Neighbors are in a huff about the crowds of spandex-clad exercise nuts who throng the steep stairs leading down to Santa Monica Canyon.
No pain, no gain, is the mantra of the fitness freaks, who gather on the grassy median at the north end of 4th Street in Santa Monica, then dash, trudge or stumble up and down the 189 concrete risers, most of which actually lie in the city of Los Angeles.
But residents say the outsiders are using their high-priced neighborhood as if it were a public park--or worse. They tell of discarded water bottles, runners who help themselves to garden hoses and the guy who fired up a barbecue.
Having people shower on his grass is not so bad, says Paul Tsou, a stair-runner himself, "but it gets old pretty fast." He ended up fencing his front lawn.
The runners, understandably enough, are not all sympathetic.
"It may be because the neighborhood is exclusive that they rebel against strangers," says Jordon Hollis. "It's not like the people who come here commit drive-by shootings or murders."
That may be, but Santa Monica police warned last month that they would start writing tickets for littering, trespassing, disturbing the peace and blocking traffic.
Since then, not one has been issued.
Says police Sgt. Gary Gallinot: "We expected voluntary compliance because mostly it is nice people coming to exercise. . . ."