There's not a lot of love in the Haight - Los Angeles Times: "In the 40 years since 1967's Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury has remained a beacon for drifters, dreamers and dropouts. Most are drawn by the Haight's reputation as a safe place to hang out, experiment with drugs and search for life's direction.Do you know how hard it is not to mimic my father from all those years ago when he would say "That's not music." Good grief, have you listened to top 40 radio? Yeah, whatever.
They come expecting a warm welcome, but their presence has become increasingly divisive in the gentrifying neighborhood, where old-timers now rub shoulders with newcomers who are buying up the old Victorian houses for $2 million and more.
Empathetic residents say homeless kids deserve as much respect as those with roofs over their heads. 'People suffer from compassion fatigue,' said Pam Brennan, owner of the Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour. 'If they're fatigued, they should go take a nap so others can work to help these kids.'
But a lot of ex-hippies-turned-homeowners are weary of the youthful intruders. They want the Haight to adopt a more mature demeanor, just as they have.
Outreach services, they say, only draw more young people to the area. Many suggest sending the homeless to centers in other areas, including the inner-city Tenderloin district.
'I'm sick of stepping over gangs of kids, only to be told 'Die, yuppie!' A lot of us were flower children, but we grew up," said Robert Shadoian, 58, a retired family therapist. "There are responsibilities in this world you have to meet. You can't be drugged out 24/7 and expect the world to take care of you."
Sunday, June 03, 2007
I spent time in the Haight back in the, well, a long, long time ago. Visited there a few years ago. The dreamers became what they feared the most... mainstream. Irony is so very interesting to me.