i’ll huff and i’ll puff and i’ll bulldoze your house down!




recently, after much debate and financial and political wrangling, the city demolished some of the old houses at the far end of main street in an attempt to create ‘a blight-free zone, a welcoming gateway to our city.’

this project and the demo crew doing the work were met with mixed reactions:

– a rotary club member stopped to applaud them and told them it was gratifying to see them going down. it was becoming ‘his kind of neighborhood.’

– 3 homeless people shared their memories of squatting in the houses with  the crew.

“I used to sleep in the one on the end. It was called the Dirty Squat,” said a man who identified himself only as Pig Pen, a self-described train hopper and hitchhiker. He said they sleep out in the woods now, but at different points each of them stayed in the houses being demolished.

“That was the one I stayed in last year,” said a man who goes by the name Pooh, pointing to another of the houses. “I met my fiancee and we stayed in that one for two weeks.”

Karma, a local who was with Pig Pen and Pooh, said she had a bad incident occur in one of the houses and she’s not sad to see that one go, but she lamented the loss of the rest.

“My personal opinion is they should really keep these,” she said. “If they’re condemned and about to collapse like the one on the end is, yeah, probably tear them down. But if they’re perfectly good and could be fixed up to live in, they should donate it to the city.”

Karma said it seems like the options for homeless people who prefer not to stay at the homeless shelters are becoming fewer.

“I don’t know what they’re doing right now, but it seems like they’re trying to clean up the whole town and they’re clearing people out from underneath the bridges, all the parks, and they’re getting rid of every place for the people who have no place to go,” she said. “It’s a problem.”

the mayor and police chief could not immediately be reached for comment. luckily pigpen, pooh and karma, were available for comment.


Where thou art, that is home.

Emily Dickinson


26 responses »

  1. Pooh and pigpen you have got to be kidding me. Could that be any more cliche. That is almost not even believeable. I get that they have to go somewhere. It is a tough one Beth great post and thanks for sharing.


    • @tom, glad you enjoyed it and as you know truth is always much crazier than any fiction we could create. it is an issue not easily solved. i do feel that when you mentioned names, you have forgotten to mention karma, and she is an integral part of the unholy trinity.


  2. you can’t make up those names! i’m sorry i can’t concentrate at the larger issues in hand in the article b/c i’m too busy enjoying the comments of Karma, Pigpen and Pooh.


  3. This kind of thing definitely produces conflicting emotional reactions. On the one hand, it’s good to strive for blight-free goals. On the other hand, it just feels like the “blight” is pushed elsewhere. The same kind of transformation, but on a sort of massive scale is going on in areas of Downtown L.A.


    • i agree i – it seems like part of the ‘blight’ in the city’s eyes is the human presence. perhaps a more holistic approach to how to help them help themselves? no easy solution and it must be a huge issue in a city like la. one thing i liked about this was the fact that the 3 homeless people were so honest and open about their thoughts on the matter, a rather refreshing and interesting perspective.


  4. So it’s like New Orleans after Katrina. They just tore down a housing project that had not been touched by Katrina just to clear the poor folk out of the ‘hood,’ Shame on them.


  5. I have read of horror stories at homeless shelters, especially for women and children. In addition, many homeless shelters require that the person be sober, which can be difficult for people self- medicating on drugs and alcohol. The fact that cities can demolish buildings but not provide homes for their most vulnerable citizens is a crime against humanity.


  6. Why did I instantly take a dislike to the rotary club member who said it “was becoming ‘his kind of neighborhood’”? I’ve got the feeling “his kind of neighborhood” has gates and a whole lot of rules about what you can have in your front yard and, more importantly, what you can’t have. Methinks his idea of the ideal neighborhood and mine are vastly different.


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