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A man calling himself "Mr. Watchdog" was escorted out of Carlsbad City Council chambers on June 22 after hurling expletives at the mayor and council members during public comment.

Mr. Watchdog was the first citizen to address the council. He claimed that Carlsbad police are harassing homeless people, especially those living in their vehicles. He asserted that police accuse the homeless of camping illegally when, in fact, they're trying to keep a roof over their heads.

"It's called housing...sheltering, living, surviving. What don't we get?" he yelled. He called the police department's behavior in dealing with the matter "despicable." He referred to an incident in which he witnessed police officers ticket a couple that was living in an RV with their children.

Mr. Watchdog didn't get much further on this point after saying the policing approach was "bullsh-t." Mayor Claude "Bud" Lewis interrupted. A courtroom officer approached the speaker and stood next to him. "I have three minutes. What is this? Show me the law that says cussing is illegal," he yelled as the officer escorted him out. "You're done," said Lewis, to which Mr. Watchdog responded, "Okay, another lawsuit. Thank you." As he was led out, he said "f--- you" multiple times.

The next speaker commended the council’s efforts to address unpermitted RV parking. He called the prevention of RV parking on Carlsbad Boulevard north of Tamarack "a step in the right direction." Gesturing toward the exit, he said that Mr. Watchdog was an example of the type of people camping overnight on Carlsbad streets.

According to the Carlsbad Police Department, an outside company handles traffic and parking violations and therefore has no statistics or records on how many people have been cited or ticketed for overnight parking.

Police sirens could be heard from within the chambers, but according to a follow-up with police, Mr. Watchdog was not arrested.

Update: In a follow-up interview, "Mr. Watchdog" said he's not homeless, has been involved with the ACLU for seven years, and is recruiting people to speak up at the Carlsbad City Council meetings, at which he will present himself each week they are in session (unless he is barred altogether). He thinks the permit requirement could be good if it's a nominal fee. He plans to sue for being thrown out of the meeting.

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Comments

CuddleFish June 24, 2010 @ 10:24 a.m.

You act stupid, people are going to treat you stupid.

San Diego had to crack down on RVs as well; basically, the ones on the street were being used as brothels and drug dens. Where they are on properties, they are being illegally rented out. I have had two RVs on the property next to mine, with the new owner there's only one, plus the outside shed where people are living. It is what it is.

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ 10:32 a.m.

Mr. Watchdog needs to travel south and park his rig at Mission Bay Park with the others which include a large semi with the message on its side saying that "Jesus in not a swear word." City staff and SDPD ignore the campers on a regular basis.

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OBDave June 24, 2010 @ 11:16 a.m.

There's plenty of long-term RV dwellers still around in my San Diego neighborhood. The majority of them I have no issue with.

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ 11:20 a.m.

From what SDPD has indicated to citizens, some, but not all, RV's are being used for criminal activities such as prostitution and drug sales. I believe Councilmember Ben Hueso made some statements about the RV's in this district being part of this scenario.

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

what about the bumper stickers in OB that say "please don't feed our bums"

that guy who owns Blacks is making a fortune with the sales of "DON'T FEED" material

maybe he should use part of the profit to help the homeless who r wandering around hungry there

i don't kick stray hungry dogs...tho many do...these "DON'T FEED" items r basically saying mistreat the strays in our society

the RV brothels/drug dens etc r a different situation

if that's what going on they should move on

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 11:31 a.m.

but the poor who have little but cars or RVs to live in should be treated with some fairness considering they r one step away from a cardboard box

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ 11:40 a.m.

The dilemma is how to distinguish between the criminal activity associated with some RV's and the others which may only be socially annoying to some. The dumping of raw sewage which does occur from some of these RV's is a health hazard. More and more people are living in substandard situations because of poverty and not out of choice. Still the fight to locate a year round homeless shelter goes on and on and on in San Diego. A good example of something working for the homeless is the Vietnam Veterans Village on Pacific Highway.

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MsGrant June 24, 2010 @ 11:53 a.m.

I am with nan that the criminalization of homelessness is wrong. These people do not have the money to pay these tickets, which only escalate to fines and court appearances, which if missed, result in jail time and the impounding of your vehicle, which might be the only shelter these poor people possess. I did an escrow for a couple that had purchased a nice condo in Coronado in 2006. By 2009, he had gotten sick, their adjustable rate mortgage had soared into the stratosphere, she lost her job, they were living in their RV and they were short-selling the condo. I could barely reach them for paperwork, and when I finally got in touch with them and had them come to my office, they were living in the parking lot of the company that sold them the RV, because the RV had broken down, and the manufacturer of their RV was out of business and they could not get parts. The owners of the lot took pity on them, because of their horrible circumstances. They had no where to go, because they had tried to park around San Diego and were constantly being harassed. This happened in a three year span. They went from gainfully employed homeowners to homeless. This was my first real experience with people who did everything right and still, due to poor luck, wound up on the streets. It chilled me to the bone. This could happen to ANY of us. Compassion - not punishment.

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ 11:59 a.m.

I think there is confusion here between homeless who are not criminals and those who use RV's for criminal enterprise. It is a dilemma for the police and citizens alike which bespeaks the need for a year round homeless shelter. Father Joe does much good work in this area and helps families get back on their feet with shelter as well as job training. However, there will always remain people who, for one reason or another, will not be sheltered and helped. Then the whole problem of the homeless who are mentally ill surfaces. When the so called "safety net" for the most unfortunate was dropped under Ronald Reagan, the problems increased.

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ noon

If anyone wants to assist homeless women, contribute to The Tomorrow Project.

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CuddleFish June 24, 2010 @ 12:57 p.m.

Ticketing RVs is just dealing with the surface nuisance: The RVs that are being used for prostitution and for drugs ought to be impounded, sure, however the people using those RVs need to have some outreach, or diverted into drug court or mental health services or whatever else they need to deal with the core issues.

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 1:11 p.m.

thx Grantie for showing so thoughtfully the other side of homelessness..i have a very sweet neighbor who became an insulin dependent diabetic and lost his job as a long haul trucker

he and his wife r now both disabled (she has been for a very long time)...Soc Soc took away $200 from her check and of course his $60,000 yearly income is long gone

this happened 2 years after they purchased a $80,000 mobile home which they can no longer (due to circumstances) pay the mortgage on

they had put $30,000 dollar down on it and will probably lose it now

er...um...do u think i could win the lottery for them????

she's such a sweet neighbor...got any idea how the home can be saved

i thought about declared homestead

would that if nothing else return their down to them if the financiers sold it????

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 1:23 p.m.

agreed Cuddles...and thx for the FYI on charitable institutions that need our help to help others Grasca

and i need to check out that Vietnam Vets Village

my sis is in many ways homeless off and on due to her schizophrenia...she's living with me now and it's my hope she will stay...in the past her brain grooves take her away from the safe and loving care of close relatives...as she wanders out into the city to find something she likes better

she out somewhere today..when the sun goes down we'll see if she decides returns

Reagan is a dirty word in our family

where mental disease is concern there r no perfect solutions

she no matter how unrealistic her decisions r concerned have to be honored

if sleeping under a bridge is a decision she makes...when a lovely safe welcoming home and bedroom of her own is available...then the bridge wins out

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MsGrant June 24, 2010 @ 2:05 p.m.

Can't homestead an RV, nan. It's not considered real property being that it is not affixed, and it is registered with the DMV, rather than the county. Homesteads don't really work anymore, anyway. Lenders won't allow a homestead on a property to transfer and if you try to put one on after you close the title company won't acknowledge it because it was not an approved item at closing. The homestead laws really aren't necessary anymore because debt collectors cannot take your property, other than the lender. They can file a lien, but won't get paid unless you sell. Back in the old days, homesteads could protect your equity up to a certain amount. Regarding them being able to recoup their down, only if the finance company can sell it for more than what is owed on it and cover their loan and any fees. They may want to try to sell it outright before the dealer repossesses, but they have to pay the loan off when they do or they can't transfer title. It's just awful. Where do people turn?

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ayschucks June 24, 2010 @ 2:33 p.m.

So there are two separate issues that seem to be lumped together in this article by both the Mr. Watchdog and the author.

Yes Carlsbad police notoriously harass the homeless, I have witnessed and intervened on numerous occasions, usually because police try to press loitering as the violation,

However the second part of the article regarding RVs is being taken completely out of context. Recent efforts by the city and police to work together to ticket or reign in Recreational Vehicles is not based on the homeless.

Along Carlsbad Blvd or the 101 for those of you unfamiliar with CBad's hubris issues, is a common place for large expensive RV's to take up residence on warm summer days, spawning lawn chairs and setups along the walking paths between Carlsbad Village Dr and Cannon.

The large expensive toys often occupy the equivalent of more than 2 cars, sometimes 3. As parking has become a scarcity, it has been an outcry of citizens to put restrictions on how long these RV's can park here. Vehicles are now forced to park in the Tamarack lot which has or is becoming paid parking. These RV's don't just come alone. These beasts are often accompanied with towed vehicles or golf-carts so that bumbling beach goers can travel across the city to homes or businesses, leaving the RV to occupy 2 or 3 spaces.

With the proximity to so many great and inexpensive camping locations nearby, it has become an issue. Unfortunately in this mix are a smattering of people who are truly living out of these RVs and trailers. However the distinction I would like to point out, is that none of the proposed changes against parking enforcement, seem to be aimed at residential neighborhoods but simply the beach areas which are packed all summer long with travelers who provide revenues to the city.

I am not suggesting that those people who have resorted to living in an RV are less deserving of access to these pristine beaches, just that options are available to all users of the beaches to park in other areas and respectfully share this natural resource.

Of course I do clearly agree that the Carlsbad Police department seems to target the homeless and less fortunate which is not a reflection of the generous and kind nature of this town that I have called home for 25 years of my life.

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m.

thx Chuck...now even more is understood...i do think the RV's that r taking up legitimate parking spaces should be ticketed

each comment enlightens us even more

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thestoryteller June 24, 2010 @ 8:58 p.m.

There has been a homeless guy in my neighborhood for a couple of years. He staggers around drunk, and one time got between me and my car in the parking lot at 7-ll late one night. He insisted I "donate to his charity." He left when he saw my dogs.

He panhandles on the center divide and comes up to my window and talks through the window. He staggers around drunk in Albertson's on West Valley Parkway.

Losing your job is one thing, but the jerk that stagger around the streets of Del Dios is a menance, and so is a menatlly ill guy that wears women's shoes and short shorts. They are a threat to public safety and I support Black's 100 percent. In fact, the stickers are on back-order now, but I'll buy them when they come in.

Maybe the Del Dios bum will get the hint, and quit sticking his head in my window.

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