San Juan Capistrano

The Quality of Life in the Villas: Part I 

By Dan Buckner

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of stories submitted to us by San Juan residents about life in their neighborhoods. We hope that by printing these stories, residents in other neighborhoods will become aware of what life is like for their neighbors. We hope these articles will encourage better city code enforcement and maintenance.

Last night there were sirens, last week and then again this morning. Sirens are a frequent part of the ambient noise in the Villas. And then there are the garage parties that go on late into the night with the amplified music and the DJ’s encouraging the crowd to boogie down. The next day there is evidence of the event with trash blowing down the street, leftover food in the alley, the smell of urine, and vomit on the sidewalk to step over. I make an effort to clean it up, especially the pee on my garage door.

There are ride share horns starting as early as 5:00 am and throughout the day, every day. A Boys & Girls Club van picking up kids one morning announced its presence with a couple of blasts on the horn about fifty feet from my ear as I sat on the couch watching a game on TV . A car horn is rated at 110 decibels which is 25 points above that allowed in the work place.

A few weeks ago there was a drug bust and foot chase past my front door, and a year ago in the middle of the night there was a car chase that ended up outside of my bedroom window. Cops with weapons drawn were yelling “get on the fucking ground”. And, then there was a foot chase after those that were trying to get away and more yelling. The whole arrest process took a few hours and it was impossible to get back to sleep.
This morning a vendor selling fruit rang my doorbell, which is actually worse than the trucks that park in the middle of the street on a regular basis offering all kinds of stuff for sale. There are push cart vendors that use a horn or bells to announce that they have ice cream for sale. The most unnerving is the “Tamale Lady” with the gravelly voice who yells “TAMALES” as she goes through the neighborhood three or more times a week. And then she adds in full voice that we can have them with either chicken or pork. Such a deal.

The snack wagons use up valuable parking space and one is parked at a very busy intersection with cars and pedestrians crisscrossing the street making for a dangerous condition. The trash that is left behind has to be picked up by our landscape crew when they should really be doing landscaping. On Tuesday mornings, the day after the landscapers have picked up the trash and the alleys have been swept, just overnight, there is still the same amount of trash blowing about the community. Are these snack trucks really sanctioned by the city? Is the need so great when there are two markets just around the corner on Camino Capistrano.

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