Woman Feeds OB Homeless Every Monday for 22 Years – Is Now Halted by Police

by on May 18, 2010 · 54 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Economy, Health, Homelessness, OB Heroes

feeding homeless halt

A screen capture from Fox News showing Lupe Haley with police officer at Saratoga Park.

Everyone complains about the homeless.  OB merchants, local residents, … you name the group and there is grumbling galore about those without a home who dot our beachside community.

One person is doing something about it.  Lupe Haley is a cancer survivor and believes deeply in Jesus Christ.  She has been answering his call to feed the needy for the past 22 years.  Every Monday for all those years, Lupe comes down to Saratoga Park and sets up a food line where she literally dishes out food for the dozens of homeless people who show up.

In April FOX News Channel 5 did a story about her work.  The very next Monday, Lupe showed up as usual – but this time there was a different ending.  She was stopped by police who threatened to cite and even arrest her for not having the proper permits.

A police spokesman said they are just following the law and want to prevent anyone from eating food that is contaminated.  San Diego Police Sgt. Randy Levitt told a reporter:

“Part of our job is to make sure people don’t get unnecessarily sick from food that hasn’t been prepared properly. That’s one of the issues here today is a lady in all good intention is trying to serve and trying to help the homeless but there’s health code issues here that we’re aware of and we have to be careful about.”

Normally, Lupe told a reporter, these folks are eating out of dumpsters.

Lupe vowed to follow her conscience and even told the cop: “Arrest me! Arrest me!”

Lupe has also promised to go back to the County Health Department and obtain the proper permit.  She had already been to the County department but keeps getting permits that are not accepted by the police.

Here is the latest from FOX News:

Cops stop woman from feeding homeless

By Erica Fox / FOX News / May 17, 2010

An Ocean Beach woman, who has been feeding the homeless for 22 years, was shut down Monday for not having the proper permit.

Fox 5 News featured Lupe Haley in April serving the homeless at Saratoga Park. She has been feeding the needy in Ocean Beach for over two decades and never missed a Monday, not even one. The Monday after the story aired, San Diego Police showed up and told Haley she needed a permit to serve the food.

“This is not right! This is not right!” Haley shouted standing next to her truck full of food for the homeless.

Haley said she went to the health department and got a permit like she was told. The following Monday though she said officers told her it was the wrong permit. She said she went back to the county and was assured she had the correct permit. This Monday, officers were waiting at Saratoga Park. They told her once again, the permit she has is not the correct one. Haley told officers she planned to feed the homeless there anyway. She was told by one officer she would be arrested.

“Arrest me! Arrest me!” she yelled at the officer. “Take me to jail! I’m not doing nothing wrong.”

For the remainder of this article go here.

Here is the first story FOX News ran on Lupe Haley:

Local woman helping the homeless for 22 years

By Erica Fox / FOX News 5 / April 26, 2010

OCEAN BEACH, Calif. – A local woman whose been helping the homeless for more than two decades isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. For Lupe Haley, cooking is crucial.

“I love two things in life to eat and sleep,” laughed Haley from inside her kitchen.

It’s not just the mixing and marinating the creating and covering but rather what she does with the meal when she’s done.

“I love to cook really I do because food is life and that’s the reason I bring God’s blessings to Ocean Beach,” she said.

For the remainder of this article, go here.

Editor: Haley Lupe pays for the meals out of pocket and it gets expensive. If you’d like to help her mission you can send money to the Lupe Haley Christian Ministry at 4246½ 34th Street, San Diego, CA 92104.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Editordude May 18, 2010 at 11:29 am

We received this comment from an anonymous source:

This is un-F***ing-believeable…if it were not San Diego, specifically OB. So based upon this story, if I have a party at my house, or my parish…is Sgt. Levitt going to kick down the door to check my permit? The temperature of the food I serve? The only time the police have ever been involved in a quasi-food health issue is when the vice division checks booze bottles in bars…and even that is generally in conjunction with the health department.

For the police department to begin proactive policing of public health issues speaks to “someone” who does not like the homeless, encouraging them on. Either internally or externally…

I believe it is time the OB community had a major sit down with the SDPD and aired why we believe, as a community, they are completely out of touch.

Frank, I am attaching a letter which I sent to Chief Lansdowne. He did not respond. I went to the station downtown and filed a Citizens Complaint (the equivalent of a traffic citation for cops), Lt Ahern from Internal Affairs contacted me immediately. I agreed to withdraw the complaint based upon his promise to look into the incident, bring it to the chief’s attention and get back to me. Three weeks later, after hearing nothing from the Lt., I called and left a message….I never heard back by way of telephone nor in writing.

Perhaps it is time to ask the Attorney General’s office to look into police practices and community relations in San Diego/OB. Certainly Cheif Lansdowne, et al. have no concern regarding our input.

Count me in on any community action.


Jack May 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Regarding the anonymous post….Frank was kind in his discretion, but for the record, it was me, Jack B. Hamlin, who wrote it in reply to an e-mail earlier today. I stand by what I say, and after watching the manner in which the SDPD treats the people of OB, it is time to give them a little wake up call.

The following are the subsequent posts from me….

“Another thought…..how about a combined effort of civil disobedience. A group of us organize a BBQ/picnic for the homeless at Veteran’s Park. We serve just as Lupe would do, but sans permit (making sure the SDPD knows of our plans).

When they tell us to stop, we invite them to join us, but refuse to stop. If they attempt to cite us, refuse and make them take us into custody. And perhaps the new media outlets have advance notice as well.

Just brainstorming over here….”



Regarding Citizen Complaint (or the police vernacular “CCF,” the “F” is for form), while the police are required to take it, they require you to come to the police station (not one of the annexes), and fill it out in person (while they are filling it out, they do a records check…a little chilling, but what’s a civil right trammeled here or there). At the conclusion of the investigation, the IA division makes a finding of Founded, Unfounded, Exonerated, Sustained, and one other I forget, but kind of a grey area in which neither party is believable. Oh by the way, if the complaint is determined to be unfounded or exonerated, the cops have been filing civil complaints against the complainant alleging slander and libel. This why I suggested the AG’s office. The SDPD makes it exceptionally difficult to request an investigation of their own and seek any type redress.

It seems to always be the “you don’t understand what we go through….we are just trying to do what we do for your own good….” If that is the case, perhaps we can seek our help elsewhere.

more two cents.”

Peace to all, Jack


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

We’ve received numerous offers from folks who want to do something like Jack recommends. Several cooks and grill masters have offered their skills.


Jack May 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Then let’s do it! I recommend striking while the iron is hot….like this Friday or Saturday. I am available for a pre-feeding meeeting, or we can do this via internet.

We need people to just come enmass and bring food. A few BBQ’s to cook, and table or two from which to serve….any paper plates, cups, plastic utensils you have laying around, napkins, etc….a sort of “Stone Soup,” event. For those interested and unfamilar with the story of Stone Soup, I will ‘splain later.

We need to get the word out….fliers would be helpful, and I sugget we blanket Mission Beach and Downtown as well. (By the way, the police & health department shut down a man doing a similar feed in MB). The more the merrier…..

But we will have to Ghandi rules in place. NO physical confrontations. Peaceful resistance only.

My personal e-mail is jbhamlinesq@sbcglobal.net…interested? write me and help organize….

Peace, Jack


doug porter May 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I vote for Memorial Day. It’s:
A) Monday, which is when she was already doing the feeding
B) A Slow media day
C) Enough time to really get some people behind this
d) Memorial Day, and what better way to honor our veterans?
I’m sure there are some people who are already committed to do other things and that’s okay. There will be enough of us to pull it off.


annagrace May 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I’m with you and Jack. Count me in.


Judith May 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

you folks need a Food Not Bombs chapter…I jsut read the harassment stories but maybe times have changed and authorities will see that passing out healthy free food does far more good tan harm. (people steal less, get sick and place demands on emergency services less, act happier…)look for places that will donate overflow produce, broken bags of beans, grains, extra bread. cookware? plates? I’;ll bet iuf you put out a call for equipment and maybe extra food on Freecycle, it would show up. I’ve been a volunteer with FNB here in Berkeley/Oakland area for about 10 years and I really like the simple, food to the masses” philosophy. we prepare and serve only vegetarian food. we’ve been serving regular, complete hot meals (grains, beans, salad, cooked veg dishes, fruit, sometimes dessert, etc) six days a week for something like 20ars, plus special events. but starting off simple, like with one day a week of passing out sandwiches or vegetable soup, is a good thing. wish I could come down and help out. maybe someone with more free time and less family responsibilities could joiu you…


George May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I know it was a human interest story, but I wonder if Fox News regrets stirring up trouble for the woman, and if they’re going to help her get through the process or just follow her around to get more stories about the troubles she encounters.


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Excellent question, George. I have a call right now into Fox News and Erica Fox the reporter and want to ask them the same question. Although, at least Fox News locally covered the woman’s story.


Buddy Tym May 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I wonder if anyone active in Food Not Bombs has picked up on this story?

In case you’ve never heard of them, there’s a group call Food Not Bombs in almost every city across the country that “illegally” distributes food to the homeless/ anyone that wants to eat. Since a majority of their food is made up of end-of-the-day leftovers from restaurants and grocery stores that would have been thrown out anyways, they can’t get obtain legal permits. Their whole premise is that the food is just going to waste if it’s not distributed, so operating illegally is their only option. They operate weekly, whether the cops like it or not.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a long, drawn out process for Lupe to get a permit… maybe some community support will have to do instead…


Danny Morales May 20, 2010 at 4:48 am

Buddy, FNB was harassed off the wall by the SDPD 15 yrs ago w/ Lupe being left on her own. “First they came for the Communists…” :>P


JMW May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Any chance Fox or Turko could actually get involved; maybe, kick in a little cash or throw some PR around? No chance, I suppose, those nice officers (Can you say “public servants?”) could take it upon themselves to make sure Lupe gets the right permit instead of standing around in their gear with their thumbs in their belts hassling her? Love the photo.


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I still have a call into Erica Fox, the reporter. I’ll let you know what she says.


story May 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Surprised? No!

Police regularly harassed Food Not Bombs in Ocean Beach for the same “offense” several years ago. They ticketed bicyclists for riding on the sidewalk, people for littering—anything they could to show they were in charge and would shut down any FNB attempt to provide a meal for persons wanting one. The only difference then was that the police scattered like cockroaches once the news cameras rolled up. Looks like Robocops are serious now!


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I remember hearing about that, but don’t know the details or when it was.


story May 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

That was about 10 years ago. It was a group of mostly college and high school kids aka San Diego Food Not Bombs, who would go down to Newport Ave and Abbott St. each Sunday at noon, off and on for a year or more. FNB would pick up donated bagels and soup fixings FREE from various retailers and provide a meal of bagels and vegan soup for anyone wanting one. It was a good group of idealistic kids who wanted to do nothing more than take action. And yes, the SDPD provided the only real drama at that time too.


story May 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

On Christmas Day, members of a local church were handing out dinners ans gifts to persons around Ocean Beach. I asked one of the the providers if the police had intervened yet, he said “no, ” and that ” that perhaps since it was Christmas, it was ok.”


Dave Gilbert May 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

OBviously Lupe’s heart is in the right place, but there’s been such a backlash about the homeless here in OB, not only from a lot of the local merchants, but also from a lot of our locals too. I think that she may just be fighting an uphill battle.

Perhaps she’d meet with less resistance if she took those free meals downtown where apparently the homeless are “supposed” to live?


story May 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm



annagrace May 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm

My dear friend Dave- the homeless and hungry are among us. In Ocean Beach. City Heights. Golden Hills. We have an obligation to feed the hungry, provide shoes to the poor. Isn’t that how we were raised???? I certainly was.


Dave Gilbert May 19, 2010 at 10:49 am

Don’t get me wrong Anna, I think compassion for our fellow human beings is one of the purest forms of unconditional love. I was more looking for the true underlying motive behind the authorities attempts to stop her.

Personally, I’m not crazy about the amount of homelessness here in OB. I’ve seen a lot of these folks who for one reason or another have given up trying to live a “normal” life and instead live by their wits and on handouts or even worse thievery. We’ve had many bikes stolen from my building and at one point there were as many as 10 to 15 of them living on the bricks and curb directly in from of my building. Yes I feel bad for them, but you try getting out to your car to go to work with that many people blocking your way. Then when they do move on to their next hang-out, you’re left with a ton of trash, cigarette butts and the lovely smell of what amounts to an overturned outhouse.

I still treat them with respect as I try to do with all people, but since they don’t have much self respect it’s hard to gauge the effect it’s having on them. It’s a nationwide problem that appears to be just another of the many dividing factions in this great land of ours, but in the end, I thank God everyday that I have not given up on myself and am not living out on the streets.


Bob Hamm May 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

This is nothing new in OB. When I was principal of Sacred Heart Academy we used to put the food that the students did not eat at lunchtime out in the alley for the homeless to come by and get. We were told we had to stop because it was unhealthy. We would also take food down to the wall after school dinners to give to the homeless. We were again told that we could not be doing this.
Surely the PD has items which should receive higher priority than taking decent food from the homeless.
Someone needs a few lessons in compassion.


Chris Moore May 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

There always seems to be a crank that thinks if the homeless would only be shunned enough and starved out, they’d give up their fun & exciting lives, shave, and magically become accountants or lawyers somehow.

I know Point Loma United Methodist had a porta-potty set up for the homeless to use for a while, and some local crank complained and got it removed. Now they have to go crap in my alley again – thanks, great move whoever you are (grrrr….)


annagrace May 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Chris- you are a man with a brain and a heart. Wonderful comment.


Shane Finneran May 18, 2010 at 6:11 pm

This is purely speculation, but I’d guess that the police intervention was requested by one of the large-scale homeless assistance organizations in town. And I’d guess that at least part of their rationale is that what Lupe is doing is great, but if more people start following her example, eventually someone is going to pass out some bad food.

For a similar story, look up Dan De Vaul…he’s a rancher up near San Luis Obispo who lets homeless stay on his property, and the county wants to shut him down for code violations.

Anyway, here goes nothing…I think I agree with the police on this, at least based on the facts that we’re working with. Lupe is distributing food to the public regularly, so the distribution must be up to code. If it turns out the permitting process is unduly burdensome, than we need to start talking about making some changes. But for now, seems like Lupe should focus on getting permitted and carrying on with her noble work.


annagrace May 18, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Lupe has tried to get permitted. The County of San Diego gives her a permit and the San Diego Police reject the permit. What’s wrong with this picture? Has SDPD been specific in what kind of permit they will acknowledge? This is starting to sound like a Kafka story. In the meantime human beings need food….


Shane Finneran May 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm

We definitely need some more detail on what’s going on with the permits. Basically just two questions: Which permit does she need? How can we help her get it?


Shane Finneran May 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Okay, I just realized that more story is available by clicking a link up above (I didn’t see the link when I first read.) The details from the full article suggest this will soon have a happy ending:

“San Diego Police said the permit Haley possessed was for serving in places like a restaurant, not for serving the public in a park…Haley said she plans to go first thing Tuesday to get the proper permit because she refuses to stop serving.”

Let’s stay tuned…


annagrace May 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Lupe went to the Health department twice. Twice. And she was told by the Health Department that she had the correct permit, according to the Fox report. Twice she was told by SDPD that the permits were not correct. Something is not right about this…
1. Did Lupe incorrectly or dishonestly represent her feeding activity?
2. If not, is the Health Department staff incompetent? The report said she was given the correct permit, according to the Health Department.
3. If they are competent, what does SDPD know or have jurisdiction over that the Health Department doesn’t?
Wouldn’t it be great if Erica Fox asked the Health Department itself what kind of permit is needed and then report accordingly on SDPD’s response?


JMW May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

So, Shane, let me get this straight: If there is potential for adverse outcomes, “eventually someone is going to pass out some bad food,” then it is appropriate to discontinue a given activity? Is that right? If yes, then do you favor taking the guns from the cops? They have been known to shoot innocent, harmless, crazy, citizens: the examples are legion, eg, the crazy Clairemont guy who got the tank hung up 163 – property damage, captured, unarmed, dead; the homeless guy at McDonald’s with the twig – don’t remember any damage, surrounded, clueless, dead; and, you may not know or remember, 18, maybe 20, with nunchucks, on West Point Loma Ave., facing an experienced policeman with a .38, brash, dead. Shall we take the guns from the Pentagon? They’ve done quite a few not very nice things with their weapons. Maybe you’ll let me know what you think.


Shane Finneran May 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Look, I think it sucks that Lupe’s food distribution was paused by the police. But I also think that food distribution programs should be up to code. After all, the code exists because people have been sickened and killed in the past.

Now, I realize many commenters believe that Lupe was shut down because some OB folks don’t want her doing her thing in OB. That could be true, and if so, I think it’s a damn shame. But we don’t have evidence of that. And in any case, seems like all Lupe has to do to get back out there — and to protect herself from future shut-downs — is get the proper permit. So I’m not feeling the outrage just yet.

As for police use of force, I’m with you 100%…SDPD’s shoot-to-kill policy drives me nuts…if you know how we can work to overturn it, let me know. And I’m all for demilitarization, too.


jec May 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Shane, I need to stop you at “food program”. If I have the facts she is a single person who on her own, without benefit of a 501c3 or other charity is sharing that food with others. No program, just a person, one. To be “up to code” as a individual is to have your individual actions, your personal choices subject to the control of others – of a bureaucracy. I find that frightfully oppressive. I find no need to yield to the “cranks” – if what she was doing IS outside the law, then we are all outlaws.


Shane Finneran May 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I hear you – “food distribution program” sounds a little strange when we’re talking about a one-person operation. But according to the article, she’s been out there once a week for 22 years. That means thousands and thousands of meals. Hence food distribution program.


JMW May 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Shane, I’m not after you. I don’t know how stop the inappropriate behavior by entities like the SDPD and Pentagon, and somebody beyond them whom I cannot identify. We, you and I and all citizens, are paying the wages of these groups. Whether we like it or not, we are funding their activities. We pay for the cars, the guns, their time, health care, and pensions; we pay for the cartridges they fire. Can we stop paying for those things? I wish we could, but I don’t know how. Take it easy.


story May 18, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Shane, one would need look no further than in OB to find who this was “requested by.”
Hint: They have requested this before.


Shane Finneran May 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Hmmm…well, I thought about the hint for awhile, and I still don’t know you’re thinking of. Did you want me to guess?


story May 19, 2010 at 10:37 am

Back when Food Not Bombs was doing this we received word that the OB Merchants’ Association, as they were called then, were instructing police on stopping our group. The police suggested we move to dog beach. I guess a few people, homeless or not, sharing a meal on the foot of Newport was to unsightly for some in the business community.


Dave Sparling May 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Does the police department have any records on how many homeless have been hospitalized or died from food poisoning from the food this lady served for the last 22 years? Why didn’t the health department send someone out, and only bring in the cops if the lady threatened them. Wonder how fast the patrol cars came into OB for this unnecessary show of force?


jec May 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm

The shock and awe has been sufficiently expressed by the comments. My question, how will Sgt. Levitt do on his next performance evaluation. It needs improvement. He has shown lack of knowledge of the law. Dear Sgt. Levitt check the Government Code, check the Health Code – food inspection is outside of your jurisdiction. You are not trained nor educated in health matters. POST Training hardly qualified, far from it. If you have a concern of that nature proper procedure was to call the proper authorities – the County Health Department. But then you rejected a properly issued permit. In doing so you usurped the authority of the Health Department. Why? In Law Enforcement some one who makes a bone head decision is referred to as a “cement head”. Cement heads usually don’t make Sgt.


tj May 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

The homeless are under seige up & down the coast.

Generally – the police don’t come up with these “policy’s” themselves – they are following orders from the city’s elected representatives, or the city manager.

As the homeless aren’t a likely constituency – this type of activity is a pretty safe use of the “city’s police power” – & may even receive community support.

Sadly, some of the most “liberal” cities are the worst persecutors of the homeless, including Laguna Beach & Irvine in the OC.



lane tobias May 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm

this is really just a matter of being hardassed vs being compassionate. we can see exactly what side the cops, and whoever directed them to come down on this woman, are on. theres not much more to discuss. if they think that the folks ms. haley feeds are here in OB just because of her weekly food distribution, theyre wrong. and if they think making it more difficult for her to do this each week is going to push these folks out, theyre wrong. its twisted logic and all it does is make the SDPD look bad.


LisanOB May 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm

So….if we can get over why the cops are after Lupe for apparently operating outside of the law and we can also get past whether or not homeless people are just that…people. And even further would be a distraction as to why places like Point Loma and La Jolla don’t seem to have the same social blight that exists in OB… then we can move forward with a discussion of what we need to accomplish in order to make more people happy….right?

Completely absent from the discourse to this point is a discussion about the centralization of social services. Very progressive cities and municipalities (not like SD) have done this successfully in places like Denver, Philly and even Chicago. The centralization of services coupled with a very rules oriented “no option” program aimed at fixing the problem instead of managing the symptoms has had long term success.

The City (aka Mayor Sanders) opposes central services and would like nothing more than to force the issue of homelessness into mature urban areas such as OB, City Heights and others where the money spending tourists (likely from Arizona) can thoroughly enjoy spending their vacation money without the inconvenience of having to look at our social problem.

So how can we be compassionate NOW in OB while continuing to support for a more comprehensive Citywide solution? Remember…we aren’t a city. Just a neighborhood with 27,000 people all jammed up in here trying to live together.

1. Get Lupe to comply with the law and or partner with an organized group that is or can be in compliance with the law. — takes care of the problem with “the man”
2. Talk with the Merchants OR….boycott them if you feel they are source of the added persecution — times are tight…I”m sure nobody wants a boycott right now. If the merchants think that roughing up the locals is going to result in a lack of businesses then they won’t call the cops. Hit’em in the pocketbook.
3. Speak with your elected officials about the centralization of services and the demand for a comprehensive plan — will set in motion a longer term solution. Centralization increases efficiency of programs and isolates the added unpopular ills that typically accompany these areas (such as crime, etc).

Last thing… Dave is right in his comments above. It isn’t that people don’t have compassion….but who among the loudest of these speaker is willing to have the “yet to be named” OB Homeless Shelter in their backyard? If you are…please volunteer…that would seem to resolve about 80% of the gripes above.


lane tobias May 20, 2010 at 1:06 pm

its not just Mayor Sanders that opposes centralized services. In fact as a former POlice ( who have more contact with the homeless on a daily basis than average citizens) he probably thinks centralizing is better than what we’ve got now, knowing that the homeless population here is not going anywhere and the current system is perfected cyclical poverty. The opposition comes from residents, real estate developers, and crotchety folks in the supposedly gentrifying areas where the centralization would occur – east village, downtown, and woah – OB!

At the OBTC meeting where a group of us concerned and compassionate citizens got together and met head on with the people opposing the so-called “T words” in this town, it became obvious that the police are just acting on behalf of certain people and act almost entirely on citizen (namely the OBMA and associates) complaints. If you know anything about how Police Departments work, you would know that the chain of command is akin to God. And I would gather that after seeing the news report on Ms. Haley, somebody who has the ear of a commanding officer complained, and the commanding officer gave these cops specific orders to come down hard on this lady to see if she’ll just give up and move on.

Its obvious she’s not, and hopefully Monday will be the end of this.


annagrace May 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Why should services to the homeless be centralized? Where would that centralized location be?


psd May 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm

The blight IS in my backyard…well, not so much literally “in my backyard” now, but when I lived in other parts of town it was, and it very well might be again when I’m forced to move this summer. I volunteer to let it stay because if OB turns into just another La Jolla/Pt. Loma I won’t be able to afford to live here anymore – and I’ll bet a lot of you won’t, either.

If you happen to own land down here though, and you don’t appreciate the character your neighborhood had when you bought into it, it’s got to be great to think that the area will gentrify and you’ll have a house in one of the ‘rich’ parts of town…


Frank Gormlie May 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I just spoke with Erica Fox, the reporter from Fox News 5 (no relation) and she says Lupe plans to go back to the County Health Dept (if she hasn’t already) and obtain the proper permit and reappear next Monday, May 24th, around 5pm or so to feed the homeless. The OB Rag hopes to have it covered (any volunteers) and the saga will continue. So, let’s see where everyone is at by then before any “big” plans are made.


Wireless Mike May 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

If Lupe obtains the proper permit from the Health Department and adheres to their regulations, the police should have no more reason to harass her. Monday will tell if the permit is the real issue or just an excuse. The police should be given the chance to do the right thing. But if they continue to harass her, we will know that the permit was not the real issue at all.


Molly May 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Me thinks Lupe has some enemies higher up, and I don’t think “higher up” within the SDPD. Think: who wouldn’t like her feeding the homeless, gathering them around her like Christ on the mound, dishing out wine and bread – oops – got carried away – but feeding them nevertheless? Who doesn’t like to see groups of homeless congregating even if was just for a meal? Who is afraid congregating homeless may chase off the tourists? Has there been any pattern on the issue of “civilians” feeding homeless in OB over the years? Has anyone else done the same thing that Lupe is doing but had to stop? What was at the bottom of them having to stop? …… hmmmmmmmm


Dave Gilbert May 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I believe that there’s a concerted effort to either eradicate, or give the public the impression of eradication of the homeless here in O.B. There’s been a major turf war over on Voltaire for the past month and while I have seen a somewhat decrease in the homeless population, they’re still here and aren’t going away anytime soon.

What Lupe does should be commended, but it also takes me back to that parable of, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever”. That’s why I always look at them as case by case. There are what I consider “professional homeless”, the people that have been on the streets for a long time and know how to work the system without actually working a job. This doesn’t make them bad people, but I talk to a lot of them and this is basically “it” for them, they’re survivors who know where to get all of the free meals and get their very basic necessities without ever leaving O.B., except for the occasional trip to jail. They’re really not planning for a future beyond getting through each day.

There’s also the recently homeless who are usually living in their vehicle, a little more upwardly mobile than say the “professionals” but they’re still in a bad way too. There’s a lot of drug and alcohol abuse too and when you combine that with little or no self esteem, mental health issues and a healthy dose of a very weak economy, I think that most of us can thank our lucky stars that we’ve been blessed with food, shelter and a solid work ethic.

I myself have been homeless twice and both times there were completely different circumstances. The 1st time was in 1990 and I didn’t really care because I was young, had my car & my guitar and I was “living the dream”. But the 2nd time was just a little over 2 years ago and after just 1 night of sleeping in my truck, I did everything I could, including working 2 jobs, just to make sure I had my own place and food in my belly because I never want to be homeless again.

The 1st time I ever saw a homeless person was in 1987 when I lived in L.A. I was pretty moved by what I saw so I wrote a song about it. It won honorable mention in a nationwide competition, and if you’re interested in hearing my initial take on the homelessness issue, here are the lyrics. If you follow the link at the end you can hear a recorded version too.

Since Jesus was a Man lyrics by: Dave Gilbert

Out in the front yard I see a young man sleeping
Can’t tell if he’s dead or not but then he moves, he must be dreamin’
I just walk on by, don’t want to be the one to wake him

Somebody must really care, there lies the bottle he’s been drinkin’
He’s got to help himself though, maybe he’s just not thinkin’
I just walk on by, don’t want to be the one to shake him

So I search for a reason in a love forgotten land
Searching for the answer and I’m tryin’ to understand
Why I’m searching for a love, a love that hasn’t been
Since Jesus was a man

Well read to me and speak the truth and innocently I try to reason
Man this ain’t no T.V. show, oh no they’re really freezin’
Some young men with guns, they must be the ones that hate them

So I search for a reason in a love forgotten land
Searching for the answer and I’m tryin’ to understand
Why I’m searching for a love, a love that hasn’t been
Since Jesus was a man

(instrumental break)

(repeat chorus)



Citizen Cane May 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I’ve participated in pot luck dinners at Saratoga Park. Did I break some law doing that? Could Lupe circumvent the permit and insurance hassles by switching to a pot luck format? Each homeless person has to bring something to the party…a half loaf of bread, a can of sardines, potatoes, or salt and pepper…..whatever they can afford.


Giovanna May 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Ah, the law… This reminds me of the old Anatole France quotation: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

This incident should serve as a stark reminder to all that those entrusted to “protect and serve”–our glorious state warriors, embodied by the SDPD–will always do so in accordance and obeisance to elite/state class interests, and NOT those of the common and underprivileged, even when ordered, as in this case, to take food from the mouths of starving, homeless people. In matters of elite interests, moral depravity–often masquerading as ‘the law’– knows no bounds.


john May 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

the fact that, as someone already stated, these people would othwerwise likely be finding their next meal in a dumpster, makes the whole health issue patently absurd. not buying it for a second. remember the old YMCA building on lower broadway? that’s where the homeless used to hang out in the early ’80’s. then, when redevelopment in that area commenced, police harassed them and they moved to the gaslamp. soon the gaslamp also faced redevelopment, and police harassed them until they congregated in “east village”- which actually wasn’t called that at all until they decided to redevelop that area and build a ballpark, which of course required the police to harass them out of there as well.
I do know that significant properties were owned by various officials in city government when they were blighted. I don’t know it they were sold or not after they were “improved”.
however the conspiratorial part of me wonders if this might be a great way to engage in real estate profiteering by local officials-pressure the police to get the homeless out of areas where you own property, thereby increasing their value, and sell them and purchase properties in areas the homeless inevitably gravitated to- then rinse and repeat as you will.
as san diego is rumoured to have the most consistently corrupt local government outside of old chicago, and I cannot attest to this personally other than recollections of the long list of scandalous and criminal doings reported on,(see below) sounds plausible to me.
(I mean c’mon, a woman savvy enough to be elected mayor didn’t know her husband was engaged in illegal activity? Her voice heard in the background of phone conversations used for evidence? please!)
your personal goon squad wouldn’t even have to know the real score, so I’m not really trying to make villains of our men in blue. let’s face it, not many people want the homeless to regularly congregate near their property, and I’m sure plenty of people call the station or even their councilmen about public urination, loud drunks, theft, and worse- and say “look, can’t you do…. something?”
while we all should be so humbled, and I as many here live month to month and the next might see me piloting that shopping cart, from my limited experience my biggest fear is them- not becoming homeless. without naming names, one I know very well and is an ex neighbor and he got there through gross dishonesty and lying and stealing from everyone he knew, thinking they were so dumb he’d get away with it. hadn’t learned by age 40 what the rest of us did by 10. the rest have other stories I’m sure.


Editordude May 24, 2010 at 8:23 am

We just received the following comment and we post it anonymously:

Hey Frank– I have been helping Lupe on and off for many years. The police have moved her from the pier to Saratoga park, they have shut down her operation many times, they have forced her to barbecue instead of having the pots of food, they have interfered in many ways including coming with cameras and getting right in our faces and photographing the workers. This battle with the police has been ongoing for many many years. Lupe always prevails. I think God intervenes on her behalf. Here is my suggestion. Before you do any social action, check with Lupe. What you do could hurt her in the long run and also hurt the other church groups that go out distributing food to the homeless. The Rock church has a great program called Bread of Life that goes out, (ahead of the police) and distributes food to the people living on the street downtown. By the time the police come along, we are gone. Lupe has an extraordinary ministry going on. She does not just feed people, she loves them, she preaches to them, she prays with them, and they trust her and respect her in a way that they do not trust and respect anyone else. They know she will show up rain or shine. My children and I have gone down and helped her serve since the early 90’s. One time when we were having big storms in 1997, I called Lupe and said “The rain is so bad, surely you will not be coming down today.” Lupe said “My people are waiting for me and I will be there”. I went down to wait for her in the pouring rain. There was not a person in sight. When Lupe and Robert arrived and unloaded the truck, the people came out of the bathrooms where they had been waiting for her and ate in the rain. We were up to our knees is water, everything was flooded except the table, but they came, ate, carried off food in plastic bags that Lupe brought, and retreated back into the bathrooms. It was amazing. Lupe does not let these people down. She will find a way by the grace of God to carry on her ministry. I was trying to type all of this on a comment on the OB Rag website. I was adding on about some police experiences where a certain policeman broke down emotionally and my comment disappeared into the computer and the website shut off. It was weird. It was as if someone was watching my dialogue. I never could get it back, and my computer froze up after that, so I couldn’t use it at all. I need to be more careful what I say on public websites about the police..


OB Cindi May 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

There was so much good that has come out of this media story. Help for the homeless needed a new face from the other side–Lupe is an amazing messenger. No matter which side we stand on the homeless issue, we cannot punch holes in Lupe’s credibility as a christian woman. She has had such a full life, is fighting cancer and yet, never misses an opportunity to be a public servant of God. I applaud you Lupe!!!

Travelers, homeless, tumbleweeds…whatever you want to call those who do not rent in OB but live here among us, deserve our charity. Church leadership in Ocean Beach and Point Loma support feeding and providing shelter for those who live in cars or on the street. My fear is that those who call themselves Christians will begin to act upon their own congregation to retract this human aid. I grew up going to a christian-based church and I remember a few lines….”Bring us your starved, your weary and your weak” and “Do not be the one to cast the first stone.” I disagree with some of the previous posts that question why people became homeless, or that suggest that those who do drugs, do not deserve shelter, food and comfort. I am not going to cast the first stone at those who call the police on homeless or people feeding the homeless. Instead, I ask that both sides come to the monthly city council meetings to find a PEACEFUL solution to creating a place for the homeless and travelers to rest their heads and get a hot meal.


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