Jesse Kennedy stands his ground.


Record Gazette

The wind in Cabazon is howling across the nearly empty sand-filled, one-acre lot.

It is hot at 1:30 p.m. It is nearly 95 degrees with the sun blazing.

A huge American flag flies above one of the three older recreational vehicles parked on the space and two automobiles that no longer work.

From the dilapidated fifth-wheel trailer in the back of the lot, with no truck attached to move it, an affable Jesse Kennedy appears.

He is a slender man, shirtless, with a slight muscular physique. A decent meal has escaped him for some time.

He is wearing black shorts that are covered in dust giving them, a gray hue. They are at least four sizes too big, cinched tight with an old leather belt.

Most of his time is spent outside of his trailer because it is cooler, causing him to sport a deep bronze tan from countless hours in the sun.

He does not have electricity to run his air conditioner.

His hands are dirty, covered in thick grime and muck giving them a gritty sandpaper texture.

He does not have running water hooked up to his trailer and he is not connected to sewer or septic systems.

Even if he did, the black and gray water tanks are full and he has no place to dump his wastewater.

This 41 year-old man has been on this particular parcel of land, tucked in between a diesel repair shop and a private residence, for nearly six weeks, but it is not his land.

In fact, nobody owns the property, according to Riverside County public record searches.

“I’m sure I look like an eyesore,” he says. “It wasn’t meant to be like this. I’m just here surviving.”

Kennedy, who is originally from Desert Hot Springs, was only planning on staying on the property for a short period of time while he passed through.

But five days after he set up his trailer, he claims his girlfriend was involved in a rollover accident in his truck and was killed.

Since his truck was destroyed in the accident he has not been able to move his home.

Surrounding the base of the trailer is an eclectic mix of trash, old broken furniture and miscellaneous garden equipment.

This is what is left from his two storage units after he moved his things out because he could not afford the rent for the spaces.

He has been selling as many of his belongings as he can get rid of so he can buy a truck and eventually leave the property.

One of the items up for sale is a newer model Audi sports car that sits next to his trailer.

It had recently broken down when a friend of his drove it and blew up the engine, leaving the car inoperable and unsellable.

“It’s one thing after another. I can’t get a break,” Kennedy lamented.

Recently, deputies with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department have made contact with Kennedy several times after neighbors have complained about him for illegally trespassing.

“Each one of them have asked me if I know God and have given me information about church outreach programs,” he says. “They (the deputies) have been helpful.”

The deputies have no reason to send Kennedy on his way though. Nobody owns the land, so he stays.

Others throughout Cabazon have also come to his aid. Some neighbors have brought food and water.

“The whole city (Cabazon) has been awesome,” Kennedy says of his adopted community. “I appreciate them looking out.”


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(1) comment


It is incorrect to state that "nobody owns the land". SOMEBODY owns the land. If not a private citizen, then the state, or the county, or the Feds...there is no such thing as land that is un-owned.

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