By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A screaming headline: “Jewish cemetery says it’s time for Seattle to pay up for damages caused by RV campers” from a Washington TV station may get plenty of people upset, but it’s hardly a fair shake for the RV community a whole.
Seattle FOX TV affiliate, KCPQ, running a story under its q13fox.com Internet outlet, certainly made it appear that somehow, RVers had damaged the Bikur Cholim cemetery in Seattle’s north end. A closer reading of the story reveals a whole different situation. A better read comes from the headline that the station first used when digging into an ongoing situation, back in April. For that story, the headline read: “North Seattle Jewish cemetery dealing with drug addict mess.”
Here’s what’s really been happening in Puget Sound country. In a city plagued by drug addiction and homelessness, some of those who are down on their luck have taken to using the Bikur Cholim cemetery as a place of last resort. Not everyone doing so has recalled what they learned in kindergarten: Play nice and clean up after yourself. Cemetery volunteers report having to make frequent clean-up runs to gather up hypodermic needles, trash and human waste. Some have turned the cemetery’s bathrooms into crash pads. Managers said they’ve spent $50,000 on taking down trees and putting up lighting to try and discourage unwelcome visitors.
And yes, evidently along at least one bordering street, there are some who have parked various vehicles, including RVs, and are living in them. Cemetery officials say they’ve had these vehicle denizens hook up to power from the cemetery, and have left trash piled up. They also complain that parking spaces are taken up by these RVs, making parking difficult for people attending funerals. After pleading with Seattle city officials for months for help, one cemetery board member has taken matters into his own hands, filing suit against the city for damages.
It’s definitely a problem – one faced by nearly every big city in America. But please, let’s not compound the problem by pointing the finger at RVers. Evidently there are plenty of players in this drama, but we’re pretty sure that the majority of them aren’t “RVers,” and even those that do live in RVs, aren’t representative of the average Joe and Joan that climb into their rig and take in the sights around the country. The problem isn’t RVers – the problem is part of the plague of our modern society. Tabloid-style headlines misrepresent the facts and only add fuel to the “fake news” fire, regardless of which side of the editorial line the publisher leans.
Read the full story here.