Longtime downtown business owner Dixie Brewer wonders when it's all going to end.

It's Tuesday afternoon and a man in a blue shirt enters her downtown consignment store, In Your Wildest Dreams. He's brusque, rude to employees who offer assistance, and begins gathering items of clothing, laying them across his arm.

Asked if he needs a dressing room, his answer is a curt "No."

"Are you looking for something special?" employee Rosa Rodriguez inquires.

"No," he says again.

By this time the employees know something is wrong. The atmosphere in the store changes.

The man now has the attention of five employees. Some approach him.

"He doesn't care," Brewer says. "He's prepared to harm someone to get out."

Rodriguez considers locking the front doors, but how will the man react when caged?

In a Facebook post, employee Tanner Boyd writes that the man "was definitely on something."

"I asked him if he’d like a fitting room, trying to get the clothes from him, and he started for that front door where we had an employee standing right in front. This guy didn’t care, he blew right past all of us."

The man, dressed in clean clothes and shoes, didn't appear to be homeless. Employees said his behavior suggested a "You can't touch me" demeanor.

Brewer says she wonders how long any business can stay in business with this "rampant out of control behavior."

"It's taking the wind out of my sails," she says

She praises local police for their efforts, even while acknowledging they can't do much more than they're already doing.

"I don't call the police anymore for this petty stuff," she says.

But just three weeks ago, two men and a woman arrived, the men on bicycles, the woman on foot.

Security video shows the woman ducking into the store, and moments later running out carrying something.

"My 61-year-old self chased her on foot all the way to Union Avenue," Brewer said. While running she called police.

"She ditched us and got away," Brewer said.

The store owner communicates with other area merchants on the Facebook group page Downtown Community Watch. That's how she knows she's not alone.

Scroll down and there's video of a woman apparently trying to knock over a temporary road construction sign.

Scroll again to find a photo of two newly planted blooming Crepe Myrtle shrubs and Asparagus Ferns destroyed by vandals.

Farther down page? A photo of large pile of trash dumped at the doorstep of Blue Oak Coffee Roasting, a locally owned business that has seen more than its share.

"This was here waiting for us this morning," the post read. "Great way to start the day. Hope everyone has a wonderful day."

Brewer says local merchants are not getting the political support they desperately need. The police officers she speaks with are just as frustrated.

But there may be some relief in sight. The passage of Measure N last November, which raised the city sales tax from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent, will pump an estimated $58 million in new funding into city coffers.

As a result, the Bakersfield Police Department expects to hire 100 officers over the next three years.

Most of those new uniforms have yet to hit the streets, but Brewer and other area business people hope it makes a difference when they do.

"At what point is there going to be a change that can help us?" she asks.

Hopefully, soon.

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(22) comments

Stating the obvious

Prop 47 was titled "Safe neighborhoods safe schools." None of you read what the law really did. It made all thefts under $950 misdemeanor crimes. Very little jail time if any. Y'all voted for this law! Also, it made coke, heroin, meth, date rape drugs a misdemeanor for simple possession too. Read people! And don't vote liberal.

Stephen

In Your Wildest Dreams owner Dixie Brewer deserves some sort of positive commendation for her turning what had to be one of the ugliest buildings in town into one of the best.

Now she's cast a serious warning to all concerned, citizens and officials alike: Continue to tolerate this constant and troubling depredation of crime and vandalism and we'll turn our city into a ghetto like slum of run down and abandoned buildings and otherwise a place not to stay but a place to leave. (As both my brother and sister did in escaping the troubling social problems we are currently averting our eyes from.)

One way or another we need to make the bad people be the ones to do the hurting vs. the current pattern of expecting the good ones to suck it up. Ms. Brewer has warned us. Do we get the message?

Stephen

A version of the article, HOW RELEASE OF MENTAL PATIENTS BEGAN appears in print on October 30 1984 on Page C00001 of the National edition of the New York Times, and a detailed article on President Reagan’s role in deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill: U01: Ronald Reagan and the Federal Deinstitutionalization of Mentally Ill Patients; February 8 2017, Penn State online (Google both) are much more informative than the simplistic and uninformed mindlessness of blaming liberals for all things bad.

dlc

How can you sit there with a straight face and blame something that happened over 35 years ago for this problem. Could you please name the mental health facility that Reagan actually closed that would be able to help this individual today? Could you also tell us when it closed and how Reagan closed it. And if you are saying that Reagan closed it by extenuation of a funding cut, which particular bill did he sign into law that specified that particular facility be closed? . At the federal level, we spend 750% more on mental health services now than we did in 1986. . See: https://www.statista.com/statistics/252393/total-us-expenditure-for-mental-health-services/ . The problem is not how much we spend but how effective is the spending. . Stephen, is it possible that bipartisan governments at the state and local levels have attempted to improve mental healthcare treatment but screwed things up so badly because of political correctness that local individual departments of health we left with no alternative except to close down less effective facilities? . It's a fact that billions of dollars collected under liberal policies go unspent. . See: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-slow-homelessness-spending-20180325-story.html . Stephen, it's liberals who run these programs! Are they too busy planning their next vacation or their retirement or listening to NPR to do the actual work the programs were created to do. It's truly a sin. The liberals working in the public sector think these programs exist omly to provide them a job, but the public wants this issue addressed! . Also, since the liberals dismantle Reagan's "just say no" drug avoidance effort, drug use has become even more common. Habitual drug users who are caught and arrested by police for committing petty theft no longer are forced into treatment under threat of being locked up long term, they're turned right back out onto the street to re-offend. In addition to that, California's prop 57 (thanks to Gov. Brown and CA Democrats) releases criminals because liberals believe our prisons are full of "good people". I challenge you to watch the following video about Seattle and what liberal policies have done and are doing to our great cities. . See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw . If liberals do not want to pay to lock these people up, where are the treatment programs for them? Oh wait, I forgot, even if we had treatment programs in place for them, there's no penalty if they refuse the treatment because liberals took that penalty away because they no longer can be locked up. . Enjoy your current version of California Stephen! It wasn't brought to you by Reagan or conservatives. It was brought to you by liberals who don't have a clue about human nature.

REMUDA

BTW . . . Taft has a couple of facebooks (with bookings/mug shots & other dramatic picture posts) that are public / member groups. (Does this suggest anything for Bako?) ---- "Taft Thieves" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1400715613530752/) ----- " Taft Thieves #2 " (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1474176432884386/)

Lilyrose

Why don't the local downtown shops agree to a day of closing doors and striking. Yes, income loss those days, but get the building owners and city council to step up. They depend on you to make money. Patrol by p.d. on foot, horse and car seems like a winning proposition. Bet other cities across America need to revert back to people power.

Copper

Building owners and city council to step in?!! Lmao

REMUDA

Did she mean . . . 'taking the WIND out of my SALES' . . . ? -- (cain't help the pun) ---- Perhaps those Kern COG CA Legislature "Affordable Housing Grants" will ease the "Homeless Problem" (Move-'Em-Out!) here in 'The South Valley' with $625K to Kern Co. and Bako . . . & $160K each to Arvin, Cal City, Delano, Maricopa, McFarland, Ridgecrest, Shafter Taft Tehachapi and Wasco . . . (all to abate the "Downtown" crisis?). --- Total for all jurisdictions: $2.85 MIL . . . ! (that's $2,850,000--for those in Rio Linda)--minimum grant of $25,000 . . . ! ---- Who's taxes are paying for that . . . .? (and . . . that's just Kern County)---What the heck are these LEGISLATORS SMOKIN' . . . ANYWAY . . . ! ----- (Kern at least continues voting NO ON MED POT >>>> OK SO FAR!) . . . . (BTW . . . bring back 'The Draft' for ALL!) ----- Semper Fortis . . . !

Ed

BPD works on statistics for patrolling, Report each and every crime even if its a piece of gum.....

RICHARDFITZWELL

Solves nothing, theft under $950 is a misdemeanor. Even if you arrest them, they are released in 8-12 hours and right back at it. They are given a court date 30 days out, which they don’t Attend, then a BS misdemeanor warrant is issued. Even if they get arrested on that warrant, they are again released in 8-12 hours, with a new court date 30 days out, and right back at it. Law enforcement can’t be everywhere at every time, y’all won’t cough up the money for that. You must police yourselves, and make your place less desirable. Target hardening is not an end all, but it definitely works.

Ledzepplin4800

Richard that’s because Bike Bakersfield his lead by its board of directors , Founder Bakersfield city councilman Bob Smith and board member Bakersfield city councilman Andre Gonzales , They both have interest in Downtown business , As well as Son of Bob is major developer of downtown

Copper

The biggest issue here that has not been addressed is the lack of services for mental health and addiction recovery. Until the police can pick up the mentally ill off the streets and have a place to put them step 1 hospitalization step 2 halfway house step 3 back home with family or board and care . This is the only way to fix this problem. Be mental health drug addiction or both. People need to be forced into treatment and have a safety net put in place to keep them off the streets and in recovery. The fact that we drive by and see the severely mentally ill talking to themselves screaming thrashing their arms and filthy and do nothing to help them is a gross stain on our society.

Donna Semar

Copper, you are exactly right. These people need institutionalization. Society's inhumane inaction regarding our fellow human beings in desperate need of help is deplorable. I plan to vote for anyone with a solid plan to bring back institutions.

Copper

Institutions are not the real answer. Yes we do need some for the most severe mentally ill but most can be treated with medications and therapy and returned to families or places into board and care homes , which can be paid by the patients SSI payments

Copper

So far Biden is the only candidate who has spoken on this issue being he has a personal interest due to his sons mental health. As far as I know Trump has done zero in regards to mental health services. Actually wants to get rid of the few monies and services that do exist. Thank Reagan for shutting down the institutions in the 80’s. His goal was to open smaller board and cares but the monies disappeared. Fast forward decades later and the problem is in crisis mode.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

No blame to any of the administrations that have been in control for the past 35 years? This problem isn't new- neither political party wanted to do anything about it. That's what you get from parties that have a lack of leadership courage and spend more time trying to get re-elected and bowing to the feet of special interests...

RICHARDFITZWELL

@copper, you can’t force people into treatment. You liberals would then complain about their rights if that started happening. The simple fact is, they must want help, and they don’t. Nice try, but think of another method.

Copper

That’s like saying you can’t force someone going into anaphylactic shock and epi pen, someone dying from opiates medicine to stop them from dying or a heart attack or accident victim treatment if they are unconscious. If someone ms Brain is broken they are unconscious of making a decision for their life. They are not capable of asking for help so we as a society have to intervene and force them. Once they are stabilized and in treatment and then choose to stop then we start the process over, eventually they will be decompensated after refusing meds.Clearly Richard you have no personal experience or expertise in the area of mental health you’re ignorance is the exact reason why we are in a crisis of mentally ill on the streets . Educate yourself before making lame statements.

yorkies2014

I don't know…. Dixie…it seems like at 61 there must be a more fitting occupation… one that’s a bit more Kush…. especially in this booming Trump economy…. Something easier than trolling junk store thieves down Union avenue…. that type of patrol and apprehension should be left for the younger generation.... P.S….you might want to keep the door keys away from Rosa…boy…that plan that could of gone south very quickly… [Plan A. …lets lock us all up in a cage with the nasty dude who is no longer in control]….Rosa needs a plan B. and C. if B. isn’t working

Boris25

The best advice, "get out of California", it's only going to get worse with the Democrats controlling the state government, increasing taxes, illegal aliens, crime and homeless people.

Moardeeb

Take your own advice. I love California! Seat of the resistance to everything Trump!

Richard P

Why is Bike Bakersfield giving all of these homeless and street people bicycles? They are using them as get away vehicles! Why doesn't city council do something about it.

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