So apparently, my house is falling into the ocean. Yes, I am one of “them,” one of the poor fools who was left out to dry by the good folks of Santa Barbara County. One of those people who was given a slap in the face and a piece of paper taped to their wall that says, “Thanks for electing me, fuck you, find a new house.”
Thanks, Mr. Mike Zimmer – public enemy #1 as far as I’m concerned – a Santa Barbara County building official who not only gave us a whopping 30 days to vacate the premises, but also admitted in a recent Nexus article (“County Plans to Evict DP Residents,” Daily Nexus, Sept. 16) that, “Timing is not an issue for us.”
No, Mr. Zimmer, we’re college students, buddy – timing is everything. It’s an understatement to say that the timing of this unprecedented eviction is absurd. Finding a place in I.V. does not happen overnight, especially not four days into Fall Quarter when everyone has already started school. By the way, thanks for the extension – a cock-tease that makes us think just maybe we’ll get to stay, but more than likely will have us moving out in between paper A, midterm B, job #1 and job #2.
The plan could not have been thought through very extensively. The survey started in June, conveniently when we first moved in. Then, at the end of August, they tell us that we have to leave four days into Fall Quarter. That’s really fucking convenient, as far as I’m concerned. If the county really actually gave a rat’s ass about us, they would have planned ahead and conducted these surveys before well over 100 students signed leases.
Thanks for standing up for us, county officials, just like you said you would during your election campaigns. Now that the shit has hit the fan, you guys haven’t budged. The university pledged to look into the issue and try to help us out, but there’s only so much they can do. What are they going to do, give me my old room back in Santa Rosa Residence Hall? Besides, I’ve heard nothing from them, and it’s not like I’m going to stop paying tuition because of it.
Aside from the fact that I love the drunken debauchery that comes with living on Del Playa, the fact that I love all my neighbors and the serene experience of barbecuing while overlooking the ocean with all of my best friends – those are selfish reasons, of course – I would just like to have reasonable living quarters so I can go to school and go to work without dealing with the hassles that accompany renting from the total disaster that is I.V. housing.
So is the real issue here safety, Mr. Zimmer? Well, a civil engineer and a team of geologists teamed up with the original builder of the property and wrote a report that says that they “deem it safe for human inhabitants,” along with some really cool and equally confusing drawings of the caissons and supports under my house that prove it is still safe.
One could argue that of course our landlords are fighting for us to stay – they are losing serious amounts of money if their houses are empty. But a civil engineer is a professional, and I highly doubt that my landlord has a civil engineer on his payroll that would risk his or her professional integrity and deem an unsafe house safe.
Even if they did, if my landlord really thought that one morning I was going to wake up floating around in the Pacific somewhere, why would he want us living there? What’s worse for him – losing 3,000 bucks or so a month or facing a national crisis for letting one of his properties capsize into the ocean while six college students quietly slept thinking they were in a safe property? I’m pretty sure he would lose a lot more than just our rent money when a bunch of parents bring down the wrath of God and a shitload of lawsuits on them if our house did collapse. It just doesn’t add up.
So if a team of engineers deemed it safe, if the builder of the property thinks it’s safe and if my landlord thinks it’s safe, I believe it. So how about you guys help us out for once – don’t make us move in the heart of Fall Quarter. Otherwise I either get to invest in a camper shell for my truck or I get to camp out with Pirate and company in the park.
Sean Swaby is a Daily Nexus staff writer.