Calling all churches, social organizations, and community clubs of Point Loma (and OB): Point Loman Dr. Robert Ehmann needs help!

by on November 4, 2009 · 56 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach


NEW UPDATE UPDATE: The clean-up being planned for this Sunday, Nov. 8th has BEEN CANCELED. Dr. Ehmann has sent word that he does not want anyone coming by his house this Sunday. Watch this blog for future details.

THE PENINSULA, CA.  The people and resources that were mobilized to help elderly Point Loman Robert Ehmann now need help. And the help is needed immediately.

Ehmann is the 84-year old Orchard resident of Point Loma whose medical and physical conditions prohibit him from helping himself, and with no family or close friends nearby, he was the recipient of a much ballyhooed effort recently that came together to help.  His house and home got a much-needed cleaning. He had a new mattress donated and other contributions were announced.

But now all of that is in doubt – or at least in danger of being undone.  The  former scientist and his house have so many needs – that now those who mobilized to help him now need help.

The organizers are totally overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.

Electrician Jim Dent- who was the original big-hearted guy who could not walk away from a fire trap – had to “resign” from doing any more organizing to assist Ehmann. Dent plans to continue to perform big-time electrical work for Ehmann, however.

We are now calling on all area churches and synagogues, social organizations – like the Kiwanis and the Masons – and community clubs and associations – like town councils and chambers of commerce – to step up and provide assistance to Ehmann.

The individuals who have helped him up to now can no longer dig into their own meager resources.

Robert Ehmann needs help.  Up until now, society, San Diego, Point Loma, his community – have all failed him – except for those who have helped him just recently.

He is/was a talented, extremely knowledgeable member of our society. A research scientist.  As Robert – or as some call him – Dr. Bob – succumbed to his own age and limitations as he entered his sunset years, he stopped being able to care for himself or his house.  This was all extremely evident to the twenty volunteers who mobilized last Saturday to clean up his house, who carted away all the old furniture, monitors and junk, who cleaned cupboards and drawers filled with rat feces, who swept floors covered by old, empty cat-food cans and more rat feces, who got sickened by the stench ….

No future clean-ups have been organized – even though a few people have offered to help.  It is time for those groups who are geared up, who have the resources, to move into this vacuum, to provide the leadership for this moment.

Please, … respond to this appeal.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly November 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I couldn’t come out to help Ehmann last Sat due to my health. But I fully support the gist of this article: C’mon charities, synagogues and churches! This guy really needs your help, and he’s not across some ocean – he’s right here in Pot Loma.


Jim Dent November 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I need about $500 to buy the electrical material to rewire Dr. Bob’s house and upgrade his meter / breaker box. I don’t usually work for free, but after doing a small job and being paid, I mentioned that his house wiring is dangerous and a fire could start. He was unable to afford anything close to that, so my assistant Chris O’Kane said as we were leaving that we need to do something. I agreed. So we decided that the garbage and rat infestations had to be removed first. I got a hold of Pat James of James Gang, he got a hold of The OB Rag, and Dave got us a ton of needed help, and we also received over $700 in donations. It’s all mostly been spent. So, I need help to buy the electrical material and finish the job. This house has the worst wiring I’ve ever seen that still works. It’s all chewed up by rats and will no doubt start a fire. We need to move as quickly as possible on this. Thank you!


Rob November 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Where can we send donations and is there another clean up planned?


Frank Gormlie November 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

No clean-up has been planned as the organizers are burnt out. We’re waiting on someone or something to step forward and take over.


Shawn Conrad November 4, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Have we considered letting it burn and using insurance money to rebuild?

That seems like a more feasible option.


Nancy November 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

All who have helped Mr. Ehmann need to be commended, but I still think that there needs to be a person talking to Dept. of Social Services to make sure he doesn’t fall back into his past situation. Does he have relatives here or anywhere else? What do the neighbors know? What income does he have and what is he doing with it? It’s possible it’s in a bank acct. as many elderly have direct deposit of their Social Security money. He may not be capable of living alone, as much as we don’t want to face that.
I’m concerned that those putting themselves out may find that the temporary fix is just that: temporary, and then what happens to him? Maybe he needs someone to manage his money. That does happen to some of the elderly; if no money, why not? Is some relative already taking advantage of him? On the bright side, there could be much money in bank accts., but he doesn’t realize that.
I’ll keep watching on the Rag site and help out when I can.


Shawn Conrad November 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm


I do agree that it seems that beutifying his residence will not assist with any sort of long term care that this gentlman needs.

Maybe Frank could stop by once or twice a week to check on him.


Nancy November 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I have a feeling that Frank is pretty busy as it is, and so are many of us OBceans, and that is why I’m suggesting that Social Services get involved, as that is why they are there. I have had experience with this in the past, and will talk to one of you who have been helping to see what you may already have found out about his situation, and then proceed from there.


OB Rat November 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Frank what kind of money needs to be raised ? If we have a figure we can start shopping it around to some of the local groups.


Frank Gormlie November 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm

OB Rat – Jim Dent the electrician wrote earlier: I need about $500 to buy the electrical material to rewire Dr. Bob’s house and upgrade his meter / breaker box.


OB Rat November 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Frank Is that the only upgrade that cash is needed for or is there more need but this is what is imperative ?


Jim Dent November 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

The $500 is imperative, or even $300. I buy it with my own money if I have to. There is a Wells Fargo account set up as Robert Ehmann Contribution Fund. The back needs to be endorse with “deposit only” and the acct. # is 7631090250 and donations can be deposited directly. Or, you can mail all checks to me, made ot to the same name and fund, I’ll deposit it myself and buy the electrical supplies with the debit they gave me. My address is: Point Loma Electric, 2255 Ron Way, SD, 92123. I have an accurate income and expense report thus far. We have $72 left of the $752 donated. If anyone wants to come Saturday and volunteer some cleaning, I’ll be there. My saturday job has been moved to Friday. I’ll be there at 8:30 with the mop bucket, shop vacs, and we need liquid cleaning supplies. I have bags of terry towels. I still have gloves and masks, but I doubt masks will be needed now. Maybe.
I know that Dr. Bob has no family, to answer Nancy’s questions. He does have an attorney to handle his funds and living expenses. So, I’ll get on the line tomorrow and try to round up the people who said that they have saturday available. I had stepped down, but now I available again and will be there to manage what still needs to be done. If we get his room cleaned, we can have his new bed delivered. And I can begin the new electrical work. To the guy who said let it burn and collect the insurance, I doubt we’ll see you helping out.


annagrace November 4, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Excuse me. What kind of “attorney” would let this man live in such conditions? Something is not right here folks.


Jim Dent November 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm

The usual kind.


annagrace November 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Jim, if you can find out the name of the attorney I would be more than happy to contact him- let him be part of this discussion.


Frank Gormlie November 5, 2009 at 7:11 am

Jim, it’s true that many attorneys seem heartless and only after money. But that’s because we watch movies and only have a little contact with some attorneys. Most attorneys are not well off or famous. The guy who built the Peace sign on top of Peace Rock is an attorney, and oh, BTW, I’m an attorney also. So was Gandhi, John Adams, Abe Lincoln and a few others.


Jim Dent November 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I’ll ask Dr. Bob when I see him next. I just found out a few minutes ago that Pat James has reorganized the new volunteer day for Sunday. He though I quit, and I had, but now my $4000 saturday job has been moved to Friday. That’s a lot to give up to do volunteer again. Sooo, I’ll call Pat tomorrow. He’s the one who told me Bob has an attorney, and Bob told me himself that he has a trust fund left by his mother who passed 12 years ago, but only 4 reasons or types of medical emergencies will funds be dispursed to him. When he dies, the trust goes to the Salvation Army. Dr. Bob told me this himself, so I’m guessing it’s a probate attorney who’s never been to Bob’s house.


annagrace November 4, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Thanks Jim. That helped.


jim g November 5, 2009 at 7:55 am

I just have 3 questions, and I fully realize people don’t like talking about money but this needs to be answered.

Is the house free and clear? does he have equity? would he be able to get a reverse mortgage? I have been in the trades for 30 years frankly the house needs about 25k to get it going in the right direction. Sweat is great but funds are needed . He has 30 years of maintenance to catch up on. I do not mind chipping in with $s But I want to know if he is sitting on 250k and just won’t touch it…………He could be home rich and cash poor…..


Pat November 5, 2009 at 8:04 am

I didn’t think you had quit I just knew you were a little overwhelmed with electrical and
money situations.
Susan and I can’t make it Saturday because we have to attend a memorial service for a dear friend.
Our Sunday plan was to get a smaller group together (so we wouldn’t be tripping over each other working in a smaller space ) and continue cleaning. We didn’t want you to
have to deal with such a mess when you are ready to start your electrical work.
It wasn’t me who told you about an attorney maybe it was Kevin.
There are people who do check on Dr Bob and have offered help, but thought his pride was getting in the way.
it’s not a totally dismal situation, granted there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
We made a huge impact last Saturday, and I would like to keep the tone of our efforts upbeat and positive.
So thanks again . Lets just roll up our sleeves and gitter done.


Jim Dent November 5, 2009 at 8:30 am

Absolutely. I could have sworn that you told me about the attorney, sorry. I’ve had to give information to so many people that I’ve got sensory overload! I knew that you couldn’t nake it on Saturday, and the emails continued to come into my in box with new people and new questions about coming on Saturday, so that’s why I decided to go there again and try to continue what we started. I had no idea that you had planned a Sunday visit until someone told me later last night. I just spoke to Kevin and he doesn’t know what kind of attorney he has, but someone told me that he has one. I thought it was you only because you spent so much time talking to him last week. Sorry for the mistake. I hadn’t planned to be in on any further cleaning details because of work, but when Saturday opened up, I decided to lend a hand again. That’s before I found out about Sunday. No one had told me, obviously because I’d said that I’d stepped down. That’s one of the reasons that I asked if we could all sit down somewhere and have a meeting about what to do next and how to approach it.
So, I suppose Saturday would not be a good idea now so that we don’t encroach on his life too much. Sorry for the confusion on my part. But I’m still getting all the questions from new people in my email.
To the contractor who posted the cost of needed repairs: Everyone is aware of what it would take to bring the house up to “nice”. Right now, the focus is to get it cleaned out so I could prevent an electrical fire. I could not even begin to work inside until the trash, garbage and furniture was removed. Restoring the house to it’s pristine condition is not the intention. Keeping it from burning down from rat eaten wires is my only intention. As far as his money situation goes, who knows? I’m just a volunteer electrician that gave him a price to upgrade the meter box and he almost fainted. And that has to be done before any new wiring can be installed. Myself and another longer friend of Robert are going to some carpentry as well with pressure treated 2X4’s to fix rotted framing in the kitchen, as well as replacing some paneling with either drywall or finished plywood where the furnace was removed. The whole sheet of paneling had to come down and isn’t reusable. It was either that, or call the city and have the placed condemned, and have him removed. I didn’t want to be the last electrician to see the hazardous conditions and not do anything. If there was an electrical fire and something horrible happened to the man, I’d feel responsible for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to have to have him removed from his home, so i put this IDEA together. The inside condition is 90% better that what it was, except for the electrical, and if a city inspector saw it, he’d probably have it shut off at the pole. That’s why I’m pulling a permit and redoing it.


Jim Dent November 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

PS. One more thing, & I’ve already said, if you don’t want to, or can’t donate because you either don’t have the funds, or you feel that he can get the money himself through reverser mortage or whatever, I’m still buying the needed parts, donations or not. Because of new jobs I have, I have to make the time to rewire his electrical ASAP. Before this began, I had plenty of time. My phone wasn’t ringing for a week. Once we began, then my phone began to ring again and now I have work scheduled again. And that’s the only way I can pay for Robert’s electrical parts. By going to work first.


Pat November 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Jim Dent
If you have volunteers for Saturday and are available I think you should go for it.
My plan for Sunday was to have a small, chill, stress free group. Myself Susan, Kevin, and maybe one or two other people to work on Dr Bobs living space for just a few hours.
We can still do a follow up on Sunday but will only be available for a few hours.
Sorry about the lack of communication.


Jim Dent November 5, 2009 at 9:13 am

Pat, I’ve already sort of cancelled Saturday via email to Frank and Face Book. Sorry. Kevin and I are going to work together when I bring ny big van over to start the electrical and we will be doing the needed (some of it) carpentry as well. Gotta plug those hole up. There is a devise that plugs into the wall that “tones” rats away. I have a customer who’s house I went to yesterday and we got on the subject of rats because she live on Murphy Canyon. She had a bad, but not horrible problem with rats. Ever since she plugged this little devise into a wall plug, no more rats. Kevin said he saw them at HD in a 3 pack for about $25, but didn’t think it would work. I wouldn’t have thought so either. But my customer swears by it. So, Saturday is back off for me, but maybe I’ll come Sunday for awhile. I need to make some notes and look in the attic, which I dread. I know what’s going to be up there!


Dave Gilbert November 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

I wonder if that device works on mice as well? What about an adverse effect household pets? It seems like it could certainly drive ones dogs and/or cats away too.


john November 6, 2009 at 10:04 am

they state on the package may affect any mammals adversely.
you got mice? they are so hapless and dumb they almost kill themselves, at least as compared to a rat. I know we all would like the idea that you could humanely drive them away with a little wonder device and not deal with a little furry body count, but they aren’t too effective IMO. (not questioning the credibility of Jim or his client, maybe she’s talking about something else but I doubt it. Probably followed other common sense measures like keeping pet food locked down and that’s what really did it. Many people feel certain measures are inhumane- A few states have outlawed glue traps and that is beyond silly, a rat has no qualms about moving in and making your life hell. )
First thing, identify the enemy- mouse turds are less than 1/4″, rat turds are closer to 1/2″. The strategy for each is vastly different.
For mice, little old mouse traps work fine, and you actually don’t want to bait them with anything except maybe nesting material, and always place the trigger end towards the wall perpendicularly. The little idiots always hug the walls and will hit it going over while it searches for nesting material. A mouse may live his whole life never straying further than 10 feet from home and needs no water, while a rat may travel hundreds of feet a day and needs a fresh water source.


john November 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

If you’re talking about the ultrasonic rodent/pest repellers (sounds like it) I found them useless on a mature female roof rat and her litter that moved in about 5 years ago. They were a new technology at the time, and I bought sufficient quantity for good coverage.
Completely remove their food source, if Robert has no pets and no neighbor’s pets come around bait packs of consumer grade poison work well. If pets are even remotely possible to be near get the multiple feeding type, not the “kills in one feeding” type. If the problem is more immediate use the BIG glue traps that fold out, around 10″ x 16″, stapled down to similar sized pieces of scrap plywood so the rat can’t leverage off it. Downside to glue traps is you’ll have to finish it off. By the time you’re at that stage of the game and it’s in YOUR house you will happily dispense of it with a stout hardwood board. Doubt Robert has the stomach for it and at his age the rodent may free itself and even fight back.
Rats are incredibly smart and wary of new things like traps in their environment, don’t bother with the old fashioned mechanical traps, even with the best bait (fried bacon is preferred) it is a frustrating experience and once they get “trap shy” with a near miss, forget it.
The only good rat is a dead rat.
I can’t help but agree with others that your efforts have been beyond saintly but Robert may be best with assisted living at this point.


Shawn Conrad November 5, 2009 at 9:36 am

Lawyers are the foundation of the OB Rag. This is why we can’t have nice things.


Jim Dent November 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Just an update. I’ve received a few more danations again today from friends back east and one friend in O.B. On Sunday, I will deliver the nice chair and ottoman that PMD delived to my garage for storage last week. Once again, I have to work on Saturday, a last minute job that came in today, too big $$ to turn down, so Sunday is all I got to give, until it’s time to do the electrical. SDG&E will be out in the next few days to approve the meter box location, standard procedure. Then I get the city permit. The I do the meter box / breaker panel upgrade, call for inspection, and the inspector passes the job and leaves without going inside. Then I do the interior wiring.


Jim Dent November 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Claudia Jack of the OBMA got us another dumpster, this one donated, and it is parked at Mr. Ehmann’s house already.


Pat November 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

OK here’s the deal regarding Sunday clean-up at Dr Bobs. For people who would like to help- we will be there from 11am – 3 or 4pm . A few of us are going to work on his living space. We will need to find a comfortable place for Dr Bob while clean-up is going on. There has been people offering to help and there’s plenty to do. So I don’t want to turn away people who are willing . It’s going to be loosely organized because I’m not sure what materials we will have to work with. I feel just wiping down the entire inside with a weak bleach solution will negate some of the odor. Claudia has arranged to have a dumpster delivered and donated by EDCO – – thanks to both of them! I’m having the new bed delivered to our shop this afternoon compliments of Al Davis Mattress World – – thanks again to Bob Davis. Jim Dent will be bringing over some other donated furniture Sunday. Thanks to all. Have to go for now, but stay tuned for updates.


Barbara Latham November 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Mothballs are an inexpensive and easy way to deter rats. Also, you can use those things you hang over toilet bowls (theoretically to de-ordorize) to hang inside walls, etc. It doesn’t poison the rats, but keeps them from nesting near the mothballs.


Amber Conley November 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Hi All,

Anything else, that we could bring by that might help?
Food? Dishes? Clothing? Sheets? Bedding? Bottled Water?
Does he have a refrigerator?

We don’t have time to come by this weekend, but
we are happy to drop by items!

Mikee n Me…


doug porter November 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

i have some experience with the ultra-sound rat repellers: they work in a very limited area-must be line of sight. rats don’t like (but will tolerate for short periods of time) the sound they emit; other pets don’t hear it. my experience was that we once eliminated their food sources & passageways, the rats went away. we kept the ultrasonics & put bait out twice a year. that seemed keep them gone in a area that was otherwise heavily infested.


annagrace November 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm
john November 6, 2009 at 10:55 pm

“my experience was that we once eliminated their food sources & passageways, the rats went away.”

this guy gets it. It may also be noted you may be infested by a small number for quite a while and never see the rodents, but you will see the evidence of their existence first. Pet food dragged and dropped around the baseboards, or passageways as doug states. Feces to be sure, and rats’ front teeth grow at a rate of 6 inches per year so they must gnaw to keep them down.
All this is worrisome for Robert, if he can’t keep a basic level of sanitation the rats will always be present.
I ended up putting my couches on blocks of wood and ensuring I could shine a light under all my furniture, wall to wall, corner to corner.
Having a mouse infestation is almost funny, they are cute, hapless and easy to rid your home of.
Get a full grown rat living in your house for a length of time, worse, she has a litter- it’s their territory and once confronted they stand their ground. It’s a lesson you shouldn’t need twice.
(My 105 lb male shepherd/lab mix positively loved both types of rodents. He actually helped mama rat off a glue trap, and would watch the mice play in his food bowl with a happy grin)


Jim Dent November 6, 2009 at 11:24 pm

John, if you’d seen the place before last Saturday, then you’d understand why there are so many rats There must have been 200 empty & half empty (half full?) tuna and cat food cans piled in all corners of the house. His personal boxed food is kept in a plastic trash can with a lid so they can’t get at it. He doesn’t want them killed. He sees it as inhumane. He’s a brilliant man, but there is something lost in his age of 84 years that would allow him choose to live that way. Like I’ve said many times now, the initial purpose of doing this clean-up was so I could work inside the house as an electrician. It became more than that simply by the people who came to volunteer. This is his choice to live this way. But I will not allow the house to burn down on my watch because I knew that the wiring was chewed up and ready to short out everywhere. There is partial outage now and that is why he called me. I could not work in there except to install a used oven for him. The rest of the story developed as people saw first hand how he lived, and experienced first hand the God awfull smell. After Sunday, I expect to be able to do the needed electrical work. If he lets his rats come back, then there’s not much anyone can do except to report it. I’m doing the new wiring in rat proof metal conduit. Kevin and I are also going to do some carpentry on the exterior walls to plug the holes.


Pat November 7, 2009 at 10:18 am

Sunday clean-up postponed!
I just recieved a call from Kevin he said Dr Bob wasn’t up for people over tommorrow.
Oh well we tried. Please help spread the word since I’m heading out and won’t be around a computer today.
Thanks anyway.


Barbara Latham November 7, 2009 at 10:39 am

God bless Dr. Bob for not wanting his rats to be killed, but he’s creating a dangerous nuisance, expense and disease potential for his neighbors. Perhaps he doesn’t need to know if someone should happen to drop some D-con behind his walls. Morally, I believe the good of the community must take precedence over idealism.


Jim Dent November 7, 2009 at 11:06 am

This is becoming a situation where a whole lot of people have made plans, and those plans revolved around their commitment to coming over on Sunday and finishing the job that was started last Saturday. We have a dumpster sitting in front of his house that was donated! We have people who committed to coming this Sunday, and more importantly, I have the donations from concerned citizens from all, the way back east. I know he’s 84, but to say to everyone that Sunday isn’t good for him at the 11th hour, after the new bed has been delivered, after I loaded my work truck with the supplies and new furniture, I’m beginning to wonder. Do I want to spend the best past of a week rewiring this place if he’s going to change his kind at any given moment? This is an extremely physical exerting job and I’m no young man. I’m now thinking I should report the wiring and electrical situation to the city building department , not out of anger, but frustration, and because he’s living on borrowed time; imminent electrical fire. Like Pat said, “Oh well. I tried”.


Jim Dent November 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

I wasn’t finished with what I was writing above, I hit the wrong key and it posted.
To finish what I was saying, I have an electrical business to run, and I had allotted a time slot to do the electrical work and also to come over on Sunday with all the supplies and donated furniture. Now, the electrical work is cancelled because I won’t be able get to where I need to be inside without this cleaning being finished. And, if I have to tell my paying customers that I can’t do their job because I’m in the middle of a volunteer electrical job, where Dr. Bob may say to me, “Don’t come tomorrow, come another day”, well, I can’t schedule my business around that. I know that he’s probably unaware of the trouble this causes for everyone and unaware that it makes him look unappreciative for what the community is trying to do for him. He’s out of touch with reality. I am taking what funds were donated and transferring the balance of the Robert Ehmann Donation Fund of what I paid out of pocket into my company bank account. I still have checks that have yet to be deposited. I will try to contact Mr. Ehmann’s attorney to have the remainder of the funds either donated to buy his household needs, or give the executive ownership of the account over to someone else. In the mean time, I’m not going to deposit any more donations until we find out what is to become of all this. I may just send the checks back. The electrical is on hold indeffinately, if not for good. Time to call the health department for his own good.
The amount of electrical work is enormous. I have to get into the attic at the very least ans try to crawl around getting metal flex cable from light to light and at this point, I’m loosing interest real fast. I think it’s time to call the health department. He doesn’t believe in killing rats. I bet his neighbors would love to know about that with their children playing about the location. Yes, God bless him for his humanity, but who’s humanity is more important. Now it’s not only a fire hazard, it’s a rat infestation problem that he isn’t willing to address. I apologize if I sound pissed, I’m not, but I started this, and through personally talking to Dr. Bob, he was all for it. What I know to be the immediate truth: My entire work schedule has now got a week long empty slot and hopefully, I can move some of the schuduled jobs into it. I’ll call Claudia Jack and tell her to come get the dumpster. Nobody requested it to my knowledge. Thanks folks.


annagrace November 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm

This is a complex situation that involves much more than what it takes to re-wire and clean up Dr. Bob’s home. The complexity is Dr. Bob himself.

Is there someone who is willing to be a “short term advocate” for him by actually spending time talking to him about his desires, analyzing his current living situation- medical, financial, legal, and domestic- and then getting the ball rolling with the appropriate social service agencies?

Social service agencies are probably swamped right now, and it is unrealistic to think that putting the word out via the Obrag is enough to get them involved. It takes contact phone calls and probably a significant number of them and being present for the first few in-home interviews.

I live across town and take public transportation during the day. It would be difficult for me to personally fulfill the advocate role. I will however walk someone through the process and the questions and the resources. I spent a number of years as an adult services social worker in Florida, and the past 20 some years in the library referring people to social service resources in the community (yes- that’s what librarians do!).

If someone has the ability and interest in doing this, let me know. I truly want to help. I commend you, Jim and all the other decent, community minded people who have given so much. Perhaps a different approach is needed at the moment. That is not the same as throwing in the towel.


Jim Dent November 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Before the place burns down….no joke.


Jim Dent November 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

At the top of the page, there is an update stating that “Contrary to the end of these posts, the clean-up for Sunday, Nov. 8 is on”. I don’t know when that was posted but after unloading my work truck, loading it with the cleaning supplies, and then unloading again because Pat said that Dr. Bob does not want anyone there tomorrow, I’m not going through all that again. I have contacted way too many people to tell them that it’s off that don’t read the Rag. On, off, on, off, which is it? Sorry folks, I need Tomorrow off anyway. I’m already exhausted from switching all the electrical equipment and cleaning/furniture around my truck all morning. Now, have to do it again. I don’t even know when the notice at the top was posted. I was told at 10 this morning that it’s off. That was 3 hours ago.


Barbara Latham November 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I’m retired and have a car, so I’d be happy to help dig up social services. You’ve been remarkable, Jim, both in your compassion and in your ability to rally volunteers. Some problems are just too difficult to solve in your spare time. It sounds like Dr. Bob suffers from a bit of dementia and really needs to be in protective care. Sounds like the house needs to come down. You’ve sure given it your best effort and you’ve been an inspiration to us all. But it may be time to call in the professionals who have the resources to deal with ALL of the problems.


Jim Dent November 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Barbara, thank you. But there’s nothing remarkable about me. I appreciate the sentimant though. My attorney wanted to be in on the cleaning detail Sunday after church, but I emailed him that his volunteering could be used in a different way. Advice. He’s a good man. I think he’ll have some answers. The last thing I wanted was for this man to be taken from his home, but in retrospect, he’s just not quite able to live without help. Kevin Cooper is his friend and looks in on him often. If anyone is remarkable, it’s Kevin. He’s told me that the rats have already “messed” with last weeks work…


annagrace November 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Hi Barbara- I think it may be too soon to say that Dr. Bob can’t remain independent in his home because of his own medical/mental condition or the habitability of his house.

I read here somewhere that he had a stroke. I’d first want to find out when was the last time he saw his doctor; what drugs was he prescribed, how long ago and is he taking them.

I’d want to find out what kind of relationship does he have with the lawyer mentioned in another posting. Does that relationship extend to his current medical and/or financial situation.

It is wrenching and in the long term counter productive to remove people against their will from their homes (if they are still capable of making decisions, but that is a legal determination). If at all possible it is much better to provide the support to keep people in a safe familiar setting with their pet(s). If Dr. Bob is presented with an assisted living option (and that depends on insurance coverage) and goes for it, that is different. But maybe with housekeeping, shopping and transportation assistance after the re-wiring and in depth clean up, he can still stay in his home.

So I guess I’m cautioning against deciding the outcome of all this without direct involvement with Dr. Bob and the opportunity to get more information.


lane tobias November 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

with all the cuts in state budgets, its fair to say the resources may not be quite as available as we’d like. do we know if he has any kind of income – ie social security, pension, etc.? that would be a big first step in knowing which direction to go in regard to social services….


Barbara Latham November 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Yeah. Funny how remarkable, inspiring people like you are always modest too…and give the credit to others. The attorney is the best idea yet. He probably has experience working with the elderly…or knows someone who does. Again, kudos to you for all you’ve done.


Jim Dent November 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

After asking my attorney about calling the health department and, or the building department / code violation dept., he informed me that the county would remove Dr. Bob immediately from the house and place him in county care, where will he would undoubtedly die within a few months. He said that the county would take possession of the property and sell it to cover their “costs”. The best thing to do now is to let it be. I will send Dr. Bob a written proposal for the electrical issues and a price to repair them. His window of opportunity for me to do the work for free has passed now with the cancellation of the Sunday completion of the clean up. I am slammed with new jobs now and no longer have the time to donate. It is Dr. Bob’s choice about what to do about the present conditions. I want it documented that I have made him aware of the electrical issue. That’s why I’m sending him the proposal describing in detail the condition of the wiring. I don’t know what else to do.


Barbara Latham November 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Jim, you’ve done all you possibly could. I’m happy to be living in a community with people like you. Restores your faith after watching the news.


Jim Dent November 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Thank you Barbara. I don’t live in OB any longer. I live in Serra Mesa now. It’s just that after 25 years in OB, that’s where much of my work remains. I was a board member of the town council in 1999 and did the electrical installation and lights for the Tree on the Beach every Christmas from 1994 until 2004 when I moved to Valley Center to live with my wife. She wouldn’t move to the city, so I moved out thar, waaay out thar…


OB Joe November 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Are you guys flirting? Hey, if you are, that makes this blog a dating site!


Barbara Latham November 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

Hey, OB Joe, I wish! I’m an old lady with nothing better to do than write e-mails to folks I don’t know. It keeps me out of bars.


Pat October 4, 2011 at 7:49 am

Dr Bob has passed away. Services will be heald 11am, Oct 15 at Holy Trinity Parish. R.I.P.


Patty Jones October 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

I’m sorry Pat, thanks for letting us know.


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