The last week or so has been an incredibly busy time here on the OB Rag, due in part to Obecians’ emotional attachment to some very deep seated issues – namely, the police and the young transient/homeless population.
We have now seen what seemed like an unnecessary police response to a skinny dipper on a Saturday afternoon culminate with a number of young transients being the target of a crackdown on “loitering” and other “quality of life” issues this past weekend. In between these two events, we have seen a community both divided and mutually concerned on the possible implications of these and future events.
What is clear is that there is certainly passion on both sides (or on the many sides) of these complex discussions. It is also painfully obvious that while the OB Rag is a great forum to voice concerns, there is also a need for many of these thoughts to be conveyed to those who can pull the right strings and direct policies that will be in the best interest of everyone here in OB – including those who may not necessarily be permanent residents of the neighborhood, but are in fact members of our community.
Internally at the Rag, we take this very seriously. At least two of our bloggers are actively engaging the street population whose life paths are seemingly at odds with some of OB’s concerned citizens.
I bring this thought to our readership today, in an effort to begin planning for a town hall type forum on these issues that will bring together the stakeholders responsible for moving forward in a positive manner.
Please, in the comments below, let the OB Rag know if this is something you consider worthwhile. Much of this debate has been driven by our readers’ genuine concern for the neighborhood despite ideological differences in weighing compassion and personal responsibility, and that should remain the common denominator. We all care about OB, and nobody wants to see anything happen that negatively impacts our little slice of paradise.
I would also ask that readers wishing to comment on this post please limit concerns to who would be best suited to be present at the forum (i.e. City Council representative, SDPD community relations, etc.) and what the proposed outcome should be or at least what we should attempt to accomplish at such a meeting. Anything else is better suited for earlier posts; the information here will be used to formulate a plan for a meeting where we can respectfully relay our concerns to people who are responsible for acting in our best interest as a community.
With the OB Rag engaging both our online readership and those who may not be part of our online community but reside in OB (particularly those living on the streets), we will be able to have the concerns of all relevant community members at play as we move forward and attempt to find common ground amidst discord.
Originally posted on Feb. 8, 2010