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Downtown in the Times

By Eric Richardson
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2007, at 08:57AM
Pershing Square Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Two articles from this morning's Times connect to topics we've talked about here.

First, Celia Rasmussen gives a history of Pershing Square, looking at the site's various designs through the years. The topic's very relevant given Park Fifth, and the potential the project has to provide funding for a redesign. We looked at old designs back in May.

Second, Steve Lopez uses a check-in with Nathaniel Ayers to complain about the jaywalking tickets LAPD has been handing out as part of its enforcement on Skid Row. There's a quote that sums up the prevailing opinion that LAPD is just making life hard on those living in Skid Row.

Gary Blasi, a UCLA professor who studies skid row and has been crunching numbers on the recent police crackdown, said residents who get cited often are handcuffed while police run background checks on them.

"By far the most common ticket is for jaywalking," Blasi says. "The tickets are also for dropping an ash on the street, inappropriate use of a milk crate -- things that, if they were written in any other part of the city, would be considered ridiculous."

And yet, LAPD has been handing out jaywalking tickets all over Downtown lately. It's not at all unusual to see officers camped out at intersections like 7th & Broadway handing out citations. Just in the past few weeks I've seen jaywalking tickets written at 7th & Olive as well as 7th & Flower. So argue the merit of jaywalking tickets all you want -- I for one think jaywalking tickets should only be given out in proportion to the number of cars cited for running lights late and blocking intersections Downtown -- but don't try to make the case that LAPD is doing some unheard of enforcement only on Skid Row.

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