The Dispossessed


 

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Carpio’s Auto Repair

A light rain fell yesterday morning, and after the weather system left, the skies were clear, the sun came out, a few clouds hung in the sky. And I went for late afternoon walk with camera.

Near Bessemer and Cedros, in front of the Valley Planing Mill, along the sidewalk bordering the Orange Line, is a metastasizing and makeshift encampment of homeless men and women.

It has grown, to encompass an area that probably accommodates some fifty people, who have erected tarp-covered boxes, umbrellas, tents, and wood crates as shelter from the rain and the sun. Around the temporary housing are shopping baskets piled high with anything and everything one might buy at Target.

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A green metal fence, protecting new cars owned by Keyes Chevrolet, encircles a rented out parking lot leased from Metro. It provides a safe and civilized enclosure for automobiles. Vehicles are well taken care of, except for one or two burned up, sitting in their spaces with melted and deformed bodies.

Humans (who did not want to be photographed) are left to fend for themselves on public sidewalks. Bed sheets and rattan mats are hung on the fence to sanitize. Privacy, cleanliness, and dignity are pulled out of dumpsters and transformed into street fortresses.

The situation here is appalling. But words do not suffice. And moralism, directed at politicians, developers, law enforcement, social workers and the homeless themselves cannot make sense of this 21st Century barbarism in our Golden State.

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