• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

“And there are idiots who attack them. Now those guys are sicker than any homeless. They just want to kill somebody. So they pick on the homeless. ‘Who wants ’em? I’ll stab him or shoot him or pour gasoline on him and light it.’ That hasn’t happened too many times in this city, but it has happened. Some of that violence was probably over booze or dope, where the homeless got into conflicts among themselves. I remember a guy in Balboa Park a couple of years ago got stabbed over a cigarette.”

But in Johnson’s view, the homeless were not more dangerous than others. He believed that disrespectful behavior sometimes provoked conflict with them. “When asked for money,” he said, “someone will say, ‘Get away from me, tramp.’ Statements like that could set off someone who’s potentially violent, especially if they are bipolar.”

I told a story about an incident that happened years ago while I was on the town with a group of people. A filthy-looking man approached us and asked for spare change. The most professional man in our group reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked to be 15 pennies. He flung them on the ground before the man and walked on laughing.

“Yeah, stuff like that,” said Johnson, “you want to set off a potentially violent homeless guy, sneer at him with something like ‘Get a job, you bum.’ ”

I asked about the City Liquor House and its owners. “Oh, Chris and Adrianna are great people,” he said. “They don’t sell alcohol to anyone who looks too drunk.”

Back at the store, the couple’s nephew Ramiz told me he’s even tougher. “If some guys bought three beers an hour ago and they’re back in the store wanting more, I won’t sell to them.”

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


toshi Aug. 13, 2009 @ 12:08 p.m.

I walk by this area sometimes on my way to the park or on my way home from the park. Yes, there are quite a few homeless persons hanging around that liquor store, and the area appears quite shabby, particularly after dark, but I've never been bothered by anyone.


CrazyStupid Aug. 14, 2009 @ 10:33 a.m.

To the person who brought this problem to the report's attention: Thank you. Now, what solutions are you proposing?


Burwell Aug. 14, 2009 @ 10:39 p.m.

Authoritarian measures are required to deal with the homeless. They should be arrested and placed in government labor camps and forced to perform manual labor. Eight hours a day of back breaking labor excavating freeway grades and sewer ditches with picks and shovels would soon cure them of their craving for alcohol and drugs. Fresh air and hard labor is what the homeless need.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 14, 2009 @ 11:16 p.m.

I used to live 3 blocks off of Balboa Park at Laurel, and there were so many problems with the homeless and the druggies (at 3 AM), it was hard to deal with at times.


Fred Williams Aug. 15, 2009 @ 12:26 a.m.

Burwell doesn't go far enough. The only reasonable solution to homelessness is the death penalty.

God decides who wins or loses in this world, and if you're a loser who ends up homeless it's only because God doesn't love you. If, on the other hand, you're like Blackwater's Mr. Prince, a phenomenally wealthy REAL CHRISTIAN, God will shower money down upon you as a reward.

So anyone who finds themselves without shelter is CONDEMNED by God. It's only right and fitting that in a CHRISTIAN nation we eliminate these miscreants from our midst. After all, it's okay to drink wine (actually the blood of Jesus, hallelujah!) in church, but if you have a beer on the street you are scum.

Burwell, let's get together sometime soon and hunt down these sinners sleeping on the streets and douse them with gasoline. We can dance around the flames, praising the name of the Lord, knowing we have done the work of Jesus right here in San Diego.

Yes, it's not only a CRIME to be homeless, it's proof positive that you're a sinner who deserves the worst. Hardworking REAL CHRISTIANS cannot waste their time, money, or sympathy on such trash.

It's time to send a message to anyone thinking of moving onto the streets just because they lost their job, got ripped off by a mortgage broker, and cannot afford to pay their bills. The message is this: Anyone who fails in this world is unworthy of anything but DEATH.

Get off the streets or DIE you scum bags.

A REAL CHRISTIAN nation finds you disgusting, just like Jesus taught, and all of us will be first in line to throw our stones. The time you spend suffering on the streets is just a small taste of what is to come, because we all know that poor people have earned the displeasure of God and will burn in hell. When we set you on fire and and smile as you writhe and scream in agony, we're only doing what's right and just in this best of all possible worlds.


Rev. Dr. Fred "Hell Fire and Damnation" Williams


CrazyStupid Aug. 15, 2009 @ 10:01 a.m.

Wow. When Burwell and Williams die, who is going to be God's spoke persons here on Earth?


ElVinz Aug. 15, 2009 @ 12:29 p.m.

Burwell and Williams need to fact check. Being homeless is not illegal. As a matter of fact, a couple years ago, in order to deal with the homeless issue, which is a county issue, the county of San Diego, set a precedent that the county did not have to authority to make statutes involving state property. It is a municipal infraction for people to reside or sleep in public or private properties that they do own or that are not specifically designated for residence but this does not include state owned properties including state parks or other places like trolley stops etc. which are built on state owned property.

Furthermore, there are currently no programs for holding the homeless indenture and requiring them to perform hard labour in recompense for being a blight on the public. Many of them are the result of a financial measure put in place by Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California. In order to bring California out of bankruptcy, one solution he came up with was to evaluate the mentally ill who were in instututions at the expense of the California Welfare system. Those who were found not to be a danger to themselves or others were released and funding for the program was 86ed and re-appropriated to the bankruptcy issue. Where were they released to? To their sponsor, the state, the streets. Of course they gravitated to warmer climes and so to southern California they came.

And finally, the homeless proplem is a social problem. There is a separation of church and state so christian ethic is the last point of detail the government is going to take into consideration when, kicking around the idea of the mass murder of all AMERICAN CITIZENS who have chosen an unpopular lifestyle, is God. Especially when they have spent so much time and money on the court system to ensure the public doesn't just go around doing this on their own. And, understanding that I haven't read the bible recenty, but I'm pretty sure based on the last time I did read it, that God, in pretty much every religion I'm familiar with, frowns upon both murder, and intolerance for your fellow man.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 15, 2009 @ 4:28 p.m.

Burwell and Fred's sarcasm did not go over too good with ElVinz......

The law that was found to be unconstitutional (could not sleep/lodge in public), did not actually originate from San Diego, although San Diego area ACLU had a parallel lawsuit going the ruling came down on LA (county or city, cannot recall).

I agree that Raygun caused much of the homeless problem by stopping funding for the mental health care clinics, I do believe that was when he was President, not governor.


Burwell Aug. 15, 2009 @ 4:41 p.m.

Hard work is good in and of itself, as an end in itself, even if the work is performed without compensation. The genesis of homelessness is unchecked sloth and laziness. If this condition is left untreated over time, those who are prone to it ultimately wind up on the streets. Forced labor performed within the framework of a government labor camp will cure the homeless of their sloth and laziness, and enable them to once again become functioning members of society. It's much cheaper to house a homeless person in a tent at an outdoor labor camp than it is to pay him/her a monthly welfare stipend which is spent on drugs and alcohol. A society that allows homeless individuals to roam the streets unchecked has no conscience.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 15, 2009 @ 6:03 p.m.

The genesis of homelessness is unchecked sloth and laziness. If this condition is left untreated over time, those who are prone to it ultimately wind up on the streets.

By Burwell

Burwell, please tell me you're being sarcastic here.....PLEASE!!!


Fred Williams Aug. 15, 2009 @ 9:57 p.m.

ElVinz, I was being satirical.

Burwell, in German what you wrote can be summed up with the promise "Arbeit macht frei". Please tell me you're being satirical too...if not, read Ecclesiastes. It's a short little book in the Bible that makes it very clear that hard work DOES NOT guarantee success in life.

Quite the opposite, really, Burwell. Being homeless is unrelentingly difficult...perhaps the hardest work one can do outside a forced labor camp.

SurfPuppy, it was while Reagan was Governor that the California legislature failed to follow through and actually fund neighborhood-based mental health services. The result is as ElVinz describes.

I believe the unintentional genesis of this tragedy was the book and then movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". The depiction there of harmless eccentrics being imprisoned for their family's convenience was so strong that it led to major changes in attitudes and legislation. A sort of "live and let live" approach to the mentally ill, including a provision that anyone can check themselves out of a facility after just 48 hours, led to many mentally ill being put out on the streets.

Then it got worse. The criteria for involuntary commitment have become impossible to meet. To get a family member the help they need, you have to let them get so far down that they're nearly dead before the system will lift a finger. It's quite sad.

Here in the County of San Diego, the uber-Republican board of supervisors have made it even worse. They're so stingy with public benefits that getting mental health assistance is a futile waste of time. No matter how much you want help, you won't get it in San Diego. Instead, you'll be left on the streets, to be ticketed, arrested, and then victimized again in jail.

Meanwhile, the likes of Ron "Flying on Moores Jet" Roberts continue to hand out public cash to their pet organizations...the symphony has a higher priority than homeless services. In return, members of the board get flown away on luxury junkets at our expense.

Let's stop blaming the homeless for being down and out, especially when so many of them have serious mental health problems. They do NOT "deserve" their fate, unless you adhere to a delusional Calvinist world-view where everyone always gets justice in this world.

Yet even the Bible tells us, very, very clearly, that this has never been true at any time in human history, and it's certainly not true here in San Diego -- where the corrupt are rewarded for their crimes (John Moores, Susan Golding, Jack McGrory, Steve Peace, Jim Madaffer, et al.), and far too many of the hard working residents are one pay check away from begging on the streets.


antigeekess Aug. 15, 2009 @ 10:53 p.m.

The Bible also says something about casting pearls before swine, Fred. :)

"...if not, read Ecclesiastes. It's a short little book in the Bible that makes it very clear that hard work DOES NOT guarantee success in life."

Don't I know it?

"I believe the unintentional genesis of this tragedy was the book and then movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". The depiction there of harmless eccentrics being imprisoned for their family's convenience was so strong that it led to major changes in attitudes and legislation. A sort of "live and let live" approach to the mentally ill, including a provision that anyone can check themselves out of a facility after just 48 hours, led to many mentally ill being put out on the streets."

Lots worse things have been done to people, just for having a bit of personality, or not quite fitting in with the rest of the family. When Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver died this past week, I somehow ended up doing a little research about her sister Rosemary, who died in 2005. I thought I "knew" that Rosemary was "retarded." The truth is apparently a whole lot uglier. What a horrible crime they got away with.



Kesey's bunch in Cuckoo's Nest had it easy with Ratched.



Fred Williams Aug. 15, 2009 @ 11:21 p.m.

Anti, I'd gladly give you a pearl necklace...


I read that wikipedia article about Rosemary. Wow. Nice family, huh?

I recently saw a video lecture where it was pointed out that in most European languages "luck" and "happy" are the same word. Even in English, they started out that way, but were later separated through usage.

I think the original concept is more reflective of the truth. What we call happiness is frequently the result of blind luck, randomness, fortune, accident of birth...rarely do people get what they "deserve" in this world.

That's why the Calvinist mindset is so very wrong. The notion that there is a just God looking out for us is simply ridiculous.

Look at John Moores. He got his fortune by screwing investors in his companies, then screwing San Diego through bribery of politicians and his friendship with all the major media outlets in town. He's about the worst scum bag in all of California, and perhaps the nation. In a just world, he would be shackled naked in a public place so that every citizen of our city could humiliate and abuse him.

Instead, a lot of folks still think he's some kind of hero.

See? No justice in this world. Just the wealthy and powerful doing all they can to rip off the rest of us. John Moores is the rapist whispering in your ear about how much he loves you, and how sodomizing you is in your own best interests.

There will be no justice in our world so long as we've got cowards in positions of public responsibility who prefer to demonize mentally ill homeless people rather than go after the crooks like John Moores who have bankrupted this city. The politicians are so afraid of the money and power he wields that not a single one of our elected representatives have stated the simple and very obvious truth.

We got ripped off and we need our money back.

Instead we complain about a few unfortunates, usually mentally ill, who have little choice but to live on the streets. All the while, we continue to cut public services while giving John Moores tens of millions of our dollars EVERY YEAR to pay off the ballpark he demanded in exchange for his campaign contributions.


SDaniels Aug. 15, 2009 @ 11:44 p.m.

Too bad Freeman isn't still around to hand out free lobotomies...

While you're at the jewelry store, Fred, do you mind picking me up a tennis bracelet?


Fred Williams Aug. 16, 2009 @ 12:38 a.m.

Uh, Ms. Daniels, how does a tennis bracelet compare to a "pearl necklace"?...see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_necklace_(sexuality)

Barbara Bush, mother of George Jr. has a bit of a fetish for pearl necklaces...(type "barbara bush" into google images to see for yourself).

She's also the one who quipped that the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina were oh so lucky having lost their homes:

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

See: http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2005/09/08/barbara-bush-on-hurricane-katrina-refugees.htm

Which ties into the original point of this thread...rich people, born with a silver foot in their mouth, have no business pronouncing judgement on the down and out. When they do, it reveals just how undeserving the wealthy are of their enormous, often ill-gotten, privileges.


SDaniels Aug. 16, 2009 @ 2:48 a.m.

Preaching to the choir, Williams. Well! Didn't know I had to choose my jewels with a mind to tedious Republican symbology. I guess the tennis bracelet would be more Kennedy-esque?


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:08 a.m.

Anti, I'd gladly give you a pearl necklace...


By Fred_Williams

Hey Now-that's my online babe you're referring to.

No more of that or I will have to get tough with you Fred...........


antigeekess Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:19 a.m.

Daniels, I don't see why Fred and the mongrel don't get together and give them to each other and leave me out of it altogether.

They can be each other's BFFs (which in this case might stand for Body Fluid Festival), secret Santas and whatever else floats their respective boats.


Russ Lewis Aug. 16, 2009 @ 1:56 p.m.

Fumbler, baby!!! Where the hell you been?!? We can't just let Fred's comments go unchallenged!


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 16, 2009 @ 4:43 p.m.

Daniels, I don't see why Fred and the mongrel don't get together and give them to each other and leave me out of it altogether.

By antigeekess

Is that anyway to treat someone who just stuck their fur out for you?


SDaniels Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:08 p.m.

Clearly, there is no tennis bracelet in this for me.


antigeekess Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:40 p.m.

"Clearly, there is no tennis bracelet in this for me."

Is there ever?



SDaniels Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:03 a.m.

Uh, I just googled "pearl necklace." Disgusting, Fred!


antigeekess Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:22 a.m.

"Uh, I just googled "pearl necklace." Disgusting, Fred!"

Like, totally.

Can't believe you actually had to google it, Daniels. That's kinda cute. :)

I think most people from my era found out what that was when this came out:



SurfPuppy619 Aug. 17, 2009 @ 11:31 a.m.

Uh, I just googled "pearl necklace." Disgusting, Fred!

By SDaniels

LOL....(surfpuppy rolls eyes)........


thestoryteller Aug. 17, 2009 @ 3:45 p.m.

Sadly, it sounds like Escondido. My parents movedhere in 1971,because OCwas going to Hell. My daughter recently met a sailor from Bakersfield, stationed in Hawaii and he said,"You're from Esco? I won't even drive through the town!"

One night, a bum got between my car and me and demanded money. I ran passed him, unlocked the car door and letmy two big dogs take car of the problem.

Recently, I had to contact Big Lots and tell management that a bum camps out beside the door daily and I couldn't tolerate it. She's got a disgusting cart full of trash that she pushes around. Now she hangs at Wendy's and McDonald's.

They are disgusting. Many bipolar people aren't drunk or dirty or having sex on sidewalks. That's no excuse. I'm in favor of labor camps. Make them pay for disgusting the rest of us.


Fred Williams Aug. 17, 2009 @ 10:12 p.m.

Storyteller: "If you disgust me, you belong in a labor camp."

SDaniels: "Disgusting, Fred."

Therefore: Fred belongs in a labor camp.


Perhaps, after I complete my term of involuntary servitude breaking rocks in the hot sun, I'll learn to never joke again.

(*hangs head in shame, marches off quietly with the burly labor officers)


SDaniels Aug. 17, 2009 @ 10:25 p.m.

Well, if you put it that way, Fred...

Anti-g and I will bring you some nice feather pillows--and maybe a can of tar. :)


Fred Williams Aug. 17, 2009 @ 10:29 p.m.

Ya ever tried to break rocks in the hot sun when smeared in tar and covered in feathers?

Let me tell you, the tar gets all runny and the feathers really stink after a few days.


SDaniels Aug. 19, 2009 @ 12:12 a.m.

...which could keep the coyotes at bay while you're marching back to your bunk.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!