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Rick & the Homeless, II

February 14, 1988

Regarding the controversy begun by Rick Dees' remarks about L.A.'s homeless (Pop Eye, by Patrick Goldstein, Jan. 31), I am very concerned about the propaganda being generated by soapbox-bangers like Wally George (Pop Eye, Feb. 7) and his obvious political clone, letter writer Jeffrey Miles of Venice Beach (Calendar Letters, Feb. 7).

They imply that all homeless people are criminals and/or social dropouts who chose to become what they are, and believe that the entertainers interviewed by Calendar who countered Dees' comments are "Limousine Liberals" who should "leave their multimillion-dollar Malibu beach homes" and "get real" in their assessment of the homeless issue.

I can't speak for Rosanna Arquette, Casey Kasem or Danny Goldberg, but having known both Peter Case and Carla Olson for a number of years, I would like to invite Miles and others like him to "get real."

Olson lives in a very modest apartment in Studio City and works a regular 9-to-5 job to make ends meet, which is still not an easy task given the expenses of leading a rock 'n' roll band without the benefit of major record company support.

Peter Case was himself homeless in San Francisco for nearly three years, and did a lot of time as a street musician on the Venice Boardwalk following his move to L.A. He is still a very long way from a "Limousine Liberal"--most of his last American tour was accomplished by hitchhiking.

As a Venice resident myself, I am only too aware of the criminal and escapist elements of the homeless population. I also know, however, that a lot of these people can and should be helped, and that there are a few caring, informed individuals out there who are willing to try.

We can't continue to take a complex issue like this one and bury or distort the facts into a convenient, cut-and-dried vehicle for our political views, be they liberal or conservative. In the end it doesn't matter whether the problem gets swept under the left or the right side of the rug--the floor still doesn't get clean.



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