Atascadero’s Sunken Gardens rife with crime

September 10, 2012

Dr. Jason Pambrun


I read “Atascadero police accused of illegal searches” and felt compelled to comment directly. It’s really a shame CalCoastNews didn’t find the time to interview some of us who work every day in the Sunken Gardens area. You might have been able to offer your readers perhaps a bit more perspective on why the police were in the Sunken Gardens conducting searches.

In your story, Sgt. Gregg Meyer describes these kids as emulating gang members but not being involved in drugs. While that may have been the case on that day, this is quite a bit different from my own experience with the kids who loiter in the area.

The Sunken Gardens has been rife with alcohol and drugs for some time. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t witness around my office public drunkenness, drug use, public sex, and or public urination in the Sunken Gardens. The area around my office is frequently littered with empty liquor bottles, beer cans, drug paraphernalia, and used condoms.

As my office caters almost exclusively to middle school/high school-aged kids who often walk over from the junior high or high school, clearly this is bad for business. Needless to say, I’ve had numerous parents complain about open drug use around my office, or fear for their child’s safety while walking to their appointments. Just recently, a parent in my practice had to run out and break up a brutal fight right in front of my office.

Another issue is that these kids who loiter in the park are often joined by much older men (and on occasion, women). On one occasion, a parent in my office identified one of these adults as a known sex offender.

The bottom line is that the Sunken Gardens needs to be cleaned up. The current situation in the Gardens is not only bad for my business, but also for families and kids who just want to enjoy or simply traverse the Sunken Gardens without having to put up with the ridiculous behavior of this group of loitering kids, not to mention my employees who often feel threatened just walking to their cars to and from the office.

With what I’ve seen in the Sunken Gardens, and contrary to the assertion of your article, I’d say the police had plenty of probable cause to conduct the searches you reported on.

Jason Pambrun is an Atascadero dentist with an office next to the Sunken Gardens.


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PEOPLE OF ATASCADERO LISTEN UP if you don’t think what the cops are doing is right and justified I challenge you to go down and talk to the men that are drunk everyday or shooting up or smoking pot down there hanging out with some of the kids from the school that get out around 1100 am everyday or the kids cutting class!! I also think it is time that people figure out that Atascadero might just have a GANG ISSUE also if you don’t believe me walk your happy butts down to Sunken Gardens and walk up to the men NOT BOYS that are wearing all RED OR BLUE AND ask them what they are doing hang out all day on all four corners of the park when there are nothing but teenagers here? THE answer is recruiting kids to join and to sell drugs to our kids at school. So if the police presence is there checking on our kids and looking through there back packs if the kids are acting nervous then so be it there should not be a problem if the kid has nothing to hind RIGHT!!!!!!!

The Junior High needs to be relocated out of the downtown-Sunken Gardens area. Not that that would

solve our young people’s attraction to drugs, etc. and the alleged peoblems in the gardens, but would

move those problems away from our evolving downtown area.

If probable cause is what you suggest it is, I assume since you are also in the area, you don’t mind randomly being detained, and having all your possessions rifled through. You are after all in a high crime area, obviously you must be up to no good too.

so what, in your opinion, constitutes probable cause? if not an eye witness account, than what?

An eye witness to what? There were no eye witnesses to anything. Those cops were just randomly searching kids, who were in the park. Simply being in public is not a situation that amounts to even the slightest form of a reasonable suspicion.

and this is where i think the story was a bit unclear. these “random” searches were prompted after numerous calls from my office reporting eyewitness accounts from me, my staff, and patients and parents in my office. so again, what in your opinion constitutes probable cause?

Every time I get behind the wheel of my vehicle I accept the right of the police to pull me over. When ever there is a DUI check point I accept the right of the police to pull me over…. When I go to the Mid State Fair I am subjected to my purse being examined. When I enter the Court House in down town SLO I am directed through a scanner for weapons etc. It is a small price to pay for the greater good of my community. If you don’t like it here go away… please … really just go away…

I have no problem with police doing their job. However, police officers are vested with a huge amount of power. Therefore, while doing their job they must stay within the guidelines of legality for their profession.

Mary my dear, that sounds all “airy-fairy” and “nirvanaesque”, but to be frank, and you can still be Mary, tell your proposal to the LAPD in South-Central Los Angeles. They would laugh you off the streets with your comment of “…while doing their job they must stay within the guidelines of legality for their profession…” Surely you jest?

I am not saying that the Sunken Gardens situation even comes close to what the LAPD have to contend with, but at times to eliminate the problem, certain factors must be weighed to slightly just step over the proverbial line sometimes. Don’t say it hasn’t ever been done before!

Okay, if you don’t want to follow biblical principles in beating these children as the Hebrew-Christian God proposes, then what is one to do? How about the residents of Atascadero being okay with a 24/7/365 police presence in this area and the costs thereof? A continuous police presence, and getting in their face at times, may be the only way to eliminate this problem to where they’ll take their ungodliness elsewhere. Uh, like to Templeton.

Yeah, because the constitution is too damn expensive.


In what vein are you bringing up the U.S. Constitution? In how it was trampled upon by the Bush Administration, along with the Bill of Rights, subsequent to the 9/11 attacks?

No, I didn’t say anything about the Bush administration. Though, I fully agree with your statement, it had nothing to do with my remarks.

You suggest, or t least you appeared to me to suggest that it would be too expensive to patrol this area sufficently, therefore the cops should just ignore probable cause as dictated by the Fourth Amendment. To me this seems to indicate the idea that the constitution is only to be offered to those persons, and municipalities that can afford it.

The police have a very hard job, that can be dangerous, not to mention the thought of spending a good chunk of your life around thugs and scumbags, but one of the challenges of their vocation is to do it under the parameters of the US Constitution. They don’t get to take short cuts to make their jobs easier.

Mary, do you have any evidence that the police aren’t staying within the guidelines of legality? i know the original article tries to paint that picture, but i personally don’t think it makes a very strong case… a couple of photos and the conjecture of an attorney who wasn’t there.

When will these ruffians learn, GO TO THE CREEK TO DO YOUR DIRTY BUSINESS? That’s why, no matter where you are, you’re always near a creek. When you’re done with your creek side deviate behavior, you can join the rest of us at the Sunken Gardens for a clean, safe, child-friendly experience and perhaps enjoy the area’s fine dining, shops and entertainment.

Fear not, parents of AJHS and AHS students, school staff is constantly patrolling the nearby creeks during school hours. The stories of vice principals and couselors in suits and ties chasing stoners around creek side are now the stuff of lore.

Sinking Gardeners have always been losers. If you regularly return to visit, chances are you are a loser, you are involved in illegal activities of some type and you are not smart enough to be discreet about it. So let the police attend to the obvious. “Partiers”, the weekend warrior types, won’t touch the place, and those who do are immediately ostracized and no longer welcome at house and riverbed parties.

I went to the Atascadero Jr. High School in 70’s. Dr. Finnicarro had his practice across from the Sunken Gardens. There were kids loitering in the same area, drinking alcohol, smoking, etc. I would wait in front of Arlyne’s flowers for my daily ride home. I witnessed many incidents thru the eyes of a child that, as an adult, makes me shudder. .There is little difference between the happenings then and now, with the exception being the presence of the police. There is no cause for searches today that did not exist back then. It’s the attitude of the public, such as Dr. Pambrun, that has changed.

As long as there is the Jr. High is behind Sunken Gardens, there will be children loitering in the park, doing things they likely shouldn’t.

The Sunken Gardens is like a timeless litmus test for kids, if they’re spending too much time there, they need birth control and to go to rehab.

I would like you to go just sit and watch what goes on there now and see how safe you feel. Kids trying to be “gang like” thinking that way of life is cool. Because of the illegal drugs they make poor choices and are making people down there feel unsafe. It’s not just kids being stupid, it is scary. So before saying Dr. Pambrun is over reacting maybe try going there yourself and reason with them, since you don’t believe police should be involved.


Great comment! I totally agree. People that feel the Dr. is overreacting or the police are overstepping their boundaries, need to come pay a visit to Sunken Gardens for a day. Guaranteed you would have a different outlook on things.

My question for you is: So if a citizen witnesses people engaging in illegal drug activity & they call the police & describe to the police exactly who was doing what; do the police, in your eyes, not have probable cause to search the persons that were engaging in the illegal activity??

You are missing the point. The police still have to assess the situation for themselves. They cannot just take the word of a caller pure and simple without doing this.

And they still have to obey the Constitution that they swore an oath to protect.

If we listen to the likes of the pseudo-christian “Spirit Drained” as shown below, then Atascadero citizens should place an A1 Abrams tank at the corner of the park, and if a certain faction congregates at the Gardens; blow them to Hell!

A godly way to drive these minions of Satan from the park is to have a bunch of Atascadero residents all show up with “rods” in their hands to beat these kids if they show any insolence whatsoever to the tax payers when they ask them to leave.

In this way, and if arrested, one can just say that they were following godly and biblical scriptures that trump man’s laws as I’ve shown below in how our bible promotes the beating of unruly children. I am sure that Jay Sekalow, a well known Christian attorney, would love to handle a case like this if you got your teat in a ringer, praise!

Ix-nay on the igalantes-vay.

I don’t want some wahoo taking the law into their own hand and beating on me, my kid, or anyone else.

Police need to do their duty and, while doing so, remain within the confines of department and legal guidelines.


You see, this is the problem, where the alleged Christians are NOT following their bible! Once again, as it has been shown in this thread, the Christian want’s their bible “their way”, and not the Hebrew-Christian God’s way with His direct words in how unruly children are to be handled!

What part of this passage don’t they understand? “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. ( Ephesians 6:4) The direct “instruction” of the Lord is as I have shown, and that is beating them when they get out of line, period! (Pr.13:24, Pr.22:15, Pr.23:13-14, Pr.30:17 )

Where in the hell do the pseudo-christians get the authority to usurp the direct teachings of the biblical God relative to beating children in the passages shown above?! If they can’t follow His direct instructions relating to problem children, then they should leave the belief system altogether because of their attitude that they know more than God’s word, period.

Jesus hates pseudo-christians.

1 Thessalonians 5:17


The passage relating to “praying continuously” that you’ve shown was relative to the return of our Jesus. If you read this chapter in it’s entirety, you’ll see that Jesus’ return was suppose to happen at the time of Paul’s writings. Whoops, it didn’t happen.

Besides, if all Christians even prayed sporadically regarding the removal of these unruly children at the Sunken Gardens, the odds of it happening are nil for obvious reasons pertaining to the biblical principles of prayer.

If this godly edict was to be followed, then this is just another reason why it is so hard to be a TRUE Christian. Can you fathom praying 24/7/365? :(

Ted — my user name has nothing to do with my physical attributes (or more truthfully lack thereof) and refers to the climate that I do not like.

Who made you judge, jury and executioner? Delusional ranting doesn’t help solve problems – most people understand that.


“Who made you judge, jury and executioner?” Answer; the Judeo-Christian bible.

Anyone with only half of their synapses firing correctly can read the Hebrew-Christian God’s word pertaining to unruly children. Therefore, they can be as judgmental as they want, especially when they QUOTE this God’s words regarding the discipline that the Lord requires towards these children. This God is judgmental, and we’re only the messengers of His judgments. Get it?

If you want to call the direct biblical principles that were shown, delusional, then you do so at your own risk come Judgment Day because they are all “inspired” by God. I would suggest that you purchase an asbesto’s suit, and if you can, wear it before your demise. Shameful.

I find it fascinating that people exhibiting megalomaniacal, psychopathic behavior due to substance abuse are castigated, while those exhibiting the same behaviors due to religious beliefs are frequently seen as basically normal and acceptable. The fact is, Ted, you are powerless to change these teenagers’ behavior or anyone else’s, and your invisible buddy in the sky doesn’t seem to be offering much in the way of help either.

cch – “Who made you judge, jury and executioner? Delusional ranting doesn’t help solve problems – most people understand that.”

who are you referring to here???


The only logical conclusion to your question is that he is referring to the Hebrew-Christian God, because He made the edicts for Christians to follow regarding what to do with unruly children. Whereas I am just the messenger.

So many get this concept mixed up, that I am sure it even makes Jesus sick to His stomach, as it does mine.