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Steve Lopez Visits the Blue Bongo to Hear Skid Row Musician

By Eric Richardson
Published: Sunday, June 26, 2005, at 01:47AM

Steve Lopez today has another chapter in his ongoing story about Nathaniel Ayers. Lopez makes his way to Little Pedro's to hear Nathaniel play, and couches this narrative in a discussion of some of the issues facing mental health services.

Dr. Shaner later called it tragic that Nathaniel, or anyone who is chronically mentally ill, is left to live on dangerous streets. The civil rights concerns that led policymakers to empty the state's mental hospitals over the last three decades were well-intentioned, but the move helped create today's problem. Society has failed to deal with the stigma and destructive reality of mental illness.

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