Another Report of the OB Town Council Forum On the Homeless

by on February 25, 2010 · 101 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Popular

OBTC 2-24-10 sunlane

Sunshine and Lane at OBTC Forum. Photo by Jim Noble.

by OB Cindi

For those of you who need to be brought up to speed, last night (2/24) from 7pm to 9pm there was an OB Town Council Meeting.

Earlier yesterday (Wed 2/24) I walked around Ocean Beach and handed out a flier to a handful of people under the pier. My flier had a map giving directions to the Masonic Temple, the time of the meeting, and a request for those the OBRag Ad Hoc Committee were representing to add their voices to the Town Council’s issue on homeless.

I asked about a dozen youth to come to the meeting to talk about their experience and to help push for a local shelter/camp city and more restrooms.

As the meeting started, I took a seat amongst the youth as I had promised–I practice and preach tolerance and coexistence.

The meeting kicked off with people running for various districts pushing their platforms.

I was very interested when Landry Watson of District 1  was asked what accomplishments he had achieved and he mentioned he had started several committees including a committee to work the Bathrooms at Brighton Project. I asked when the bathrooms would be replaced and about current restroom facilities at that location. Landry said that there are temporary restrooms and the lifeguard tower restrooms need to come down and be replaced. He said this was a 2 yr project.

My thought–so where do the rich and the poor visitors who come to our beach use the bathroom? And shouldn’t there be more restrooms on our beach with better lighting?

A town council member announced they were going to talk about the “homeless issue” next. My thought–why is this even being talked about by a group of people who have never been homeless? Thankfully, Town Council was about to be educated by our peaceful anti-establishment neighbors who I call, Travelers….

First to speak, officer Walt Vazquez who runs the Western Division, SDPD. He did speak for an awful long time, but to be fair, the first two homeless kids who followed him were also given an unlimited amount of time to speak. The problem with Officer Vazquez is that he let us all know how out-of-touch he is with homeless youth being targeted in our community.

Rather then discuss homelessness, he talked about wanting to reduce domestic violence and aggravated assaults in our community, and wanting to remain neutral by enforcing laws and citing anyone who does not follow the law. He gave the usual police talk of “serve and protect” (sorry, but that is so VERY cliche) and then tried to say that he would answer questions privately.

Thankfully I was allowed to direct a question his way before he left the podium. I asked Officer Vazquez what the police policy is on homeless issues and to specifically focus his response on homeless being targeted by his officers in our community. Vazquez responded by saying that he was more concerned with all crime and if there were 2 crimes or 2,000 crimes, he wanted all crime to stop. So he didn’t answer my question. As he ended he said that he told his officers to enforce laws on all as they are there to serve and protect and it doesn’t matter if you are homeless or not–if caught using drugs or drunk in public or defecating/urinating in public, you will be cited.

Okay, Officer Vazquez, but are you out of touch with our community? The reason people pee and defecate in the alleys is because we lack a balanced ratio of beach visitors (homeless or not) to bathrooms. ANYONE visiting OB would agree with this!

Next up, John – who I had met that morning under the pier. His picture was in the Beacon and he started out by saying he felt targeted and had never been asked if it was okay to have his picture in the article. He felt the slant of the Beacon‘s article stating that there was a problem with kids hanging out under the pier was directed at him. He stated he is peaceful and only wishes to coexist in our community. As John spoke, the whole room went silent. His voice was very soft, and a few times, I thought he might break down in tears.

One of those moments came when he talked about the man who gave him the “Get out of town Trolls” flyer. For those of you who have never heard this word before, it is as insulting as the “N” word, and is meant to describe Travelers as less then deserving the gutter.

John felt “threatened and scared” by the tone of the document. He became more concerned that something bad might happen to him. He said that it is a few who don’t even stay in OB who do bad things, that need to be the focus, not on all. He asked that everyone in the room not look at him as scary, as he sometimes looks at us as scary.

If you walk up to the youth under the pier and get to know them, you’d  find that they are trying to police themselves, want help and outreach from us to help them. I think if I could put into words what John was saying is:

if you see something, call and give a VERY CLEAR DESCRIPTION of what you see and who is doing it. And that when the police get there, don’t just handcuff everyone then ask questions. Police need to learn to ask the youth who is causing the trouble–they will tell you, but off to the side where they won’t end up being harmed when these bad apples get out of jail.

I hope that the officers who police OB read this, but I doubt they will…

Two speakers later a very bright young man who described himself as someone who chose not to live in four walls, spoke to us in a way that again, made everyone in the room stop talking. As he spoke of peace and coexistence, he pointed out that we all needed to share the beach. That a few bad apples spoil the bunch and make all the youth that hang out under the pier look bad. He mentioned that we need more restrooms and somewhere safe for youth to stay.

The youth and I had thought it might be good to have temporary low income camping for tents and campers near Rob Field. He asked that the people in the room try to open their minds and not change what makes OB a beautiful place to visit. He called our town his second home and when he walked away from the podium, everyone applauded.

Lane kicked off the ad hoc committee for OBRag by talking about his background and the need for a shelter and more bathrooms. More bathrooms seemed to be a recurring theme all night. He asked that everyone focus on what we love about OB–it’s eccentric bohemian style.

Next Sarah stood up and discussed that she is torn between being compassionate and being tired of seeing people defecating and urinating on her property and people fighting and selling drugs. Her point was well taken–let’s not focus on homeless, let’s focus on the problems we have with violence and lack of restrooms.

She pointed out that a group of local teenagers from the high school pulled up and defecated behind her house, and that a few weeks later another group who definitely did not look homeless, urinated on her patio. Her point was that we should not point our finger at the homeless. That we should instead concentrate on providing more restrooms all over the beach front so people don’t use our property as their toilet.

Next Sunshine brought up a piece of cardboard as her “visual” of the homeless issue. On the cardboard were the words Merchants, Property Owners, Customers, Homeless visitors and tourists and a few others. She had the word “issue” in the middle and flipped it over to show the word “solutions” to show we all had a stake in finding solutions to common issues in our community and she again pointed out that we shouldn’t say that it’s the homeless causing problems. Again we heard the words “self police” being asked of our community.

The ad hoc committee speakers were followed by varying forms of tolerance and intolerance.

Pat Phillips who said he grew up in OB, lives with his kids and wife here in OB and who owns a construction company, was the official “loose cannon” of the evening. He started off by saying he was going to be non-PC and boy, was he not joking! Pat said he wanted the police to ship all the homeless out of this town, that they make our town dirty, that there was not a homeless problem when he was growing up, but now the homeless aggressively panhandle, defecate and pee in the alleys, throw their trash on the beach and sell and do drugs. His vigilante attitude ignored the requests earlier by the young men representing homeless youth to coexist and not to lump all in one targeted group.

Town Council member David Martin ended the meeting by saying that the homeless committing criminal acts in Ocean Beach (defecate/urinate outside of restrooms, aggressively panhandle, scare away customers to stores, vandalize, buy/sell/use drugs at the beach) are not wanted in OB. David said he wants everyone to just be fair and play nice in the sandbox we call OB. He ended by saying if the homeless are disrespectful, [we] want you to GET OUT!

He hit and missed the mark–it’s not just the homeless doing the acts that brought up this “issue” for Town Council. We need to be sure Mr Martin that we are not targeting homeless and let’s ALL focus on addressing issues with peaceful negotiations, not vigilante style police force that involves say, one drunk guy swimming naked and 20 officers and a taser.

After the meeting, members of the ad hoc committee got together with the youth who had spoken and attended the meeting to ask them how they felt. They are still concerned they are being targeted and they want to ask the community of OB to be tolerant. They also want more restrooms and propose tent and van/RV camping in Robb Field parking lot for Travelers. Now that’s two ideas I as a resident of OB can get behind!

{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mr fresh February 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

high school kids urinating and defecating? by golly, let’s close the high schools!


avatar Abby February 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm

That’s not enough! I say we ban kids!


avatar Danny Morales February 28, 2010 at 4:17 am

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963


avatar Mark Rafferty February 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm

To say that calling someone a “troll” is tantamount to calling someone the n-word is absurd. Please explain why calling an African American the most hateful racist word in the book is equal to referencing a homeless person as a non-existent mythical creature.


avatar doug porter February 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

both words have effect of dehumanizing people. the meme of dehumanizing black people is more serious. but when you look at why anybody would want to dehumanize another human being, the answer is the same for both groups– dehumanizing creates a short cut around our natural inclination to be sympathetic and allows society’s “enforcers” to act in ways that we would not normally approve.


avatar Nate February 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Words can be re-appropriated, by which a disparaging word becomes a self-ascribed moniker. Such as the word “queer”, once a slur, can refer a friend who is gay. But, if you’re waving pitchforks and torches it takes on a different meaning.


avatar Mark Rafferty February 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I typed out the n-word and the t-word, and my post was censored and deleted. This proves my point that the words are not equal. The fact that you think they are is an insult to all African Americans, and I hope you rethink your position on their equality.


avatar OB Cindi March 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

Grow up Mark. Typing out those words is inappropriate, and you know it. For OBRag to post the “n” word with all the hate that is going on right now in San Diego (see the article on UCSD’s hate crimes) would be criminal. Unless you have been living in a hole for the last 50 yrs, you know our society moved forward and no longer accepts bullies and harassment, verbal, physical or otherwise. Typing out these words shows a lack of foresight and intelligence. Words can be used to insult, degrade and alienate groups of people. I stand behind my original point–that calling a Traveler a Troll is a slur just as describing an African American as the “n” word is a slur.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp March 5, 2010 at 9:59 am

Why is it okay to call those who espouse limited government “teabaggers” then?

And to call what happened at UCSD a “hate crime” is ludicrous and belittles actual crimes of hate.

I think that it is fine for you to take such positions, to each their own, but the lack of consistency shows that your position is fueled by partisanship, not the concepts of acceptance and tolerance.


avatar hippiereborn March 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

what are you talking about man? teabaggers refers to the tea bags that have become a symbol of the movement. How do you not see that? If the party was called something else, and folks were hanging a different item from hats and posters, then it would take on a different name. GET OVER IT.

The fact that you don’t consider hanging a noose a hate crime shows just how little you understand about race relations. I dont see partisanship in any of this and bringing up political affiliations as a reason people are offended by something as inflammatory as a student hanging a noose on the campus of a public university completely de-legitimatizes your position.

I’m tired of people complaining about issues of race and hate as unimportant and overblown. Maybe its not important to you, and maybe its overblown to you – but to most people, this is an emotional issue that cuts to the core of what equality is all about. Most of us are trying to live in a post racial world, and aren’t able to accomplish it because of people who downplay the importance of a symbol rather than an actual violent act.

Have you ever been the victim of a hate crime? I have. And I dont hold grudges, but i do carry the memory with me to this day. I’m not black, but the noose is just as much an act of hatred and violence to me as it is to actually hang someone with it, just as a swastika is just as much an act of hatred and violence as the mass murder committed during WW2 it represents.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp March 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

What are you talkin’ about man? It is called the Tea Party, in reference to the Boston Tea Party, and the idea of taxation without representation. Teabagging is sticking your balls in someones mouth. It is the liberal media that coined the term as a way to belittle the limited government philosophy.

I don’t mind progressives using the term, personally, the problem I have is the inconsistency in the position. If you were really concerned about how words and their connotations effect people, and tolerance and understanding, you wouldn’t use such a term. You cannot have it both ways and pick and choose how you are tolerant.

A noose is just a symbol, just like a word or an image, or a swastika. To equate the symbols with the actual acts of hate diminishes the painful effects of the act.

In my opinion it is you, and people like you, who are diminishing the importance (insofar as they are very bad) of the actual acts of hate, in your attempt to place focus on the symbols that represent them.

It is as ludicrous to equate the use of the term Troll to describe the the vagrant youth of OB, to the n-word to describe people with dark skin, as it is to equate the symbol of a noose with an actual hanging.

How can you not see that your attempt to equate the act with the symbol you are diminishing the impact of the act?


avatar hippiereborn March 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

As I said before, if you were ever the victim of a violent hate crime, you would probably understand my position. To those who are victims of institutionalized hate – like those who are descended from slaves – a noose is just as powerful as actually hurting someone. Because you have been priveleged enough to go through life without experiencing these kinds of acts, you don’t understand. And thats okay. Whats supposed to be happening here is a dialogue and education on both ends.

If you dont like teabaggers……then what would you prefer someone called a member of the tea party who hangs tea bags from their hat?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp March 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Really, you are trying to tell me that looking at a noose is as painful as hanging from one? That is ridiculous.

Call it the Tea Party, call them Libertarians, call them purveyors of limited government.

What should I call the vagrants that live under the sea wall or pier? If I cannot call them Trolls.


avatar lane tobias March 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

for the record – the first time I EVER heard the term “teabaggers” was on that ol’ liberal media outlet Fox News…..


avatar Ian Rammelkamp March 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The first time I heard the n-word was in an NWA song…. by your standard that would make it Okay for me to say, right?


avatar lane tobias March 5, 2010 at 2:49 pm

if we’re going to get this technical, shouldn’t it be pointed out that teabagging is actually the term used when placing tea leaves into a bag and stapling the top for consumption? the conversation was an ideological – existential one, and then suddenly turned semantical.

definitely got way off course. its probably better off agreeing to disagree.



avatar Mark Rafferty March 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

You say: “Typing out those words is inappropriate, and you know it.” But then you go ahead and type out the word by saying, “…calling a Traveler a Troll is a slur…” You are what is called a hypocrite.


avatar Frank Gormlie March 5, 2010 at 11:42 am

Mark, you’re ruining your karma, dude.


avatar OB Cindi March 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

Mark–The deeper you dig your hole with your insanity, the stronger you make my point….Mark, here’s another shovel….keep digging….


avatar Mark Rafferty March 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I’m strong enough in my convictions to put my real name on here; you, however, choose to hide behind a pseudonym so that no one knows who you truly are.


avatar liveinOB March 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

can’t these posts be added to where they belong,
I keep think this has something to do with the OB town council meeting
they don’t!
so… find your post and add it to where it belongs, or start a new one
not signaling you out OB cindi, bu your post is where it started


avatar "troll" February 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I cant believe i missed this meeting …i cannot believe…


avatar BK-OB February 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Way to be fair and balanced OB-Cindi. I wonder what side your are on!!! We wouldn’t need more bathrooms in OB if the people who needed them lived under “four walls” and paid taxes like the majority of OBceans.


avatar doug porter February 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm

who said we were fair and balanced at the OB Rag?


avatar BK-OB February 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

The hot dog cart extravaganza was fair and balanced. Just the way I like it.


avatar PSD February 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

The hot dog story was the effective verbal lynching of a businessperson accused of using unethical (but not illegal) tactics to gain an advantage over another businessperson. Maybe someone could’ve attempted to interview the accused, but that didn’t, and the piece published was essentially an editorial and not a straight news piece, as is much of what’s posted on the Rag. The accused party has been known to do things like send personal e-mails blasting folks who give him bad reviews on Yelp, so I’m thinking if he had a leg to stand on he’d have come to the editors with a rebuttal.

Same thing here – the blog writers who are covering the homeless issue are pro-homeless, and they’re editorializing their viewpoints. Nothing wrong with that from a website whose tagline is “Freaks, Uppity Women, & Politicos,” and whose mission statement is “…to ply the San Diego scene with news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective, and to provide a forum for those views.”

If anyone here were trying to pass off something like the piece above as ‘straight’ news like the U/T or Faux News does, I’d say you have a reason to be worried, but again, look at who you’re dealing with here.


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

two responses to your comment bk-ob – its been stated on numerous occasions that the number of bathrooms is not just a problem for the homeless population, but for anyone visiting and/or living in OB as well. It has been explained to me that a number of years ago, a local lawyer filed suit against most of the businesses in OB for lack of disabled access, and thus, most merchants do not allow the general public to use the bathroom on Newport and even over on Voltaire – just paying customers. That is a FACT. My girlfriend and many women that I know have complained time and time again about the lack of public facilities in OB and having to run home five six or seven blocks away from our business district just to go to the bathroom, effectively ruining the afternoon. So it is not just an issue for those who live on the street, but also for those who live in “four walls”. Of course, someone who is living on the street and can’t find a bathroom may go in an alley or in a business’s storefront. Its not fair to the merchants; but just as an aside, in my personal experiences I have caught underage or just of age drinkers who are NOT houseless – namely, college students who either live in OB or visit from other places – pissing on my car or on my building or on my neighbor’s cars. Lets put it this way: more facilities, even port-o-potties, (which really aren’t that expensive) would certainly serve the houseless population well. But it would also serve and help ALL of us. Its humiliating for anyone to almost pee their pants because they can’t get to a bathroom.

second response – if I’m not mistaken, Landry Watson OBTC VP /Planning Board rep. as well as Ronnie Shamoun, a business owner who also sits on the town council, support the addition of more facilities and have pledged to work towards that end. So I dont think Cindi’s coverage was unbalanced; in fact, she was stating a cause that seems to have support from community leadership that will likely gain momentum.

Basically, if you don’t think theres a need for more bathrooms….dont use em when they do get put in. Simple.


avatar BK-OB February 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I guess the OB Rag slogan is true based on this response.

Hey I don’t really have a problem with more bathrooms and ur right porto-o-potties are cheap. I just believe if someone was to write about what happen at the TC meeting then it should be about the facts and not opinion based, but Mr. Porter already corrected me on that note- thats at FACT.


avatar Frank Gormlie February 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Part of blogging is putting the blogger in the story, what is she or he feeling, doing, seeing, smelling, … how they are affected by what they are witnessing and experiencing. It’s a reaction, I suppose, to the decades of “objective” reporting by mainstream, corporate media.


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I honestly dont know if the meeting went much differently than how both Cindi and Danny described it. I think anyone in the room who was actually listening could tell that the Police speech didnt even include the word homeless once – even though thats what the discussion was supposed to be about. This was a civil meeting where people with divergent views expressed their opinions, and in the end, an outcome was determined – more bathrooms as a first step. If you want the exact word for word account, I would gather, maybe that there are minutes floating around somewhere?


avatar liveinOB February 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I just want to comment how everyone is bashing how ” the Police didn’t mention the word Homeless” am I the only one who heard that the Police don’t put a label on people that are BREAKING THE LAWS! that’s why there are no statistics on the homeless and how many crimes or arrests are made on the homeless.
I commend the Police for treating every person who BREAKS THE LAW and calling them what they are LAW BREAKERS!


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

liveinOB–I am confused, who is bashing the police? All of us in OB appreciate the quick response we get when we call the cops. But if you could do me a huge favor, and go back and read my article and the responses, you will see that we want the police to be in touch with the community they serve. Have you ever heard the old adage, “See it to believe it?” Because I saw and heard Officer Vazquez not talking about the homeless issue for over 10 minutes before I asked him to directly respond to the targeting of homeless by police officers. I heard him mention the word “neutral” and “holding all responsible for breaking the law.” But he never answered my question directly about homeless being targeted by police officers. Sounds like you were there at the Town Council Meeting. So I am sure you heard the gentlemen who talked about how he was an OB tourist who became homeless for 6 days after his RV was stolen. He was targeted not once, not twice, but three times by police officers and even handcuffed and made to stand in front of a police car for an impromptu lineup. This poor guy could only assume that because he looked a little disheveled and had grown out a scruffy beard, that he was targeted. What does that say about my community? I was embarrassed and deeply saddened to hear his story. So what’s my point? Well liveinOB, I live here too. And I want actions to speak louder then words. Can I get your permission to come from a well-meaning place asking the Western Division officers to be less abrasive in their approach to all who visit or dwell in OB? Scruffy, not scruffy, dreadlocks no dreadlocks, baggy clothes, hippy attire or corporate and live within 4 walls or out in nature–we are all the same and deserve to be treated with respect Because if you were at the meeting, I am sure you heard David Martin close with asking both sides to RESPECT each other and the community we live in. So is it too much to ask that officers be included in that request? I would like to see officers patrolling OB avoid escalation by talking thru situations rather then going straight to unnecessary force (i.e. slapping handcuffs on someone before asking questions or for asking questions). Is that too much to ask liveinOB? Don’t we all deserve to give peace a chance?


avatar Mark Rafferty February 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

While you’ve responded here, I still haven’t received a response from you regarding your comparison between the n-word and “trolls”. A person is born Black; a person is not born a “troll”. Again, I please ask you to explain your equalization with the two terms. Thank you.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Mark–Reread my article and Doug’s response as it is the same as my own (thanks Doug for beating me to it!)


avatar Mark Rafferty February 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Fair enough. We’ll leave it at that.


avatar Wayne Roche May 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Mark, you appear to be quite ignorant and narrow minded. I hope you’re not offended by this. After all, they’re just words.


avatar jim g February 25, 2010 at 10:04 pm

The man who spoke about his motor home and his run in’s with SDPD. Please keep in mind no matter whos telling a story there is another side. Most conflicting reports are somewhere in the middle. Beware of jumping on a fast moving bandwagon….
How may times in life have we ” thought” …that sounds about right only to find out the real story later….
We don’t know the who what whys or wherefore’s of that guys story…beleiving things at face value can bite us in the but.


avatar overtly normal guy February 25, 2010 at 10:54 pm

As a new Obeacian, I recently purchased a surplus poncho to wear during the storms. I walked down Newport with my poncho on, hood up, and the scorns, and looks of shock from the store keepers on Newport were disparaging. I guess that even though I earn a six figure income, and choose to wear jeans, hiking boots, and a military surplus poncho, I guess that’s not good enough for some, and I stress SOME, business owners. While inside the few stores I entered, I was watched closely, as if I was going to steal something. I felt that I was being targeted, as if I were subhuman, by the store employees. I’m a grown man, with a good job, responsible, giving, and caring, and I like this community. However, it seems that if you don’t wear a collared shirt, or have too much facial hair, that OB doesn’t want you around. Sadly, this problem was seen first hand by this resident, and it’s making me wonder who’s driving these “issues” with the homeless.

I’m not saying that there aren’t problems with the criminal elements in the community, but downplaying the Police Captain Walt Vazquez’s opening comments is a travesty. Captain Vazquez was very articulate and passionate about his command and goals in the Western District. Everyone needs to remember that the Police are ALWAYS minutes away, when seconds count. We, as a community, have the responsibility to ensure that people are treating each other fairly, be it when they’re shopping in the rain, or in need of a rest room. As well, we have expectations of EVERY visitor, regardless of their income, housing, race, color, creed, religion, etc, to behave in a manner that is fair to the community at large. Can’t we ask people to behave when they’re not? Are we so afraid of that?

Lastly, I also attended the Town Council meeting, and I applaud the efforts of Lane, Sunshine, and Susan, who spoke up and stood with the Tumbleweeds. I was pleasantly surprised at the civility of the proceedings, as I expected some loud verbal exchanges that simply did not occur. I was happy to see that everyone listened, and HEARD what was being said, by everyone. OB-Cindy missed the part about Landry Watson (Vice President of the Town Council?) summarizing the issues in a very succinct and efficient manner before the closing comments by David Martin. Landry Watson proposes that the OB-Rag Board, The OB Town Council, Tumbleweeds, OB Business owners and any other interested party get together to work towards some of the solutions posed during the Town Council meeting. (How could that be missed?)

Now, I think it’s high time we stop bitching about this issue, and get everyone around a table and start plotting solutions. As the saying goes, Put up, or shut up.


avatar Catherine February 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I’m sorry to have missed the meeting. Thanks for the roundup. We definitely need more bathrooms, which I’ve also noticed is an issue for me and obviously lots of other people. More restrooms should curtail public urination.

I also would support some sort of campground at Robb Field, but do think there ought to be some small fee attached to offset the costs of maintenance just like with any public campground. I have no problem with travelers, but don’t think tax dollars should cover the cost of their lifestyle, particularly at a time when our other city services are dwindling. Now, a homeless shelter or teen shelter would be another story and part of much needed improvement of basic social services, but any campground for willing travelers is very different. But it might help with the problem I see of little the ad hoc encampments along the sea wall, cliffs and dunes, which seem dangerous for the travelers and can be a little startling on an early morning walk.

I do agree we need to be careful not to suggest that bad behavior is unique to homeless and travelers. Any walk through town on a Saturday morning shows we’ve got lots of problems with littering drunks, and the empties littered on lawns after rowdy beer pong tournaments. I’d like to see the police knock on some of their doors to tell them to clean up their mess, preferably early in the morning. :) I do think shopkeepers are well within their rights to ask travelers or homeless not to loiter outside their store entrance.

And while we’re talking about improvements in services/infrastructure, can we get some decent street lights in the war zone? between the darkness and cracked sidewalks, I’m constantly stumbling and nearly breaking my ankles.


avatar Ian Guinn February 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Look I don’t think we are focusing on the right things here. People in this forum say that they don’t mind these “homeless youths” running around our streets and that’s fine, they are entitled to their opinion, and they have earned my respect for the depth of their compassion, however, if these kids were not here OB would still be an eccentric, bohemian hangout for the disenfranchised.
I don’t understand why the meeting last night focused on accommodating a group of people that nobody really wants around, maybe you do not mind them here but you are not welcoming them to live with you, you are asking the community to bend and sacrifice so that you don’t have to be the bad guys. If you don’t mind these kids then you make the sacrifices, I don’t want them to bother me anymore and since I actually live here and pay rent and buy beer at the bars and shop at Apple Tree, my right to a comfortable place to live are paramount to these kids that just want to hang out and don’t bring anything to our community.
Stop accommodating them and find a solution that involves them either living in your apartment/ house or gets them off our streets. I am trying to be the voice of reason here and you are ignoring those of us that don’t want this kind of influence and dismissing us as “loose cannons” and calling our attitudes “vigilante”. You are completely disrespecting the people in your community in order to play daddy to a bunch of kids that are going to be gone once they have bled us dry.
Sorry to take such a aggressive position on this but reading this article really kind of irritated me, nobody discussed any solution that would solve anyone’s problems, you talked about bathrooms and you wasted town council time with the ramblings of a couple of drugged out homeless kids that have no stake in OB except for the fact that this is currently where they are sleeping. This is not their home, this is not where they want to raise kids, this is a flop-house for them, this is a place that tolerates semi-anti-social behavior and so they come here so that they can inflict their “the world owes me” attitude on anyone that passes by.
If you think these kids are such a vital part of the community that you just cant do without, then invite them to live in your house, give them a job and get them cleaned up so that they can join society. Make it your responsibility instead of asking the community to sacrifice. You are being selfish by asking those of us that are upset by these kids to tolerate them in order for you to feel some sort of righteous glow of goodness. You don’t want to deal with the problem; you just don’t want us to do anything about it.


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm

homeless people aren’t going anywhere. San Diego is a draw because of the weather and that makes it easier to live outside. Have you been down to EV/Downtown recently at night? Thats a much worse situation, in communities that are much less tolerant.

Listen, I think you are missing two of the main points. One is that compassion has nothing to do with coexisting. If people are going to be homeless here -and seriously, they ALWAYS WILL come here – then we need to find a way to improve the quality of life for everyone. That includes those of us who pay rent or own homes, and those who don’t. Nobody bends over backwards in this situation; currently, there is absolutely nothing being done to fix the problem. So when we discuss one of the main complaints coming from merchants – namely, public nuisance issues and quality of life – and come up with a solution – namely, more bathrooms – whats the harm? The bathrooms are for me and you too since there really aren’t enough to accomodate our community – particularly in the summer time.

The second thing most people miss out on is that these folks spend money in our community too. There are a ton of complaints about about drunk behavior….where do you think they buy the booze? They also shop at Appletree and at our convenience stores, and while they may not be able to pump as much money into the stores or bars as you, they are part of the lifeline of the businesses as well.

Unfortunately, the idea that OB would have the image a bohemian enclave for the disenfranchised if many of our travellers suddenly up and left is slightly off. Take a few weeks and walk around this neighborhood…even the “war zone”. It is changing and the change is notable. Rents are up, new architecture….homes selling for 750k + right on Brighton and Abbott. I just have to tell you, I live right in the middle of the area that seems to be of most concern….and the only people I’ve ever been threatened by are my neighbors and drunk college kids.

Of course it is unsightly to see people sleeping in our alleys and on our cliffs; that is a given. The idea of a public, urban campground at Robb Field was floated at the meeting last night – it seems to be a legitimate alternative to the unsightliness. Most people won’t go for the easy fix, however.

I know you feel very strongly about this. So do I, but not because I love having homeless folks around me all the time. I just see a big picture solution that could actually have a positive result which requires very little on our own. Putting in a line of port-o-potties isn;’t hurting anyone. Allowing people to camp out in a park thats not used at night, and then punishing those who dont utilize it through some kind of ordinance, isnt hurting you or I either.


avatar Cat310 February 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Travelers can come, they just aren’t welcome to stay. Putting up a tent city shelter is tantamount to a “Field of Dreams” for bums, build it and they will come. I hear that in Arizona they run a very effective tent city, Sheriff Joe Arpiao uses it to lock up illegals, drifters, and trouble makers for a while before they give them a ticket out of town.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I am glad you live in AZ Cat310. A little heads up….The homeless come in all ages, backgrounds and dress. With the economy the way it is, those who live in vehicles and on the street are growing in numbers in every town across America. But it’s good to see the OBRag is attracting attention from outside the state!


avatar jim g February 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Bathrooms, Bathrooms, Bathrooms…gezze just because you dont have a bathroom at every other block does not give you the right to take a poo or piss where ever you want. How many of you who keep bring up bathrooms just squat or whip it out when you have to go?? No I doubt you do, but you wait or you find one right ?? thank you case closed.
Maybe they are few and far between they will not appear overnight it takes years to get one built we all agree. What happens in the meantime?? It shows no respect to community to p or poo in alley, doorway or under the pier or on the cliffs.

Once again I ask how many in the OB community just do their buisness where ever they like bushes, alley or under the pier ?? I dare say NONE….

Plus gezzze last I checked there is a bathroom at the Lifeguard station. If you know bathrooms are scare maybe you should camp next to one . Just a thought.
Not excusing around the lack of of them just stating facts.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Jim G–We all agree with you that using our yards, alleys and streets as a restroom is not ok, and we even came up with a solution to solve your “rant”–BATHROOMS!!!! You caught the last 30 minutes of the meeting last night, so let me catch you up on the first hour and a half! OB Town Council Members and speakers on “the homeless issue” all pointed out that we need more bathrooms and as Sarah pointed out, those she caught using her yard as a toilet were NOT homeless. Landry Watson promised to work on getting more bathrooms which will help improve the ratio of beach visitors/dwellers to facilities. Someone even suggested that locations that serve alcohol have to provide restrooms for public use. It sounds like you have a bladder like a camel–you should be proud! But not all our visitors are spry enough to walk through sand for several blocks to reach the Lifeguard Tower. And I myself do not do drugs or drink, but need to use the restroom every few hours, more so at certain times of the month (little biology there for ya!). So what’s my point? The community the Beacon represents agreed that we need more restrooms and respect in not trashing our community. That was something we could ALL agree on.


avatar jim g February 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I get it trust me I am not ignorant. More Bathrooms are apparently needed. The thing that bothers me is some feel if there are not enough bathrooms they can just go where ever they please. Does anyone who lives in OB do this ?? Ok rephrase does any responible non drunk person who lives in OB do this ?? Does a person who RESPECTS the OB community do things like pee in a corner or poo on the cliffs ? My question: How many OB residents piss on the street ??
If you want to be part of ” the community” there are certain rules. The owner of The OB Hotel made this clear in his remarks correct ??? He was very clear in his remarks if I remember correctly.

Keep in mind as well we all know how s-l-o-w the city is it may be weeks or months or years before more comfort stations are installed …Is it fine to pick out your favorite corner or light post or doorway to pee in or worse in the meantime ?


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I agree with you on this Jim G and yes, several people remarked that we want to make our community a place without trash of all kinds polluting our alleys, yards and streets. I think you and I are saying that short of hiding out in the bushes on a Friday/Sat night and conducting a little “investigative journalism” (where are you from and why are you doing this?) on those using our community as a toilet/trash can, we really don’t have the answer to where or why. We agree we want it to stop immediately as it’s not healthy to the Ocean nor those who have to clean it up. I share your concern with the possibility of not having more restrooms at the beach before summer hits us again. I feel it will take “a village” that inclusively comes together as a team, to push forward our desire to maintain a clean and safe community sooner then later.


avatar Confused February 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Two quotes and descriptions:
Q1: “he talked about wanting to reduce domestic violence and aggravated assaults in our community, and wanting to remain neutral ”
D1: “he let us all know how out-of-touch he is”

Q2: “let’s not focus on homeless, let’s focus on the problems we have with violence”
D2: “Her point was well taken”

Please explain to me why Q1 shows how this man is out-of-touch while Q2 is well taken. Please place aside your opinion of the person who gave each statement.

It seems to me we all agree on one thing (beyond more toilets). The crime rate in OB is unacceptable. When people are attacked and shot while taking out their garbage (happened a few weeks or so ago, remember?), then crime is out of control. It is this issue that needs to be addressed, and according to how I read this review of the meeting, both “sides” of the discussion agree on that fact.

I have absolutely no issue with someone drifting through our community as long as they respect our community.


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Confused – Cindi’s opinion clearly shined through there, but this is a blog. I was in attendance; I too felt the officer’s statements had nothing to do with homelessness, and yes, at the time it seemed like he was out of touch with the topic at hand. Thats what Cindi implied, and I back her up on that.

Sarah, who Cindi refers to later, was implying in a completely separate statment that rather than talking about homeless people as THE problem, we should be talking about the violence committed in the community – regardless of who commits it. Her point was well taken by the crowd. Cindi wrote this because it happened.

While the message is similar, they are two different scenarios. Imagine you asked Mayor Sanders to come in and talk about budget issues, and he started trying to gain support for a new Chargers stadium. Thats essentially the same type of misdirection that the officer gave at the meeting. instead of talking about methods or measures being taken in regard to dealing with the houseless, he talked about domestiv violence, ag assault, crime rates, etc.

Also – just for the record – the crime index in Ocean Beach was down 14.4% in 2009 from 2008 according to Officer Vasquez. Nobody thinks crime is acceptable, and the police are doing a great job preventing and solving crimes. In regard to dv and violent acts within a household, those numbers are up nationwide in correlation with the recession.


avatar Confused February 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Lane, thank you for your response.

To make myself more clear, I did not intend to attack Cindi. My hope was to address the notion of “it’s not the messenger, it’s the message.”

Both referenced attendees were present to discuss how to deal with the homeless, and both chose the tack of addressing the associated crime. As I was unable to attend the meeting, I chose the Rag as my place of information. I was disheartened to see two people pose the same discussion while one was vilified and the other praised. This is not a defense of Officer Vasquez or a condemnation of Cindi. It is an attempt to start a discussion whereby we, the community, can get passed entrenched perceptions of others to actually listen to their opinions. In the future, I will be sure to read each entry with the understanding that it is influenced by someone’s opinion and thus the initiation of a conversation.

In terms of crime, this is how the discussion was initiated. A young man, allegedly intoxicated, walked onto Ocean Beach naked. In addition to this was the two part series on crime in OB by a local news organization. Out of those recent events, this discussion has been brought to the forefront of our community’s conscience. While I disagree with how the homeless have been vilified by the large press organizations, the associated crime must be discussed. It is a discussion about our human rights. For all of us (living with or without four walls), that means the right to exist without being hassled and to live without fear of aggression or violence. I believe this was the point of both referenced attendees.


avatar liveinOB February 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

who was shot taking out thier garbage?


avatar Danny Morales February 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm



avatar Confused February 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm
avatar Danny Morales February 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Confused (?)-“The whole freakin’ universe is outta your control!”, I. Oughtabe & Bossman LLC, A Real Estate Development Corporation.


avatar CJ February 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Following a report posted this site on the skinny dipping incident , I posted a crime report for approximately a seven day period in our community. The report had a myriad of crimes including assaults, sexual assaults, car theft, car burglary, etc. I found the responses to the post quite alarming. Many OB locals found the crime to be reasonable for the size of our community and argued it was nothing compared to other areas. A few even made humor of it. This indifference is why I believe OB is deteriorating as a community. Last summer, a well known local was murdered in the heart of our community. For more outrage was expressed for the actions of police after the bozo from outside OB was arrested on the beach than for a murder of a community member.


avatar Seth February 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Thoughts on the meeting last night…

* Thought it was a great dialogue. Many good points raised, pretty constructive tone.

* Big props to the travelers/seawall crowd/RV people who spoke or attended. A little real talk for a minute here… that took HUGE STONES to come in there, knowing that it could very well have turned into a witch hunt where they were going to forced to answer for every pee taken on the side of a building, every cigarette tossed on the ground and every joint that has ever been smoked or sold in OB. Should not be lost that the overwhelming majority of them are good people. Much respect for them to come in and demonstrate that so eloquently.

* Boy, there sure was a lot of talk about bodily functions! Glad that some addressed that topic in a way where something could actually be accomplished moving forward, but at least for my interest, the issue really just comes down to having mutual respect and dealing with the few bad apples who make OB less enjoyable for the rest of us. No one at that meeting last night is anyone I am worried about in that regard, and I certainly don’t support anyone mistreating anyone based on their perceptions of what their group/crowd/side is like.

* With that said, I really do think there is legitimate homelessness issue there beyond pee-pee, poo-poo, ca-ca (something that probably has as much to do with the bar crowd as anything else). I don’t know if it is “Schwillys” or whatever the term would be, but there’s definitely a smaller subset of the seawall crowd that includes tweakers with unleashed and underfed pit bulls, who like to go through people’s yards and take stuff and just generally hassle people. I’m all for tolerance, but people shouldn’t gloss over that part of this. I live at Saratoga and Abbott, and anyone in denial about the bad apples can feel free to swing by and hang out and take a look for themselves.

* On a related note, one thing that maybe didn’t get mentioned enough was that there are some people kicking around who need more than just a tent or a bathroom. There are probably a lot of people kicking around with mental health/addiction issues, and I do hope that they can find the help and services that they need. It’s not really reasonable to expect the seawall crowd to police their own in this regard, nor is it the best use of law enforcement services. Many need professional help. But this is IMO, more of a city/regional issue, if not a national one. I don’t think OB is equipped to handle that on its own.

* Lastly, I think people are being too hard on Captain Vazquez. If I got it right, the guy is the Commanding Officer for the entire Western Division. He didn’t pass responsibility for the meeting off on Officer Surwillo or some other subordinate, he came and spoke and faced questions. Whether the homeless people are being “targeted” by police is always going to be up for discussion, but I think he did well to keep it focused on actions, rather than groups of people. It should perhaps also be re-emphasized that in many/most cases, they are responding to calls from the community itself.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Seth–I couldn’t agree with you more on your post. I hope I did not “pitchfork” Captain Vazquez–I would not feel good if that were the case. Simply put, my thought is that the officers who respond to calls need to be careful of the balance between escalation and resolution. I agree with Vazquez that the law needs to apply to all citizens evenly and justly. There have been a couple situations recently that I myself alone feel have not erred on the side of peacekeeping. I attempted to pose the question/thought if changes can be made to ensure that what we say (all are treated the same) can be put into action. My thoughts and feelings of the meeting are my own–I appreciate OBRag allowing me the forum to post them. Thank you Seth for your heartfelt and compassionate comments and for reminding all of us to focus on the “big picture.”


avatar Seth February 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Cindi, no worries and thanks for the kind words. I’m glad that so many people are coming together on a community issue. I trust that every has a pretty valid opinion as far as they see things, and am not really one of those who is going to parse down people’s points or play word police over what someone’s official title is.


avatar Mark Rafferty February 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Each fire ring costs roughly $750 to maintain each year–but there’s no funding in the budget for them. Does anyone know how much each port-a-potty costs each year to maintain? I’m guessing it’s more than $750. And where will this money come from?


avatar Danny Morales February 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

How much money does the OBMA pay to Berts Rentals for the trailer at the foot of Newport?


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 5:16 pm

the public and locals. the assumption last night was that this would have to be a fundraiser. obviously some people would be unwilling to contribute, and thats fine. But this would be a solution driven by the community and not by local govt.


avatar E.T. Morse February 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm

OB Cindi….it’s Captain Vasquez….the guy with the gold bars on his lapel. I was wondering if you referring to him as ‘officer’ was an off handed slam or not?


avatar lane tobias February 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Ill defend Cindi on this – I’m a public servant, and i dont know how to properly address police officers, firefighters, etc. Theres absolutely no way Cindi meant that as an off handed slam. Its obvious that hes a high ranking official.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 9:20 pm

E.T. Morse–That would not be in my character to mis-spell or mis-title someone (which looks like I did both–how embarassing!). My sincerest apologies. And by the way, I am not trying to slam anyone, especially someone who puts their life on the line for my safety and yours.


avatar E.T. Morse February 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Fair enough. I retract the last statement. Sorry if I offended you Cindi.


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm

No need to retract! Thank you again for pointing out my blunder! *cheeks still red*


avatar Jon February 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm

This was great to read. Glad the meeting went so well, minus the few intolerant knee-jerk committee members. Really wish I could have been there, as some of you know I’m out of state right now. Anyway, great job Lane, Sunshine, Danny, OB Cindi and all the rest who participated in a civilized, compassionate manner. There are a whole lotta layers here.


avatar Debbie February 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Just a thought….get rid of the police trailer and add a pay toilet. Yup, if you don’t live here and you aren’t buying good from an OB merchant that will allow you do your business after a purchase then you gotta pay. There’s no reason to be peeing or pooping on anyone’s property or in the alley. It just ain’t cool. . Maybe the OBMA could come up with the funds to get one of these and collect the fees and advertising revenue. It’s an idea. As for camping in park….not a good idea in my opinion. You want to camp, go to the desert or Camp Land on the Bay.


avatar PSD February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Campland is great if you’ve got $70 a night…wait, no, it’s not even great then. And if you can spend $2100 a month on camping you’re probably not doing it involuntarily. There was an article in the fishwrap a while back about how even the small handful of transient resident campers are being kicked out of county campgrounds.

I do like the idea of replacing the ‘police station’ with a bank of portable toilets, but portables alone aren’t going to replace the permanent structure down by Brighton, which also had showers.


avatar PSD February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Are you kidding me? You really said that, didn’t you?


avatar Cat310 February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm

The other alternative is to call in the drones and you know how those things can lead to unintended collateral damage. I mean what would OB be without a pier?


avatar PSD February 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Are you drunk or trying to get your IP banned?


avatar Cat310 February 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Just practicing my rhetoric for the big Tea Party.


avatar Danny Morales February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Like the song asks, “Freedom, Peace and Justice-Which side are you on?”


avatar Cat310 February 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I am on the side that looks out for my family’s best interests, my community’s, and our country’s, in that order. Interestingly, one begets the other in that order.


avatar Danny Morales February 27, 2010 at 4:23 am

RE: Practicing for the tea baggers
TO: Cat310
Clould you be more specific in answering the question; Which side are you on?



avatar Cat310 February 27, 2010 at 10:03 am

This country votes and governs from the center, sometimes left of center, sometimes right. Asking which “side” one is on, and looking for answers like the Tea Party, Progressives, Libertarians, or something more amorphous like the lyrics asks is irrelevant. Governance in a democracy is about finding workable solutions that can be accepted by the majority and which are in the best interests of most. Politics and special interests play a role in this of course as it’s an imperfect system but it is dynamic and each person or group has the ability to influence change.
In the current political climate, and for the past few years “change” has been the mantra of many, both from the left and right. No matter what “side” you’re on, it has been a time of intense political energy with renewed interest and increased participation by a vast number of Americans.
This political energy is like increasing the weights of a pendulum clock which in turn causes the pendulum to swing further to both sides of its arc. Initially to one side, and then the other. But the laws of nature dictate that the pendulum will always be pulled to the center. It is not going to freeze at its terminus on either extent of the arc.
So the beliefs of those who are on the extremes of the political arc, while interesting, and maybe even with merit, are not practical in terms of adoption. That is not to say they cannot have an influence on the the center, but to say they are not wholly acceptable by most is a fair generalization.
I think this was exemplified yesterday by Sarah Palin saying that the Tea Party has to take over control of one of the two parties. I am not defending her ideology, politics, or going to waste my time arguing it, I am simply pointing out even she is aware that successful and civil political change is attributable to influence of the center and not the fringe. The center being liberal Republicans, conservative Democrats, and more significantly a growing segment of Independent voters.
So the real question is if you desire to influence change, where do you position yourself on the political arc? And since the pendulum is in motion, what direction of motion do you want to be on, towards the center or the terminus?
Good governance and legislation comes from either side of center, so all I can tell you again is that I am on the side that looks out for my families best interests, my community’s, and our country’s, in that order.
Be true to yourself, persevere, continue the discussion, and have a sense of humor.


avatar Larry OB February 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

There once was a bathroom under the pier. The foundation still shows the original footprint of the structure. Only part of the building remains as a pumping station for the pier. There’s no doubt in my mind who needs to pay for outhouses. The city needs to rent the outhouses until they replace the bathroom that was lost under the pier. There’s no way merchants or community groups should have to pay for outhouses in that parking lot.


avatar Mark Rafferty February 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm

When the parking lot gets rented out by the police, does South Beach get money back from them ruining their view?


avatar Danny Morales February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

South Beach pays the obma TO ruin their view now. Why should the police be any different?


avatar Mark Rafferty February 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I had no idea that’s how it works…while off topic, that alley way works as a convenient shortcut to Niagara…but any local already knows that…


avatar Sarah February 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Imagine my surprise when he looked me in the eye and smiled, “I’d like to apologize on behalf of myself and all the people who’ve said mean things about you”.

“Why would you say bad things about me?” I was wondering if he was making some sort of joke that was going over my head. The truth is, he was one of several our local street people who came to the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting last night; the problem of “homelessness” was on the agenda.

From their vantage point I was the woman on the bluff, standing on high and looking down upon their world. When they saw me standing on my patio, surveying all that lies below and talking on the phone they assumed I was calling the police.

“Actually,” I smiled back, “I’m probably talking to my friends who live in cold places and telling them how happy I am to be living in Ocean Beach where the sun is shining and there are people scattered on the seawall playing music.”

Appearances can be deceiving. Now I know how he must feel to be lumped in with the cretins who litter our beaches and defecate in the alleys.

(I do call the cops when I see harm being done to people or property, or if Bob Dylan songs are being sung badly over an amplifier at 3:00AM)


avatar OB Cindi February 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Sarah–Enjoyed reading your post of the exchange with those we share the pier. Reminded me of what Sunshine said–we all have a vested interest in keeping our community clean and safe. I was so surprised at how approachable Adam and John who spoke at the Town Council were and proved to me that appearances are deceiving. Thankfully they also let their wall down and came to the meeting to let us know that our issues are theirs as well, and that we are in this together as a COMMUNITY.


avatar BillRayDrums March 5, 2010 at 11:48 am

As a co-inhabitant of the shack known as Sarah’s place at the pier, I’d like to sum up what I see is the major issue- Encroachment. The travelers are encroaching upon the public areas of Ocean Beach. It’s their right to do so, as it’s public property. Someone might not like it, but it’s their freedom to do so as long as they are not bedeviling anyone.

Encroachment. It’s such a funny word, eh? What if I were to say that we feel “encroached upon” when we wake up in the AM on a Saturday, and there’s a crowd standing upon the patio that WE PAY RENT FOR, taking in various events?

And from what I understand those who seemingly complained loudest about the travelers were the very same people who were viewing my cup of coffee and morning accoutrement. (I don’t like having to “compose myself” in the privacy of my own home for the benefit of those who invite themselves into our space)

And the fact that our window is so appealing at sunset with the reflection produced, that some seek to take photos? (To us, it appears that someone’s scoping our joint out, with their camera snout being focused upon our television and domestic innards)….

I understand “local sense of entitlement”. Those who seek to enter our yard unannounced will read this and knee-jerk exclaim “oh I’ve been photographing there for 30 years”. More power to ya! It’s a great place for such photos! And generally we don’t mind that respectful people will come here and enjoy what we technically pay a fairly high price for. We don’t own this place, we’re just mere tenants. But it’s our responsibility and right to keep this place sane for us, we who pay the price for the absolute privilege to reside here. How would YOU feel if someone were in your backyard uninvited at random intervals? Would it be OK? Do you value your privacy? We sure do!

Sure, there’s caveats and we realize that- we live in a very high-traffic area and expect a certain level of looky-loos. Those who are respectful are silently welcome most of the time, while those who are not are shown the way out.

So…encroachment. Seems that we all do it to some level. That’s why one needs to have a slightly higher tolerance when one lives in such a beautiful place. Be stewards of the area, not wardens.

Not trying to spark some international incident….just making a point.


avatar lane tobias March 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm

very well said BillRay. I for one wouldn’t be quite as diplomatic as you….but I also don;t have that view!


avatar Frank Gormlie March 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I like that, stewards – not wardens.


avatar lane tobias March 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

by view i meant the physical view out of your window, not your point of view. Just wanted to clarify.


avatar BillRayDrums March 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I kinda deduced that, Lane….LOL


avatar Editordude February 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

On behalf of the OB Rag staff, we’d like to thank the Town Council for holding the forum. We’d also like to give props to Lane, Sunshine, Sarah who made their presentation – for taking the time to come before the council and presenting views that are not popular in this climate of “hating the homeless”. Special thanks to OB Cindi who before the council forum went out and recruited some actual homeless people to come to the meeting and present their views. If she hadn’t done that, there would not have been any homeless at the forum on homeless.


avatar Frank Gormlie February 26, 2010 at 8:28 am

Yes we are planning to be there with our umbrellas unless Mother Nature is so fierce that we were wishing we were in Arizona with jon.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 26, 2010 at 10:33 am

Why are my posts still being moderated, a day later?


avatar Danny Morales February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Ian Rammelkamp-Your posts are being moderated because they are an offense to the great sky being who exists only in some peoples twisted imagination anyway. Get used to it. It’s the invisible hand of the free market[:>p


avatar JEC February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Reading the comments I see some sympathy, some anxiety, perhaps worry that but for the grace of god we too may join the homeless, and I see a belief that the police can ‘control’ crime. The correlation is weak; consider ‘indexed’ crimes (reported crimes of murder, rape, robbery, larceny, assault, burglary, car theft, arson) dropped nationwide by 30% while police personnel grew by 50%. Ok, sounds like more cops, less crime but before going there consider this – of the indexed crimes, how many were cleared? A reported crime is ‘cleared’ by an arrest (not a charge). It measures how the police respond to crimes with victims. BCS maintains Clearance Rate data showing the percent of reported crimes cleared by specific police departments. With more cops and fewer crimes the clearance rates have barely improved. Even with LoJack and OnStar, auto theft is not much better than 15%. The police will not solve the homeless question; they know it, that’s why they change the subject. Also there are no ‘homeless’ statistics because homelessness is not a crime; loitering, vagrancy, defacating in public, these can be misdemeanors; statistics are maintained on arrests made and citations issued. Check Bureau of Criminal Statistics, State of Ca.


avatar Mark Rafferty February 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Mr. Sanders: Please tear down this wall!


avatar Molly February 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Mark, hope you’re not talking about the seawall at the foot of Newport.


avatar Cat310 February 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Do you have any idea how many permits your would need to do that and the number of agencies involved in the approval process? Even after that some “Save the Sand Flea” group would come along and make you rebuild it out of an environmentally friendly material like unobtanium.


avatar Mark Rafferty February 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm

That was sarcasm.


avatar OB Cindi March 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

I was just stopped by some of the Travelers and told about an incident that happened last night at the OBQuikStop. They had gone in, left their packs and dogs outside and bought something to eat and drink. They said it appeared the owner suddenly showed up began yelling at all the Travelers to get out of his shop. He yanked a phone they were trying to charge out of the wall (really? did he really get upset over 25 cents worth of energy?) and was accusing the kids of just using his tables without buying food/drink. He told them to leave and never come back. The kids felt it was a misunderstanding with what was being bought and some food they had offered from out of their pack to some other youth that had come into the store behind them. They just wanted you to know that the kids with the dogs weren’t stealing or trying to upset the owner of the store, and they want to apologize for any misunderstanding. They appreciate that there are people who throw food their way and who care about them and their pets. There are a lot of dog lovers in this community who have been offering support to Traveler Dogs, and these kids just want those of you who offered random acts of kindness to know they appreciate everything. For the OBQuikStop owner with whom they had the altercation around 3pm yesterday, they meant no disrespect and hope you will welcome them in the future as paying customers and not vagrants.


avatar lane tobias March 5, 2010 at 9:17 am

the owner of that store is the same person who pledged to work for more bathrooms in OB……I really like it there – go to Cafe bella regularly and buy wine and other things in there all the time. My guess is that it was a misunderstanding. But really, it seems sort of out of character for him considering his pledge at the OBTC meeting.


avatar OB Cindi March 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

That’s what I thought….I mentioned to the Travelers that the owner is the same guy who said he hired Travelers and even helped them find housing here in OB. Definitely sounded out of character. It sounded like the situation escalated because both sides jumped to conclusions and became defensive. This is how most problem situations start.


avatar Seth March 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm

FWIW, I’m not sure that we are talking about the same guy . The owner being referred to here works out of a law office downtown. It may have been one of his store managers or business associates. Either way, I’m sure that he would address this it if you asked him about it.


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