There are lots of occurrences that escape news coverage because, frankly, they really aren’t worthy of reporters’ limited time.

You will recall there was a large and very threatening series of fires in Mission Hills this summer. It was only by means of an aggressive air attack along Rucker Road that the fire was stopped short of destroying several homes. Residue from the unmistakable red-tinted fire retardant has been visible for months on streets, sidewalks and in some yards.

Recent heavy rains have all but erased the pink tint, but the burned brush a few feet from houses is a stark reminder to residents of how close they were to losing their homes.

The other day as I traveled along Burton Mesa Boulevard west of Constellation I noticed several county workers along the curb. Most were just leaning, pointing importantly and talking, but a couple of them were painting the curbs red, indicating a no-parking zone.

I thought this was curious because residents of the condos along that stretch of road use curbside parking, there were no fire hydrants or mail boxes along this stretch of curb, and emergency vehicles had good access by using driveways in the complex.

The result was the loss of several much-needed curbside parking slots. Now residents must park across the wide boulevard and jaywalk to get to and from their cars. I guess our tax money is used so several workers can watch other workers paint red curbs that aren’t needed in the first place.

A new Starbucks is about to open on East Ocean Avenue. The only thing that’s noteworthy here is a stretch of sidewalk that has needed replacing for several years is once again safe to use. Trees had pushed up the concrete and damaged the curbing but for some reason this wasn’t a priority for the city maintenance effort. So, as part of the project, a new sidewalk was installed.

The abandoned Lompoc Record building in the 100 block of North H Street has a new owner who is planning a mixed-use project, including a commercial component on the street level and apartments above. Hopefully this will inspire others who own property in the area to redevelop their buildings, which will draw businesses to the area.

A new building is going up at Central Avenue and H Street. It will house a pizza place and a business office. Another can still be built on the site, adding to the traffic mess.

The homeless problem is getting much more visible lately. Last week I saw homeless people wrapped up in blankets sleeping on the landscaping in front of H Street businesses. I have also heard police reports of readily-recognizable homeless people jumping in and out of traffic along this busy thoroughfare.

They are very visible in front of high-traffic commercial areas with their signs begging for cash, so they can restock on booze and smokes. They regularly appear with their stolen shopping carts full of recyclables at a collection point at North Avenue and G Street. The empty carts can be seen nearby, then they just steal another one.

It is past time to stop coddling the homeless with handouts. With the lowest unemployment rate since 1973, it’s not the economy that forces these people onto the streets. Building more rooming houses for them will only encourage more vagrants to come to our community.

None of these observations were worthy of a news story, but each was a small viewport into what’s going on around the Lompoc Valley.

Ron Fink is a local activist and can be reached at: rfink@impulse.net.