“A really aggressive homeless dude” was witnessed yelling and disrespecting a female city employee with “f-bombs” as she was working in the baseball field on September 12, according to Jeff Ray, a 50-year-old North Park resident.
An NBC San Diego news crew was in the same park “[but] was too far away for them to hear [him yell], 'Bitch, go back to Mexico!' He was relentlessly...screaming at her,” Ray said, “and she wasn’t even responding.”
Thirty minutes prior to the witnessed “verbal assault,” at about 10:00 a.m., Ray did an interview with the news crew about the North Park Community Park (by Howard Avenue and Idaho Street) — and its problems.
He said that last month homeless people in the playground told him (and his two toddlers) to leave.
“Last Friday [September 8] I brought my kids [to the park and] witnessed yet another incident,” Ray said, “this time involving domestic abuse…. That was the last straw [and I’m] not taking my kids back to that playground.”
Ray is a former professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He recently relocated here from the Bay Area. He said that he’s taking a year off to watch his twin 19-month-olds and that in the past ten times they’ve come by the park, on six of those occasions he noticed suspicious activity by people who appeared to be homeless.
“I’ve advocated for a homeless veteran [and other homeless individuals] before,” he said, “and I understand their plight.” After having kids though, he said his point of advocacy has changed. “You have less patience and you are protective of your kids,” he said. My love and my passion are for my kids [now].”
Later on September 12, this reporter asked a park staff member who was picking up trash about the screaming incident. He said he'd heard about it and that his colleague’s “feelings got hurt.” He said that the homeless situation in the park is getting worse and “and it’s hard for us to do our job.” He added that in the past year he’s found beer bottles, cigarette butts, and drug paraphernalia.
Ray said he found a syringe in the park on August 7.
“That comes with the demographic of type of people that hang out here,” Kerry said. She lives across the street from the playground.
Another lady who did not want to be identified has been coming to the park for about 15 years. “I was beaten up by another woman here,” she said. “The problems here are growing.”
“We are trying to keep this [park] a family place,” said the park staff member, “[and] parents complain…and they get cops coming by.”
During the interview sessions, cops in patrol vehicles were witnessed driving and parking on the grass of the park grounds. “But what are they going to do?” asked the lady who said she was beaten up. There were also between 20 and 30 adults sitting in the grass and park benches — with no kids in the vicinity.
“We have signed a petition [and] delivered [it] to [councilmember] Chris Ward’s office,” Ray posted on his social media. “Some of us have talked directly to Mr. Ward, including myself, all advocating for the North Park [Community Park] playground and the area around it to be a safe space for children. To no avail, nothing has changed.”