That was in December of 1986; first time here and I knew I was home. I still get that exact same feeling going down that exact same road, and I’ve lived here the majority of the time since that original sighting. It’s where the cool ocean breeze begins as I am heading west. Not of much importance in May but wait until August when the hot, dry afternoon downtown air meets our ocean breeze. Cool breeze always wins.
The ocean would put me gently to sleep; would wake me gently in the morning. And to make it even better, Tuba Man’s Early Morning Spirits opened early and stayed open late and was only a short path and a parking lot away from my first apartment.
Newport Avenue was my Disneyland.
But drinking alcohol, one of my favorite things to do, destroyed this and many other of my worlds. This was the world in which the residents rose up to help me. This was the community I didn’t run away from in shame. I joined a group of sober drunks that had a plan to get me sober and keep me sober. They got the first part right off the bat.
It took them 17 years on the second part. I guess they just couldn’t get it right. Some were very tired of my routine and I was disliked by some, but none of them ever turned their back on me. I now have 14 1/2 years without a sip of alcohol, and without any of the hard drugs available, first day: Sept. 4, 2003.
I owe every last bit of it to the community of Ocean Beach. I could not have done this without the support and direction of my neighbors. I was on the streets and alleys and parks and beaches of Ocean Beach, intermittently, houses and apartments, occasionally, all that time. I never, ever, ever lost your support.
The people didn’t all support me. There was a group that found me sleeping and beat me up with a baseball bat and jack boots. It takes all kinds to make up a community.
That’s how we’ve always done things in Ocean Beach. “U.S. OUT OF O.B.” Remember one of our favorite bumper stickers when we still had bumpers? It didn’t necessarily mean we didn’t like the federal government, just that that wasn’t how we handled things in Ocean Beach. It meant we in Ocean Beach took care of our own.
The federal government wears elephant shoes. They don’t work in a finesse situation or in a flexible manner. We handle our own. I propose a new bumper sticker for our bumperless cars, which reads, “U.S. OUT OF O.B.” “UNLESS YOU’RE HERE TO WATCH.”
You have proven that to me through all your years of support.
We have an influential force in our community that, for purposes of self-advancement and greed, has decided to eradicate the homeless population from Ocean Beach. It is at work, literally, by putting fear and fear-based hatred into the minds of the renters and homeowners of Ocean Beach specifically against our homeless neighbors and visitors. They attack the churches that feed and console the homeless, among others, to achieve this end. It’s quite a mess.
I have recently received a list of 14 concerns our indoor neighbors have about the homeless receiving food and small necessary requirements for hygiene and survival from the local churches. Within three days seven of the 14 items had been solved using the homeless population to provide the solution.
Without bureaucracy. Without committee. Without outside organization. Without support. We, some of the homeless population of 92107 have taken upon ourselves to clean up and help mentor those of the community unable or unwilling or too forgetful to understand we are living in a community. We are going out, as your homeless neighbors, and picking up the trash in the neighborhoods surrounding every church support for the homeless. Seven out of 14 items in three days. The bureaucrats are still figuring out the seating arrangements. Heck with that. Americans roll up their sleeves and get to work. We did.
We have a comprehensive package of solutions that are “win situations” for the shops and businesses, win situations for the neighborhoods and indoor neighbors, and a win situation for the homeless.
Even the tourists are rewarded and can take home a message of hope and photos from their phones brought to them by Qualcomm, to their community, about the beach community that is solving the same problem the tourists are having at home.
And Ocean Beach is prime to lead this message.
I don’t believe it could start anywhere else but, once started, would sweep through the beach communities to the north (Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla?). It could be a force to reckon with sweeping through Normal Heights, North Park, Golden Hill, Mid-City. You get it. It could spread to other nearby cities, on and on and on. Why would I think this, you ask? “Because we’re Ocean Beach!” I calmly answer. “It’s what we do.”
Ask the questions.
We have the answers.
The number of special interest groups, with their own fingers in the pies of hatred and fear, the amount of pressure on my churches, the outrageously idiotic attempts to steal the plan once put into action, the threats and attempts to quash a “homeless-assisted solution” all factor in to proceeding without their help and relying on the individual and family members of 92107 to pull together and get this done. It’s too easy, too much fun, the rewards are great and easily attainable, there is no down-side in this attempt.
And we have Phases II through V, ready to roll. The only thing that will slow us down would be lack of momentum, and we don’t have any of that. We need you. And you’d have fun. And you’d make new friends and see old ones while helping your community. And, please.
Please remember, what got us here can’t get us there. It can only return us to here. And “here” has taken us to a fear and fear-based hatred that can only end badly.
Let’s meet on the beach just southerly of Dog Beach, northerly quadrant of Ocean Beach.
Let’s talk it out.
Let’s figure it out.
Let’s do it.
Thank you and sincerely,
Michael V. Garvey
Mr. Hobo Man