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On October 31, myself and a couple other urban campers went to Balboa Park, at Sixth Avenue and Hawthorne, to take part in a get-together especially for the homeless called “H.O.P.E.” The flyer that was passed out weeks earlier said free food, clothes, and blankets would be given away. Everyone had been talking about the event as it got closer to the 31st. We were so excited.

When we got there, it was early, so when the H.O.P.E. bringers started arriving, we helped them unload the food, water, clothes, blankets, and other items. They started setting up tables, and they even set up a place for people to get haircuts and trims. One lady was going around to make sure things were moving in an organized manner. It was cute — she was a little short lady with a megaphone.

They put up a huge tarp shelter at the north end of all the festivities so everyone could have a place to sit down and relax. Another young lady got the microphone and announced that they were from The Rock church and that they had a lot of things prepared for us. They started passing out tickets for prizes that would be raffled off and told us to keep the tickets because we could redeem them for a plate of barbecue later.

I am a homeless student. It brought tears to my eyes to feel that kind of love from complete strangers. They said prayers with us and brought entertainment in the form of children doing some serious dance moves to gospel music. A young lady began to sing. I couldn't hear that well, but I could see everyone smiling as we strained to hear her voice. Afterward, I heard someone compare her to Carrie Underwood.

A little later, an announcement came over the P.A. that police were at the end of the street. Within ten minutes, I saw the police at the other end of the ravine watching us. We began to pray. Not much later, I saw the police approach the people in charge and tell them we would have to "break it up." I thought to myself, Why would they want to stop this from happening? People are always talking about how we look and dress. This would have been the perfect opportunity for people to get good clothes, shoes, and jackets, haircuts and trims.

Some of the homeless began to leave. My friends and I decided to stay and help these H.O.P.E. bringers load up their blessings.

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Comments

PistolPete Nov. 3, 2009 @ 10:48 p.m.

As much as I hate to agree with the pigs, they were just doing their jobs. If it had been a low-key event,they may have let it slide but unfortunetely, there are permits that need to be obtained.

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tinastar Nov. 3, 2009 @ 10:45 p.m.

absolutely absurd! people trying to help other people for once, and the f***ing 5-0 shut it down. obviously we can see where priorities are. great job SD PD! with all the complaining about the homeless you would think someone would have the sense to let them continue. so sad how things have gotten....

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tinastar Nov. 3, 2009 @ 11:14 p.m.

this is true, its just sad to think that people need to get permits to help people, although they should have known that they needed them. its understandable I suppose if you look at it from the pigs, as well as the city's point of view

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PistolPete Nov. 3, 2009 @ 11:18 p.m.

I try to look at it from both POV. It's commendable what the Rock was doing but like I said, I doubt the pigs would've felt the need to do their jobs with such fervor had a little gathering been just that-a little gathering. Bullhorns and haircuts does not a little gathering make. Personally, I think Sandy Eggo as a city sucks when it comes to the downtrodden. It just doesn't fit with their Finest City mumbo jumbo to be down on your luck.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 3, 2009 @ 11:34 p.m.

Old news.

Some group, may have been Father Joe, used to bring a full catering set up to feed the homeless once a week in Balboa Park, and the same thing happened. This was at least 10 years ago-so people should be on notice that if you want to do this you need to get approval/permits-which I would think would not be hard (but you never know with the gov).

So, I have to agree with the PD, get the permits, let the PD know the time and location, jsut so everyone is on the same page and can take whatever steps they need to, to be prepared.

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David Dodd Nov. 4, 2009 @ 3:44 p.m.

I don't mean this negatively, but why would the organizers have passed out the clothes and blankets first? This way, the homeless would have benefited, and the Jesus-fest and the haircuts could have been conducted at some other time when the appropriate permits/permissions could be obtained.

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SDaniels Nov. 4, 2009 @ 4:33 p.m.

The Rock church has a lot of problems with 'permission,' as they continue to illegally clog the Liberty Station parking lot, despite dozens of signs warning of no church parking.

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antigeekess Nov. 4, 2009 @ 4:45 p.m.

California has gotta be the most fascist state in the entire U.S. Is there a nice big FEE for a "permit?"

Why isn't somebody hopping up and down about the right to "peaceably assemble?" How about that one, for a change?

That's in the 1st Amendment, too.

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CuddleFish Nov. 4, 2009 @ 4:55 p.m.

Hey creo, I sympathize, sort of, but everybody's gotta follow the rules, hon. The Rock knows them, but they try to play fast and loose, and they almost always get busted.

As you said, a lot of people could have benefitted, sure, so why didn't the Rock follow procedure, if they cared so much? Sounds like maybe a stunt to me, but I don't know enough about it.

Bottom line, everybody has to follow the rules, otherwise no one has to follow the rules.

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David Dodd Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:02 p.m.

Well, then why wouldn't the church simply pass out flyers stating that on XX-XX-XX date, at XX:XX time, homeless people can begin to receive donated blankets and clothing and a plate of BBQ until supplies run out? You don't need a permit for that, and most homeless people don't own cars so that negates the parking issue. Would they stick around to hear the message of Jesus? Who knows. But isn't that the real message, the act of giving? Seems to me that Jesus didn't preach and sing songs for hours before he performed miracles. Jesus healed because people were sick, right? And the loaves and the fishes and the water into wine - wasn't that because people were hungry?

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David Dodd Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:06 p.m.

AG:

It's doubtful that the church would get a permit anyway, as Balboa Park is a municipal park, and Church and State issues would likely be brought up.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 4, 2009 @ 6:12 p.m.

It's doubtful that the church would get a permit anyway, as Balboa Park is a municipal park, and Church and State issues would likely be brought up.

I don't think so, this was not a relegious event. And even if it were as long as the muni does not discriminate in the granting of the permits then I don't see how there could be a problem.

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David Dodd Nov. 4, 2009 @ 6:26 p.m.

SP, if you read the article, they didn't even pass out the free stuff, they were busy praying and singing (I'm sure that the cops had better things to do than to break up a passing out of blankets and so on to the homeless, my guess is that it took them over an hour to respond). I have no issue with paying and singing, but if that's the core purpose of an event on non-private property, then it certainly violates the Church/State issue.

I mean, think about it, they had time to unload, time to pitch a large tarp, and so on. My guess is that it was a religous event, based on the article. Again, not that I have a problem with religous events, but it seems a tad disguised. Again, hand out the blankets, clothes, and food, and I very much doubt that the cops would have said a word.

It would be nice if there was a free park that was magically kept up with no funding at all (not private and not public), patrolled for free, and churches could hold revivals without permits, but unfortunately, this isn't the case.

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