Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ohio House versus the Nimbys of Newport Beach

     In all the phony wars we have had to put up with for political sound bite purposes, here is a real one--the War on Sober Living Homes; a war waged in many communities but with a vengeance in Newport Beach and now claiming its most recent victim the Ohio House on 36th Street in Newport Beach, an area that can only be described as party central in the summer and on the weekends. Newport Beach has fought tooth and nail to remove sober living homes from the city. An ordinance passed in 2007 has been very successful in that respect: According to a staff report for the Ohio House case, the number of recovery and residential treatment facilities operating in Newport Beach has dropped by about 70% since 2007, from 86 to 27. Has the number of alcoholics trying to recover from this disease decreased? No, not by a long shot.
      It is a difficult issue and being next to a house with ten chain smokers polluting the air and discarding their butts is not pleasant, but people dying or going into seizure or driving a car intoxicated is not pleasant either. What ever happened to tolerance? At least in a sober living house like the Ohio House, you will not have 50 people over for a party getting completely wasted with cups and beer cans strewn all over the neighborhood or urine or vomit stains on the sidewalks.  Chill out Nimbys, the person needing a bed at a place like the Ohio House may be your son, grandson, brother, or father, your best friend, et al. as the victim list is exponential. Where will they go?

No Molokais in Newport Beach
It is the leper disease of the 20th Century and still growing on the 21st
It gives no quarter, takes no prisoners, for new victims a never ending thirst
Race, creed, IQ, degrees, careers, sex, careers, neighborhoods no shields
When it strikes a winning defense is so hard to field
But unlike the lepers, there is no island paradise of Molokai
Only a life of misery and tornadoes until jailed or until you die
If not bad enough for most victims, it’s even worse
Trapped also in smoking’s addictive curse
Hospital beds are luxuries for only the very few
Only a few insurance days before coverage the victims outgrew
But there is some ray of hope
For victims trying to recover and cope
Sober living seeped in the 12 step program of AA
Keeping the demon beasts of alcohol away and at bay
But one man’s treatment and recovery is another man’s castle’s values drop
NIMBY beasts rise up in fury to sober living anywhere near quickly stop
Ohio House is the latest victim of the NIMBY counterattack
Must close its doors, nowhere for the victims to go, other beds a total lack
Ohio House with potential butts to be seen and density above single family norm
Its residents despite our best efforts of understanding so easy to scorn
Property values are of great import, but so are human lives
And so are the innocents killed when untreated those sick may drive
Or the families wasted, jobs lost, houses lost, ERs and jails to fill
With we taxpayers left pay the piper, left to pay the bill.
If the Ohio House were an assisted rehab for victims of stroke
Would the Nimbys be still trying to their operations try to revoke?
If the Ohio House were a hospice, a last way station before the casket or urn
Would the Nimbys be fighting their right to stay at every turn?
We know the answer, despite whatever selfish faults, our Nimbys are better than that
In their hearts for the unfortunate or disabled they would go to bat.
If the Nimbys in their zeal to sober living houses expel,
Send the residents back into their descent into Hell,
Ignore that vaping may bring an end to the trail of butts
Parking may be a problem but not a rush to the doors shut
They should know that alcoholics in recovery are protected by the ADA
9th Circuit ruling unless appealed means sober living is here to stay
Nimbys should look at the bright side, think of all the police money they will not incur
Music maybe, but No drunken parties at places like Ohio House, all there are seeking their disease to cure.
© March 6, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

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