In today's column by Steve Lopez, following an excellent column he did last week - which I have not yet gotten around to addressing - and after a superb series of articles on the 'dumping' on Skid Row by the LA Times, this Philadelphia columnist visiting LA, states one of the most preposterous falsehoods ever told by a LA Times writer:
Roughly 10,000 people flop on skid row streets each night, up to half of them mentally ill. The landscape is relentlessly bleak, the stench of rotting trash and misery everywhere.
Now this quote is in an article based on five days he spent on Skid Row. Evidently, though, like too many recently arrived Times reporters, he was blindfolded the entire time, metaphorically if not physically.
First the minor point; there is a smell on some, but not all, parts of Skid Row. But it has little to do with rotting trash. The streets are swept very day and most sidewalks are washed almost every day. No trash is left long enough to rot. That the smell is from days or weeks old decomposing trash is simply not... true.
The smell that assaults one's olfactory senses on some parts of the Row is because not just the homeless but many other people in area use the public sidewalks as public restrooms.
But the real outrage is that if Lopez had spent even one night on Skid Row without his blindfold on - he would have realized there isn't even enough physical room on the sidewalks of Skid Row for 10,000 people to sleep every night.
That he could say anything this detached from reality without any of the editors realizing what he said was insane - proves how detached the LA Times is from this city.
To repeat, Steve Lopez did not say that 10,000 homeless people sleep every night on the streets of downtown.
He did not say that on Skid Row there are 10,000 homeless people, who sleep either on the streets or in shelters every night.
Both totally false statements, by the way.
Steve Lopez stated that 10,000 homeless people sleep - every night - on the streets of Skid Row.
The tragedy is when outsiders from back East who know nothing about Los Angeles and who appear to be incapable of ever learning anything about this city just make up 'facts' about what is happening down here - it only trivializes the seriousness of our problems. Maybe the best thing the LA Times could ever do for this city is to never again publish a single word about... Los Angeles.
To read my personal challenge to Steve Lopez to actually help me count the people sleeping on Skid Row go to: