The “Kids” Speak Out on the Homeless, Traveling, and the Naked Swimmer

by on February 11, 2010 · 76 comments

in Culture, Homelessness, Ocean Beach, Popular


Jay, 27, and Angela, 19. They earn enough money to travel by selling jewelry. All photos by Mary Mann.

Angela from Santa Cruz is not semantically homeless. The 19-year-old has supportive parents, so much so that they pay her cell phone bill so that they can reach her on the road. Because, although Angela has a house that she can live in, the road is where she chooses to be. Angela is not homeless; she is traveling.

This bit of semantics is the true distinction between the permanent “bums” on Newport Avenue (most vocally represented by Boston James,, the “first homeless man on the internet”), and the groups of transient youth known as the Kids. “Traveling” is the label that binds them together. They are without a home by choice.

Within this group, as in any, there are thousands of variations. Angela and her partner Jay are one such variant. Jay, 27, is from New York, and has been traveling for several years. Angela met him in Santa Cruz, and decided that she wanted to join him. Together they have been traveling for about a month, with the blessing of her parents.

“They love him,” says Angela, smiling from under a curtain of hair. She is bent over her work, twisting copper wire around stones to make jewelry to sell. The couple is seeing the country this way, hitching rides from town to town. Their belongings are few, their bills nonexistent, and their faith in the kindness of others boundless.

“We just choose to live in a way that most people don’t, or are afraid of,” says Jay, his serious face half-covered in a thick black beard, “We want to be mobile. This land is ours, yours too.”

Jay and Angela say they make more than enough money to live by selling jewelry. They never, Angela assures me, beg for money.

“If we had a storefront, we’d be just like them,” Jay says, “them” meaning all the people who complain about the Kids.


Jeffrey, 23, was arrested the same time as the naked swimmer, spent 5 days in jail, and then had all charges dropped.

The complaints escalated recently with the arrest of a young man who was swimming naked near the pier (hereafter referred to as the Swimmer). The Swimmer allegedly resisted arrest, and was forcibly restrained and tasered, then taken to jail. Although the sequence of events varies depending on whose account you hear, there is no disagreement as to whether the Swimmer was on some sort of drug.

“That kid was way too high,” says Jeffrey, another traveler, shaking his head.

Jeffrey is 23, and has been traveling since he was 14. He has traveled alone and with others up and down the west coast.

He was on the grass at the end of Newport when the lifeguards first pulled the Swimmer out of the water and handed him his shorts. The way Jeffrey tells it, he was watching the scene and laughing about how high the Swimmer was. When the Swimmer walked away and sat on the sea wall to put his shorts back on, things sped up, and the lifeguards were on him quickly, grabbing him around the neck and squeezing in his arms while calling for police back-up.

Jeffrey claims that he stood and yelled for the lifeguards to stop. He walked toward the scene yelling at the lifeguards as cop cars sped down Abbott behind him. Within moments a lifeguard had him on the ground in a choke-hold. He spent the next five days in the county jail.

“I was released on all charges, and I was assaulted,” says Jeffrey, “I’m taking this to civil court.”

He says he was told that he was in jail because he had a previous warrant out for his arrest, but that the warrant was never mentioned at his court date. Instead he was held up for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, based on a report filed by a policewoman he claims he never saw before he was on the ground.

His five days in jail were a miserable experience, in which he was hassled by the guards, who he says are the worst people in jail, and fed food that he described as “like meat from rats or dead people from another county jail.”

Although angry, and bent on getting justice, Jeffrey is reasonable when it comes to the police. Policemen have helped him in the past, he says, and explains that when he has approached police as civil servants, rather than as cops, he has received kind treatment.

“There are stupid bums who think that all the time cops are against them, when they can give them so much help,” Jeffrey says. He leaves unspoken the message behind his words, that he is not that type of bum, and that people on the street are as different from each other as people in houses are.

And what happened to the Swimmer? Police and community members assumed that the Swimmer was one of the Kids, but Jeffrey shakes his head again at this assumption.

“I didn’t see that guy in jail, he probably got bailed by his parents,” he shrugs, “He’s a college student who lives in PB. He wasn’t traveling.”

Regardless of his status, the Swimmer’s very public arrest has caused problems for the Kids in Ocean Beach. Jo and Kamy, two 19-year-olds from Quebec, are very careful to keep away from the sea wall and the groups of Kids that congregate there, soaking up the much-needed sun after weeks of rain and cold.


Jo, Kamy, and L'Ensemble Tourneuis.

Jo and Kamy are part of a street band, L’Ensemble Tourneuis. Jo plays the violin, and Kamy balances on a ball and juggles bowling pins. They have been hassled by police for illegal busking in other areas of San Diego, but not in Ocean Beach. What they do get hassled for is sleeping.

“When you play music and you play something good, people love it so police leave you alone,” says Jo, “When you’re sleeping and not doing anything, that is when they come for you.”

The members of L’Ensemble Tourneuis sleep on the streets at night, and they like it. Jo explains, in halting English, that when he wakes up on the street he feels good, and full of energy.

“When you sleep on the couch or the bed, you get lazy,” he says, as Kamy laughs, nodding. Kamy joined L’Ensemble Tourneuis about a month ago, after traveling on her own for a year and a half. She has hitchhiked across Canada and down the coast. Hitching alone, as a woman, can be different than it is for Angela and Jay, who have only had positive experiences.

“Things happen,” she says, “it is awkward. I ask them, what does your wife think? Pull over and let me out.”

Kamy knows the all-male members of L’Ensemble Tourneuis from Montreal, where they all go to school together. The group has been traveling off and on, whenever they have school breaks, for four years.

Despite their vastly different backgrounds and ways of living, these Kids all face similar pressures, which unite them. Although they all profess distaste for being lumped in with a group, there is a kinship, demonstrated by Jeff’s urge to stick up for the Swimmer, who he assumed to be a fellow Kid.

They all have the same essential need as well – they have chosen a very different lifestyle, and just want to be left in peace to live it.

“The people who are the most vulnerable – homeless people, minorities – get the brunt of the system, always,” says Jay, a hit of frustration in his voice. He raises his eyes from the piece of jewelry that he is crafting and looks at me, his words echoing the frustration of Jo and Kamy, Jeffrey, and Angela:

“Since when do you have to be paying rent or mortgage to have rights?”

Stay tuned, more information on the identity and fate of the Swimmer to follow.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

lane tobias February 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

mary – thanks for reaching out and painting a different, and seemingly more accurate picture of some of the folks who reside in OB. I think Jeffrey’s comment at the end sums up the situation perfectly: there are obviously people, some in OB, who think that those who dont live in an apartment or a house give up their rights by living a certain way. It is as plain as day.


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Thank you, too, Mary. This was one of the most anticipated posts on our blog website. And once again, your on-the-scene ability has shown through. You’ve given a voice to the voiceless, you’ve painted a picture of those without paint, and you’ve put a face on the faceless.


bodysurferbob February 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

just when shane, danny and just2cents thought it was safe to go outside … along comes mary….


justmy2cents February 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

u dont know me…you preach dont judge …but do you practice that…..i have listened to the travlers, fed the travlers and had more compassion for them than most have….i just cant deal with the drug use…that is a dead end road.


bodysurferbob February 12, 2010 at 9:10 am

justmy – i know, i know, you’re worried about the drug use. please, let me try to reassure you about this. drug use in and around the pier, in and around ob has been going on since the sixties. i know, i have seen it. i now know judges, lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, landscapers, scientists, school administrators … who once bought drugs in and around the pier or its environs. it’s ain’t right, but these are victimless “crimes,” and the drug laws ain’t right either. this is the way it is. some are trying to change the drug laws.

my father once told me he went to a speakeasy back before the war (WWII) and someday that’s how we’ll view all this.


doug porter February 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

bravo! this is the kind of reporting that you’ll never see in the U-T or its ilk. You know why? Because they operate under the premise that these folks are less-than-human. Thank you Mary.


jon February 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Yeah, I like this. That last line is powerful. But I also like what Jay said about choosing to live a way most people don’t, or are afraid of. I think that’s just as powerful a statement as any. We often condemn or ridicule that which actually frightens us. Whether we are afraid of the individual because of the way they look/act/live, or whether we are afraid that we could be one paycheck away from losing what modern comforts we have accumulated. Great work. I look forward to more….


somebody who used someone elses name February 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

so what your trying to say is you praise the people who run away from responsibility at a young age, buy a first class ticket to nowhere, only to end up in a tolerant town like OB, leaching of hardworking people’s tax dollars. I don’t know about you but every time im down in OB(which is quite frequently) i am more than satisfied with myself for staying in school, working hard, and enjoying life like a responsible adult.


hippiereborn February 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

what exactly are they doing that leeches tax dollars? if anything, its the mostly baseless complaints that spur police into unnecessary action to write tickets (tix that mostly go unpad) that leeches tax dollars. Is “vagrancy” or sleeping on the ground something that costs YOU money?


jon February 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm

No. That’s not what I’m trying to say. I don’t know where you got that from, but I’m not going to enter into any sort of dialogue with you hard-working school-boy. I can tell you didn’t understand my first post and you smell like a troll, so I’m not gonna bite. Have a nice day.


Cindi February 16, 2010 at 1:43 pm

somebody who used someone elses name–
Every city, big and small in America, is defined by the people who make it a “community.” If you haven’t noticed yet, Ocean Beach has a lot of souls, with or without a building to call home, that are varying degrees of tree hugger, hippie, wanderer, gypsy and ocean lover. Often what we attack, is what we don’t know or have never tried. I am not asking that you give up your home and try living on the street to find the spirit of OB. But since you are smugly studious and believe yourself more hardworking then the homeless who must make jewelry, perform and do other marketing and sales tactics much like your own just to get a hot meal, then I am sure you can squeeze in some light reading of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” “Hard Work” is not defined by money or by the size, location or amenities of the building you work in. Hard work is the effort you put into reaching personal happiness. Mary showed us in this article that Jay, Angela, Jeffrey and the street band kids have all worked hard to find personal happiness. Most of the OB “wanderers” did not leave responsibility or appreciation for businesses and homeowners behind when they got here. So next time you are “frequenting” OB, bring your tolerance and strike up a conversation with one of our traveling youth. You will be pleasantly surprised to find their background and values might be very close to your own.

Great Job Mary!!! I LOVED this article! You did a great job of showing that just because someone lives out of a duffel bag and calls the pier “home,” doesn’t make them an unsavory character. There are a few bad apples who hang out on the cliffs and downtown. It’s not fair to lump the peace loving nature lovers who don’t want to sleep within four walls with those causing problems. What’s wrong with wanting to temporarily check out of the rat race?

“And as I sat there listening to that sound of the night which bop has come to represent for all of us, I thought of my friends from one end of the country to the other and how they were really all in the same vast backyard doing something so frantic and rushing-about.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road


Get off my lawn! February 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Thanks, Mary. I will say that I am not too concerned with most of that crowd, just wary of the street culture ballooning into something that seriously detracts from the quality of life in OB (while doing most of them no favors, either). All in all, I think the OB Rag is finding its stride covering issues like this. Even with some of the inevitable, “You don’t see this issue exactly like I do, ergo, you are a COMPLETE IDIOT,” cyberbrawling that goes on, nice to see so many OBecians getting invested and talking about a community issue.


Debbie February 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Cool story, thank you Mary. To the “kids”, being young is great fun. Enjoy your journey and freedom. Ahhh, to be young, traveling, experiencing, growing, sharing makes me smile :-) I wish you all happiness and safety. PEACE


somebody else February 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

First off these “people” who consider themselves “travelers” and not homeless despite what you say are still homeless. They have chosen to ignore their social responsibilities as american citizens to contribute to and actively involve themselves with society. They say they cause no harm, but yet here they are using our public places and infrastructures that are kept up by our hardworking tax money. I myself have been born and raised in OB and have seen the unfortunate increase in these people we call trolls. You talk to anyone whose grown up in San diego and ask them what they think of OB and at some point or another they will mention the countless trolls who blight our community and give OB a bad rap. Now i need to make a clear distinction between the homeless and who I call trolls. Homeless are those who have been dealt a bad card in life at one point and have no help to get or limited resources to get back on their feet. I sympathize for these people because they do not CHOOSE to live on the streets and nor do they want to. Now trolls are the exact opposite, usually they’re young immature 18+ year olds who didnt want to go to school and didnt like mommy and daddy influencing their life with tough love. So they run away and end up in OB have no goals and/or aspirations so they freeload of communities like OB while trying to hustle cash to support their new found drug habit. I could go on on and probably write a book on the subject but i just wanted to make my point to all you hippie loving liberals who think they know whats really going on and that these people in fact dont cause harm.


mr fresh February 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm

ding! ding! you’ve got mail!
enbenezer scrooge wants to be your best friend on Facebook.

urban dictionary for troll: 1. A large, brutish creature of European myth, often lacking in intelligence. Sometimes compared to the Japanese oni.
2. A dumbass who makes idiotic posts in message boards newsgroups for the sole purpose of pissing people off, often lacking in intelligence.


justmy2cents February 12, 2010 at 8:28 am

nice response from the tolerant ob crowd….hes not asking you to accept his thoughts…only the closed mind will not entertain them…


OBdaDa February 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Wikipedia haS oNe DeF. of “troll” = • search for something : a group of companies trolling for partnership opportunities……
iT seeMs thaT theSe KiDs aRe ‘ searchiNg foR sOMethiNg, YeS..?
aNd i WeRe oNe tOO =theN ~50 yRs. aGo ( a La ‘SpaCemaN ErA’)))
BuT JESUS CHRIST fouNd mE aNd nOW LiFe GoeS oN
oNe DaY aT a TiMe
‘ iT’s aLL GooD’…
PeaCe OuT!


Mary February 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Woah buddy, did you read the actual article? Angela & Jay do not panhandle, they live by selling their jewelry. The distinction between this and selling at the market is pretty vague – mainly one is city-sanctioned and the other is not, but they probably have the same amount of negative affect on the community (re: none). Jo and Kamy don’t panhandle either, the are buskers, which I think adds a lot to the community atmosphere. Other people must think so as well, based on the amount of people watching and the money in their violin case.

These people are not freeloaders – they don’t beg money or ask for free places to live. They like sleeping outside. And there was no evidence of drug problems in any of the interviews. They were all very articulate, in fact.

This is not true of all the people on the street – some of the street people obviously suck, just like some people who live in houses suck. They are all individual people, and do not deserve to have hatred spewed at them for the faults of others.


Shane Finneran February 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Thanks to Mr Fresh and Mary for responding thoughtfully to an unfortunate comment.

And awesome article, indeed! Thanks to the author and to the OB Rag for digging deep into this story.


Jessica P. Connor February 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Great Story! It is nice to get a different perspective on the kids. I am still concerned that many of these kids have bad drug problems and need help. Many hard drugs lead to violence and theft, which is NEVER good for a community! I wish them the best of luck in traveling and hope that drugs do not end up brining them down!


Debbie February 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Hey – if you are happy with yourself and accomplishments that is great- I bet your mama is proud. These kids are on a journey. Just because they don’t have a 9-5 doesn’t mean they dropped out and they are at the end of the road. I saw nothing in this article which leads me to believe they are here for handouts asking for something with nothing in return. We are all on a journey and we all can’t take the same road otherwise it will be like I5 or I15 at rush hour. I am a taxpayer but I don’t see they are sucking off our services…what services do we have in OB? Is there even a public bathroom to use in OB? Some many of our businesses (like the barbership across from the PO) have signs in the window “RESTROOM FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY”…geeze that’s telling me that we don’t have enough restrooms for our visitors, just like no benches on Newport. OB as a town (the town I live in) has some of areas to make improvements to make it customer friendly to encourage dining or shopping in our town. So I just wonder why….if these kids/visitors aren’t harming anyone or themselves or “Selling dope to 15 years olds” why must they be hated and feared? You know who is sucking my tax dollars? The city workers who signed up for the drop program. Now there is abuse! But I don’t want to get off the topic of discussion.


David Ross February 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Everyone is getting mad at “somebody else” for his comment, but it is true! While SOME of these kids MIGHT not have been messed up on drugs when Mary interviewed them, the unfortunate truth is that 99% of them are! AND most of them sit in front of store fronts and beg and beg. They even get angry when you say NO! Probably the only reason why the ones you interviewed were coherent was because they had not sold enough jewelry that day to get their dope. There is a reason why a 14 year old decides to drop out of school and “travel.” DRUGS!!!!! What can he possibly hope for EVER????? He doesn’t even have a high school diploma. He can’t even get a job at McDonalds, let alone ever become a productive member of society. What will happen to him??? He will drink so much alcohol and do so many drugs that he will become “disabled” and then collect disability for the rest of his life. HE WILL FOREVER BE A PLAGUE ON SOCIETY. Most people would classify me as a “hippy.” I shop local, organic, and stay away from Corporate America as best I can, but I am sick and tired of people justifying and glorifying these kids ways of life. What is going to happen when these kids get pregnant? …and you know they will….How will they support a family? They already cannot take care of their pets….those poor puppies!!!!


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm

So 99% are messed up on drugs. Wow! On what evidence do you base that? Most of them sit in front of stores and beg. Anyone who has been down Newport knows that’s not true. 14 year old? Mary didn’t interview anyone who was 14 or at least no one of that age was in the article. You go on and on about the plight of the 14 y/o drop out, can’t find work, can’t be a productive member of society, no hope. So then on to alcohol and more drugs, and on to collecting disability “for the rest of his life.” Then becomes a PLAGUE. Then pregnant. Wow! You have this neat scenario down almost like you lived it. Are you talking about yourself or a loved one?

Sounds like “corporate america” is inside this “hippy” even while you shop local and organically. What people have been “justifying and glorifying these kids”? With this post, we’re trying to include the voices of the kids, because in all this recent hysteria, their voices have been missing.

But who needs to hear from the kids themselves. You’ve already spoken for them.


Split! February 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

dearest frank,
would you like to make a bet that 99% percent of these people will fail drug tests.


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

And how would we prove who is right?


Chris Moore February 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm

So would a pretty huge portion of Obecians who have jobs, pay taxes, etc.

Anyone who has puffed on a joint within 21 days will fail a drug test – if we kicked out everybody here who couldn’t pass urinalysis, our little neighborhood here would be at least half empty. Teetotalers would definitely constitute a small minority here from what I can tell.

On the other hand, there are definitely quite a few tweakers and junkies with real drug problems on the streets around here, but for the most part, they’re not the kids with the backpacks.


David Ross February 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm

She is a friend of mine. I was at her house and used her computer to comment.


Kyle February 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Wow holy knit one pearl two batman! Seriously though, as someone who has been around tons of people who did drugs, and knowing their habits and problems and ect at that point in time, it’s seriously not quite as bad as it appears. Thankfully, due to this amazing thing called the internet, turns out some kids are actually doing research to figure out whats good and bad for them, and coming up with cannabis being safer than alcohol or cigarettes, and avoiding the deadly dangerous drugs altogether. All of them? no, some of them just want to get high. but certainly much more responsibility than i originally thought, once upon a time. Plus, if you’re actually addicted to something that’s bad for you, you wouldn’t be traveling like the Kids, because those things cost money. Your perspective on this matter seems narrow and close-minded, focusing mainly on negative aspects, which by what is almost law to media anymore, are often focused on almost exclusively with very little if any concerns for positive points. Without the ability to compare and contrast, you’re information is biased and thus not suitable material to take into consideration on this topic.


don razer December 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I live in my van and I am a nomad. I hate your … blatant war on the environment. I hope my “freeloading” brings your whole system to a grinding halt. There are millions like me.


jon February 11, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Wow Mary, you sure ignited a fire under the butt of our local haters.

How dare you depict these kids as traveling buskers or kids making jewlery to finance their backpacking journey through the states, or “people” for that matter. These descriptions do not fit the pre-concieved notion I have of all street kids being ruthless drug addicted fornicators! I must scream from the mountaintops that these kids are leeches! And you are all spineless liberal scum for thinking otherwise! Damn you and your thoughts!

-Promulgator of Folderol


annagrace February 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Mary, your pitch perfect interviews continue to be open invitations for readers to suspend judgments and let someone tell his or story in their own words. Jay, Angela, Jeffrey, Jo and Kamy seem to embody at least some aspects of the quintessential OB spirit. I simply do not understand how any of them are diminishing the way of life there.

L’Ensemble Tourneuis may be on their way to Mexico and then back to Montreal, but when I saw them on Newport they filled the street corner with music and a youthful energy and an openness to life. Those are the very qualities I absolutely love about OB and which keep me coming back for more. Yes they are transient, and I would also yes, they are OB.

I suspect that in too many years the lives of many of them (not all) will become anchored in one place-for a longer while. There will be babies and jobs and apartments. I imagine them telling their own children about the great wonderful adventure of their own youth, how they made jewelry or music and lived in the streets and hung out in Ocean Beach for a while. I am sure they will say how great it was.

To these young travelers I say- stay safe & enjoy the adventure. And to Mary- thanks for a swell day in OB and your interview.


showboat February 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

First of all shame on the parents that are supporting their daughter, they are allowing their child to fail in life. I live in OB and I’m sick and tired of seeing these tolls litter the seawall and Newport Street, it is an eyesore. I have no sympathy for the homeless and I am absolutely disgusted when I see 18 year old kids sitting on the wall, as if the path they are choosing is going to lead them to success. They say they’re just traveling and that they don’t believe in corporate America but that’s crap. Feel free to get off your ass and contribute to corporate America. Stop bringing your hippie lifestyle to Ocean Beach or to anywhere for that matter, get a job and get your life together!


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Showboat – It doesn’t sound like you like OB. Obviously, you cannot accept OB for what it is. Perhaps you’ve been contributing to corporate America too long. You don’t like hippies, you think there’s lots of jobs out there, and you have no compassion for your fellow humans – except for your small circle. Or perhaps you are a troll, one who trolls the internet and makes comments just to incite people.


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I need to add that showboat is a troll who has been attempting to get in the comments under different names and ip addresses for the last couple of hours. I just deleted their last effort and will be monitoring their comments.


Split! February 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm

no frank. the comment i wrote a while ago was not written by showboat or anybody else. it was written by me but for some odd reason you won’t post it. therefore, others who happen to share the same opinion as i have been trying to post it. i have been given the royal bar and accept this, however, do not make an attack on showboat throwing out false claims that he is posting stuff under multiple i.p addresses.


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Split – gee, it had the exact same wording. No wonder I thought it was from the same person.

We do monitor comments and will delete or edit any that do not respect people as humans. Any racist, sexist, or other derogatory comments will not appear. You are welcome to make comments as long as you keep that respect, and not describe your fellow humans as “dirtbags”, “scum” and not use inappropriate language unnecessarily.


Split! February 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

roger that


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Split – you keep trying to get in with your same trash talk. I think you need to review the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and some American history. Plus you keep using the same terminology to describe homeless kids. Either show some respect for other humans or quit bothering us.


justmy2cents February 12, 2010 at 8:34 am

A good point made here Showboat. These travlers will soon see that the straight time line from age 19 to 49 goes pretty damm fast and then what , when your 50 and sick and tired of being sick and tired ??


annagrace February 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

All together now: LET’S HEAR IT FOR CORPORATE AMERICA!!!!!!!


jon February 12, 2010 at 9:51 am

Yes Anna, and three cheers for CONFORMITY!!! Hip hip OBEY, Hip hip OBEY, Hip hip OBEY!!!


jettyboy February 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Nice work Mary. I hope to read more interviews with as many of these kids as possible to get a better handle on it all. Frank I don’t think all the trolls should be silenced unless their language gets out of hand. I think it’s good to let them spout the crap they do so the community can see how some of the members feel and react. Also, reading the stuff they write gives a perfect example of why many of these kids are travelers. Could you imagine living with someone like that as a parent? I’d be in the wind as quickly as I could. Why in hell is paying taxes and becoming a contributing member of society more important than seeing and experiencing the country they all profess to love so much? Reminds me of an old quote my dad used to say, “The longer you work, the dumber you get”.


Patty Jones February 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

jettyboy, i totally agree with you on all counts!


Hey now February 11, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I’m so sick of getting asked for money or to buy “jewelry”( if you can call it that). These kids are really just a pain. The vast majority of them do drugs, steal, and piss all over the sea wall. If anything Frank, the Kids should feel grateful that OB ha put up with them for so long. The “swimmer” and Jeffery got everything they deserved for resisting arrest. They are deadbeats Frank. Plain and simple.


Mary February 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

For the record, the swimmer is not a street kid, nor a “deadbeat”, he is a college student at sdsu. He does not represent the street kid population in any way.


doug porter February 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

frank does a great job with the trolls.
a few trollicious ™ comments are okay to remind us all of just how much ignorance there is out there. but when they stoop too low, they gotta go.
it’s our ‘home’ here and if they don’t like it, they’re welcome to go elsewhere. It’s not a matter of censorship, it’s a matter of common sense and good taste.


Debbie February 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

It’s Frank and Patty’s blog and they can do as they please…or should we take a poll on the question tee hee :-)


The Great Unwashed February 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Ya know, it’s so easy to spout off in the blogosphere. I don’t post a whole lot, but sometimes issues just push my buttons. I’d like to know more/do more. The Kids, travelers, bloggers, cops, businesses and court issues seem to be discussed on-line with substantial fervor, but apparently no one is actually looking eyeball to eyeball.

I will be contacting Frank via his ad phone line and I’d like to propose a beach social cookout (a non-threatening, non-judgemental venue) to see if we can reach some sort of understanding of these issues. I’m willing to front some money and do some shopping towards that end. Face to face is the way to get things done.

I’m thinking Saturday Feb 27 might be a good day to do this as it leaves a couple of weeks for planning. All it takes is a grill or two and a couple of folding tables. Maybe we’ll find that there’s more in common than we might have guessed.


Mary February 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I think that’s a great idea. Food is a great friend-maker.

There’s also a woman that has free food out every monday afternoon in the park at the end of saratoga, or at least she did throughout the fall. It’s available to anyone, but I do see a lot of street kids and more permanent homeless alike hanging out there peacefully.


The Great Unwashed February 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm

You’re right that food is a friend maker, but real eyeball to eyeball *discussion* is really the only way to make progress in what’s become a heated topic. I’m only offering a little bit of support to try to get some understanding and hopefully a part of resolution. BTW, I did speak with Frank the other evening and maybe something will be in the works. I guess my main point is that issues don’t get solved on blogs, they just get put out in the open. Thank you for the article, BTW.


Larry OB February 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Socialized hot dogs? OMG…..just kididing. But my head is still spinning from the concern about young Canadian women getting pregnant on American soil, people sitting on a seawall that was intentionally designed to be sat upon, and nontaxpayers suckling our infrastructure. Churches, charities, many people young and old that don’t pay taxes (or pay little taxes) are still entitled to public facilities and services. To a certain extent we need to be good samaratins and aid travelers, but we also need to give priority to the people of our village. I’m told that the villager vs traveler priority is in the Bible. At the very least it makes good sense to me. The Devil is in the details. Maybe a beach party at ground zero could lead to some change for the good. As for people pissing on the wall….we can take part of the blame, because we didn’t yell loud enough when the city took away our public restroom under the pier.

I imagine the streetcar was once blamed for bringing too many travelers to Ocean Beach. Can’t you just picture it? Men in rumpled suits, sleeping on the beach with their straw hats covering their faces. Women smoking in public. Cart vendors selling steamed mussels without permints.


Larry OB February 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm



Kristin C. February 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I don’t know when it occurred to yuppie-type OBceans that the town that THEY moved into should change its character based on what THEY want. This town has been a vibrant community of locals, transients, travelers, tourists – whichever demographic you want to pick – they’ve been here since before I was born!!! (1980,if anyone’s gonna give me shit about that….) I thought Mary’s article was great, and reflected what I normally see with the young “home-free” population – they’re living their young dream, and aren’t harming anyone. If they break laws, they should be busted for breaking laws (I’m thinking of 2cents guy’s assertion that they all sell weed to 14 year olds…). But does anyone remember the PB “riots” on the beach 2 years ago? The ones that led Faulconer and the City Council to take away our rights to drink on the beach? A couple of douchbags that were breaking laws that were ALREADY ON THE BOOKS… they caused the rest of us to lose our privileges of drinking responsibly on our own beach. This is headed that same way, friends…. If we want to harass kids chillin and playing music and whatnot on the wall, what’s to say that the next time I go to sit on the wall to watch the waves or the sunset, that I won’t be harassed???? WHY can’t people just live and let live, and let the cops take care of any actual crimes being committed by these folks? My frustration level with this whole issue is bubbling over, and I wonder who let you Republi-nazi trolls into OB in the first place. Just go away! Leave the rest of us to peacefully enjoy our piece of paradise that’s NOT full of judgmental dicks.


justmy2cents February 12, 2010 at 8:37 am

Do you think a homeless travler asking 14 year old kids if they want to buy drugs is right ?? I have seen it….and just so you know I have documented it !!


Kristin C. February 12, 2010 at 8:40 am

Good for you. Now let the cops arrest them for it. If they’re breaking a law, and you “document” it, why don’t you harass the police instead of OBceans? Ask them why they aren’t doing their job, if all this drug-selling to 14 year olds is soooo rampant? And then GET OVER IT and move on with your life. And let OBceans – be they permanent residents or otherwise – move on with theirs.


bodysurferbob February 12, 2010 at 9:19 am

see my comment above. do you drink booze? is alcohol your drug of choice? if so, you are being hypocritical. if not, just think that when i was a young teenager, i started siphoning liquor – the hard stuff- out of my dad’s bottles. i got drunk every weekend probably starting when i was 14 or 15. after that, as i got older, i would stand at night besides liquor stores in ob and ask strangers if they would buy me a six-pack. actually space man once bought me a six-pack (and he was the only guy in all those years not to give me my change back – sort of kept it as a tax i suppose. he later gave me a painting so i don’t hold it against him).

in the end, except for the hard drugs, herb is better for you than whiskey or gin or vodka,and is safer too. the emergency rooms are not filled with injured people from accidents caused by marijuana.


jon February 12, 2010 at 9:39 am

I hear ya Bob, although I don’t think that’s an argument you’re going to win with 2cents. I think Kristen makes a good point that if illegal drugs are being sold, whether it’s to a 14 year old or a 40 year old, then call the police and let them deal with it (if it’s really bothering you). But let’s all quit blaming every single kid with dreadlocks or hemp necklaces because of the way they look. I wear a shirt and tie to work every day. I have some really slick Italian leather shoes I like. If you saw me on a work day, you would proably think, “Aw crap another young republican A-hole moving in to OB.” But if you knew me without looking at my short haircut, chisled good looks and manly physique (I couldn’t resist), you would know that first impressions are not always what they seem. I think that’s a real underlying issue here. It’s not that myself and others defending the wall kids are “tolerant” of drug use, public defecation and trash. It’s that we want to make sure an entire group of people are not being persecuted for the bad behavior of a few. Now I’m sure not everyone will agree, and some of you might come back with, “99% of those kids are on drugs!” Well, once they can prove that 99% of those kids are on and/or selling drugs (serious “drugs” NOT WEED) then I’ll be a bit more inclined to listen to them. Otherwise, I just see blatant class-war.


justmy2cents February 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm

spare me on the weed vs beer ….i dont have time for the pointless debate.


jon February 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Good grief. Didn’t you read the beginning of my post? “I don’t think that’s an argument you’re going to win with 2cents.”

We know 2cents…we know….enough already.


Frank Gormlie February 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Sounds like the song by Little Feat : “…weed, whites and wine …”


Dave Gilbert February 15, 2010 at 11:24 am

Lowell George’s Willin’…great song! Awesome story too Mary! I was walking by there at the seawall while you interviewed Jay & Angela and it was mellow with a side helping of good vibes, something that people with blackened inner souls will probably never understand unless they’re blessed with a moment of true clarity…you know, like when the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes….


lane tobias February 12, 2010 at 8:47 am



Editordude February 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

Just so everyone knows, this post was besieged yesterday by a true troll, someone who used different names (split, showboat) and different emails and different ip addresses – but the same person – with the same message: all homeless young are bad, should be kicked out of OB, blah blah. We gave this person plenty of opportunities to say their piece – without disparaging fellow humans – and they couldn’t or wouldn’t.


A Doobie Bro February 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

I “fear” for the future of OB. It is looking more and more bourgeoisie. Here’s an example: I have a “friend” and his wife who had just bought a house in OB several months ago and have noticed right away his change in attitude from an “anything goes” while renting , to “get out of my property and town if you’re not like me”, now that their homeowners. I think that they’re pretentious, very judgemental, and all around douchey. What’s more aggravating is the fact that he’s a transplant from the east coast. But the problem I have with them, mainly, is because of their intolerance towards others and wanting to change an “atmosphere” of a town that they were once mere visitors and transplants, now presumptiously assuming that they own the whole fucking town. This is the same guy that thinks because he’s a teacher (teaches gym class to middle school students), that he knows it all and isn’t afraid to give out unsolicited advices to everyone and anyone. I really like Jeff’s like statement: “Since when do you have to be paying rent or mortgage to have rights?”
Fact is: YOU DON’T have to be a homeowner or renter to have rights! You just have to be humans in this country.


jon February 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Being that I’m 99.9999% sure I know this person you speak of (how many middle-school gym teachers recently married and bought a home in OB are there? Yeah…it’s a small town) I think you should take your concern up with him. Not on a public message board calling him and his wife “douchey.” That’s very “douchey” of you. I was out as recently as last night having beers with this individual and talking about issues like this. I have never heard or gotten the impression of him being judgemental or suggesting that people need to be like them or get out. The only thing they may be guilty of is complaining about litter and trying to keep our beach and our community clean. Not “changed,” not “gentrified,” just “clean.” I’m all for that. Pick up your dog crap, don’t throw your trash on the ground or deface other people’s property, and we’re pretty much all good. I don’t know many who would argue with that attitude.

Anyway, that’s enough rant outta me. If you truly have a problem with this individual you refer to as a “friend” you should talk to them about it. Sounds like your personal issues may run deeper than you let on.


A Doobie Bro February 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

So, you know that couple from Pensacola, FLA? Bought a house on Brighton & santa barbara last october. He’s an ex-navy guy, became a teacher at Hillsdale Middle? I think we’re talking about two different people.
Anyhow, you are 99.9999% correct about one thing: this is neither the time nor venue to air out personal differences. On that, I stand corrected and will gladly accept the title of “sir douche alot” for my comment. I dare say my personal feelings got the best of me, but hey, what’s done is done. My main point was to try to reiterate what Kristin C. was saying, which was as visitors or transplants to come in and avidly try to change the atmosphere or attitude of a town to fit your style is very arrogant and pompous! I still, however, stand by my thoughts about the “air” of pompousness and arrogance of certain transplants that seek to change the “attitude” of OB to fit their ways. Cleaning up our beaches and keeping OB beautiful, you’re absolutely right about, not many would argue with. But wanting to start vigilante groups to combat litterers, taggers, and/or homeless kids or bringing OB into a police state so that you can have more space to yourself on the sea wall is an attitude I cannot get behind.


jon February 15, 2010 at 10:38 pm

How funny. We are talking about different people. I guess there are more married middle school gym teachers that recently bought a home in OB than we thought. Weird.


Kristin C. February 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Thanks, Doobie Bro. I just want MY Ocean Beach to be the one I was lucky enough to move into >10 years ago. I understand this town is not for everyone, but for those who chose to live here/set roots here – do it because you LOVE the town, not because you want to CHANGE the town. If that’s your plan, why don’t you try to change the town you escaped from? I love the OB that is kind, and non-judgmental, and compassionate towards those who are hungry…. (I don’t give a damn why someone’s homeless – I CAN NOT handle seeing people go hungry in freakin’ America. In one of the richest areas of America, no less?!?!?!)

I hope that the few aggro folks posting on this stuff ARE the true minority, and we will be able too keep our community as fun and funky and wacky as it always has been.


Mary February 16, 2010 at 11:38 am

I agree. I just finished reading “On a Dollar a Day”, a food book by an Encinitas couple, and learned that SD is the worst city in the nation for food instability. This is made even more ridiculous by the fact that 25% of the nations produce comes from California’s central valley – not that far away. What a weird world.


OBTinyHouse February 16, 2010 at 11:33 am

I would rather be homeless in OB then move back to New Jersey.


Nate February 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Mary- I really enjoyed reading this post! It’s always nice to hear more voices to get a fuller picture of the story.


"troll" February 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

So my name is Camper my side of the story might strike your interest as i may be the first traveler to take the time and let u know where i’m coming from and my side of the story.
I’m from Detroit Michigan and have been traveling for quite sometime. How long does not matter. long enough to go from being that kid that every ob local cant really stand. The kid in patchwork clothes pandhandling for nothing but booze money. To someone who simply cares for his freedom, and wants a lifestyle not created by small group or narrow minded men.
I respect anyone and everyone on this earth simply because were in it together…however I always strongly believe that a strong majority of what some elitest traveler kids call yuppys, abuse money whilst being miserable a recipe for an unhappy life in the one that you get. If your abusing your money, your happy, and your not physically removing me from paradise.. then you have my respect.
Questions should come because i’m not typing my book that I’ve been writing for the past 3 years in this forum comment but thats what its all about “only an experience can show u that theres no sense in living the american dream”


Frank Gormlie February 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

Camper – thanks so much for visiting us, and giving us your viewpoint. Come back any time.


lane tobias February 20, 2010 at 11:29 am

Camper you represent the point of view that many Obecians cant see. Thank you.


"troll" February 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

thank you both….
yes there are some kids out here like me who are traveling here for there own liberating reasons, and theres the few that makes us look bad we call them scwilly kids pronounced Sha-will=ee. when a couple smelly dreadlocked kids come into town looking to get drunk I even get bummed knowing how much the locals with hate us this week.
the other day i got called a troll and spit on in an alley probobly because i have dreadlocks and was no where near close friends…..i smiled at him and walked away he called me a troll again so i turned around and asked him what a troll was.He took of his shirt and fitted san diego hat as if he wanted to harm me and placed both on a grease covered dumpster .He patted his chest and start ranting about how we ruin his life,and literally almost broke down in tears.Finally he walked away leaving his fitted hat on the dumpster which i later sold for pot.
This is crazy!! o.b. locals that have something against traveler kids should realize were on this earth together and if u cant see that then that might be the saddest story ever told……


Paul March 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm

How about the ‘law abiding’ travelers start some self policing and create a code of conduct amongst all travelers by admonishing the schwilly kids who cause trouble. If you want to be a part of our community, take some pride in it like the rest of us and take some responsibility for the man next to you. Just like moderate muslims had to step up and speak out more after 9-11 to prevent them all being lumped together.


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