Shopping Carts, Yard Sale Signs, Overcrowded Homes: Notes from Anaheim's NIMBY Whiners

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AnaWhiners!
In Anaheim exists a phenomenon the Weekly calls 'Blight Fright!': numerous, unnecessary NIMBY ordinances that ignore root causes of the plight behind "blight." Everything from homeless tents in public spaces to yard sales have served as fodder to harass poor people in the name of 'quality of life.'

These ordinances don't just drop out of the sky or are the sole domain of council-pendejos! As fun files obtained by the Weekly show, they result thanks mostly to whiny Anaheimers--or as we deem them, "AnaWhiners!"

First up on the NIMBY all-star roster is Sally Feldhaus, wife of former councilman Frank Feldhaus. As district elections spurred chatter of where candidates have historically come from, reporters sometimes mentioned no one on the dais had hailed from West Anaheim--a strange patchwork of working-class minorities and middle-class whites--since Frank's two terms that ended in 2002. With current councilwoman Kris Murray's Quality Rental Housing Program in the works, Sally asked city staff, "Does this new proposed program include private residencies that have far too many people living in them. i.e. the purported 18 people living in a house on our cul de sac?"

The question ultimately went to Planning Director Sherri Vander Dussen. "Unfortunately, state law allows a ridiculous high number of people to share a home or apartment," she lamented in response noting the program will only be looking at "multi-family rental units." Vander Dussen told Feldhaus that she believed the home in question had already been looked at by code enforcement and that no violation of state occupancy standards had been found.

Next up is retired Anaheim Police Chief Jimmie Kennedy who felt compelled to weigh in and contribute his two cents to blight fright. The offending sight for him? Yard sale signs.

"On any given weekend in Anaheim, you can hardly drive a block without seeing at least one...Then, after the weekend the signs remain up for weeks," Kennedy wrote to the city council in August. "These sales and signage make Anaheim look shabby. I think more needs to be done to control these activities." To that end, he noted the anti-yard sale ordinance, but suggested code enforcement have weekend patrols to better tackle the issue.

Should Murray's Quality Rental Housing Program--a revised, watered-down faux-crusade against slumlords--pass in January 2014, it would beef up the agency.

anaheim_shoppingcart.jpg
Gabriel San Román / OC Weekly
The horror, the horror: An abandoned shopping cart in Anaheim

Back in the late 80's, in classic NIMBY style, Kennedy, just retired, led a crusade against a proposed jail site on Gypsum and Coal canyons, east of Anaheim Hills. A citizens group running by his side wanted the county to bar the site and have future jails built in...SanTana! If that doesn't scream "Not In My Backyard!," I don't know what does!

The regulation of yard sales to four weekends per year came from a listserve serving the Colony District, the neighborhoods near Pearson Park. "What is the code for yard sales and can we look at a program that limits the number per year?" councilwoman Murray asked city staffers as a result in July 2011. "I can see how abysses can cause a nuisance," she added.

And then there are shopping carts. Guinida Lane is currently being targeted for "revitalization" that would supposedly clear the priority neighborhood of crime and blight. But how petty can those categorizations get? An Anaheim Police Department incident report from August is telling.

Officer C. Vazquez and J. Romero were walking the foot beat in the neighborhood as part of the South District Community Policing Team. "We noticed many abandoned shopping carts. We also witnessed residents pushing the shopping carts filled with groceries to their respect residencies," wrote Officer Vasquez. "The shopping carts appear to be an eye sore and paints a negative image of the neighborhood. It should be noted that possessing a shopping cart is a...misdemeanor." Um, people bring groceries back from the nearby El Super on foot often because they don't have a car and El Super trucks routinely retrieve shopping carts to this day.

It should also be noted that APD does indeed write people up in the city for such a thing. "I was lying in the park when the officer pulled up to me," wrote one man to Mayor Tom Tait and then-Police Chief John Welter. "He wrote me a ticked [sic] for, "possession of a shopping cart." I guess crime in Anaheim is at an all-time low, since now we have time to clutter the courts with 'shopping cart possession.'"

Stay classy, Happiest Place on Earth!

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22 comments
BBain
BBain

?? I had to google "NIMBY" to figure out what it meant.  I guess I'm NIMBY because I really don't care what goes on in Anaheim, as I don't live there and probably never will.  Should the city council and Anaheim residents really be called "racist" because they want their city and neighborhoods looking nice?  What do you people pose as a solution?  Do you just want to point out issues and offer no solution, kind of like a Michael Moore movie?  Perhaps make everyone pay a 90% tax rate like Scandanavian countries?  Here is my suggestions: Single family homes should be for single families, as they were designed.  A family of five living to one bedroom is simply not fair to the kids.  As for the homeless problem, they should move to a more "homeless friendly" city like San Francisco.  As for shopping carts - put a GPS tracking device in each cart so they can be located, or better yet, as others have mentioned, mandate proximity locking devices in them - or a combination of both.  As for yard sales - 99% of the stuff is junky trinkets and so forth - ban 'em - period.  BTW - I am a white male with about a $110K annual income and my wife makes about $130K.  That's $240K combined for you math challenged people.  Some people may consider it a lot, but it's not - we're just average Joes in Irvine.

blufairie
blufairie

The fact of the matter is that the shopping cart legislation has happened in recent history across America as NIMBY Blight Fright has become the norm starting with not wanting homeless people regularly setting up in one spot in a park because it ruined the grass or made the park look unsightly.  These efforts are a basic conspiracy between corporations, police departments and wealthy individuals to create what is being dubbed by the ACLU and Supreme Courts as "Quality of Life Legislation."  It is very important to note that class action cases against Quality of Life Legislation are being won as they are deemed Unconstitutional.  So, something confuses me about Orange and Los Angeles Counties, California - because this is not happening in other California cities that evidently house more compassionate and possibly more liberal minded citizens - when these Quality of Life laws are placed on the books via statewide regulations, City Councils with a heart submit proposals and move on ordinances to abate the harshness of the laws being foisted on them turning the tables on the merchants who instigated this insane and discompassionate approach to a society of growing homeless and impoverished people.  The Shopping Cart Law is a state law.  It has FOUR parts.  The FIRST TWO parts are directed toward MERCHANTS  -  NOT regular people!  The Merchants in Anahwhiners' case are not being held responsible!  FIrst, the MERCHANT must provide proper signage - and the law is specific about what that is even noting the size the signs on the cart must be and how the name of the store must be affixed - no, Officer Romero, you can't just write the name of your store on a cart with a permanent marker!  Then, the merchants must comply with any additional city ordinances (which most more compassionate cities have instated - as I said ) requiring locked wheels, marked perimeters and services for those that do need to rent or get signed permission to use a cart or get a ride home from a store.  Ie, if merchants are going to conspire with police and the elite to rid cities of lower income uglies, then the merchants need to be responsible for their part.  They are the ones with the money and they are the ones using their monies to foist these impositions on poor people.  The other part of the law is police department related and just as specific.  IF a City chooses to ENFORCE shopping cart "blight" they MUST provide storage so that when a person is cited - and the "peace officer" must make sure the cart does in fact have the signage required - or did at one point if the signage was forcibly removed - and that the cart is or was at one point properly labeled as belonging to the store before citing a person with this atrocious and unconstitutional misdemeanor - the shopping cart is to be removed, placed in storage and the merchant notified.  The merchant must then come and pick up the cart WITH A FINE TO THE MERCHANT FOR STORAGE.  If the merchant does not pick up the cart within 3 days, the confiscated carts are to be auctioned off giving the people who desire shopping carts for personal use a chance to purchase them at a reasonable cost.  DO YOU GET IT!!!????  How blunt headed is the city of Anaheim, Orange County, LA County and any other city in the state of California and all other cities in all other states trying to sneak this new racist and biased method of making matters worse going to continue to be as ACLU wins lawsuit after lawsuit against this legislation as unconstitutional?  I don't understand the unconstitutional way of thinking that pervades Anaheim politics - but it's really starting to get on my freaking human nerves!  And I can promise you one thing - it has NOTHING to do with BEAUTY!  </3

cynthia241
cynthia241

Call me a white elitist, but I have sunk massive buckets of money, time, and energy into taking the most blighted home on my block (so bad it was written up in this very publication, highlighting the crazy people trying to salvage a tetanus factory while raising children) and turning it into something to be  proud of. So when i forego vacations and luxuries to make things better, and the lady next door cannot be bothered to use the fold up cart I gave her as a gift, for the ONE or TWO bags of groceries she hauls home every day, yes, I am pissed. Her discarded cart ends up on MY lawn, she excuses it because Northgate will come get it, indeed they tell their clientele to take the carts, it is a service they offer their honored guests. Abandoned carts and outdated yard sale signs are more than visual blight, they send the message that this neighborhood does not care, and you have heard the broken window theory, it does apply. Some of us are working our asses off to make things better in Anaheim, we are fighting to send the message that yes we DO have pride in our community, and that starts with the small things like shopping carts and yard sale signs left from a month ago. Do I not have a right to take pride in my community? 

If you don't care about my investment (and why should you?) stop and consider for a moment your own stake in the shopping cart issues. Do you shop at the stores that traditionally fail to lock their cart wheels? Do you know what happens to those carts once they leave the store? Say hello to Mr. Trash Digger, because chances are good that the Northgate cart you just tossed that fresh, warm bag of newly hand crafted tortillas into was outside my bedroom window at 3 am, being loaded with recyclables (at least semi-clean) AND anything that someone possibly not so stable might find of value in the black barrels next to the recyclables...I will add some smell-a-vision to your experience and share that we have both a dog and a cat, and the waste product delivered by my fuzzy companions nestles up nice and cozy next to whatever "treasure" Joe Homeless liberated from my trash before Republic came along at 7 am. All of that ends up in the shopping carts....and no there isn't a disinfecting wipe on earth that would make me use that cart from that store. In contrast, the VONS down the road (see night of rioting for pics) did lock up their carts, and the black goo scraped off the bottoms of their carts now stays out of the carts. 

Yeah, I get it, people do not have cars...I have been there, trying to shlepp home diapers and formula while juggling a baby in the neighborhood without ANY market other than the Quicky Mart gouging us for overpriced staples they know they have a monopoly on. Those fold up carts ensure not all of us share in the visual blight of abandoned store carts, and they ensure that our food...and the car-less neighbors' groceries...stay far away from those with a penchant for the feces covered detritus culled from my storage unit, swiped in the pre-dawn hours and lining YOUR grocery cart....but do NOT mock me and others like me who refuse to lower our standard of living to the lowest common denominator. If you want to live in a slum you help yourself, but I worked my ass off to get out of that type of neighborhood, and I will be damned if the blight is going to creep into where i worked hard to get to. That isn't a white thing, it is about pride and self-respect, and if others are missing that, they have no right to impose that lack of standard on me, or my lawn. 

Now, let's talk about what is really important here, because ultimately the issues of perpetual yard sales to backfill income, packing three families into a house to make the rent, and stolen shopping carts to make up for the missing car/baby stroller are not the disease,  they are symptoms of the greater disease, which is the over-saturation of low income, service sector jobs needed to fuel the economic engine of Anaheim's Holy Land. We can argue that nobody should expect to raise a family on a Resort paycheck, that these jobs were intended for college students, but when Anaheim chose to become a year round "world class destination" with the Convention Center and a focus on tourism rather than manufacturing or other better paying career tracks, that economic engine now demands the full time commitment of hours from staff, without providing pay equivalent to the full time demands placed on that staff. Now what happens in the free market is fine, but we now see demands for massive subsidies to reward the very, very rich people who live far, far away from the yard sale signs and shopping carts that their poverty inducing jobs create, and if you want to be pissed at something, take aim at those multi-millionaire hoteliers collecting subsidy checks, instead of chewing some of us out for wanting our neighborhood to be a nicer place to live. 

Other than that I have no opinion. As usual. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving. 


20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Gabe, you like seeing shopping carts littering the 'hood?  

Anaheim should mandate the use of anti-theft devices on carts -- problem solved.  (I'd love to have a camera ready the first time the wheels of the shopping cart lock up on Tia Floja.  HA!)

BBain
BBain

Shame on the Anaheim city council to take measures to make their city look nice and protect property values!  I used to love the OC Weekly, but year after year, you guys have increasingly become the PC police.  I can understand someone using a cart to take their groceries home, but take the cart back to the store when you're done. 

blufairie
blufairie

@BBain I'm offended, as a tribal person, that you would say a family of five living in a single family home is not fair to the kids.  Where does the privilege stop in stepping in and redefining culture, class, statute out of blatant ignorance?  My grandmother had a saying, "Faites le circle plus grand" - you might want to look that up also since you don't seem educated enough despite your earning ability to know common words from another language - we are but a speck of dust not just in space, but in time.  How dare you force your vain $240k lifestyle on the rest of Anaheim?  Yet another individual who would be glad if Anaheim were completely rid of homeless and impoverished peoples.  You're  not just an average Joe from another city.  Average Joes don't go out of their way to add to a disparaging voice against the less fortunate.  Average Joes mind their own business.  How do you think City Councils pass the ordinances they do to begin with?  

blufairie
blufairie

@cynthia241 What about the investment of people who are low income in the community as they struggle financially day to day with their children in schools where academics are not pushed as hard as tactics to increase youth criminalization?  What about my investment - since you choose to make it personal based on one account - of working for over a year on an entire Hot Zone area where people are tossed obstacles at every turn?  The point of the article is that "Quality of Life Legislation" is real and NIMBY Blight Fright is so lacking in human compassion, it wreaks of more than just racism and discrimination against the less than fortunate.  It is appreciable that you made an effort with one home with one low income family.  It is appreciable that you perhaps see at least a part of the bigger picture.  It is not appreciable that the people who might - and most probably are - unstable (as we know more than 65% of homeless individuals suffer from mental illnesses and a large number of homeless peoples are veterans), compromised and - as someone who spent time homeless myself with a family due to health conditions of a child along with the market crash of 2008 that sent me spiraling into a financial pit - simply not seeing the World from the same privileged stance as someone who is viewing it comfortably from a stable home.  It's easy to pass judgment from that perch.  Something interesting happens when people don't have to strive to merely survive on a daily basis.  They start to have a little more resemblance to the Capitalist American version of "normal."  Something I really want to bring up/point out is - since when do the upper class get to define "beauty?"  Why are police weighing in on what defines a community as "pretty?"  Since when did some skew balled version of the fashion police turn into the hateful anti-humanity community police where impoverished and homeless residents get infractioned to death - literally?  You want an example of a personal experience - what about our dear homeless elderly female friend Babette?  She died in La Palma Park last month.  She was known for helping women who came to the park and around the city who were in bad, abusive relationships.  The previously homeless evicted Branch Park, Fullerton woman who now lives on my porch was one of the people Babette helped get out of a relationship that would have likely led to her death as a homeless and practically speaking, helpless person.  When she learned of Babette's death, she cried for nearly three hours.  Her worst fear before she met my family being that she would die on the streets as a homeless junkie.  Shopping carts are not ugly if empty corporate buildings, parking lots and unattended pocket city lots are not ugly.  Shopping carts are not ugly if mansions on the Hill are not ugly.  Shopping carts for many are a means for survival.  Sure you fixed someone's house up - so that gives you the right to determine how that woman who uses the shopping cart feels?  I don't know the lady, but I have a guess that her pride has been hurt and most people whose pride is hurt don't really know how to deal with that well.  I doubt her shopping cart perpetrations upon you are so offensive you can't deal when there is so much more in the world to contend with - how is giving her a $500 fine and possible arrest resulting in more fines and possible probation that is designed to create yet another rotating Anaheim incarceration victim - how is this part of the bigger picture to solve any problems - how is speaking out about an ugly cart solving a problem?  We don't get to define what is beautiful - Picasso, Renoir, Banksy - they get to define beauty - ART defines beauty.  I don't see beautiful when I see concrete walls, asphalt covered land, chain link fences locked with city signs giving a view of rotting mulch and no give from the city to allow citizens to turn those true Anaheim Blights into gardens or playgrounds.  We are getting pissed because these very small things are the indicators of a very big attitude - and if we're honest - it's the attitude that's UGLY.   

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@cynthia241 Cynthia: You might not be an racist elite, but betcha dollars to pesos most of the people lodging those complaints are. And the people they're ultimately serving, the Pringles of the world, are ultimately racists. A yard sale never hurt a damn person in this world.

blufairie
blufairie

@20ftjesus Read what I wrote above.  This attitude against impoverished and homeless people in Anaheim is just about the saddest testament to humanity I've ever witnessed.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@20ftjesus  

I think the point Gabe is trying to make is that there are bigger fish to fry...rogue shopping carts are a relatively minor annoyance...

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@BBain Um, we've been the PC police since year Zero...

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@gabrielsanroman  Gimme a break, Gabe.  Irvine has lots of low income housing.  Last time I looked, the city maintains a number you can call and even get assistance locating new digs.  For heaven's sake, I-CHP provides ALL Irvine children with healthcare.  Irvine is socialist haven.  The fact that the poor are integrated seamlessly into our neighborhoods is why you don't see shit littered on the sidewalks.  

https://cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cs/ichp/eligibility.asp

https://cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cd/housing/cdbg_program/default.asp

https://cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cd/housing/housing/affordablehse/default.asp

https://cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cd/housing/housing/rental_units.asp 

BBain
BBain

You can tell I'm bored today becuase I rarely comment on these types of threads/blogs... I did not say a family of five living in a single family home is not fair to the kids - I said a family of five living in a single bedroom is unfair to the kids.  Call me uneducated if you will, but I have a BA from a UC school.  The rest of my post was more of satire/sarcasm.  You're obviously one of those progressives that like to cry foul at capitalism and so forth, which is fine.  I'm not, on the other hand.

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@blufairie I did; I get it; life is hard, but if residents decide abandoned shopping carts are visual blight then that's that.  In other words, they get to decide what is beautiful.  (As far as compassion goes, that's a different subject.)

BBain
BBain

@blufairie @BBain I think you've got me figured all wrong.  I was not boasting about my degree, nor was I flaunting my income... I was actually going to make a point about something and I ran out of time as my boss came into my office to discuss something.  Anyhow... my main point was that the city of Anaheim is trying to clean up the city and make it look nice - unfortunately some people try to play the race card every chance they can.  I wasn't knocking homeless people or low income families.  I agree those are problems that need to be addressed and to some extent, the local/state/federal governments are making an effort.  Tell you what - if you are still reading the comments here - I'd like to help your family out around Christmas.  Send me an e-mail to bubbabigboy671@yahoo dot com if you're interested.  

blufairie
blufairie

@BBain I have a family of ten living in a one bedroom.  I don't do it to make ends meet.  I do it because I'm a single mom with six children four of whom are biological and a grandchild  all who have huge compassionate hearts with two people from the Branch Park eviction living in a tent on my patio.  We are minimalists, have been homeless in the past ourselves and don't close our doors on good people.  It's about morals, principles and ethics - not money or thinking we all need our own allotted square footage amount of space as required by law as ordained by capitalist standards.  So, I stand corrected, you still stand offensive and the day before a major holiday that is supposed to incite warmth and acceptance of others as well as unity in our community.  As you should know, a Bachelor of Arts from any University is nothing so amazing - especially from a state college in America.  Even people in third world countries accomplish undergraduate degrees.  I'm not crying foul at capitalism.  I just don't have my head in the sand.  I don't think flaunting your income on a page with an article focusing on poverty and poverty issues is satire or sarcastic at all.  

blufairie
blufairie

@20ftjesus @blufairie They don't get to decide what is beautiful!  I'm pretty sure that's how the ACLU is winning so many lawsuits against cities incorporating "Quality of Life" Legislation - because it's Unconstitutional.  You can't foist your version of beauty on someone else - no matter how many people collectively state it as so.  Foul words are still words and we still have Freedom of Speech such that even the City Attorney had to relent when a speaker recently verbally attacked a City Council Member with anti-semitic slurs.  Though we may not like it, the Constitution protects your basic human rights.  The main problem with saying a shopping cart is ugly or a tent is ugly or someone hanging their clothes to dry off the back of the car they are living out of is ugly - has nothing to do with those things being ugly - it has to do with the slinking sneakiness of individuals corrupted by power actually thinking those people are ugly - not the things they are doing or using to survive - and since people have the right to LIFE, it's sneaky all right to try to brainwash the sheeple into thinking it's okay to evict ugly things - when the reality is you are participating in evicting ugly people - it isn't about deciding WHAT is beautiful - it's about deciding WHO is beautiful - you've go to be some kind of hardcore heartless to not realize the Truth of what is really happening here.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@20ftjesus @FishWithoutBicycle

Well...having seen some gentlemen with nice buns in my time I think "Sweet Cheeks" is uni-sex. ;-)

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