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Letters: Downtown L.A.'s forgotten residents

May 25, 2012
  • Los Angeles Kings fans celebrate a victory outside Staples Center last week.
Los Angeles Kings fans celebrate a victory outside Staples Center last… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Re "Downtown is live," May 20

Downtown Los Angeles has never truly been just a 9-to-5 place. We must not forget that for decades downtown has been home to tens of thousands of low-income residents. Currently, at least 12,000 people reside in the area known as skid row alone, excluding the large homeless population.

In recent years, instead of seeing benefits from the surge in downtown economic activity, low-income residents have witnessed a sharp increase in arrests and citations and a spike in evictions thanks to the Safer Cities Initiative. These residents' removal from downtown results in the disruption of services that are crucial for their survival.

As we visit downtown's many new attractions, we should ask ourselves how the economic activity being generated benefits these long-term low-income residents.

Fernando Gaytan

Los Angeles

The writer is an attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles.

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