Unimpressed by Skid Row ‘Escapade’

After reading “Candidate Walks Mean Streets” (Feb. 11), I was left with the feeling that City Council candidate Paul McKellips’ behavior is more exploitative of the homeless people than it is helpful. While I admire his creativity and fortitude, I find the substance of his escapade merely a clever stunt designed to bring media attention to his campaign effort.

If this is not the case, why wasn’t his descent into the life styles of the poor and unfortunate carried out amid the increasing numbers of homeless people right here in the 3rd District? It may be surprising to many that this part of Los Angeles has an alarmingly large and increasing population of homeless people. Mr. McKellips didn’t need to travel all the way to downtown. He could have had his experiences right in his own back yard--behind the Vons store in Reseda (though I do realize it’s harder at that spot to find a newspaper reporter and photographer on their way to work at City Hall).

I’m glad that Paul’s experience has showed how much he takes for granted his own good fortune in life. But I’m angered by his inference that people pursuing issues such as Warner Ridge and light rail shows only their concern for their “wants and desires.” Mr. McKellips needs to realize that these people are fighting to preserve the good things in their lives, things they’ve worked long and hard for. The reason they are willing to work so hard to prevent the destruction of their quality of life is simple. They don’t take what they have for granted.

There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t wake up or go to sleep thinking how lucky my wife, baby and I are to have what we do. And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t consider the possibility that next month we could be joining the ranks of the homeless. And now a day won’t pass that when I see a homeless person, I won’t think of the $51,000-a-year executive who showed his naivete, exploited a horrendous human dilemma and criticized his fellow humans all while trying to satisfy his own “wants and desires” of getting a seat on the City Council. Shame on him.