Ted Burke 1 p.m., May 27
"Hi, Guys. David Ross. Okay, Carl, are we ready to go, big guy? Hey, Tony, Mister Presidente!" David Ross is at the podium addressing the San Diego City Counsel, as he has regularly in recent years, always reminding the council, some of whom have become friends of sorts, that his presence is not going away.
"I see we have the photograph of the storage bins, which we put up February 3. Guys, remember, please now, this facility holds 321 storage bins which weigh about 300 pounds apiece with stuff that is not on the city streets. It's amazing. This was done as a result of litigation, not compassion or determination. I'm not boring you, am I? I'm just kidding, a little schtick."
Ross is addressing one of the members, whose eyes have not lifted from his laptop screen once, as a parade of citizens have stepped up to the podium, having waited their turn and are allotted only three minutes each to say their piece.
Computer screens are a pet peeve of Ross, a case manager for 11 years at Saint Vincent's Paul Mirabile Center. Ross's controversial parting of the ways had much to do with staff members and case workers at the shelter rarely looking up from screens at their clients. Ross was expected to do the same -- at least pay more attention to the paper/computer work than engage with actual clients, the often psycho/socially dysfunctional or possibly just unfortunate but all of them homeless.
"Thank you for finding the money for the Neil Goode Center, by the way. And by the way, Laurie, I can relate to your background, and I'm proud of you; the whole foster-family thing and juvenile delinquent thing, the orphan thing. I've been there, like you, and I don’t know if this is a good thing: you went on to become a politician, and I became a car dealer. So, somehow, man, we need to talk. Hah hah!"
Ross's laughter is genuine, and many of the councilmen are visibly relaxed, either smiling or laughing themselves. One might expect Ross to loosen the collar on his tennis togs, mop his forehead, and say, "But seriously folks…" And Ross is indeed serious.
More like this:
- Anatomy of a Good Idea: the Water Man Check-In Center — Aug. 10, 2011
- The Waterman Wins One — June 8, 2011
- Down, Then Out — May 24, 2007
- “Look, I’m saving your little teeth this year, maybe saving you from freaking diabetes.” — Oct. 26, 2006
- He Loves the People No One Wants — Oct. 5, 2006