Near the corner of San Pedro and Fifth, another homeless man, Philip, was listening to talk radio on his headphones while he picked at a small tub of macaroni salad. Philip, whose favorite talk-show jock was Rush Limbaugh, was a little better off than the man on Fourth Street, since he had a bed waiting for him at the Union Mission -- cardboard was not his currency.
"I'm for it," he said of the sweep, as a dwarf with bushy hair standing straight up jumped up and down, waving at traffic. "It makes you feel safer. Every time I walk by a group of guys, they call out, 'Weed! Weed! Weed!'"
After the second raid, I asked LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Horace Frank if there were plans for more sweeps. "Not to my knowledge, although that can always change," he answered.
"There are better ways to arrest people," James Bonar believes. "But I guess this looks better for them to say, 'We arrested over a hundred people.' It's making a statement."