On Wednesday, September 18, "Jane" parked in front of the OB Hotel at the foot of Newport Ave for her daily surf session. After getting out of the ocean, she rinsed off with a jug of hot water that she brought with her.
“After my session, I step off the side of my car by the curb and pour it over my head,” she wrote on social media. “Today a lady in a city car pulls up in the spot next to me. I was glad to see city presence...didn’t know what department, but I’ll take what I can get! She proceeds to get out of her car several minutes after I changed and was about ready to leave and tells me that what I have just done is illegal and she could cite me for it. I literally am like ‘huh?’ And she says that whatever ‘substance’ I have just polluted the street with is not allowed and that I will be cited next time. This was my warning.
“I said to her ‘are you kidding me? It’s warm, clean water.’ She said she didn’t care. I told her to look across the street where several vans are parked and asked her why she chose to focus her attention on me when I can assure her there are actual pollutants and real problems happening that need attention…She got angry – took pictures of my license plates along with the offensive clean water marks in the gutter and told me she was sending me a ‘notice.’ She drove off swearing at me and almost didn’t tell me her information but then threw her card out of her window as she drove off...I have pleaded for more city presence and law enforcement alongside so many of you – however they cannot think that behavior like this is somehow checking the damn box of helping."
In July another woman, Janis Sandlin, launched a business, Surf’s Pup, a mobile doggie lounge offering hourly rates to watch pups while owners go surf or play. But after a few months, successful months at that, she moved her business and herself out of OB due to the homeless population and concerns for personal safety.
“When I first started Surf's Pup I was going out to Dog Beach really early and setting up a little shop with the van to get the word out,” Sandlin told me. “There was a local guy that kept calling police on me right off the bat…police came and said I was doing nothing wrong and to let them know if this guy kept emailing and harassing me.
Then about a week later a park ranger started harassing me about my set-up. I moved all my stuff onto the van to abide by her requests yet she continued to harass me for days...I finally asked her why she wasn't talking to the travelers or the homeless who are drunk and doing drugs and selling things with NO permits and she told me she was ‘afraid for her personal safety’ talking to them. I was blown away…so because I am nice I was harassed repeatedly and the assholes get away with everything? I finally told her to leave me alone and don't come back unless she has the police with her because they were nothing but awesome for me. I stopped going there shortly after that, and then made the decision to leave OB in my 2nd month when the travelers/homeless kept moving closer to my van when parked by the pier. I was spit on and felt so uncomfortable getting there early to get parking – it is dirty, unsafe, and only getting worse. I could hear them (homeless/travelers) talk about how great OB is because they could do whatever they wanted…the word is spreading and its getting worse.”
Sandlin left Ocean Beach on September 13.
While locals have been pleading with elected officials for help, the San Diego Police Department say their hands are tied.
Since mid-August a homeless man had been going around town sucker-punching people; he was observed initiating fights, trespassing, shoplifting, and snuffing out a cigarette on someone’s hand. Police reports were filed, yet SDPD did not arrest this person.
The evening of Friday, September 13, the troublemaker was caught by locals at Bacon and Newport and escorted over the bridge out of town.
I spoke to Garret Deplachett, one of the members of the Ocean Beach Troll Patrol Group, who explained the situation.
“I/we are only trying to make a difference in the public streets of OB so that it isn't a place of violence. What got me most infuriated when it came to this individual is the fact that he struck a few females of the community and socked up on an elderly man. I’ll put money on the fact things like this won’t happen again out of fear of another community uprising against them. I think the fact that it was overly publicized and such a spectacle in the busiest places (Newport Ave) and times of OB during a Friday night was a good thing-mainly because every other one of the possible future offenders were present in the outlining crowd.”
Deplachett hopes this incident sends a message.
“What happened Friday night in my own opinion this first public spectacle was done in such a way as to send a message that these disrespectful little assholes running around our streets aren’t welcome.”
“The reason that he was escorted out of town was simply to protect ourselves from what he did to countless other people in OB. It was not meant as an act of vigilantism, it was not was it done out of hate. He had personally attacked 3 members of our patrol group, so tensions were high not only due to this, but also due to the infuriation that the town has amounted to. We not only offered resources to help him but also told him if he got help he was more than welcome to return – with proper behavior of course.”