Just the other day I learned from fellow Saratoga business owner, Ted Oliverio of ManyFriends, that Scott Johnson was recently released from prison. Regularly I compare notes with a few other business owners on Big Basin Way about strange visitors and occurrences in and near my place of business. It's helpful when discerning if a problematic visitor or other strangeness is targeted at me personally, is a local hue, or a random 1UV a kind happening. Telling him about the ongoing "controversy" over the roses, Art installation, and my recent injury, Ted commented he heard Mr. Johnson had recently been released and, in addition to his antics in Alameda (with which I was already familiar), Mr. Johnson had also spent some time harassing the City of Saratoga. What are the chances that I'd be in both places...slim...but par for the course of my life. I laughed ironically.
First, let me tell who ever the anonymous entity is who removed the dead potted citrus tree that was a dry bundle of three inch thorns, Thank You. It is a shame you waited until it was in such bad shape before removing it and putting it somewhere appropriate for it to thrive. I reached out many times in the past few months to both the City and Village Gardners about this. I'm grateful it is now gone. Anyway...
As I mentioned in another recent blog article: COMING UP ROSES my first year of business in Saratoga, CA, my business has been bullied since before I even had the chance to open my doors to the public. The latest in the anonymous abuses has come in the form of ridiculous "code violation reports" to the City of Saratoga by an unknown petty hater, too cowardly, or bigoted, to speak to me directly. This unknown miserable busy-body with nothing better to do with their energy and time than bully others out of spite, complained to City Officials that my Art Installation was a "tripping hazard". Some other unknown coward of a person a few months back complained in a similar manner that my store's sandwich board was of similar offense. Now, keep in mind that a majority of businesses on either side of Big Basin Way and adjoining cross streets have sandwich board signs, out door seating, dog water bowls, and/or potted plants and landscaping in front of their businesses both on private property and the public right of way. I have taken photos and shared them with City of Saratoga Code Enforcement Officer, Tony Gonzalez, the official who came to threaten me with fees if I didn't remove my Art installation, forbade me to plant flowers or put my sign out where people can actually see it as they make their way down the sidewalk. All fine with me, except for the fact that no one else is asked to do the same. No one else has been vandalized with trash, feces, violence, threats, rude invasive comments and questions, or vitrol of the mentally unstable that I have been subjected to since opening my business.
Other local businesses are allowed to do as they please. They put out their signs daily without abuse. They tend their plants without abuse. They host events without abuse. Just yesterday, Saturday, January 27, 2024, the bakery that recently moved in next to my business was open (they are open 1 day a week) and put a sign out on the sidewalk. In addition they have customers that stand in the middle of the right of way for hours blocking the space. In recent months their customers have stood in front of my business blocking both entrance and visibility. Please understand, I am very happy for them to have business and I am very happy for them to have a sandwich board sign in the sidewalk. I am happy for all of the businesses to do so. I'm not complaining about that. My problem is with the City of Saratoga insisting on unfairly and abusively applying rules and regulations to my business that don't seem to apply to all the rest. It makes me wonder what the bigotry is that motivates the discrimination against my business: Are my eyes too green? Is my skin too lightly complected? Did I not go to the right college? Do I not live in the right zip code? Do I not drive the right car? Have the right name? The right age? The right size? The right religious Faith or background? Am I not registered for the right political party? Is it because I am pro-choice? Is it because I don't have children? Am I not of the right ethnic background? I have a long list of these and more reasons for which I have been discriminated against and abused in the past. It could be any one or combination of them, but I don't know for sure and the City refuses to tell me who it is that keeps complaining that I exist. Yes, I have reached out to City Council a number of times with no response and no one I talk to seems to know or be willing to let me in on the secret in plain sight Larissa-hater club.
Mr. Gonzalez can be reached at 408-868-1230 and/or email@example.com.
Here are just a few examples of the daily hypocrisy:
This photo below is of an electrical plug, (installed courtesy of The City of Saratoga) that can be found in nearly every earthen square housing trees and plants up and down the street. Many of the plugs, like the one in the contested square in front of my business (featured in the photo below), are located parallel to street parking spaces directly next to the passenger side exit as you step out of your vehicle. All are six inches or more above ground level. I have ACTUALLY tripped over this one many times myself:
The next picture is of my bruised swollen knee today, Sunday January 28, 2024. A little over a week ago I tripped on uneven pavement in the driveway portion of the sidewalk in front of Thomas Davies, Esq.'s office on Big Basin Way just one block up on the other side of the street. I was getting into my vehicle that was legally parked on the street. Shit happens. I didn't call to bitch to City Council:
These next photos have been taken in front of my gallery and neighboring business on Saturdays when they are open:
Note where the sandwich board sign is placed. I'm not allowed to do that.
The line has frequently blocked my storefront.
Now for other businesses signs. And these are just a few, not all:
This is a picture of my sign, admonished to being tucked out of the way where it is not nearly as noticable as the signs of other businesses:
Note the size and placement of the wine tasting sign. I can't put my sign there.
Mind you, all this started because I potted a couple roses and placed them in a spot that most other businesses on the street have filled with mature landscaping. I had none and don't particularly enjoy smelling dog shit and piss when I have my front door open. But, hey. I guess I'm the asshole here?
No. I'm not. But something sure does stink about the whole thing.
Remember, the photo below shows what I originally put out that was sooooooooo offensive:
In total I have spent almost $1,000 USD on this tiny square of dirt. The nerve of me wanting my storefront to look nice! The pure nerve.