Friday, March 30, 2007

Yes, it happens here too

Quoth the ravenmn:

On a thread a while back a woman spoke about never seeing poverty in the U.S. as bad as what she saw in Mexico. I and lots of other people spoke about how poverty is hidden in the U.S. by zoning laws, police and the prison system.

Here's a story from the LA Times about a particular hidden community:

from the article:

Jose and his family live in a world few ever see, a vast poverty born in hundreds of trailer parks strung like a shabby necklace across the eastern Coachella Valley.

Out here — just a few miles from world-class golf resorts, private hunting clubs and polo fields — half-naked children toddle barefoot through mud and filth while packs of feral dogs prowl piles of garbage nearby.

Thick smoke from mountains of burning trash drifts through broken windows. People — sometimes 30 or more — are crammed into trailers with no heat, no air-conditioning, undrinkable water, flickering power and plumbing that breaks down for weeks or months at a time.

"I was speechless," said Haider Quintero, a Colombian training for the priesthood who recently visited the parks as part of his studies. "I never expected to see this in America."

...Some of the largest and poorest parks are on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation where they are not subject to local zoning laws and the county can't monitor safety, hygiene and building standards. The reservation is also home to the worst illegal dumps of any tribe in California, Arizona or Nevada, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agency has closed 10 of the 20 most toxic dumps and cited four of the largest trailer parks for health violations...

more at the LAT or at Fly By Night

i particularly love the one slumlord/park owner going,

"Before the parks, they were living in their cars, in the desert and bathing in the canals. Five guys would pay 50 bucks a month to share a camper shell," said Scott Lawson, a tribal member and co-owner of the Oasis park on the reservation. "Nobody cared when they lived like that, only when they moved into trailers. You can't expect the poorest to live like the wealthiest. They feel comfortable here; it's like being back in Mexico. They tell me that."

1 comment:

Veronica said...

Hrm. Reminds me of when I told a person in Manila that there were four unrelated people living in my apartment. And, 12 people in the one next door, though I think most of them were related.

He was shocked. He thought that didn't happen here.

And, ya know... that the streets are lined with GOLD and no one ever dies!!