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Lopez brings home plight of the homeless

October 25, 2005

"Now Comes the Heavy Lifting,"

column, Oct. 23

Steve Lopez's vivid and bleak portrait of skid row (Oct. 16-20), capped off with a call to "get to work" (Oct. 23), comes at a rare moment of opportunity in the struggle against poverty. Lopez's piece brings the post-Katrina political rhetoric home. Discussions of urban poverty cannot ignore the drastic circumstances of our own neighbors or avoid the conclusion, reached by Lopez, that the conditions on skid row are symptoms of larger, systemic problems. The mayor's pledge to fix the awful situation on skid row is welcomed, and I suspect that many Angelenos will now rally around the issue and seek to get to work. Widespread involvement is needed now more than ever and will have to continue well after the glare of media attention fades.

MITCHELL KAMIN

Executive Director

Bet Tzedek -- The House of Justice

Los Angeles

*

Lopez's series about the homeless in Los Angeles has been moving and effective. However, it has been made even more so by the accompanying photographs by Francine Orr. She captured with an unfailing eye the most telling depiction of what Lopez was drawing with words. As I transferred my own sheets to my dryer, I was particularly moved by the photograph of William Jefferson (Oct. 23) trying to dry his blanket. Lopez and Orr have made a perfect team.

GILLIAN OLECHNO

Seal Beach

*

After reading Lopez's articles about dumping the homeless onto downtown L.A. streets, I will hope and pray that the analysis doesn't lead to more paralysis. Where are the facilities for the mentally ill whose families (if they have any) cannot take care of them? I'm counting on Lopez to pursue even further and persevere through this inhumanity.

JOAN ARNDT

North Hollywood

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