By Donna Westfall – May 24, 2017 – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi
The Jedediah Smith Center is most commonly referred to as the Safeway Shopping Center. Plagued with controversy over the last 4 years for a variety of claims including shopping carts lefts around the city, vagrants/homeless soliciting shoppers for money, and the appearance of the center being unkempt. The controversy built up a head of steam when Supervisor Roger Gitlin started his “Take a Bite Out of Blight Campaign,” and urged Safeway store Manager Brian Ridgely to act.
That begat the brouhaha in a Board of Supervisors meeting when about 20 people of the public admonished and condemned Gitlin last September. But you know what? Someone was listening and took action. Here’s what you’ll notice immediately:
1. There’s a security guard.
2. They hired a new landscaping firm making the place look pristine.
For far too long, shoppers have been complaining about being hustled for money. That left a bad taste in shoppers mouths and they took their business elsewhere despite signage like this: Rarely would the local police department act or do anything about it. But now all of that has changed.
Gitlin happily reported, “It is with great pride that we recognize the major improvements on-going at the Jed Smith Center on business 101, in Crescent City. The Center is under NEW MANAGEMENT and the differences are startling.
Many of you Del Norters took notice of my efforts to Take a Bite out of Blight with no shortage of resistance.
Ownership / Management listened and the improvements are noteworthy. Master landscape maintenance company Randy Kirkland has brought the Center and perimeter appearance back to life. Management has hired private security and to those who fail to respect No Loitering signage, they are escorted off the property. Those who violate aggressive begging ordinance are also escorted off the private property center.
My congratulations to the Center.
Jed Smith Center is fast on its way to raising the community standard.
Please communicate your appreciation to ALL tenants.
It is a new day!”
Hat’s off to Roger Gitlin. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty to help clean up our town. It’s a simple problem. Blight. Whether it’s trash left in the parking lot, unkempt lawns and landscaping or homeless sitting in front of Safeway with their dog. This is a business district. It doesn’t put our best foot forward when tourists or locals have to put up with indifference by the owners. Thanks for your persistence, Roger Gitlin.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi
6 thoughts on “Positive changes at Jedediah Smith Square”
As far as the homeless people are concerned, have you no heart? These people are just trying to survive. Not every one complains about the homeless! A lot of people want to help them, but you don’t mention that, do you!?
Please spare us the platitudes. The homeless have no reason to make the area around the shopping center look like photos taken in third world countries, yet they were responsible for much of the behavior and blight that made the shopping center the way it was. Sure, people wish to aid homeless in their plight, but the homeless have the return responsibility to not make it any harder than it has to be. Petty crime, litter, pan handling, disrespect for people and property are hardly necessary components of homelessness. Yet, all were in prominent display at the shopping center for years. That hardly matches up with people “just trying to survive”. You are correct that “not everyone complains” about them and many in this community have spent a great deal of time and effort to help them with very little to show for it but an ever increasing homeless population and associated problems. I for one am not certain that anything will change until the homeless step up and accept the responsibility that receiving aid means that they in turn will change their life style. Right now, society has given them little incentive to change and become housed.
In closing, I have to say that new property managers have made a vast difference in both the appearance and shop-ability of the shopping center. Something the manager at Safeway and the local newspaper’s former editor, Robin Fornoff, did little to aid in that transformation. Thanks should be given to the property managers and Supervisor Roger Gitlin for making the effort to restore the shopping center to respectability.
As far as not having a “no heart”, it seems that to condone such behavior as “people just trying to survive” is the poster child of being heartless!
From new JSS management: We (Sierra Budelli and Kevin Berger ‘Jr.’) are extremely pleased to hear the positive feedback from the community. We definitely took notice of the various issues with the JSS center when management transitioned to us in early 2017. We’ve prioritized those issues, and have been addressing them accordingly; starting with the new landscaping services, to the security guard, and most recently having the Parking Lot resurfaced. We’re proud of the progress which has been made thus far and look forward to keeping this trend going.
Now if Safeway would scrub the sidewalks in front of the store and paint the north side of their building. Clean sweep… about time. Still wonder how many theft prevention liquor caps will show up in the parking lot or around the building? Good start, hope to see it continue. Never would have happened without Supervisor Gitlin stepping up.
Thank you. Recognition is always appreciated. The incredible potential of this community is at stake. I will continue to do the right thing and with community support, Del Norte County will dramatically improve. Indeed, there is change needed on the Board of Supervisors. I have great faith in the voter.
Roger Gitlin is exactly what Crescent City needs more of. Have watched his good faith efforts to clean up the town, remove graffiti, and hold the (pathetic) city government accountable for its actions. Roger Gitlin is approachable, helpful, and cares for the community. Wish we could clone him.