4.4

Google Reviews assigns 4.4 of 5 stars to Felton Covered Bridge Park. That is the average of the ratings of 480 reviews. Only 18 of these 480 reviews, which is less than 4%, mention ‘homeless’. Regardless of such mentions, these 18 reviews generate an average rating of more than 3 stars, with only 3 assigning 1 star, but 3 assigning 5 stars.

Haters prefer to portray Felton Covered Bridge Park very differently. They neglect to consider its innate assets that others appreciate, but complain almost exclusively about a few mostly minor problems, and blame such problems on homeless people. Haters are merely a scant few of the thousands who live here, but believe that they represent the majority.

Incidentally, haters seem to have generated few, if any, of the current 480 Google Reviews that mention ‘homeless’. These review seem to have been composed mostly by people who visited from other regions, and generally expressed legitimate concerns, even if somewhat exaggerated.

These are the 18 current Google Reviews of Felton Covered Bridge Park that mention ‘homeless’, arranged from least stars to most, with commentary:

1 STAR – a year ago

We decided to take the kids to the park near this covered bridge. I curiously started walking thru the bridge and ran into a few homeless people who were mumbling and saying strange stuff, so I walked back to the park and sat and started seeing a number of homeless people in the area. I won’t be back anytime soon.

* Fortunately, this unpleasant person ‘won’t be back anytime soon’. When this posted a year ago, most of those who lacked domestic situations here had lost their respective homes to the CZU Fire. Most of the previously ‘homeless people’ had secured domestic situation by that time. If they all had gathered together on Felton Covered Bridge, there would have been only a ‘few’, as described, but with none remaining to appear within the Park afterward. Perhaps a few too many were misidentified as ‘homeless’ because they did not conform to the discriminating standards of the observer. Perhaps it is still impolite to eavesdrop.

1 STAR – 2 years ago

Unfortunately I have to give it only one star.i used to love it there until the homeless took it over. Don’t get me wrong there always have been homeless people there, unfortunately some of them are very vulgar and loud. It’s very hard to take your kids or grandchildren their without them hearing vulgar words and seeing things they shouldn’t see.

* Children hear more egregious language and see more egregious activity online, on television and in movies than they experience at Felton Covered Bridge Park. Even the spelling, punctuation and capitalization of this review could be considered to be slightly egregious. Although a few people who are not necessarily ‘homeless’ behave inappropriately on occasion, their activity is no justification for depriving children of a Park that is intended for everyone to enjoy. There are less people who are ‘homeless’ here now than there had been. They have not taken over Felton Covered Bridge Park.

1 STAR – 3 years ago

Love it except for all the homeless taking over! Feels unsafe to walk around!

* As mentioned above, the ‘homeless’ are not taking over. It is only unsafe to walk around because of gophers.

2 STARS – 3 years ago

Nice place but there is a homeless population that uses the park quite essential they keep to themselves but occupy picnic tables and benches through out the park

* Punctuation would have been useful within the context of this review. Apparently, or seemingly, someone feels entitled to the exclusive use of all of the picnic tables and benches within Felton Covered Bridge Park, and does not want to share with others within our esteemed Community. There are more benches and picnic tables than there are homeless people. They could not occupy all of them if they tried.

2 STARS – 4 years ago

This park was small and disappointing. It has a lot of potential but it is dirty and filled with the homeless. It is clear that Felton is not keeping food place up or providing better services for the unfortunate people who find themselves sleeping in the park.

* It is unfortunate that someone is disappointed with Felton Covered Bridge Park. It is actually dirty, but only because it is constructed on top of . . . dirt. It is not filled with ‘the homeless’ though, and was not so filled even four years ago when this review was composed. No one sleeps there. Food is readily available, but irrelevant in this regard.

3 STARS – 2 years ago

The covered bridge park is a place I have been coming since I was a baby. It is a nice spot to have a picnic, and it is right across the street from safeway. The bathroom situation is a little sketchy, being only porta potties that are also used by junkies and homeless.

The park in general is kept clean and safe. But there is an uneasy drug presence at the end of the park where the houses all are. This is a great spot to go in the daytime, and the bridge is beautiful, majestic and historic. I would try to avoid it past sundown, but the park is closed anyways so there is no reason to go…

The county is good at keeping the park equipment updated and clean, I have never come here thinking it was old and out of date.

* This review is not so bad. The only oddity is that it expresses a concern that ‘junkies and homeless’ use the ‘bathroom situation’. The situation would likely be worse if they did not do so. Vandals who vandalize the ‘bathroom situation’ should be more of a concern.

3 STARS – 3 years ago

I love this park so much, and I’m very sad to say that it’s becoming unsightly and dangerous due to the homeless encampments in the wooded areas around the park. Trash, illegal bonfires, drug dealing, and fights are commonpiece these days and I no longer feel safe walking to my neighborhood shops through the covered bridge due to harassment from occupants drunk and/or high on meth and heroin. Almost every morning I pick up the trash strewn about the dumpsters by scavengers looking for cans… I wish the local law enforcement would take steps to restore the safety of this beautiful neighborhood.

* Of these 18 reviews, this one features the most fallacies, and blames them all on those who lack domestic situations. No one camps ‘in the wooded areas around the park’. Trash is not exclusive to homelessness. If bonfires, drug dealing and fights were so common and attributable to homelessness, than at least one of the other 480 people who composed reviews should have made similar observations. Credibility is too compromised to sustain claims of harassment by people who are impaired by alcohol or illicit narcotics, or that scavengers scatter trash. This Community is very safe.

3 STARS – a year ago

The bridge itself is very nice, but in the bridge there was a homeless person sleeping and two others in the entry

* This review does not explain how the ‘two others in the entry’ qualify as ‘homeless’. If they were also asleep, then they were likely also ‘homeless’. Otherwise, they may have merely been mistaken as such because they did not conform to the discriminating standards of the observer.

3 STARS – 4 years ago

This is a great park for taking a stroll, or a nap, but not for sleeping in overnight if you’re homeless or a crusty traveler. Get a bagel across the street and try to make it up to SF or down to Santa Cruz.

* This review is just weird.

3 STARS – 3 years ago

Small park…beautiful historic covered bridge to walk over..Lot of homeless hang out and sheriff runs them off…

* Even when this review was composed three years ago, there were not a ‘lot of homeless’ here.

3 STARS – 2 years ago

This is a good family park. There is a play area for children, and large lawns to run and play. The Redwood trees, the river, and Felton Covered Bridge add to the special ambiance here. It is a place where one can put down their phone and experience some of the other important things in life…. if one would want. There are sometimes homeless here. They seem to enjoy the nature of these woods also.

* That seems to be accurate.

4 STARS – 2 years ago

Gorgeous bridge and nice playground but the drunk homeless looking folks getting arrested kind of brought the mood down. The police seemed to make a lap around the park rousting anyone who looks homeless or are drinking, like they do it all the time. Would have been perfect if not for the police presence and arrests (they were peaceful arrests).

* Actually, the deputy sheriffs do not roust anyone merely for being or appearing to be homeless. Although this review attributes nothing directly to homelessness, it does not describe what ‘homeless looking’ is either.

4 STARS – 4 years ago

Nice park, great historic bridge, but Santa Cruz is famous for homeless, and this place is no exception.

* That is credible.

4 STARS – a year ago

Very historic (but there was a homeless dude in there lol)

* This is also credible. Homelessness should not be so amusing though.

4 STARS – 4 years ago

Nice park but to many homeless.

* Perhaps even just a few homeless people are to(o) many for some observers.

5 STARS – 5 years ago

Great park for the kids to play at. You will have to over look the homeless that like to hangout there. They really are ok people, kind and respectful for the most part.

The kids will have a great time playing there.

* How nice!

5 STARS – 2 years ago

Felton is a place to go covered bridges where I go to walk my dogs everyday or every other day if I can homeless people are no bother well mannered and polite

* This review is nice also, even without punctuation.

5 STARS – 5 years ago

Beautiful and peaceful. I love the homeless that live around there.

* Ah!

Rate of Houselessness

There are more people who lack domestic situations in California than in any other state. Well, that should be obvious. There are more people in California than in any other state. 12% of all Americans live here. Even if the rate of houselessness were the same here as it is in other states, 12% of those who are houseless in American would live here. That is a significant number!

Since the rate of houselessness here is approximately double that of the rest of America, approximately 24% of those who are houseless in American should reside in California, although the actual ratio is approximately 22%.

This is not because houseless people migrate to California. More of the unhoused live in or near their hometowns than those who live within homes. Although the primary causes of houselessness are similar, albeit to various degrees, for most regions of America, the main difference is the cost of housing.

Homes and rents are ridiculously expensive here. It is extremely difficult for those who lose a home to procure another. If houselessness is the result of unemployment, it is very difficult for someone who lacks a domestic situation to procure new employment in order to procure a new domestic situation!

Recovery from houselessness is not nearly as difficult in other regions, even with significantly less income. Furthermore, since mortgages and rents are more affordable, it is not nearly as difficult to maintain a stable domestic situation in order to avoid becoming houseless. Many who live in poverty here can afford to directly purchase a home in other regions.

Not many houseless people migrate to California. More migrate from California to live in homes elsewhere. Unfortunately, they are replaced by more Californians who become houseless. Many prefer to stay in their respective home regions rather than migrate.

Interesting Question

It is perplexing that the local houselessness situation improved so significantly a few years ago, and then stabilized, both prior to and concurrently with such significant increases in the rates of houselessness in so many other Communities. Of course, the rate of houselessness increased drastically as a result of the CZU Fire last August, but then stabilized remarkably efficiently as many of the victims, with the assistance of home owners’ insurance, procured at least temporary domestic situations. Many of those who remain houseless as a result of the CZU Fire are living elsewhere temporarily, so are not as visually apparent as the more familiar local houseless.

This unusual improvement of the local rates of houselessness was questioned at my other unrelated blog, in conjunction with commentary regarding the contrary nature of such information, relative to the experiences of other Communities.

This was my reply:

“That is an interesting question that no one seems to have an answer for. The trend did not coincide with trends elsewhere. But of course, the unhoused Community here involves only a few people, so the ‘trends’ that we observe are much more variable than they are in more significant Communities. (For example,) if two people (of the approximately twenty of the unhoused who reside here) happen to procure a domestic situation, regardless (of) actual trends everywhere else, that is 10% of the entire unhoused Community locally. Several years ago, several of the unhoused passed away within only a few years. (. . .) More recently, some relocated for employment, or for available domestic situations. The housed Community here is very generous with helping the unhoused improve their situations. Not only has the situation here improved, but the fake news about it has not been proliferated as rampantly as it had been. A few years ago, the unhoused were blamed by a few haters for ‘everything’ bad that happened here. Society simply does not subscribe to that anymore. We recognize the few haters for who they are. (. . .)”

2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It is good to be hopeful. It is also good to be realistic.

So many seem to be overly pleased that 2020 is over and done with, and expect 2021 to be so much better. It very well could be. However, there are no guarantees. Fire Season is over, but only until next fire season. After all, it is an annual event. The president that so many here despised will be replaced soon enough, but the nicer replacement is not exactly exemplary either.

The Pandemic, or whatever it is known as, was the major news last year that everyone wants to leave in the past. Unfortunately, the new year means nothing to the virus. Progress has been made, but did not eradicate the virus precisely at the stroke of midnight between 2020 and 2021. No one really knows how much worse the situation will get before it significantly improves.

Furthermore, the associated repercussions continue to evolve. While many are enjoying more outdoor activities and gardening, many more are unable to work to earn revenue to pay for the most basic of necessities. Some have procured other employment, but for less compensation. Those who have managed to continue with their employment may have found business lacking.

The eviction moratorium expires at the end of the month. No one really knows what will happen at that time. Some people who can not afford their rent or mortgage could become homeless. Those who rely on rental income may have been lacking some or all of such income for quite a while and may continue to do so. They may consequently be unable to pay their mortgages too.

The local homelessness rate, which had been decreasing for a while, only recently began increasing, and, sadly, has potential to get significantly worse.

Misconceptions – Accurate Information

How do those with whom we have no prior affiliation perceive us? It is impossible to know without some degree of acquaintance. Yet, new acquaintance, while providing rudimentary insight of how others perceive us, or how we perceive them, also changes such perception in the process. Is that good or bad? It could improve a bad first impression, or ruin a good first impression.

Good or bad, it is more accurate. To most of us, such accuracy is considered to be an asset. Accurate perceptions of others are useful for knowing who is trustworthy and who is not. Mistrust that is justified by accurate perception of character or experience is very different from a lack of trust of the unfamiliar. Conversely, justifiable trust of the familiar is earned with familiarity.

Sadly, some prefer to mistrust and fear the unfamiliar rather than attempt to determine if such mistrust and fear are even justified. For some, their potentially unfounded but very real fear is what prevents them from exploiting opportunities to become more acquainted and perhaps more comfortable with the sources of the same fear. Some merely lack opportunities to exploit.

What is worse is that there are a few who seem to crave mistrust and fear, regardless of their ability to engage sources of their mistrust and fear, and potentially dismiss unfounded threats. Although they do not likely live in constant fear, they claim to in order to justify their disdain for the sources of their alleged fear. They try to convince others that they should be fearful too.

The same accuracy of information that the logical sort employ to dispel unjustifiable mistrust and fear is an incumbrance to those who intently crave the same sort of mistrust and fear. They therefore and merely abstain from the use of accurate information.

Misconceptions – Graffiti

Cave paintings might be considered to be some of the oldest examples of what we now know as graffiti. Alternatively, such ancient forms of self expression might have evolved into the sorts of artworks produced by Lester Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt and Henri Matisse. Perhaps it all developed from the same primitive origins of more than sixty-four thousand years ago.

That is inconsequential now. Works of renowned artists are exhibited in museums. Graffiti defaces infrastructure until it gets painted over, or merely defaced and obscured by more graffiti. Except for several galleries of very compelling local art, and occasional touring exhibits, there are no formal art museums in Felton. However, there is more graffiti than only a few years ago.

Haters often blame the homeless for graffiti, merely because some of the homeless camp in some of the same places where graffiti is prominently displayed. In other words, the homeless did it because they were there. According to that logic, the haters must be responsible too, since they were also there. Otherwise, they would not have seen enough graffiti to blame others for it.

What makes anyone think that homeless people have any interest in the sort of elaborate graffiti that has been appearing around town for the past few years anyway? Homeless people have many more important issues to be concerned with. Drawing attention to their camp sites is not exactly a priority. Nor is spending limited funds on something as unnecessary as spray paint.

Besides, while graffiti has become more common than it has ever been, homelessness has become significantly less common. There are presently only a few homeless people in Felton. Most are not sufficiently agile to get into the situations where most of the graffiti has been displayed.

For some, blame is easier than logic.

2020

This should be a good year for us. It seems that every year of the past several has been a bit better than the previous. It is getting to sound redundant. In our small Community, the rates of homelessness and unemployment are decreasing. There are fewer becoming homeless than there are homeless procuring domestic situations. More are procuring employment than losing it.

We should be grateful. Although this has been the trend nationally, it is not the trend everywhere. Rates of homelessness have increased significantly in many Communities, particularly the more populous cities and towns of California. Homelessness in Los Angeles is beyond deplorable. Increasing employment does not help much while the cost of living exceeds typical incomes.

We do what we can with what we have to work with here, and slowly but surely, it is effective.

In February, some of us will be harvesting and selling madrone and oak firewood from a parcel that would benefit from major vegetation management. Burls of the younger madrones can be harvested and sold as well. The trees will be removed so that fruit trees can be installed next winter. It is not the most lucrative of work, but will more than pay for the pickup used to do it.

It is a start. There are a few more tanoaks to harvest in Brookdale after that, and then mixed oaks and some madrones outside of Scott’s Valley. For those involved, it will be gratifying to get back to work, even if it is only temporary before returning to work within former or other preferred professions. It will be even more gratifying if those who lack homes earn enough for rent.

It is still too early to discuss some of the other potential opportunities for employment this year; but there will be more.

Misconceptions – Homelessness Is A Growing Problem

Homelessness in America has been increasing very slightly for the past three years. It has been increasing in parts of California for a bit longer, and at a slightly more accelerated rate. More substantial increases are concentrated mostly in urban regions, particularly Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. Homelessness really is a growing problem, at least for now.

However, for the decade prior to the the relatively recent increase that began only three years ago, homelessness had been decreasing at a substantial rate. Furthermore, the substantially increasing rates of homelessness in urban regions of California are sufficiently offset by decreasing rates in suburban and rural areas, to average out to only a minimal increase for the state.

This is not about homelessness in all of America though. Nor is it about homelessness in the rest of California. Here in Felton, the rate of homelessness has decreased significantly in the past seven years since 2012. Only a few people became homeless here during that time, and most of those were not homeless long. Several more who had been homeless have since found homes.

So, why do haters so regularly and predictably complain that homelessness is a growing problem in Felton? Well, that is part of what they do. They perpetuate false information intended to vilify their targeted victims, and exaggerate any innate problems associated with them. They strive to be a divisive force within an otherwise remarkably cohesive and inclusive Community.

No verifiable statistical information is necessary for a hater to claim that homelessness is a growing problem in Felton. Conversely, any observant and sensible person can plainly see that it is not. If homelessness really had been a growing problem since 2012, there would be more homeless people in town rather than less. It is that simple.