Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The California Lifestyle

The market is down almost 200 points this morning, who knows, maybe this is the big crash. It was  brought into sharp relief the story on CNN this morning about the women of Santa Barbara. It seems that a lot of the nuevo homeless are left with decent means of transportation and so are living out of their cars. In California, it is illegal to sleep in your car on a city street. This is not a bad law at all. My street would be overrun  with folks living out of their cars if this were legal. What Santa Barbara do-gooders have done is built parking lots (on just about the most expensive real estate in the country) and allowed a dozen similairly situated women (only) to move their cars onto the lots. The story on CNN is about a 67 year old woman living in the back of a large Honda with her two beautiful Golden Retrievers. She has an $8 an hour job and collects a Social Security check each and every month (she also has three adult children, I know, I know, but let us judge not) and so is hardly destitute. She just would rather live in the back of a Honda in Santa Barbara than in a small apartment in say Mercedes, Texas. Whether the dogs had a vote in the matter is not mentioned, and one presumes that the dogs would be an impediment to her living situation, but perhaps the kids could take them on.


I don’t know what to make of all of this. The woman says that when she had a better job, 75% of her income went to rent. I would like to believe that no matter how nice Santa Barbara is, and it is damn nice, I would have found a cheaper place to live. Which would be almost anywhere on the planet earth. It is one thing to have a homeless problem, it is quite another to have a homeless problem where the homeless get to decide exactly where they want to live. I suppose that I have no right to complain, the woman can live any lifestyle she wants, and the good people of Santa Barbara and spend their money in any way they want. I’d homeless parking lots for women are the wave of the future, who am I to stand in the way ? But don’t publish stories about it on CNN and expect me to weep. When the day comes, as it probably will, that I get kicked out on the streets, I am not going to expect to be bailed out by my fellow citizens building myself and my dog Amber a parking lot . I will move out of west Austin to some cheaper venue and complain that my daughter is not helping me enough. That’s America.


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