Editor: Sarah Little sent the following originally as a comment to the post that asks if OB should have a town hall meeting. She believes we should, but how she said that, we thought, should be highlighted as a post in and of itself.
by Sarah Little
As a relatively new Obecian I’ve been reticent to chime in on this discussion but here goes…
A couple of years ago my world turned upside down and I landed at the foot of Niagara Avenue in my shiny new truck with my flush-with-cash checkbook, a cheap brown metal cane and a really bad need to throw a never-ending pity party for myself. I came, I saw, I laughed, I stayed. I stayed because of the surfers and the “hippies” and the wandering kids and the nice homeless man in the wheel chair who always smiles at me, even when I’m in a decidedly not in an “OB sort of mood”.
I stayed because it’s a community where Ross can ride around on the fire truck. I stayed because my neighbors embraced me with their warmth and friendship. I stayed because my friends cheered when I quit a job that was killing my soul. I stayed because of the unfinished jetty and all it stands for. I stayed because there is no McDonalds. I stayed ’cause people think it’s cool that I decorate the inside of birdhouses. I stayed because of the pelicans that fly in formation across winter sky and only occasionally drop their load on my front window. Oh, and the dogs. I stayed for the dogs, too. (It’s a little known fact that if you’re a really good person you get to come back to earth as a dog living in Ocean Beach.)
I love my adopted community and all the crazy and not-so-crazy people that make it home. I love it in spite of the “element” that disturbs me. Perhaps I love it because of the element that disturbs me. I love it here because one day, feeling decidedly brave and irritated at the same time, I watched a dirty, stinky, loud, aggressive man hitting up all the passers by up for spare change. In a fit of pique I held out my hand and told him I was flat broke and needed money badly, too. He reached into his pocket with a smile and a shrug, pulled out all the change he had, along with a funny wad of greenish lint (lint?) and put it all in my outstretched hand.
I love it because of the people that care enough to call the cops when the “rampaging youth” get out of control, and I love because of the people that care enough to NOT call the cops on those same kids. And I really love it because people say things like, “… move forward and attempt to find common ground amidst discord.”
By all means, let’s have a town hall meeting and see if this amazing community can self-regulate and find creative solutions to the problems of homelessness and vagrancy. Include residents of the high-impact areas, business owners and civil servants. Let’s not forget to invite a couple of the folks who do live “on the streets” of our town.
Face it, we’re all here ’cause we like it like this, or sort of like this. I don’t know anyone who wants to “clean up OB”. I think we mostly just want to know we’re doing the best we can for all concerned, including the property owners and the renters and the transient population and especially for those who really cannot stand up for themselves, the mentally ill, the disabled and the children.