Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Aggressive transients put Ocean Beach on edge

This is my sidewalk!

Ocean Beach, Saratoga Park, May 13, 2016
Ocean Beach, Saratoga Park, May 13, 2016

On April 29, Blair Aeria’s father was doing what he does several times a week, spending time with his two grandchildren, aged one and three, at Cleator Community Park in Ocean Beach.

“My dad had been there for about an hour,” said Aeria on May 10, “when a short woman in her mid-20s, head half shaved, asked my dad for water. When he said he didn’t have any, she lunged toward him and declared it was her sidewalk and he wouldn’t like what happened if he tried to go past her. Words were exchanged and she eventually walked away.

“My dad is in his 70s and was very upset because he thought he might have to fight to protect his granddaughters. The worst part now is that my eldest daughter tells me that Papi can’t come over anymore because the lady is going to get him.”

On April 21, Dawn Thompson was at a convenience store on Midway Drive picking up a few things. “I saw this big bearded guy walk into the store, grab a cup, pour himself a beer, and drink it down,” said Thompson on May 6. “When one of the female clerks said something, he swung at her. He only missed because she was short. He was so casual about it, he walked out the door like it was nothing.”

Self-defense class in O.B.

On April 29, Melanie Laine Williams was walking down Voltaire on her way to Mother’s Saloon. “This guy was shouting at me on the street. I didn’t really look at him,” said Williams. “He started running after me and hit me as hard as he could across my butt. I told him that he should stop and then turned and walked away. It wasn’t until I met my friends and sat down that I realized I had been hurt. This is why I started co-hosting a self-defense class every Saturday.”

Six months ago, Peter Evering was grabbing a pizza on Newport. “I saw this guy walking down the street telling a young transient to stop begging,” said Evering on May 10. “The next thing I know, the transient followed the guy into the pizza place and stabbed him. That was by far the worst incident I’ve witnessed in O.B. or Point Loma.”

On May 5, Gareth Michael Brown started a petition. “I haven’t had any bad experiences myself,” Brown said on May 8, “but I’ve talked to enough girls to know how bad it’s become. I have compassion for the homeless, but no one should have to avoid certain streets because of them. If we can get 1000 signatures, maybe we can get some political will to do something.”

Donna Cleary from councilmember Lorie Zapf’s office took some time out from budgetary meetings to talk about recent forums (April 28 at the Pacific Beach Taylor Library and May 6 at the Dana Hotel on Mission Bay) that focused on the aggressive transients in Zapf’s district.

Forum to address aggressive transients problem in O.B., April 2

“The meetings came about for a couple of reasons. First off, our office received more than 100 calls and emails about it recently,” said Cleary on May 9. “Councilmember Zapf also saw a story about a homeless man that said he was afraid for his own life because of aggressive transients. The first forum brought together the community, the city attorney’s office, the police, and community leaders.”

Cleary said that every facet of the issue was discussed at that first forum — everyone from law enforcement to local church groups had a chance to be heard.

Median panhandling, at-risk tourism dollars, transient trespassers, and the inventorying of transient belongings were among the issues discussed.

“There are substantial hazards related to panhandling on traffic medians,” said Zapf on May 13. “There are also serious negative impacts on tourism due to the lawless behavior of the aggressive transients....

“These problems impose significant burdens on our police officers, particularly since the courts have imposed restrictions on the manner in which police catalogue transient belongings. This requirement can take officers away from important crime-fighting efforts in our neighborhoods for sometimes up to eight hours or more.”

“An easy way to protect against trespassing is to fill out a Letter of Agency,” said Cleary. “This is especially prudent for vacant lots where transients gather, as it allows the police to enforce violations that otherwise would need a witness.”

As far as what is most urgent to address in 2016, Cleary said, “We need to fix Proposition 47 because it’s tying officers’ hands. It changed felonies to misdemeanors which means that someone can steal near $1000 a day and not go to jail.”

When it comes to medians and Proposition 47, Matthew Kalla from the Point Loma Chamber of Commerce couldn’t agree more, “We are now giving out tickets instead of charging felonies,” said Kalla on May 10. “Other cities have ordinances about cardboard signs on medians. Imperial Beach has done a tremendous job dealing with their homeless. Part of our problem is that we have limited resources and our infrastructure is really bad. All of those images on social media of aggressive transients defacing things or declarations of families not feeling safe on our beaches are bad for business.”

SDPD interview homeless on median near entrance to Ocean Beach, May 7

To local businesses, especially those in beach areas, tourist dollars are king. Kerri Kapich from the San Diego Tourism Authority said on May 10, “I’m concerned about overall homelessness in the region as well as the aggressive behavior. We don’t want to do anything to deter people from visiting San Diego. So far, we aren’t hearing a large-scale concern, though sometimes we’re the last to know. We’ve been trying to partner with the city to work together on the problem.”

According to executive director Dolores Diaz on May 11, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless does not do on-the-ground outreach in Ocean Beach or Point Loma. Though, they were out in full-force to count the homeless in January.

Kelsey Kaline of the task force said about the count, “In Ocean Beach, there was a decrease of 55.60 percent from last year [down to 166 from 373 individuals]. In Point Loma, there was an increase of [nearly 1000] percent [up to 126 from 13 individuals].” Kaline said the majority in both areas were living in vehicles.

Dave is a young man who has been homeless for about a year in Ocean Beach. Back in May, he gave me his take on the situation:

“I’ve seen a couple of aggressive homeless guys over in Point Loma. I’ve also seen the cops getting a little aggressive. Just this morning, I gave a friend’s daughter a ride to O.B. Elementary and saw some cops dealing with some homeless people; one guy was on the ground.”

What would Dave like to see change in Ocean Beach?

“I don’t see any shelters here,” said Dave. “If there was one, some of the old-timers might get off the street.”

Dave said he makes the effort to talk to a couple transients every day.

“Today, I talked to George. He’s in his mid 60s and been in O.B. for ten years. He said he’s visited shelters before but won’t do it again because he likes to be by himself and doesn’t like how they treat him. He doesn’t feel that the programs help people progress, just survive. He said the community gives him some small jobs here and there and sometimes food. He likes O.B. and doesn’t feel hassled by many. He said he would love to go back to his job being a logger but can’t because of physical limitations.”

“I also talked to Bernie,” said Dave. “He’s in his 70s and been in O.B. for eight years. He said he’s lived in shelters before but won’t do it again because they’re in bad locations. He said he prefers to do his own thing and read books. He says that he’s invisible, so people leave him alone and don’t hassle him at all.”

Neither Bernie, George, nor Dave were counted in January.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Anne Bradstreet: the first writer in North America to be published

The first poet of importance in the American literary tradition
Next Article

Puerto’s “Lineas” is worthy of active listening

“The instrumental suite pays homage to the happiness that creativity grants an individual”
Ocean Beach, Saratoga Park, May 13, 2016
Ocean Beach, Saratoga Park, May 13, 2016

On April 29, Blair Aeria’s father was doing what he does several times a week, spending time with his two grandchildren, aged one and three, at Cleator Community Park in Ocean Beach.

“My dad had been there for about an hour,” said Aeria on May 10, “when a short woman in her mid-20s, head half shaved, asked my dad for water. When he said he didn’t have any, she lunged toward him and declared it was her sidewalk and he wouldn’t like what happened if he tried to go past her. Words were exchanged and she eventually walked away.

“My dad is in his 70s and was very upset because he thought he might have to fight to protect his granddaughters. The worst part now is that my eldest daughter tells me that Papi can’t come over anymore because the lady is going to get him.”

On April 21, Dawn Thompson was at a convenience store on Midway Drive picking up a few things. “I saw this big bearded guy walk into the store, grab a cup, pour himself a beer, and drink it down,” said Thompson on May 6. “When one of the female clerks said something, he swung at her. He only missed because she was short. He was so casual about it, he walked out the door like it was nothing.”

Self-defense class in O.B.

On April 29, Melanie Laine Williams was walking down Voltaire on her way to Mother’s Saloon. “This guy was shouting at me on the street. I didn’t really look at him,” said Williams. “He started running after me and hit me as hard as he could across my butt. I told him that he should stop and then turned and walked away. It wasn’t until I met my friends and sat down that I realized I had been hurt. This is why I started co-hosting a self-defense class every Saturday.”

Six months ago, Peter Evering was grabbing a pizza on Newport. “I saw this guy walking down the street telling a young transient to stop begging,” said Evering on May 10. “The next thing I know, the transient followed the guy into the pizza place and stabbed him. That was by far the worst incident I’ve witnessed in O.B. or Point Loma.”

On May 5, Gareth Michael Brown started a petition. “I haven’t had any bad experiences myself,” Brown said on May 8, “but I’ve talked to enough girls to know how bad it’s become. I have compassion for the homeless, but no one should have to avoid certain streets because of them. If we can get 1000 signatures, maybe we can get some political will to do something.”

Donna Cleary from councilmember Lorie Zapf’s office took some time out from budgetary meetings to talk about recent forums (April 28 at the Pacific Beach Taylor Library and May 6 at the Dana Hotel on Mission Bay) that focused on the aggressive transients in Zapf’s district.

Forum to address aggressive transients problem in O.B., April 2

“The meetings came about for a couple of reasons. First off, our office received more than 100 calls and emails about it recently,” said Cleary on May 9. “Councilmember Zapf also saw a story about a homeless man that said he was afraid for his own life because of aggressive transients. The first forum brought together the community, the city attorney’s office, the police, and community leaders.”

Cleary said that every facet of the issue was discussed at that first forum — everyone from law enforcement to local church groups had a chance to be heard.

Median panhandling, at-risk tourism dollars, transient trespassers, and the inventorying of transient belongings were among the issues discussed.

“There are substantial hazards related to panhandling on traffic medians,” said Zapf on May 13. “There are also serious negative impacts on tourism due to the lawless behavior of the aggressive transients....

“These problems impose significant burdens on our police officers, particularly since the courts have imposed restrictions on the manner in which police catalogue transient belongings. This requirement can take officers away from important crime-fighting efforts in our neighborhoods for sometimes up to eight hours or more.”

“An easy way to protect against trespassing is to fill out a Letter of Agency,” said Cleary. “This is especially prudent for vacant lots where transients gather, as it allows the police to enforce violations that otherwise would need a witness.”

As far as what is most urgent to address in 2016, Cleary said, “We need to fix Proposition 47 because it’s tying officers’ hands. It changed felonies to misdemeanors which means that someone can steal near $1000 a day and not go to jail.”

When it comes to medians and Proposition 47, Matthew Kalla from the Point Loma Chamber of Commerce couldn’t agree more, “We are now giving out tickets instead of charging felonies,” said Kalla on May 10. “Other cities have ordinances about cardboard signs on medians. Imperial Beach has done a tremendous job dealing with their homeless. Part of our problem is that we have limited resources and our infrastructure is really bad. All of those images on social media of aggressive transients defacing things or declarations of families not feeling safe on our beaches are bad for business.”

SDPD interview homeless on median near entrance to Ocean Beach, May 7

To local businesses, especially those in beach areas, tourist dollars are king. Kerri Kapich from the San Diego Tourism Authority said on May 10, “I’m concerned about overall homelessness in the region as well as the aggressive behavior. We don’t want to do anything to deter people from visiting San Diego. So far, we aren’t hearing a large-scale concern, though sometimes we’re the last to know. We’ve been trying to partner with the city to work together on the problem.”

According to executive director Dolores Diaz on May 11, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless does not do on-the-ground outreach in Ocean Beach or Point Loma. Though, they were out in full-force to count the homeless in January.

Kelsey Kaline of the task force said about the count, “In Ocean Beach, there was a decrease of 55.60 percent from last year [down to 166 from 373 individuals]. In Point Loma, there was an increase of [nearly 1000] percent [up to 126 from 13 individuals].” Kaline said the majority in both areas were living in vehicles.

Dave is a young man who has been homeless for about a year in Ocean Beach. Back in May, he gave me his take on the situation:

“I’ve seen a couple of aggressive homeless guys over in Point Loma. I’ve also seen the cops getting a little aggressive. Just this morning, I gave a friend’s daughter a ride to O.B. Elementary and saw some cops dealing with some homeless people; one guy was on the ground.”

What would Dave like to see change in Ocean Beach?

“I don’t see any shelters here,” said Dave. “If there was one, some of the old-timers might get off the street.”

Dave said he makes the effort to talk to a couple transients every day.

“Today, I talked to George. He’s in his mid 60s and been in O.B. for ten years. He said he’s visited shelters before but won’t do it again because he likes to be by himself and doesn’t like how they treat him. He doesn’t feel that the programs help people progress, just survive. He said the community gives him some small jobs here and there and sometimes food. He likes O.B. and doesn’t feel hassled by many. He said he would love to go back to his job being a logger but can’t because of physical limitations.”

“I also talked to Bernie,” said Dave. “He’s in his 70s and been in O.B. for eight years. He said he’s lived in shelters before but won’t do it again because they’re in bad locations. He said he prefers to do his own thing and read books. He says that he’s invisible, so people leave him alone and don’t hassle him at all.”

Neither Bernie, George, nor Dave were counted in January.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

First Cow: mooving picture

Carve out a culinary slice of the American dream
Next Article

If sci-fi glam really makes a comeback, UNI will rule them all

Big changes for little band may put them at the head of the class of 2020
Comments
17

Well when you have politicians like Todd Gloria and Toni Atkins demanding that SD be the go-to destination for the nation's homeless, you're going to get these side effects.

July 6, 2016

Feel free to cite your source for this. And the voices in your head don't count.

July 6, 2016

File a police report on anybody who assaults anyone and hope they get picked up. Street cleaning.

July 6, 2016

When/if curbing this behavior becomes a priority for the SDPD, the picture will improve greatly. Isn't the motto of the PD, "To Protect and to Serve?" (I'm sure it is, because I recall that it was borrowed from the LAPD.) SD residents are always being told by the power structure what a great job their police force is doing. This column points out that it ain't so good in OB, at least. More cops on the beat--how about some foot patrol beats in OB?--is a partial answer. These aggressive ones feel safe from consequences.

It is amusing that Zapf mentions that the panhandlers and others are offending tourists. Have to do something about that, don't we? Can't have the tourists unhappy. Forget the local residents; they can fend for themselves. But as taxpayers they think they should be free from aggression in the 'hood.

July 6, 2016

"Isn't the motto of the PD, "To Protect and to Serve?" (I'm sure it is, because I recall that it was borrowed from the LAPD.)"

It is their motto now. But for decades the SDPD motto was "Your Protection, Is Our Business." But too many times, those motto's on the side of patrol cars were more accurately modified with some white paint to read "our Protection, Is Our Business." Maybe they should go back to the old motto, it was more truthful.

July 6, 2016

Well this story will justify burning a couple of more homeless people. Chances are one of them will be a veteran.

Shame.

July 6, 2016

Michael Valentine - I have been trying to figure where this maniac serial killer is from. Veterans come here the weekend of the 17th from all over the country for Stand Down. Same weekend for Gay Pride this year. Can't understand what's happening.

July 6, 2016

The shame is that our country, our governments, have the resources to help these people. Many are vets, others need a hand up, not a hand out. What angers me is we are bringing over people from the middle east and treating them better. Giving them shelter and food, while our natives rot in the gutters of our cities. Something is wrong with this picture. Why are people from nations that marry their women off at age 10, behead people in public, burn the American flag, and generally hate us... invited here to live in El Cajon or Detroit because their own societies can't get along or get their shit together? No more refugees until our own citizens have warm beds and hot meals. Enough of this insanity.

July 6, 2016

Hey Ponzi, American taxpayers have poured over a Trillion $ dollars at this issue since the Great Society. You can't solve it with more money.

July 6, 2016

Any links or just off the top of your empty head?

July 6, 2016

I agree with Ponzi 100%.

July 6, 2016

This is what happens when liberals run the show. Keep up the good work. Lawless societies have always worked well.

July 7, 2016

When you feed a stray dog you get more stray dogs. OB is a magnet for dirt bag homeless as drugs and alcohol are plentiful. OB tolerates and some residents encourage the homeless. Most are druggies and bums interested in getting their next fix. Petty crime is rampant.

July 8, 2016

Have never been to OB, and never plan to go there.

July 8, 2016

So the Police don't have time to protect you, and your Sheriff denies you your right to carry a concealed weapon. Sucks to be a citiot. Move or vote for real change

July 8, 2016

With a serial killer on the loose, the homeless are going to get lots of sympathy and the do-gooder types from the Alpha Project and Father Joe's and whatever are going to get lots of ink. However, this article more accurately reflects the day to day for your average San Diegan, and what we have to put up with, than anything you hear from the junkie enablers. I wish there more of these, and less about some suburban church group coming and making themselves feel good while leaving lots of trash in our neighborhoods. And I'm glad to see a fair amount of coverage recently where some homeless admit they've been that way for ten years. It puts the lie to the "if only we just provided housing and services" argument.

The serial killer is probably one of these aggressive transients. That was the case with the first suspect, anyway (he's been released). Whoever he/she is, hope they get them soon. Too many homeless is bad, but someone killing people is worse.

July 11, 2016

Ocean Beach is just a drive by for commercial airlines and the San Diego police. Baghdad car patrol.

The cops don't even stop to eat in OB. Coffee and donuts while steering and peering at the freaks. "Taxi driver" in black and whites.. No visual police street presents in OB, except, perhaps presents for that same group of “taxi drivers" constantly congregating outside two local stores laden with bottled beer and liquor for sale.

Street present are the crusty winos. Cardboard mats, cardboard colored beer bags, cardboard colored clothing, cardboard colored hair, skin, sand and lovers. Fashion by ‘ beersun&wind’. Toothless mouths squirt saliva and alcoholic juiced slang when probing for spare change and romance. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

July 20, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close