The billions that L.A. has pumped into redeveloping Hollywood over the last couple decades -- mostly blown on high-rises and hip watering holes -- has done little to abate its serious state of ghetto-ness.
And no spot in the city has become more of a cesspool for grime and crime than the Metro Red Line station(s) in Hollywood. Well, except maybe Skid Row. But at least permanent bum camps have a bit of a homey feel -- the Hollywood and Western station is no one's home. It's a place you throw your gum and spit your lougie and puke your sorrows for someone else to clean up. (Read: no one.) And, apparently, a place to stab your victims in cold blood:
At 4:30 a.m. this morning, on the station's mezzanine level, an unidentified male suspect pulled a knife on two victims -- a man and a woman with whom the attacker had reportedly been arguing.
The former was slashed in the neck, and is currently in serious condition at the hospital, according to Metro officials. The latter was also hurt, but less seriously.True, it was Halloween, trashy stepsister of cold-season holidays. And the scene above ground was no less out of control: The LAPD reported 39 arrests, compared to TWO among the quarter-million revelers in West Hollywood next door. (Sigh. If only all the little Hollywood dreamers wishing on a crystal-clear Midwest star could see the nastiness that was the Boulevard at 2 a.m. last night.)
But when isn't our supposed Tinseltown in some phase of Halloweendom?
In late August, another stabbing occurred on an actual Red Line train as it was pulling into the station at Hollywood and Vine. That time, the attack was fatal.
Aside from the Blue Line, which runs down through one of the poorest and most crime-ridden parts of L.A., the Red Line has the most arrests and citations in our city's subway system. In response to the summer stabbing, Metro released the numbers for July -- 36 reported crimes, 178 arrests and 2,100 total citations issued.
Local activist Stephen Box (big on bikes and government accountability) blogged a thorough shaming of the Hollywood and Western station back in September 2009. He called it "No Man's Land." Because the L.A. County Sheriff's Department is in charge of all Metro property, this little island in LAPD territory seems as wild and un-patrolled as if it were in the middle of the Pacific.
From Box's post, still relevant two years later:
The Metro's Red Line stations are all unique, each one decorated with public art that reflects the character and personality of the surrounding community. At Hollywood & Western, the Metro selected overflowing trashcans, human waste and a homeless encampment, all in tribute to the "No-Man's Land" status of the area that finds the LAPD and the LASD treating the Metro station like a jurisdictional hot potato.
This past Saturday evening, arriving at the Metro Station a little after midnight, we discovered five of the six escalators inoperative. Proponents of the "Broken Windows" theory would suggest that this "indicator" communicates a complete lack of oversight.
In a classic L.A. conundrum, sheriff's officials told Box that "the LASD only handles the Metro Station itself, not the surrounding property." Then an LAPD watch commander told him the exact opposite. ("In fact," wrote Box, "we discovered that night, the Sheriff's surveillance cameras don't even cover the third level of stairs." Sweet! Prime spot for a wee-hour stabbing!)
Which brings us back to this morning. City News Service reports that "the station was closed for a time, and buses were brought in to accommodate affected passengers. The trains remained in service, but they bypassed the closed station."
How very bleak, and fitting. L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, who oversees the area, calls it elegant density. But developing a neighborhood for daytime suits in their towers and nighttime hipsters on a glitz binge does not a community make. Especially when no local lawman wants to take responsibility for cracking down on its problem spots. Welcome to Hollywood, y'all!