Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hobos To Go

Bakersfield authorities prepared for Earth Day is weekend by conducting a sweep of the Kern River banks. Or as Paul it would put it, “They chased the hobos away.” By the looks of some of the pictures on, these people had some pretty elaborate “makeshift” camps. They have a bookshelf for heaven’s sake! That just smacks of permanent residency.

Photos by Felix Adamo

Fifty-three year-old Ferrall Smith was one of the seven people cited for lodging in a public place. (Doesn’t the name Ferrall just sound like someone who’d be living like a river rat?) Smith says it is unfair for them to cite river residents because they’re not bothering anyone, and hey! You can’t really see them that good when they’re hiding in the trees. (Gee, thanks Ferrall, I feel so much better now.) Smith also claims he doesn’t really live by the river; he just stays there with a friend sometimes because of its convenient proximity to his place of employment. Right.

I feel bad for these people on the one hand. Sleeping in a tent by the river is fun for a night or two, but to actually live like that sounds pretty awful. Then again, it sounds a lot better than sleeping on a sidewalk downtown somewhere. I’ve seen a few of those. Part of me feels like we should just leave them alone. But on the other hand, I’ve had one of these people scare the beejesus out of me on the bike path on more than one occasion.

When you hear that banjo playing, you know its time to gita move on!