Ron “Frenchie” Jackson, 56, was born in San Diego, had three older sisters and a brother. His father was a great role model who worked and retired from General Dynamics. His mother was a social worker.
His family moved to Florida when he was six, then returned to San Diego in time for him to attend Lincoln High School. “When I grew up we were dancing… We were different sets: Puerto Rican Mike, White John, Black Jerry… we’d play football in the neighborhoods and stuff. There was no fighting and shooting.”
Jackson feels the FCC is too lenient with language on the radio, that it’s interests are in marketing. He hates that you can say anything in a song, like threatening an ethnic or religious group or the police. He likes music that makes you feels good, not hateful.
He joined the Marine Corps with a friend on the buddy system, so they could go through boot camp together. He served five years, staged in the Persian Gulf, and got out with an honorable discharge.
He laments not doing anything with himself when he got out of the military. Before joining the military, after high school, he had gone back to Florida and worked in the citrus orchards, and worked with tobacco crops in North Carolina. He loved that life. But after the military, on the west coast, he mostly did manual labor in shipyards and warehouses. He started loving crack cocaine too much. After a felony charge for possession, intent to sell, and fighting, he found himself out on the streets. Still, he has no sympathy for the chronically homeless. He calls them a public nuisance and hates that they use the sidewalk for a lavatory. He thinks they should be moved to a housing complex in Imperial County where thy can detox and be taught life skills.
“I understand people have mental issues, I respect that. The government needs to do more to help these people.” But beyond being homeless for a few weeks, anything beyond that he feels is a matter of choice.
He uses himself as an example. After his own slide into drugs and jail, he went through a program, got a sponsor and made a life plan. “I arrested myself, put myself in a place to get away from it (crack) cuz I was addicted to it. They gave me the detox, they gave me the tools to work with, and I realized who I was as a person. I’ve got an addiction. It ain’t gotta be drugs, it could be gambling, it could be sex, it could be movies, it could be sports. Education is free, no reason anyone shouldn’t be educated.”
Currently Jackson lives in an SRO downtown. His plan is to buy a fishing boat, a Harley-Davidson and a “nice double-wide trailer” this year.
He said he hopes he can use his life example to stop others from making mistakes. “I think I can make a difference in this world,” he said.