The John and Ken Show made a safari tour of Santa Ana's homeless yesterday afternoon when they broadcast their KFI-AM 640 program live from the Civic Center Plaza encampment. The two right-wing yappers have been hammering away at Mayor Miguel Pulido, the Santa Ana city council and OC Board of Supervisors for weeks about the issue before deciding to take a look around for themselves. “We can't put the smells up, can we?” Ken Chiampou (the calm one) chimed on Monday's programming promoting the live broadcast. “There's no technology to transmit odor yet,” John Kobylt (the braying one) added.
JohnKen set up at the Orange County Hall of Records and Finance building across the way from the areas more heavily populated with homeless folks. They didn't have a broadcast booth, only wireless microphones that they ranted on throughout the four-hour program. It didn't take long for the first argument on the streets to pop off. “There's no First Amendment right to take a crap in a public place,” John said to Anaheim homeless activist Lou Noble. “Do you see any crap around here? Show me! Your full of it!” Noble shot back.
Around 35 people gathered to hear the radio hosts—a far cry from the 15,000 or so who showed up for their infamous “Heads on a Stick” rally years ago in Fullerton, and further proof of their waning influence in Southern California. County employees took the opportunity to vent on the program about what they see on a daily basis. “I've seen people having sex outside my windows, taking baths in fountains, defecating,” said one county worker. “I've seen enough!” John and Ken rallied the cause of folks who work in the downtown area time and time again.
“It's a fucking dog and pony show,” a homeless man named “Bob” told the Weekly while watching JohnKen. “I knew they were pieces of shit anyhow.” Bob's been on the streets of Santa Ana for 15 years. He ended up homeless after a divorce and prison time, unable to make ends meet off a $1,000 a month pension. Bob is part of the Civic Center Roundtable, a homeless organization in the area that advocates for change and that JohnKen conveniently didn't bother to interview. “We need a hell of a lot more than three Porta Potties that they put in last month and a bus station that closes at 9:30.”
Towards the end of the first hour of the program, John and Ken dropped off the air. (Perhaps an act of the radio gods?) Once they patched the connection back up, the two decided on walking down to the other side of Civic Center Plaza by the Santa Ana Library where most of the homeless stay. “It's so scary here,” a homeless man sneered at the radio hosts as they led a procession of their fans. JohnKen stopped briefly to take in the camp site at the Plaza de las Banderas.
Ken told his radio listeners that he hadn't stepped on a syringe yet while John described another homeless man gyrating wildly from afar. “They're not all mentally crazy,” a man on a bicycle pleaded to John. “Well, a lot of them are!” he responded. “There's nobody who's sane that lives like this.” A few homeless folks tried to get on the mic only to be ignored. “We're not gonna bite,” said a homeless woman after the JohnKen parade headed back to the Hall of Records and Finance.
Only in the third hour did the KFI hosts bother trying to speak with homeless folks. Most declined to talk on air, but the duo persisted in pestering them. They eyed a red-haired woman who spent much of the day yelling at no one in particular, clearing suffering from a mental health condition. She declined to speak with them, but John and Ken kept asking questions exploiting her incoherent ramblings on-air as she talked with her back turned to their microphones.
Then legendary OC activist Naui Huitzilopochtli showed up, camera in hand. “Go back to Europe! Go back to Europe! Go back to Europe!” he started shouting as JohnKen were doing a live commercial. He was quickly swarmed by a group of JohnKen fanboys that included producer Ray Lopez. The fanboys started blocking Huitzilopochtli from filming JohnKen, with some pushing him and others snickering about checking his legal status—stay classy, pendejos! The police then intervened…only to lecture Naui instead of the JohnKenbros. Let's roll Naui's tape, complete with a Santa Ana officer racially profiling Naui by speaking to him in Spanish instead of English!
Towards the end of the program, fans heeded the call of the shock jocks to put up signs dubbing the homeless encampment “Pulidoville.” After decades of bad governance, John and Ken suddenly discovered the political faults of Don Papi Pulido! They continued their faux-outrage shtick pretending to care about a city that's served as their anti-immigrant punching bag for years.
The hosts blamed nonprofits and church groups for feeding the homeless, saying it makes the Civic Center an attraction for more people to come, showing no understanding of how anti-homeless policies in Anaheim, Fullerton and a bunch of other OC cities has driven the numbers camping out in Santa Ana to 500.
“What's going to happen if the churches stop feeding people?” Fred Schremp, a resident of Orange who regularly helps Santa Ana's homeless, asked the Weekly. Schremp disagrees with JohnKen's take that folks like him are part of the problem, countering that feeding the homeless prevents desperate crimes of poverty.
“This is just a media circus that's not going to solve anything.”