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Decorated Vietnam Vet Arrested Guarding War Memorial and American Flag in San Diego(#4) ^ | November 7, 2001 | By Dana Littlefield

Posted on 11/07/2001 3:59:48 PM PST by B4Ranch

Solana Beach 'bullying' homeless man, friends say

By Dana Littlefield

November 7, 2001

SOLANA BEACH -- Neighbors and local business owners are rallying behind a homeless man they believe is being treated unfairly by city and county officials.

Robert Thomas Northcut, 49, who has lived on the streets of Solana Beach for more than a decade, was arrested last week on suspicion of trespassing on a city-owned traffic median where a war memorial sits.

Sam Georges, a lawyer from Solana Beach, and Chris Tatem, owner of the Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash in Solana Beach, helped get Northcut out of jail.

Now they and several other residents are working to handle his legal problems, including reuniting him with his dog, which was taken to a county animal shelter when he was arrested.

"The only thing I own is that damn dog," Northcut said Monday while lying in the grass overlooking Fletcher Cove. "He's my dog and he's faithful to me."

Even before Northcut's arrest, neighbors banded together to help him out and bring him food. They even cared for his dog, getting it neutered, vaccinated and registered with the county.

"It's not one person; it's the whole community," said Tatem.

They said that Northcut doesn't panhandle or bother their customers and that he just wants to be left alone with his dog to live outdoors. Putting him inside a building, Georges said, would be like "taking a coyote and chaining it in the garage."

Northcut's German shepherd -- named Thomas Jefferson, or T.J. for short -- remains in custody at the county animal shelter in Carlsbad for lunging and barking at city and transit employees. The dog bit a man in May, according to animal control officials, and city staff members say it threatened several maintenance workers and one department head.

Northcut admitted that his dog has bitten people, but said T.J. was just protecting his master. The dog had been abused before being rescued in Tijuana and nursed back to health by Northcut and Tatem.

"He's a very feisty animal. He's addle-brained," Northcut said. "He's a lot like me. He's all nervous like me."

Members of the county Dangerous Dog Task Force are expected to decide today whether to issue a notice declaring T.J. a public nuisance. If that happens, a hearing will follow, and the dog could be required to wear a muzzle or be fenced off from the public entirely.

Northcut said he and T.J. set up camp at the war memorial after he heard reports on a portable radio of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For the next few days, Northcut, who said he is a Navy veteran, raised and lowered the U.S. flag on a pole near the memorial to half-staff to honor victims.

"He was taking care of the war memorial," Georges said. "It was his effort to 9/11."

He said that the city is "bullying" Northcut for crushing plants that surround the World War II memorial where Northcut and T.J. had been sleeping, and that the county should return his dog.

"He's just lost without his dog," Georges said. "If the city doesn't want him around, there are definitely more humane ways to get him away from there."

City officials said the traffic median, on Plaza Street and surrounded by cars heading to and from Fletcher Cove, is not a safe spot to hang around. A "No Trespassing" sign is posted near the flagpole, which shares the crowded median with a large fountain and the memorial.

"There really isn't a place for people to congregate," said City Manager Bob Semple. "It wasn't meant to be used for people to gather there."

Northcut has been cited several times for trespassing at other spots in the city.

Jennifer Lynch, the Vista attorney whom Georges asked to appear in court last week on Northcut's behalf, disagreed with Semple.

"To say that there's no trespassing at a war memorial is unconscionable," Lynch said.

A court hearing on Northcut's trespassing charge is scheduled for Nov. 15.


Copyright 2001 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Are you a vet?

I'm not but I play one over at the Canteen. : )

Calm down, 'tin sailor'. People will take care of the Vet.

And a muzzle for his pup would help.

22 posted on 11/07/2001 5:07:09 PM PST by ST.LOUIE1
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Super!! Thanks for the heads up here.
23 posted on 11/07/2001 5:12:29 PM PST by amom
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To: Snow Bunny
i think my original post on thread one bears repeating...
by glock rocks   11/3/01 1:34 PM Mountain   #15
to 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub in reply to #6

``Now there remains only one more injustice to be corrected,'' Lynch stated, ``and that's for Thomas to be reunited with his dog, 'TJ.'''

God bless him, i hope he gets his shepherd back. why can't these elitist bastards
let this forgotten soul continue to do what he sees as his duty. unforgivable.

He took up residence next to the Memorial,
resting his head each night on it to protect it from
what he felt was a possible terrorist attack. Each
night he lowered the flag and each day raised it
to half mast.

24 posted on 11/07/2001 5:16:47 PM PST by glock rocks
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To: JudyB1938
giggle.....that was my very first time I did that at FR. heh heh......

If he/she IT posts directly to me...then ATTILA THE BUN will answer. giggle

I love your post.

25 posted on 11/07/2001 5:20:56 PM PST by Snow Bunny
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: B4Ranch
Northcut was NOT doing anything wrong !!! Hence, government came along and ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, DELIBERATELY, PURPOSEFULLY, and with MALACE a FORETHOUGHT . . . made him a CRIMINAL !!!
27 posted on 11/07/2001 5:28:07 PM PST by GeekDejure
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To: Snow Bunny
That poster better stay clear of me and I am NOT kidding.

A BIG one for you! Unless the a**hole wants to do some reading and learn about TJ, he will get a busted face.

28 posted on 11/07/2001 5:29:53 PM PST by B4Ranch
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: GeekDejure
Exactly CORRECT!
30 posted on 11/07/2001 5:30:36 PM PST by B4Ranch
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To: RaceBannon; B4Ranch
"I am confused about this guy. Why is he homeless? Has he turned down help?"

I think B4Ranch can answer your questions since has has been speaking with the attorney.
Also there is a lot of background data on the 1st 3 threads (links above) that answer some of your questions.
31 posted on 11/07/2001 5:30:42 PM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
32 posted on 11/07/2001 5:31:52 PM PST by firewalk
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To: glock rocks
Great post #24.....thank you soooooooo much.
33 posted on 11/07/2001 5:33:38 PM PST by Snow Bunny
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To: deadhead
"I don't know how to cut and paste it here :-("

Can you cut it and paste and FReep e-mail me it, and I'll post it for you.
34 posted on 11/07/2001 5:35:01 PM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: B4Ranch
"Decorated Vietnam Vet Arrested"

Decorated? Please tell us what those decorations are.

36 posted on 11/07/2001 5:36:35 PM PST by SamKeck
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So let me guess you would have him put to sleep and his dog imprisoned!
or was it the other way around?

did little old me scare you with all my "HATRED"?

You generalize in terms that might fit any number BUMS you might have met on the street.
What threat is this man to you?
What threat is he to his community?
From what his friends say he is no threat even to himself.
and yet you continue to paint him with such a board brush.

37 posted on 11/07/2001 5:37:42 PM PST by usmcobra
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To: JudyB1938
Isn 't she something. LOL Good to see you .

Your body guard,

38 posted on 11/07/2001 5:38:25 PM PST by FallGuy
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To: deadhead
Here's the response I received from the City Attorney's office:


The recent press release entitled "Decorated Vietnam Vet Arrested Guarding War Memorial and American Flag in San Diego" contains several inaccuracies. The following information addresses some of the inaccuracies:

* The dog's aggressive manner prevents anyone, particularly children from approaching it. The City has received numerous complaints regarding the dog's aggressive behavior and has forwarded those complaints to San Diego County Animal Control.

* In May 2001, the dog bit someone who was walking along the public sidewalk.

* The dog is being held by San Diego County Animal Control. They will decide whether the dog can be returned to Mr. Northcutt.

* Mr. Northcutt frequented the memorial prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. There was no observable change in Mr. Northcutt's patterns after September 11.

* Mr. Northcutt was not responsible for raising and lowering the flag at the memorial. City personnel are responsible for the flag.

* Damage has occurred to public property as a result of Mr. Northcutt residing at various locations in the City.

* City Code Enforcement personnel were not present nor did they order that Mr. Northcutt be issued a citation.

* Mr. Northcutt was asked to leave the memorial site by Sheriff's deputies. Mr. Northcutt refused to leave and insisted on being issued a citation. Sheriff's deputies attempted to persuade Mr. Northcutt to leave the site, however, he continued to insist on receiving a citation.

* Mr. Northcutt was NOT arrested for trespassing on City property. In the process of issuing a citation Sheriff's deputies discovered that there were outstanding warrants on Mr. Northcutt. Mr. Northcutt was arrested based on the outstanding warrants.

* The City is primarily interested in ensuring that the dog does not harm anyone and that public property is not destroyed.

* The City is respectful of all citizens and has made special recognition of Veterans and active military personnel, including its participation in an "Adopt a Ship" program with the USS Fitzgerald DDG-62 and annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day services hosted jointly by the City and its local VFW post. Following the 9-11 attacks, Solana Beach was also one of the first cities in San Diego County to install patriotic banners along a major highway through the City.

They don't sound too happy about having to respond to the many emails and calls they must be receiving. I think this man and his dog are being treated like criminals, and the city officials protesteth too much.

39 posted on 11/07/2001 5:40:36 PM PST by janetgreen
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"If i had decided to visit this monument with my 3 yo grandson and this "VET" or his dog attacked him-----"

The city made sure that not even you could not visit this monument.
"To say that there's no trespassing at a war memorial is unconscionable," Lynch said.
40 posted on 11/07/2001 5:40:40 PM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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