The Summer of Love hits its 40th birthday this year and is getting damned cranky. Ex-hippies have bought into the bohemian enclave of San Francisco's legendary Haight-Ashbury district, at a cool million plus a pop for a modest Victorian. Unfortunately, "gutter punks," the addled and addicted spawn of the 60s, are taking all the cache out of being underwashed, unemployed and unsheltered.
"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."
It's a beautiful thing, karma. The reporter notes that "one ex-hippie who returns frequently for its bohemian vibe said he makes a point to hand out cash to panhandlers:"
This used to be a place where kids could come to reinvent themselves, 'Like a rolling stone, like a complete unknown, no direction home.'
Now the Haight is a grittier, less forgiving reality. But these are still our kids. You don't help them by deporting them. You do it right in your own neighborhood. If any place can do this, it's Haight-Ashbury.---Peter Coyote
Mr. Coyote lives across the bridge, in Mill Valley.