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Safe Streets

May 20, 1988

May 10 was a beautiful day in Los Angeles. I decided to walk from my office on Olympic to a watch repair store on 7th near Broadway at 2:30 in the afternoon.

On that short walk I was approached seven times for money. After handing out three quarters, I was out of change. Turning on 7th Street, a man in his late 30s asked for some change. I said, "Sorry." He repeated, "I want some change," and stepped in front of me demanding money again. He came at me chanting, "I'm going to kill you." Slowly I backed into an open shoe store. He was still advancing saying, "I'm going to kill you."

At that moment the shoe store owner stepped forward and deposited a quarter into his left hand. His right hand came up and demanded more change and a quarter was deposited there. Then to our surprise, he said he wanted more money for his friend down the block. He received another quarter. All the time he kept repeating his threat. On the way back, I again had to zig zag through another dozen panhandlers.

I'm ashamed of our old downtown shopping area.

I would feel embarrassed if an unsuspecting tourist visited this area. Councilmen, get out of your cars and walk those streets. Save our city.

RICHARD ROME

Los Angeles

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