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Hippie backlash in Haight-Ashbury

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 3, 2007 07:45 AM

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Crossroads

Meant to link this hysterically funny piece earlier in the week: It’s the story of aging hippies in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district who are now upset with the homeless loser punks who’ve taken their place–via LATimes reporter John Glionna. Here’s the intro, but just go read the whole thing for your Sunday morning snort-starter:

From his second-floor apartment at the counterculture crossing of Haight and Ashbury streets, Arthur Evans watches a new generation of wayward youth invade his free-spirited neighborhood.

The former flower child was among the legions of idealistic wanderers who migrated here during the Vietnam War to “tune in, turn on and drop out.”

But Evans, who has lived at the same address for 34 years, says he has never seen anything like this crowd, who use his flower bed as a bathroom and sell pot outside his window.

They’re known as gutter punks, these homeless kids with dirty dreadlocks and nose rings, lime-green mohawks and orange spray-painted faces, who panhandle with cardboard signs that riff on their lifestyles. “Please Help Us Get Un-Sober,” one reads. Another: “Please Give Us Weed, Beer or Money.”

Sometimes aggressive, they block sidewalks as they strum guitars or bang on bongos. Gangs of them skateboard down the middle of Haight Street. Some throw used hypodermic needles into a nearby pond they call Hep-C Lake.

Evans, 64, says they should get help, clean up or go home.

“I used to be a hippie. I wore beads and grew my hair long,” he said. “But my generation had something these kids do not: a standard of civilized behavior.”

Panhandler Jonah Lawrence, 25, insists it is residents who need civilizing. “They say, ‘Get a job!’ ” he said. “And I say, ‘You got clothes for me? Or a place I can take a shower so I can look for work?’ It’s so bogus to tell me to get a job if I have nothing.”

What comes around, like, goes around, dude:

“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.”

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