David Dodd 2:53 a.m., May 21
No Park Wants the Homeless or their Dogs
This afternoon, as I stepped out of the Pacific Beach Library, I saw two police officers writing tickets for a group of homeless young people. One man was being cited for having his small dog – it looked like a long-haired, black and white chihuahua mix – off leash. The man argued with the police officer because he felt the officer had wrongly sought him out for harassment. He and his group of friends were hanging out on the library lawn, a place where a variety of people come to enjoy the sun. His dog was in his lap. I doubted that this man, with all his worldly possessions packed in a duffle bag, owned a leash. I wanted to go out and get one for him. I thought about bring it back with some dog treats and healthy people snacks. Worried that the police would get them to decamp before I came back, my thoughts did not turn into action.
Still the sight of the police officer standing over this young man unsettled me. Like everyone else, I want to live in a place that is beautiful and safe. I want to enjoy our amazing weather and natural resources with friends and family. I believe in the importance of having places to play and come together. But I want all this without having to send people or animals away. Other bloggers have commented on how police officers treat the homeless in Pacific Beach. While I started blogging just to make an observation on the dog-loving members in our community, a bigger question now nags at me. How can we maintain beauty and order without turning a blind eye to the messy aspects of community? How can we create neighborhood that makes room to respect everyone's needs?