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August 27, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
Across the street from the Hollywood Trader Joe's, the sidewalk is so buckled that a small briefcase could be stored underneath the concrete. A second, in Boyle Heights, juts so high above the curb that it could be a skateboard ramp. A third, on Hoover Street in Silver Lake, has so many cracks it looks more like a mosaic than a public walkway. Los Angeles has made zero progress in recent years in reducing the $1.5-billion backlog of repairs to its battered, broken and buckled sidewalks.
June 21, 2012
This week, city officials began a major cleanup of skid row's streets and sidewalks. The goal is to rid the area of hazardous bulky items and material that has attracted vermin or otherwise poses a threat to public health and safety. So far - and its only been two days - the city appears to be running this project carefully and thoughtfully. Officials had said their ability to clean the streets was limited by a 2011 federal court injunction barring the city from seizing the unattended belongings of the homeless on skid row. As this cleanup continues, we expect the city to comply with that ruling while carrying out its responsibility to remove objects and waste that endanger everyone.
June 20, 2012 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Department of Public Works, backed by police and firefighters, on Tuesday launched a major cleanup effort on downtown's skid row to address urine, feces, discarded needles and other health dangers cited in a recent county report. The operation, requested by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is expected to last up to three weeks and is focused on the area between 5th and 7th streets and Gladys Avenue and Wall Street. Notices were posted Monday on neighborhood walls, and officials with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority canvassed the area for weeks to ask people who sleep on the sidewalks to move their belongings during the cleanup, said Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.
April 9, 2012 | By Carol Schatz
A federal judge last year issued a preliminary injunction against the city of Los Angeles, effectively allowing anyone in the area around skid row to store personal belongings - including mattresses, overflowing plastic bags and shopping carts - on the sidewalks. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez was intended to protect the possessions of homeless and street people, and to prevent them from being mistaken for garbage and removed from the public sidewalks. As a predictable - if unintended - consequence of that ruling, hundreds of people have transformed the streets of skid row and surrounding neighborhoods into their personal storage facilities.
April 5, 2012
Now that the homeless are prohibited from camping overnight on Ocean Front Walk in Venice, many have migrated to other spots in the beach town. After numerous complaints about trash, city workers, accompanied by police, raided the new areas last month and confiscated unattended belongings, prompting a lawsuit from a civil rights attorney. According to the suit, filed on behalf of 11 named homeless people, employees of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Public Works seized property found on 3rd Avenue in Venice that included birth certificates, food stamp eligibility cards, prescription medication, wallets with cash, and even laptop computers.
March 31, 2012 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
As evening falls, a dazed woman with a gangrenous thumb spreads a blanket over a row of plastic crates to make a bed on the urine-soaked sidewalk. As many as 10 people are camping along this stretch of pavement on 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Their belongings - tents, sleeping bags, shopping carts, a leather chair, at least two microwaves and piles of clothing - nearly cover the concrete. Rats scuttle in the gutter. A bony man lights up a crack pipe. Scenes like these had all but disappeared several years ago when the Safer City Initiative brought 50 additional police officers to the 50 gritty blocks known as skid row. Crime rates dropped, homeless encampments were cleared and the street population shrank.
March 25, 2012 | By Booth Moore
Talking mannequins with video-animated faces, men in skirts, sweat-stained corsets worn by Madonna and a child's teddy bear that started it all. Get ready for another museum fashion blockbuster. "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" opened Saturday at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. The exhibition, which runs through Aug. 19, spotlights almost four decades of the French designer's collections that pushed the boundaries of gender, sexuality, multiculturalism and good taste - all in the name of promoting diversity - and inspired a generation of enfants terribles (Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Martin Margiela)
February 5, 2012
Cracked and broken Re "Suits could force L.A. to put money into sidewalks," Jan. 31 It's truly a sad state of affairs when it takes a lawsuit to force our city leaders to do the right thing. Sidewalk maintenance is not just a civil rights issue for the disabled; rather, it has been an unresolved issue of poor management by those responsible for getting the job done. We should all be ashamed of ourselves for not demanding that our elected officials find a way to provide funds to maintain our sidewalks.
January 30, 2012 | By Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles may be the land of the freeway, but it is notorious for its bad sidewalks — buckled, cracked and sometimes impassable. By the city's own estimate, 42% of its 10,750 miles of pedestrian paths are in disrepair. Now a series of civil-rights lawsuits against Los Angeles and other California cities is for the first time focusing attention — and money — on a problem that decades of complaining, heated public hearings and letter-writing campaigns could not. The lawsuits were filed by disabled people who say broken sidewalks make it impossible for them to get around and seek repairs or improvements.
January 25, 2012 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County supervisors approved an ordinance Tuesday that requires new developments to have wider sidewalks, bicycle parking and other changes to promote exercise and reduce obesity. The ordinance also would make it easier for communities to start community gardens and hold farmers markets. "We are excited," said Susan Tae, the county's supervising regional planner. "This is the first step to address the healthier-built environment at the countywide level. " The ordinance, which affects unincorporated areas of the county, expands sidewalk widths to five feet, requires bicycle parking within developments and increases shade on sidewalks.
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