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Day Laborers in Ladera Heights

March 20, 1994

As a tenant of the apartment complex directly across the street from where the day workers hang out in Ladera Heights ("Toil and Trouble," Feb. 27), I can tell you it's been a nightmare these last three-plus years that these men have been coming to HomeBase.

My front windows face the driveway and I have firsthand experience of the things these men do. I have seen women walking down the street harassed by these men. I have seen these men urinate on the trees in front of my family apartment complex. I have watched as these men have scratched the paint off the HomeBase sign.

I personally want these men out of my neighborhood, because they do not respect the people who live here or the property. I am sick and tired of hearing about these "poor men who are just trying to get work." What about us ? We live here, damn it, and we have tried for years to keep our community the kind of place where you can walk down the street in the daylight hours and not be harassed by anyone.

It's a shame that because these men have taken over our neighborhood I can no longer go out my front door and walk across the street to shop. I have to drive my car across the street to get my nails done. This is not right. I have lived in this neighborhood since 1967, before there was a Zody's and then a HomeBase. HomeBase may have brought a few jobs to the community, but these men have taken the joy of that away.

Anyone who tries to turn this into a racist incident is not one who lives in this community and has not experienced what I have. I guess what I'm really trying to say is: Put yourself in my shoes for three-plus years and see how you feel then.

I know that not all of these men do these things, but one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch. If this area were commercial property instead of residential, it would not be such a big deal.

MARGARET ELLIOTT

Ladera Heights

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I think the day workers should be allowed to stand out there and get work. They are not doing anything against the law. As long as they're not out there raping people or stealing things, I think there is nothing wrong with them standing out there. I hope a solution can be found that would allow them to continue to do that and just find ways to keep them from littering the streets.

SABRA JACKSON

South-Central Los Angeles

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The answer seems simple: The ACLU is concerned about infringing on rights, perhaps the ACLU would be willing to post their local street addresses and allow the immigrants who are looking for jobs to line up in front of their business.

EDWARD J. MOONEY

University Park Village

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I live in a 90% Latino neighborhood, Hawaiian Gardens. We also have a HomeBase store where laborers hang out. I recognize that there is not enough work for everyone who wishes to work. It is admirable of anyone to put themselves on the line to beg for work. Much better this than to watch the beggars around Ladera Park asking for money, not work.

PAMELA SHER

Hawaiian Gardens

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