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L.B. Street People May Get Attention

September 25, 1986

After 10 years of watching downtown Long Beach tear itself down only to rise anew with some brand new places, some fascinating changes have occurred.

One of them that is never mentioned in the list of honors when the city architects congratulate themselves, is an unusual downtown park. It sprouts from the roof of the Central Library next to City Hall. The lawns are tidy and the gardens tended. It's is one of those public places mysterious or unknown to most residents. It is a world of hidden and rejected specters.

There are people asleep on the cement terraces leading to the nowhere places. They wear discarded clothes. Rag dolls in this penthouse of penury.

It is estimated that 50% of these homeless and discarded people have mental problems. In addition to the people in the park, there are many others wandering the streets downtown. The merchants and many citizens hate to see these people, and think of them all as bums and panhandlers. But there is no money allotted and no serious discussion of the problem.

Just a few yards away from the library park is the Long Beach City Council chambers. The problem of the homeless has been ignored to a large extent. Finally, on Sept. 16, a new councilman, Evan Braude, brought up the subject for the council to deal with. I hope Councilman Braude's suggestion to try to face this problem will not be kicked under the rug.

FRANK MAPSON

Long Beach

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