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Skid row 'dumping'

October 09, 2005

I read with personal interest the Oct. 5 article, "Why Skid Row Has Become L.A.'s 'Dumping' Ground," because I was one of those who was deposited.

Because of the programs available there (mine was People in Progress), I am today a contributing member of society. I am a father (of six), was a teacher and am now a financial advisor with an income in the low- to mid-six figures.

I have all of this and more solely because of this program and the wonderful people of California, Los Angeles and People in Progress, plus Alcoholics Anonymous.

I am certainly not alone in my recovery. I write to ask that The Times consider the upside of these programs and what they do for our society.

I believe that instead of looking at and referring to these people as addicts, homeless, etc., that we look at them not only as human beings but as community members who, with the proper programs, can add a great deal to what we all strive for: a better community.

L. JOHN MILLER

Aurora, N.Y.

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The flip side of this dilemma is that while Los Angeles' unwanted are regularly dumped in an area with a concentration of services, it is also an area infested with drugs and crime.

As a skid row social worker, I witness drug deals and alert the police to them as a daily routine. Because of all the addicts concentrated in the community, gang members from neighboring ghettos flock to deal.

Why is the police response so inadequate given the magnitude of the illicit activity in skid row?

Presently, the services in place to help are nullified by the perils of this community.

KATHERINE MORGAN

Los Angeles

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