Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

abandoned shopping carts 2By Roger Gitlin


Good Morning, Crescent City Mayor Ron Gastineau:

Yesterday, I sent you two pictures of abandoned shopping carts along
Front Street, one directly in front of the Chamber of Commerce office.
I observed these carts in the abandoned status for at least 48 and as
long as 96 hours ( four days). As is my practice, I picked up both
carts, one filled with unsightly trash and returned the obviously
stolen items to an overwhelmed retailer who deploys staff and
resources to retrieve his carts. I will continue to help clean up my

As I have brought this problem to your attention at a recent City
Council meeting, I must not have been speaking directly into the dais
microphone because I am uncertain whether you were listening to me.  I
will try to speak up the next time I address the Council.

Mr. Mayor, a community that turns a blind eye to this kind of blight,
fails to prioritize the exigency of this    obnoxious human-created
problem shouldn’t be surprised when visitors and locals alike express
revulsion and disdain this problem in not aggressively addressed. I
know I am of that opinion and as a member of the Board of Directors of
the Chamber of Commerce / Visitors Bureau, I would think my colleagues
would feel similarly. If your response is to crack down on businesses
which offer shopping carts for the convenience of its shoppers, it
would be a very shorted-sighted response.  These retailers are
overwhelmed in attempting to retrieve their stolen property and asking
them to do yet more will only raise the cost of their product when one
goes to the cash register.

It is my hope, with leadership and resolve, you as Mayor and the rest
of Council take a more proactive approach to those individuals who
continue to act irresponsibly by stigmatizing our community as one
that doesn’t care what visitors and locals think and who express
extreme displeasure at a perceived apathetic position on the issues of
abandoned shopping carts and blight in general.

Writing as a citizen and voter in the City of Crescent City, I am
Most Sincerely,

Roger Gitlin

4 thoughts on “Cleaning Up Crescent City/Del Norte County”
  1. I totally agree that city and county police officers need to enforce this law! I have called police several times about seeing people pushing STOLEN shopping carts. I have witnessed police officers talk to the people, yet drive away leaving the people with the cart. Have also heard said police officers tell dispatch that the thief promised to take the cart back to the store. Huh? Right. There have been abandoned carts and garbage left all over Crescent City! It’s embarrassing and costing us revenue in tourism because too many people still see our town as “Dirty.” How many years is it going to take to clean-up this City?!!

  2. I very much appreciate the letter writer’s comments. It is important to underscore every additional requirement government puts on the retailer will add cost to you at the cash register. The City and Del Norte County are not going to fix this problem with more ordinances which will not be enforced…BUT the City and the Board of Supervisors can direct its law enforcement to enforce the law. I expect my City to instruct Chief Minsal to direct its officers the next time they observe an individual pushing a shopping cart up,and down Front St or any City street and ask the pusher of that cart where he obtained the carriage. If the individual using the cart cannot prove ownership, he or she must return the cart to its rightful owner, forthwith. The officer should admonish the pusher of that shopping cart, if observed again in illegal possession of the cart, the officer will arrest the individual. Ignoring the problem or demanding more of the already overburdened store owner will NOT solve the problem, but you can rest assured the box of cereal or gallon of milk you buy will have a higher price tag. I expect leadership from the Mayor and I am not seeing that leadership. And I will not ignore the problem
    Roger Gitlin
    Del Norte County Supervisor, District 1

  3. Hi Mr. Gitlin, I hope you read my response here:

    A few years ago, i seem to remember a law passed that made Shopping cart theft a crime. Many years ago, my business associates and myself were directly impacted by shopping cart theft because we paid around $400 monthly to advertise on a number of carts at both Safeway and Rays. Being that people have to buy groceries somewhere in Crescent City and with so few stores, our chances for subliminal advertising seems like the appropriate choice for us in our early dialup internet days. (Yeah, way back then). We noticed our advertising vanishing quickly and one day, we could only find 2 carts with our ads on them in a whole day we went searching for them.

    The opportunity to advertise on these carts has vanished over the years due to cart theft. It is also a factor in cost of doing business and does in fact drive costs up for the stores and their patrons.

    In recent past, if my memory serves me right, a state assembly bill was created to address specifically, theft of shopping carts. The bill became law.

    “It is a misdemeanor in California to remove a cart from store property without the manager’s permission. Maximum punishment is six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.”

    Enforcement is key. First time offenders should be officially cited using existing computerized record keeping and multiple offenders shout be forced into community cleanup efforts, even if they are disabled. There are NO EXCUSES. Stores need to address the issue more directly, and should be allowed to do so. Tackling a thieves is no longer considered acceptable risk and could get people fired, hurt or both. Stores need to place video cameras all around their parking lots and USE THEM. If i have a security system at my home with full surveillance around my property, why can’t a store with money to burn? Again, there are really no excuses.

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