by Danny Morales
The day of the community journalist has arrived in Ocean Beach. The blogger/activists of the OB Rag gave the Ocean Beach Town Council and the community at large a healthy dose of solutions, unity and peoples advocacy.
Last night’s meeting – double-billed as a forum for Ocean Beach Planning Board candidates and homeless discussion – started its civic booster rockets in red glare style. Firing up with a pledge of allegiance and a lineup of the usual suspects, the meeting had me looking over my shoulder from the get go. Not that I was wary of who was using the bathroom for what but when the mooks from the “I agree with everything the police do to get the varmints outta town” society got up from chuckling about the “Trolls Verboten” flier to stand at my rear, did the hair on my neck stand up.
Speaking of that flier, which was being distributed last night by the chair of the merchants crime prevention committee (Julie Klien), it was only brought up as an issue by John, a dreadlocked member of the houseless community as he appealed to a common humanity to live hassle free.
That the “Homeless Discussion” was framed as a “Law and Order” issue by having the commanding officer of the SDPD’s Western Division fire an opening salvo wasn’t lost on the community journalists. That he was afforded the longest time to speak of anybody at the meeting wasn’t lost on anybody else.
The traveler who had his motor home stolen, his rights violated and his freedom removed by the police painted a very different picture of life in Ocean Beach.
So as a thin blue line of clouds showered our ears with respect and pride, the pitter patter of ‘ protect and serve’ prompted our community stakeholders to rise up.
One by one the stories, problems, and complaints came raining down. Lost business opportunities, polluted beaches, sexual harassment and battery all washed up at the feet of the homeless issue.
A ray of light broke through when Sunshine, Lane and Sarah as the OB Ad Hoc Committee on Tumbleweeds made their presentation. Shifting focus from problems to solutions served to turn the heads of more than one member of the Town Council and more than a few members of the community.
So it was a stepping stone in the right direction, at least from the perspective of a community journalist. Several OBTC members, at least two Planning Board candidates and other OBceans were moved to act in terms of a common solution.
Others will continue to thunder their inner turmoil in the public square. We will, no doubt hear their echos on the OB Rag. Whether its a distant rumble or an approaching storm will depend on us. We have a choice. To learn from the lessons of our history or to repeat its darkest chapters.