

*NOTE–I am not about to reinstate my ancient campaign against shopping carts.  The gaggle of carts by St. James was just too hard to resist. On the plus side, this scene did not contain any carts from Safeway or Raley’s.  Their cart control systems seem to be working. There are, however quite a few other “cart” stores in P-Town.

For those who are morbidly curious about the shopping cart phenom go to>> PETSHOPCART

Save The Trestle?

Ah, the Petaluma Trolley & Trestle.  Well, most people may not know about the historic trolley, but they are aware of the trestle downtown.

Apparently there have been five years of fundraisers to help procure funds to restore the trestle and trolley service in Petaluma.

Whether or not such an effort is worthwhile or even economically feasible, I will leave to others. 

However, the existing trestle…is decomposing…in the middle of town…before our eyes… 

Could the City at least put a large blue tarp over it?

In the alternative, the City could cover it with a huge canvas and…

  • Have a contest to paint murals of a trolley & trestle on the tarp, or
  • Make it a designated freehand graffiti site

Just a thought…

Petaluma’s Blight Plight!

…and by blight I am referring to graffiti, trash, and abandoned shopping carts.  Granted, there is a large problem with foreclosed homes, or soon to be foreclosed homes, in our neighborhoods; however, I make no attempt to address that issue in this article….

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While the obvious graffiti has been somewhat down of late, I have noticed a resurgence of “practitioners” in certain areas around Lucchesi Park…

And of course, there is always the Weir Writing Wall on the Lynch Creek Trail…

There has been some progress on the abandoned shopping cart front now that Raley’s and Safeway have controlled their carts with electronic locking devices. I trust, however, that Safeway will not relax their diligence because they are diverting resources to scanning driver’s licenses!

But it matters not what Raley’s and Safeway do–there are still plenty of  carts from other stores roaming about our streets and neighborhoods…not to mention cavorting in our parks…

Lucchesi Park continues to be a shopping cart magnet. They should be listed as a featured attraction…

…along with other manifestations of  “trashy” behavior…

On a positive note, I can report that at least one person was thoughtful enough not to throw an empty cup on the ground…

I now close the Blight Report for March 2010. In fact, it will suffice for the balance of 2010.

 

 

2010–Ah, Another Petaluma New Year

Good morning on this first day of 2010! 

As with most new years, I suspect 2010 will be more of the same with a few surprises tucked in to keep it interesting…

  • Debates and discussions over local and state revenues, budgets, etc. will continue. 
  • As it is an election year, you can expect a flood of campaign promises, literature, and the usual political posturing and pandering for votes.

The full nature and extent of my participation in the election cycle has already been discussed in Petaluma Politics–Campaign 2010 

The only question before me now is what I will “cover” in 2010. 

Will it be abandoned shopping carts? 

 

Granted, shopping carts have been a constant visual plague in Petaluma. Fortunately, their numbers have been greatly reduced due to the efforts of Raley’s and Safeway to keep them confined on their lots.  Unfortunately, other stores have not been as proactive.  Nonetheless, I see no reason to resume my “coverage” of shopping carts.  You see one cart, you’ve seen them all

 Should I resume following the Petaluma Graffiti Trail?

I abandoned the graffiti beat in 2009 for practical and personal reasons and see no reason to resume it in 2010. Graffiti has become an established part of urban culture in our society and Petaluma is no exception.

How about Trash?

Trash is an “attractive” subject in that there are many photographic opportunities. It also is a low risk subject as it is not likely you will see your name written on a wall if you write about it.  I recently acquired a camera with a powerful telephoto that enabled me to identify all the objects floating in the lake at Lucchesi…

But alas, how many photos of cups, bags, and bottles are too many? I suspect those displayed here will be sufficient unto the cause for 2010.

Looking forward…

We will just have to see what comes along.

At a minimum, I will post a blog monthly on subjects yet unknown.

……

As an aside, I started this WordPress blog in May, 2009. For a retrospective look at some of the photos used in my WordPress posts, go to Pixels of Petaluma (2009)

Happy New Year!

Petaluma’s Vacant Homes–Holding Back The Blight

It is not “news” to report that the national recession has taken its toll on homeowners in the form of foreclosures.  Even a casual observer can see that Petaluma is also suffering from the foreclosure tsunami.

In some of Petaluma’s neighborhoods, more and more homes are sprouting  bank foreclosure notices… 

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or “”For Sale” signs–sometimes two…

For Sale For Sale...

Vacant Homes

Unoccupied homes can become an eyesore if they are not maintained or, even worse, they can become an attraction for vandals or squatters. In some cities, squatters have moved in and established utilities, thus living rent-free until discovered. Since banks take forever to put a property up for sale, squatters can live for up to 18 months before being evicted.  For a TIme article on the situation in Stockton, Ca. (Click Here)

Fortunately, things have not gotten this bad in Petaluma. However, I do wonder if we may have more vacant homes than homeless people.

There is something you can do to help prevent a problem developing with an unoccupied home in your neighborhood.

City Code Enforcement

If there is a property in your neighborhood that you think is becoming a problem, you should contact Code Enforcement…

  • Go to their Web Page  and click on the link titled “On-line Complaint/Violation Form” (Preferred Method of Contact)
  • In the alternative, call the Code Enforcement Complaint Line at 707-778-4469

If you suspect drug and gang activity, call the Police Department directly at 707-778-4372.

If you have general questions, you can also contact Code Enforcement by e-mail at codeenforcement@ci.petaluma.ca.us

Citizen reporting is essential, as City staffing levels do not permit pro-active enforcement.  The identity of those making inquiries or complaints is not disclosed.  They “… have no problems being the bad guy, so you don’t have to. Due to our lack of staffing, we may not be able to address every complaint right away, but we will get to it…Keeping your neighborhood clean and maintained is one of the best ways to deter crime and keep your property values up.”

As an aside, while this article focuses on coping with problems with unoccupied houses, you should also contact Code Enforcement if you have concerns about a house that is occupied.

When to Report

If something does not look or seem right, feel free to contact Code Enforcement or the Police Department as outlined above. Some signs to look for include…

  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Weeds that haven’t been cut or pulled
  • Graffiti
  • Piles of junk, trash and garbage.

Recently, a vacant home purchased in foreclosure was being remodeled for resale. The contractors left the house unattended with the front windows and garage door open–for two days. It was an open invitation for mischief.  Fortunately, a neighbor decided to call the police on the second night and they came out and secured the property.

Another current case involves a vacant foreclosed property with open windows, curtains blowing outside the window, and an unsecured garage door. In addition, newspapers, flyers and new phone books can be observed littering the front sidewalk…

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In closing, keep in mind that even when a complaint is addressed by the City, there are usually additional delays because the process of identifying the owner (usually a bank) is quite cumbersome.  In some cities, such properties have become so numerous they have initiated legal action against the banks.

Let’s hope it does not come to that in Petaluma…

Petaluma Budget Woes

Petaluma Budget–More Hits Coming?

The short answer to the question—more than likely.

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First–Consider the fact that local tax revenue from tourism is falling. For details, see the recent Press Democrat Story.

Second–County real estate assessed values declined for the first time in history, thus lowering revenue from real estate taxes (Press Democrat Story)

Finally–According to a database provided by the Sacramento Bee, the new California state budget will reduce or borrow the following from Petaluma’s City and redevelopment budgets:

• City of Petaluma $1,112,587
• Petaluma Community Development Commission $5,074,284

For additional information, check out the story and links on CaliforniaCityNews

These revenue shortfalls will play out in many aspects of our civic life–not the least of which is park maintenance. 

I recently commented on the state of affairs around the pond in Lucchesi Park and the Community Center.  Fortunately, the fountains have once again become operational. However, the pond still seems to be in need of attention. Finding the funds for this purpose will, I imagine, be extremely problematic.

…Lucchesi Pond…

Lucchesi Muck August 13 2009 002Lucchesi Muck August 13 2009 009Lucchesi Muck August 13 2009 011Lucchesi Muck August 13 2009 012Lucchesi Muck August 13 2009 017

A Good Cart Samaritan…

From time to time, I am asked why there are no new  graffiti blogs and photos..

OK, here’s a new graffiti pix…

August 13 2009 Download 006

Another version of the question is why no new trashy trail pixs and rants about debris in our environment? Fortunately, a partial answer to this question is that the trails have been cleaned up a bit by volunteers.

However, if needs must, I present a new trashy trail pix… featuring a bicycle (to be precise, what is left of a bicycle) and a hubcap…

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Yes, these urban problems remain in Petaluma. However, I tend to tune them out these days.

So, what is important? What still interests me?  The answer is simple– spontaneous efforts of individuals who tidy things up a bit in our fair city.  For example, this morning, a woman  decided to return an abandoned shopping cart to Long’s Drugs–3/4 of a mile away…

Good Samaritan

I wonder what she might have said to the store manager…