Parkside resident Lee Ellen Shoemaker has been volunteering her time to help improve conditions at La Playa Park, that stretch of a block or so along La Playa between Irving and Judah at 48th Avenue. She lives on Taraval yet likes the ocean beach area and sees it as a wonderful place to be.
This is why she has been so supportive of the efforts of resident, teacher and neighborhood activist Steve Ward to coordinate a coalition to make the area of La Playa a little niche within the ocean-side neighborhoods.
…vehicles “camped” along the La Playa and Ocean Beach area pose a potential health risk. While there is no direct evidence of any one vehicle causing problems. Residents have found dumped garbage, syringes, intravenous needles and human excrement on the street.”
Shoemaker noted that Ward “has a real vision and is instrumental in spearheading the community effort.”
This past Sept. 17, Steve Ward alerted the press about a hearing at City Hall concerning over-sized vehicles parking near the ocean, an issue that affects all neighborhoods along the beach.
Ward, who would have liked to have taken time off from work to attend the hearing that Monday afternoon at 1 PM, but was not able to, noted that not many people from the neighborhood were able to show up. “We are all working,” he said. “Yet, I wanted to get the word out because this issue is extremely important to us residents.”
He noted that vehicles “camped” along the La Playa and Ocean Beach area pose a potential health risk. While there is no direct evidence of any one vehicle causing problems. Residents have found dumped garbage, syringes, intravenous needles and human excrement on the street.
Ward said he was pleased that, from the hearing, the issue would be brought before the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Carmen Chu’s office alerted the press on Wednesday, Sept. 19, that discussion on the topic of over-sized vehicle use will not be ignored. “The legislation recently passed unanimously out of Land Use Committee, and will be considered by the full Board of Supervisors.”
The full outcome of that will have to address the issue of homelessness as a vehicle “camped-out” along the beach for an extended amount of time usually implies that the people in the vehicle are homeless.
Many neighbors have empathy on the issue of homelessness, but believe some of the “campers” are simply engaging in a fringe lifestyle that openly encourages intoxication and vagrancy, and want others to join them in their partying and loitering. Ward agreed as he said that many of the people “are not from around here. They don’t understand this is a place where families live and that we want to improve the quality of life here.”
Ward and others consider The Parkside, Sunset and Richmond Districts the last of the “real neighborhoods” of San Francisco. The Parkside and surrounding areas are where ordinary hard-working people live.
Neighbors hope that Steve Ward’s effort to foster a strong community at La Playa will also foster solidarity among others in the Parkside, Sunset, and Richmond Districts.
Jonathan Farrell is a SF free lance reporter. firstname.lastname@example.org