Until this afternoon, Francisco Chuy “Chewie” Delgado Ruiz was a permanent fixture at the Vineland ramp -- an affable young man who sold oranges and flowers to motorists from the median. The fruit came from the fallow plot of land Ruiz’s family has maintained for over 40 years, which today cultivates only two orange trees and a rose brier. Despite hard times that beset the family in 2006, which forced Chuy to peddle produce from a highway divider, some people in the Hobo Gardens community felt he’d been handed an unfair advantage. So they decided to rally against him.
“That’s when these particular protests started;” noted SNPD spokesman Ren Williams, “about two weeks ago when all those folks moved in to the extro-urban transient community.”
Toward the end of October, an influx of newly indigent and unemployed investment bankers relocated to Hobo Gardens. Soon after, they began occupying Ruiz’s median at Vineland to beg for change.
Williams said: “They’d generally arrive an hour or so before Mr. Ruiz. They never got any handouts, but they made it difficult for Ruiz to sell his produce.”
Finley Verschwender, one of the presumed leaders of this Occupy offshoot, explained the group’s beef with Ruiz from his holding cell: “From where we sit, [Ruiz] represents the one percent. Even worse, he’s a welfare parasite who helped destroy the system. This guy lives on a farm the government subsidizes. He doesn’t have to pay for COBRA like I do. He doesn’t have to cough up 15 percent of his income for federal taxes, living below the poverty line. He doesn’t have student loan debt for an MBA or JD. He doesn’t owe luxury tax on a yacht. And he’s not underwater on a country club mortgage. But he gets money from the government, and he’s making a killing selling fruit from the on-ramp. Untaxed! We, the other 99 percent, want ours. It’s not fair that the government is bailing out this comparatively wealthy farmer and padding his pockets while we suffer. I haven’t had a bottle of Pinot in months. Haven’t eaten Chateaubriand in over a year. I’m dying here, and I’m one of the people who helped drive this economy. Now, I’m rotting in a county jail. You’re welcome!”
According to eyewitness reports, an altercation broke out when Verschwender persuaded his group of beggars to surround Ruiz and prevent him from selling any produce. Attempting to free himself from the dirty, clutching hands of the homeless Occupy members, Ruiz lost his balance and toppled into oncoming traffic. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Verschwender and four others were arrested by SNPD on charges of manslaughter.
Ren Williams said: “Mr. Verschwender’s not admitting any guilt at this point. He’s also chosen to represent himself. He’s not a lawyer, but he has a JD from the University of Phoenix, which he says he’s finally going to put to use. Mostly, he just complains about not receiving the government assistance that this one percent of his apparently does. From my perspective, he’s gotten what he asked for: a tax payer funded roof over his head, three squares a day and employment with the county’s transportation department for some upcoming highway work.”
(c) 2011. See disclaimers.