Can a county clean up abused neighborhoods?
The Bee published an article today about the Community Prosecution Unit of the District Attorney's Office. The Unit confronts absentee and/or neglectful landlords whose properties have become sites for prostitution, drug usage, code complaints or other problems that adversely impact neighborhoods. Begun in the early 2000s, the Unit's work was cut back substantially a few years ago as an austerity measure by the Board of Supervisors. As might have been expected, the budget cuts resulted in unabated problems. The article explains that, in the two years since the work has resumed, the Unit has been trying to catch up with the backlog. Heartening as this is for residents and businesses concerned about Arden Arcade's deterioration, the following quote in the article from area historian William Burg pretty much hit the nail on the head:
"Functionally (these communities) don't look any different than the ones in city limits," Burg said. But "this is county government. Counties aren't really supposed to be responsible for developed urban areas, which these places essentially are."William Burg
Though we certainly wish success for the District Attorney's Office in this effort, it remains to be seen whether the Office will be able to correct the problems across the unincorporated area once and for all or barely hold the line against further deterioration.