On the Skids

With cool, young people flocking to downtown L.A., what happens to Skid Row and its denizens? Hillel Aron's July 25 cover story found few easy answers (“L.A.'s Culture War Over the Last True Skid Row in America “).

Shahdaroba hates how things are changing. “Back in the day in the 1960s, the homeless would look after my grandmother as she was walking home from her graveyard shift. Nowadays they're bitter and angry, cussing you out when you don't give them anything. One guy threw a spark plug on my windshield and cracked it 'cause I didn't give him any money. I just mind my own business now.”

Meanwhile, SedonaSherpa questions how things got so bad. “It's interesting that you say Vancouver's East Side is the only similar Skid Row. Why is that? I'll venture a guess. First, you have a sanctuary city with a level of coddling in both — needle exchange, regular food drops from both private and government programs. The areas have an identical demographic of crack and meth zombies who actually push out the simply broke or wino homeless out of fear. These zombies are alpha types, prone to unpredictable, violent outbursts, and they are basically feral humans — perfectly comfortable taking a hepatitis-laden dump on a sidewalk, playground or any grassy area within easy walking distance.”

Crime and Punishment

What fate should befall a man who simply refuses to keep his dog on a leash at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area? Readers pushed back after Jennifer Swann's July 25 report (“Busted for Off-Leash Dog, Man Ordered Not to Leave Southern California”).

One was Kate Kuykendall, who responds on behalf of the National Park Service: “Our dog regulations are among the most permissive in the park service, but there is broad consensus among all of our user groups — including dog owners — that dogs should be leashed in shared public spaces. We routinely investigate complaints of off-leash dogs that attack or simply frighten horseback riders, cyclists, children, the mobility-impaired and other leashed dogs.

“It's our job to make sure everyone has a safe and pleasant experience on the trail. A detailed set of law enforcement statistics were provided to the author that clearly dispute her characterization of Ranger Bonnie Clarfield, or the park, as an overzealous enforcer of these regulations. For all of 2013, Clarfield issued a total of three citations for off-leash dogs, which hardly fits the unattributed and inaccurate 'dog narc' label assigned to her in the article.”

BlackTeeth sides with the feds. “Hey, asshole, put your dog on a leash like every other responsible dog owner,” he writes. “You dared them to throw the book at you, and now they are. Are you expecting sympathy?

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