Monday, November 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on November 5th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 36

County and city elected officials discuss solutions to homelessness

By ZAC EZZONE

While attending a Lompoc City Council meeting on Oct. 15, listening to concerns over the municipal budget in the wake of the city’s seventh homicide this year, Jamison Stagaard decided he needed to try to help. 


RARE OCCURRENCE
Elected city and county officials gathered in Solvang to discuss ways to address homelessness as a region.
PHOTO BY ZAC EZZONE

“You could just feel it in the air,” Stagaard said. “People were kind of frustrated and scared and nervous, and it just seemed like the right idea to try to do something.”

Prior to that meeting, Stagaard said he was planning on hosting a fundraiser at his tattoo shop, Fortified Tattoo Company, to benefit the Lompoc Theater, which a group is trying to restore. But after listening to the conversation at the meeting, he decided to change course. Instead, his shop held an event to raise money for the city’s police department on Nov. 1, aptly titled: “Stop the Fucking Crime.”

Participating in the event required people to be a bit spontaneous. Normally, clients choose the tattoo they want permanently inked on their bodies, but for this event people paid $80 for a turn at the “Get What You Get” machine. This is basically a gumball machine that dispenses plastic balls containing different tattoo designs that would normally cost $100 to $200. However, if people weren’t feeling the design they got, they could get another ball, as many times as they’d like for an additional $20 each try. Or they could trade with another guest, Stagaard said. 

Due to the number of people interested in the event, Stagaard had to bring in backup. Normally, it’s just Stagaard and Chase Holland in the shop, but for this event Stagaard tried recruiting other artists from Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Camarillo. In total, he hoped six different artists would work the event from noon to 8 p.m.

This most recent fundraiser was the shop’s second such endeavor in the roughly 18 months it’s been open. In May this year, the shop raised about $2,500 for the Hope vs. Cancer Foundation, which spreads awareness and raises money for childhood cancer research. 

This time around, Stagaard expected to raise even more money after receiving about 200 calls and questions on social media over just a few days inquiring about the event. 

“I guess this resonates more with people—the timing and everything,” Stagaard said. 

The two most recent shootings in the span of two months has left much of the Lompoc community rattled. Residents have held marches, formed concerned citizen groups, and held community meetings while trying to find answers.

Stagaard knows that a few thousand dollars isn’t going to significantly change the police department’s budget or instantly make the city a safer place, but he’s hoping it inspires other businesses to get involved. More importantly, he hopes the event encourages younger people to start paying attention to some of the problems facing the city. 

“Once they see that a tattoo shop is doing something like this, it might resonate with them more to be like, ‘Oh, what is happening with the budget?’ And maybe get more involved and pay more attention,” Stagaard said. 

Highlights

• On Nov. 13, the city of Santa Maria plans to hold a community meeting at the Santa Maria Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene to offer residents in the southeast part of the city the chance to voice any issues or concerns. This is the third such community meeting the city has hosted in recent months. The church is located at 1026 Sierra Madre Ave., and the meeting is planned for 6 p.m.

• The Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is hosting a sexual harassment prevention training seminar for Lompoc Valley businesses on Nov. 13. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hilton Garden Inn on North H Street in Lompoc. 

Staff Writer Zac Ezzone wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send ideas, tips, and interesting tidbits to spotlight@santamariasun.com.




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Should school districts invest more into vocational and career technical programs?

Yes. Students need to get on a career path as soon as possible.
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