It's interesting that when the LA Times finally gets something right, its worst critics are the first to offer praise. Now if this could only happen more than once or twice a year...
Lopez is really getting to know Skid Row. He even learned what a - strawberry - is!
I go to Skid Row periodically, generally to visit the scene of a crime that I will be prosecuting - generally a drug sales crime. I am always accompanied by someone with a gun. In my suit, with my large digital camera, I tend to stand out.
As I walk around and snap pictures, I hear people calling out warnings to everyone in the surrounding area: the police are here; stop your drug-taking and drug sales for a few moments.
Some heed the advice, and some don't.
I have stood on a street corner at 5th and Main with narcotics officers - me in my suit with my camera around my neck - and watched as people shoot up and sell drugs on the opposite corner. When the drugs become available, it's like a feeding frenzy; 5-10 people come up within a minute and engage in quick hand-to-hand transactions lasting only seconds.
As I pointed out in his comments section, 5th and Main has cleaned up considerably since his last visit to the Nickel. The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council initiated - but now independent - Gallery Row project has helped four galleries open at 5th and Main - and two more are coming. Soon after that, most of the stores and restaurants that were fronts for drug dealing were shut down on Main Street and the new 24/7 police cameras are being installed this and next month all along Main, Spring and Broadway.
By the end of the year, 5th and Main should be an almost drug free intersection.