Welcome to Santa Cruz. Don't touch our stuff.

Downtown, they’ve erected a bunch of public sculptures along the once-lovely Pacific Garden Mall. One of these sculptures is essentially an 8 foot tall pendulum made of welded steel. It’s mounted in a flower bed, within reach of probing adult-sized arms. It begs to be pushed – it is a pendulum, after all – and could arguably be called an interactive sculpture.

So a guy pushed it.

And was ticketed.

Not $30. Not $60. Not $100.

But $250.

Eh, what?

Tom Scribner - saw player extraordinaire.
Tom Scribner - saw player extraordinaire.

Okay. I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this. But WTF? There’s an ordinance on the books regulating conduct on or toward public monuments? I mean, I get it if he was humping the Tom Scribner sculpture (a truly great sculpture, btw — anyone who met Tom knows how perfectly he’s captured here). But seriously. People in Santa Cruz regularly drape the Scribner sculpture with flowers and leis. They regularly adorn the (oddly phallic) surfer sculpture on West Cliff Drive with leis. They climb on the weird ratchet wrench snail shell thing lying on the sidewalk in front of O’Neill’s. And sometimes even drum on it. And they never get ticketed. In fact, people push the pendulum on a regular basis.

What’s worse is that this was a tourist… a person who (a) was a visitor to our lovely town and (b) a person who couldn’t possibly have known about said ordinance (not that any locals know of it either).

What’s worse is that they took weeks to set a court date, the poor dude couldn’t afford to drive home to Oregon so he slept in his car for those weeks, and when we finally got around to seeing him in court we dismissed it, because the ordinance requires the cops to warn you first, and they didn’t. Why? Because the cops are equally ignorant of the ordinance and didn’t know!

Which begs the question: Why enforce it in this instance?

We have gang issues in our town. We have homeless people getting beaten up. We have homeless people beating homeful people up. We have real shit that needs taking care of.

But at least our sculptures are safe from molestation.

I know I said I wouldn’t spend too much time on this. Too late. Shit like this just pisses me off. What a waste of resources.

“Welcome to Santa Cruz. Don’t touch our stuff.”

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