Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rescuing Marcus Claudius

I first became alarmed at the welfare of the inhabitants in the encampments adjacent to the Green Tree Mobile Home Estates at around 7 in the morning of December 15, 2008.

According to various weather sources, there was a substantial winter storm wreaking havoc throughout San Diego County with record low temperatures and considerable precipitation events during the day. By 9:30 a.m., they were forced to evacuate through a makeshift bridge they had fashioned from a felled tree... all except for one, a 49 year old transient named Marcus Claudius.

The water was rising fast and I knew the terrain around his area in the encampment was basically being surrounded by a swift moving, cold, dank wall of muddy water. What use to be a trail leading up to his lonely island is under at least 10 feet of water and a few trees nearby would possibly be strong enough to cling to.

I can pick up his voice in the howling wind. He sounds exhausted, possibly intoxicated, a slight quiver I can barely detect in his pronunciations tells me he might be suffering from being exposed to such conditions. He tells me to leave him be that he is fine but I can't leave that sort of assessment to someone inebriated and incapable to a dangerous degree of processing his current situation.

I called a Escondido Community Officer and requested someone to respond to the scene. After some quick evaluations of the challenges at hand, it was determined that a variety of assets needed to be involved in what would eventually turn out to be swift river rescue.

Ironically, although it is one of the city's most prominent and least endearing features, we have not seemingly considered having this type of training facility in an area along the flood control channel.

Nevertheless, Escondido Fire, Elfin Forest, Encinitas, San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar with some of these agencies contributing both fire and lifeguard personnel coordinated at times from the air from an asset provided by San Diego Fire rescued the man in about 4 hours.

Led from his last vestige of dignity and personal space, having clutched desperately to the root(s) within the soil now mounds awash and shifting below and around him. The small encirclement of young trees slightly on higher ground a residence once gathered together from a tent, some tarp and a collection of scavenged items to somehow patch the quilt work of final desperation and surrender to alcoholism together. It seemed that great Claudius was willing to succumb to his life's sufferings here amongst the cold wet wrath, lonely, dirty, drunk, shivering and starving. physically. psychologically. financially. emotionally. Exhausted in so many ways...

It is the King's horses and men in the guise of firemen and lifeguards who lead him to his carriage... a raft accompanied by an entourage set forth to pluck him from his desolations. He is draped in his finery, a sleeping bag set carefully and gingerly upon his shoulders. He chews his gum casually as if to ward off his close encounter with death with a breath of his freshened and recently rescued air.

We could have spent the money exhausted in the rescue on other projects such as a vigorous policing through ordinance improvements of current laws related to vagrancy, loitering, public intoxication, vandalism to say the least.

We may have, in the interest of social concerns and how to adequately address the concerns of grown ups who somehow have lost their ability to function, spent some of the money on facilitating a ranch/ farm diversion program that houses recovering alcoholics. Their manpower can be utilized to help care for injured animals, to farm the land in producing vegetables, food staples and other acquired processes that can render the establishment self sufficient.

Just one idea amongst a host that I have an interest in putting forth and discussing the feasibility thereof. I hope I am joined by many more in the time to come who also share my interest in re-establishing a sense of pioneerism in seeking to promote solutions that are more oriented in practicality as opposed to politics.

We can little and ill afford to continue along a same track that allowed for the rescue to be necessary in the first place and so before we tackle what seems to be the bigger problems, maybe we would be best served in simply mending the hole in a fence that has done little in keeping trouble out. I suppose we can begin with that...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Sprinter to Ruby's

Another added benefit of having the bike path maintained, improved and set as a central theme to this city's revitalization is the efficient, relative ease and environmentally friendly mode of transportation one can employ in reaching destinations such as Ruby's at the tip of Oceanside Pier.

Now we didn't film actually eating there, not this time anyways... the day was so gorgeous and practically in mid-November that I turned the recorder off and ate my burger and onion rings washed down refreshingly with a cold dose of ice tea minus the lemon thank you...

The ride on the Sprinter isn't uncomfortable. I noticed around the campus areas where High Schools and Colleges were in proximity that students are a good portion of the segments in the community utilizing this type of transportation. Coupled with the use of bikes and or scooters, it is a reliable, inexpensive, and practical method of getting to the beaches this summer... to say the least:)

The voice in the video besides me is "D"... he was having fun since he has been a big fan of trains forever. He took most of the footages too with me just doing the editing.

There were a lot of good surfing going on and hopefully this summer since I have acquired POV , I hope to film some pretty good sequences some maybe in the ocean.

Also there is a (request for a) proposal in the works to re-vitalize the Oceanside Amphitheatre in the hopes that it can be developed as a legitimate venue for musical performances. If you ask Lenny Williams, I would say that he would venture to opine that in it's current state, it was a beautiful place to perform as he did so at the Father's Day Concert last summer.

Could you imagine a North County Battle of the Bands with several local cities such as Escondido, Vista, San Marcos and Oceanside involved with it all culminating at the Amphitheatre and everyone would be able to attend the events by using the Sprinter? And yeah the music in the video is Donald Fagan's " New Frontier"... hope he doesn't mind... I just thought it seemed appropriate to the ideas we are embarking on in getting the North County some positive exposure and it sounded good with "D's" narration.

So I look forward to, along with all my friends, in getting to the beach to film some surfing this summer via the Sprinter. Oh and for sure we will re-visit Ruby's and definitely give you a close up view of how to take down one of their outstanding burgers...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Sack Full of Balls...

Escondido Public Works has expressed an interest in responding to the concerns. I can not yet give the name of the specific person since I have not spoken to anyone in that department besides over the phone yet it seems promising. They have been very thankful in the involvement and concerns we have presented and although this does tend to be a long term project given all the dynamics, what matters the most is that the trash that has been gathered and bagged will hopefully be picked by the end of the week.

Kudos then to everyone... the transients who want to do their part in dispelling the notion that they are the primary reason for the pollution, the community who monitors the progress of this project and the city departments who want to work together in resolving this problem.

I know there will continue to be differences in how to best approach the many facets related to the issues yet I remain confident that the new year will bring a refreshing and re-invigorated attitude to the ongoing problems Escondido faces. I hope that in such a spirit, we can somehow become a model city in addressing such issues as the environment, the homeless, the gangs and the drugs and all possibly because of the emphasis we all bring in rejuvenating the creek that runs through all of our very lives.

In the accompanying video below, it is an update then from the footages taken during Thanksgiving weekend. I am glad that it is possible I would not have to follow through on my intent to haul the trash up to the maintenance road although Island Suns will most definitely attempt to be there when it is collected to assist and to document that work that we as a community can achieve TOGETHER.

We started off at about 11 in the morning, checked on the status of the debris in the creek/ flood control channel, grabbed a few shakes (and a shot of wheatgrass... yuuuckk! although healthy), topped it off with a nice work-out at 24 Hour Fitness and getting back by 3.