You’ve seen the tents, from the Figueroa Street financial district to Sunset & Vine, from the bluffs of Santa Monica to the alleys of Koreatown. The tents, tens of thousands of them donated, have replaced cardboard boxes as the “homes” of the homeless. Once banished to the forsaken land known as Skid Row, they are now on view all over town for residents and tourist to glance and ignore.
Well now, hoping to stem the negative connotation that come with the word “homeless”. the mayor of Los Angeles, Gil Garcetti, who has all but announced he is running for president, has backed a City Council proposal to rename those unfortunate folks as“Urban Campers”.
“Who doesn’t like to camp?” said Garcetti, who has clearly never met Nancy Silverton or my sister Jeanine Krikorian Ash. “I think the city will benefit greatly as image is everything in this town. .Besides. if we do rename them, i can boast I got rid of the homeless.”
Several City Council members were vocal in their support of the mayor.
“Some people camp at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite,” said councilman Duke Feldmeier, whose 1st District includes Skid Row. “Others like a spot off ‘Going To The Sun Road ‘ in Glacier National Park in Montana. Then there are those “Urban Campers” who go for 5th and Wall. To each his own.”
Some thought the new term was a natural progression for these downtrodden.
“They used to be called bums,” said Los Angeles deputy archbishop Rev. Lon M Burns “Then we upgraded them to homeless. Now they are going to be urban campers. Who knows? They way they set up camp near courthouses, in another few years we might start calling them judges.”