I had a chance to drop by a friend’s Bath Street house near Mission Creek. He’s a local contractor whom I’ve assisted on a project fixing the creek’s retaining wall.

We’re both glad to see the project get the green light, but we think it’s important for our council to take steps to ensure that the ground floor, menial work be guaranteed to local laborers. That effort will ensure that economic stability starts at the ground floor as well.

As I was finishing pouring concrete one day, the strangest of things happened. Across the way, a homeless man lay in the bushes on a pile of plastic bags. He was indeed the most obnoxious person I’ve met on the streets.

As I poured away, running a mixer and disturbing his peace, he started in with a barrage of quotes from a particular Deliverance scene. Each time he told me to “Squeal like a pig, Boy,” it was followed with a laugh of sheer delight. I let it go a while, then traversed across Burt-style and asked him if he had a problem. His camp was so filthy it would require a hazmat suit to clean-up. His maniacal manner was quickly replaced with the most respectful of apologies. Back to work I went, and back he went to being someone else!

Someone spoke to City Council recently about how much he appreciated his ride-along with the police. But Saturday ride-alongs and reality shows aren’t what a cash-strapped city need. To succeed as a city we need to take the destitute into account. I would like to offer my own ride-alongs, but the city towed the truck I lived in without giving me a chance to pay one ticket.


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