Transients — problem or ‘part of the face of Arcata’?

By Garrett Walters
Flapjack Chronicle

Arcata Pizza and Deli is a popular place to spend time and get food in Arcata, partly due to its food and partly due to its convenient placing just off the Arcata Plaza. It holds an image of being an offbeat restaurant with art constantly changing on its walls, music of all kinds over the speakers, and friendly staff.

Newcomers to town might wonder if the restaurant’s image takes a hit because of Arcata’s transient population.

When asked how the homeless factored into the image of Arcata Pizza and Deli, 22-year-old patron John Finney had a view that seems to be common within the patrons.

“I don’t really think that they affect [the image] too much,” Finney said. “If anything, they almost add to it, because they are part of the face of Arcata. Yeah, they occasionally cause small disturbances, but I don’t think they are changing the image at all. If they don’t want homeless people, they shouldn’t have set up in Arcata.”

An accepting attitude toward the transient population seemed common for some.

But employee Mark Hannigan said he sees some disturbing or annoying behavior.

“I don’t have a problem with [transient community members], but when they come in and start trying to steal food from the trashcans, it is a problem,” Hannigan said. “I remember a woman who came in and was taking the half-eaten food and stashing it in her jacket before going back outside, and then repeated that a few times. When we asked her to please leave, she caused a fuss before she left.”

Hannigan doesn’t see a solution.

“I don’t know if it affects our image really, but it is a problem,” he said. “They shouldn’t be disturbing the customers.”

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