As I talked on my podcast last week, I always wanted to stay in Santa Monica. I’ve heard many good things about it. I’ve visited several times over the years, but never stayed overnight. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of nights there, and it was a bit shocking. It was not what I remembered at all.
Podcast at: JORGEP009: Santa Monica Homeless – jorgep.com
Welcome. I want to tell you about my visit to Santa Monica. I have named this podcast Santa Monica, Visit The Homeless. I travel a lot for business and pleasure. I have been many times to LA and I ty stay by the airport or in the city. This time I wanted to change it a little bit, so I decided, uh, looking to Santa Monica area and noticed that there was a new Hilton Hampton in open. So I figured I would try it. Although my view of Santa Monica Venice Beach and the areas have changed over the years to reflect the reality of the city’s living in, I must say, I did not expect the experience that I had there. To give you a little bit of a view, I arrived to the hotel around 7:00 PM on, uh, Tuesday. Uh, it was a very nice building, three blocks away from Santa Monica Pier.
After changing, I decided to go for a walk, uh, to the pier, and along the way, I saw the sunrise. It was a very nice, uh, walk. And of course there was a lot of, uh, tourists and there was a few homeless along the way. But, uh, nothing unusual. Nothing really that, uh, caught necessarily my eye or anything like that. Just, it was a very pleasant walk. On my way back from the pier, I continued to walk around, uh, side streets. The second street, uh, fourth Street and fifth Street. I did notice a number of people seeking. It was probably around eight 30, uh, at night. And, uh, there was a number of homeless people, uh, but I did not think much of it. I just, it’s not like, uh, very different than many other cities that I worked at. So the second evening after work, I went for not walk.
This time I spent some, uh, time in the prominent boulevard or prominent street or shopping area on third Street. It’s a very nice high end shopping area with tons of restaurants, not only on the third floor, but also, uh, along the street. Uh, it was around six 30 or so, but I did witness a couple of things, uh, that caught my eye and kind of made the experience a little bit different from anywhere else I have traveled to. Uh, first of all, uh, there was a lot more homeless than usual. In the street, there was tons of tourists and taking photographs and things like that, but as I was walking up the street, there was, uh, two shopping carts in a bench right in front of the Tesla store. I thought that was a very interesting contrast between Tesla and the reality of the streets.
I even took a picture of the moment a little bit later. I went for a coffee at a Starbucks, a local Starbucks, just about a block away from the Tesla. And I noticed that there was a gentleman that came in and cut through the line and went right to the cashiers. The gentleman was, uh, of course, uh, you know, it looked like he was homeless, dirty, uh, shaggy clothes and things like that. And then basically asked for a coffee and the clerk pour a coffee, just a drip coffee and gave it to him. And he then walked up. No problems, nobody complained, nobody did anything. It was just essentially natural. Then, uh, a little bit later I witnessed three young ladies walking down the street, just friends, tourists, and this gentleman, again, um, kind of a scrubby, seemed like he was, um, homeless. In fact, he had the cart.
He was one of the people right next to the bench. There, uh, approaches the three ladies out of, I mean, nowhere. They were not approaching, they were not looking, they were not doing anything. And he just comes to the ladies and says, Hello, angels, I noticed Charlie’s not with you. May I join you at very casual, very normal. The three ladies, of course, ran inside one of the stores or not, didn’t run, but they just, uh, diverted to inside one of the stores. They were a little bit perturbed by it. So I decided to go ahead and sit down at one of the outside, uh, restaurants on the street. And, uh, after I finished my dinner, kind of, I was finished maybe, you know, a half an hour. I was, uh, something, there was some food left over and, and I noticed another completely separate person.
This time, a lady which looked homeless, approached me and asked me if I was going to finish my dinner, if I was willing to share it with her. At this point, I was really not really sure what to do, but I really decided it was best to say that I was not finished and I just paid and went back to my hotel. After getting back to my hotel, I explained, uh, to the young front desk person when my experience was, and she told me that she grew up in the area and she cannot remember any time that has been different, maybe a little bit more, uh, lately because there’s more. Uh, but it has always been like this in this area. Uh, I truly have never witnessed the level of homeless interaction integration anywhere else. It is definitely a different place for anyone to visit.
I did a little bit of research on the web and I confirmed that my experience was not unique or seasonal. In fact, there are many articles that, uh, really reflect the local politicians have created a very permissive, uh, environment out there, considering the average price of the house or apartment is over 1.3 million and rental average is, uh, about $5,000 a month. I must say that this must be some sort of a social statement or experiment, uh, happening there, although I am assured that it is a very say place. There was, uh, quite a few police around, not a lot, but just enough to, to keep everybody in check. I am sad to say that, uh, my Santa Monica is not a place that I would choose to go back and stay at the place. Left me with many questions. Uh, some of them are self reflective.
How can this be happening today? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know. I truly do not have an opinion either way, other than it just was different and sometimes I have to say uncomfortable. What can I do to possibly, uh, do to help? Maybe not in Santa Monica, but in my local area where we have a problem with homeless as well. Uh, again, it’s uh, maybe the social experiment work. Maybe that is what they are looking, put a statement for. What do you think? Let me know. Thank you for listening. Please come back and follow firstname.lastname@example.org or at my twitter io strategy.com.