CCA Downtown 2020: Roadmap to L.A.’s Urban Future

Below I have listed some take-aways from this document that I feel will impact Skid Row specifically. The bold emphasis is mine and the notes within parenthesis are my thoughts, and not part of the CCA document.

People Need Parks!

Downtown needs more and higher-quality parks and public spaces,activated with life throughout the day and year.

Action:Recognize that urban parks may take a non-traditional form, such as plazas,alleys, linear parks, rooftops, parklets, and pocket parks.

(PLANTING MORE TREES ALONG SKID ROW SIDEWALKS AND INSTALLING BENCHES WOULD BE LIKE “LINEAR PARKS”. THESE ARE THINGS WE LACK NOW).

Action:Support a variety of formal programming, as well as creative uses, to drive traffic to public spaces and breathe life into Downtown’s existing open-space infrastructure.

Action:Recognize the value of neighborhood-serving, smaller scale pocket parks, in addition to Downtown’s grand, civic gathering spaces.

Action:Ensure that existing parks are adequately maintained to offer a safe and welcoming environment.

(GLADYS PARK AND SAN JULIAN PARK BOTH NEED SUPPLEMENTAL MONIES FOR PROGRAMMING, MAINTENANCE AND EQUIPMENT- SEE BLOG POST HERE FOR MORE INFO ON SKID ROW PARKS. SRO HOUSING CORP.,WHICH CURRENTLY PAYS FOR ALL MAINTENANCE OF SAN JULIAN PARK, HAS STATED RECENTLY THAT SINCE THE DEMISE OF THE CRA, FUTURE FUNDING IS IN QUESTION. GLADYS PARK GETS LITTLE TO NO CITY MONEY FOR CURRENT MAINTENANCE AND/OR PROGRAMMING. THIS WILL BE A CHALLENGE MOVING FORWARD FOR THIS COMMUNITY).

Amend state law and revise related city ordinance to enable the use of Quimby funds for park maintenance.

(THIS IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA. THE NEW SPRING STREET PARK WAS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF QUIMBY FUNDS, BUT IT’S FUTURE MAINTENANCE IS SOMETHING THAT IS STILL BEING WORKED OUT BECAUSE QUIMBY DOES NOT COVER THIS. THE RESIDENTIAL BASE SURROUNDING THE SPRING STREET PARK IS AFFLUENT, SO RAISING PRIVATE MONEY, IF NECESSARY, IS NOT AN UNREASONABLE IDEA. IN SKID ROW, THERE IS A MINUSCULE MARKET-RATE RESIDENTIAL BASE, WITH THE MAJORITY OF IT’S APPROXIMATELY 8,000 RESIDENTS CLASSIFIED AS EITHER VERY LOW INCOME OR DESTITUTE. MOST SKID ROW LANDOWNERS ARE CURRENTLY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS OR INDUSTRIAL BUSINESSES).

Connect the Dots!

Action:Improve DASH service by extending evening and weekend hours and adding/improving routes as appropriate to better serve a community that has changed substantially since the current DASH service routes were implemented.

Pay special attention to the growing residential community in the Historic Core and South Park, as well as evening entertainment and dining uses.

Action:Improve wayfinding and other pedestrian-oriented directional signage.

(SKID ROW RESIDENTS WOULD LIKE SKID ROW SPECIFIC SIGNAGE. I HAVE HEARD THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN FROM DOZENS OF PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY LIVE HERE. THERE IS A STRONG SENSE OF NEIGHBORHOOD PRIDE AND CULTURE HERE THAT ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE HONORED AND RESPECTED. AS IT IS NOW, THERE IS NO SIGNAGE IN ALL OF DTLA THAT SPELLS OUT SKID ROW. THE ACTUAL RESIDENTS HERE NEED TO WEIGH IN ON THIS- THE CCA WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RE-NAME THIS DISTRICT NO MATTER HOW HARD THEY TRY. THE ART’S DISTRICT HAS RECENTLY PUT UP SIGNAGE IN IT’S DISTRICT THAT WAS CREATED BY ARTS DISTRICT RESIDENTS- MOSTLY AFFLUENT. SKID ROW ALSO HAS A RICH ARTISTIC CULTURE, BUT AGAIN, LACKS THE FUNDING TO PUSH THIS THROUGH THE APPROPROATE POLITICAL CHANNELS OR SELF-FUND ANY SORT OF SKID ROW SPECIFIC SINAGE. I WILL PERSONALY FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL TO MAKE SURE “SKID ROW” IS NOT ERASED OFF ANY MAPS, AS WELL AS JOINING ANY OTHER GROUP FIGHTING FOR THIS. IF THE CCA WERE TO LOOK AT OTHER LARGE URBAN CITIES, IT WOULD SEE A TRADITION OF KEEPING PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED UNSAVORY OR DANGEROUS NEIGHBORHOOD NAMES IN TACT. THERE IS AN AMAZING HISTORY IN SKID ROW. CLICK HERE FOR MORE THOUGHTS I HAVE ABOUT THIS. RECOGNIZE).

Public Safety/Homelessness : The biggest obstacle to a successful Downtown is the perception that all of Downtown is a dirty, dangerous place, so we must continue to focus on maintaining orderly public spaces for all to use.

Action:Advocate for lifting the Jones settlement to enable equitable enforcement of laws that keep sidewalks available to all.

Action:Expand on efforts to end the pathological tolerance of the service-resistant and/or drug-addicted chronically homeless who choose to self-destruct on our public streets.

(THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO PROFESSIONAL OUTREACH TEAMS ACTIVE ON THE SKID ROW STREETS WORKING TO GET PEOPLE, ONE BY ONE, INTO HOUSING THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN THE 2 YEARS SINCE MOVING TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. I HAVE SEEN NEITHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OR LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDERS IN THE STREETS. THIS IS APPALLING. WITH ALL THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS COMING IN HERE- VERY, VERY RARELY- IF AT ALL, DO THE PEOPLE WHO WORK HERE COME OUTSIDE OF THEIR BUILDINGS. THIS IS NOT TO DIMINISH THE INCREDIBLE WORK THEY DO BEHIND THE WALLS OF THESE LARGE INSTITUTIONS- THIS IS STATING THINGS AS I SEE THEM IN THE COMMUNITY THAT I CALL HOME. WE NEED OUTREACH TEAMS TO DO THE HARD WORK. I DON’T PRETEND TO BE ANY SORT OF HOMELESS ADVOCATE, BUT I AM A NEIGHBORHOOD ADVOCATE AND I KNOW WE NEED THIS).

Quality-of-Life Crimes Matter! Downtown’s continued revitalization requires aggressive enforcement and prevention of low-level crimes that breed both negative perceptions and actual incidence of larger crimes.

Action:Lobby for increased resources for the Safer Cities Initiative, reinforcing the Broken Windows approach to policing.

(I AM NOT SO SURE ABOUT THIS. SINCE 2006, THE SAFER CITIES INITIATIVE HAS BEEN LARGELY CONSIDERED BY THE SKID ROW COMMUNITY TO BE UNFAIRLY LOCKING UP HOMELESS PEOPLE WHO ARE BY AND LARGE MENTALLY ILL. JAILING LARGE NUMBERS OF MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE IS MORALLY WRONG. THERE SHOULD BE COMMUNITY-DRIVEN TALKS ABOUT HOW BEST TO MOVE FORWARD IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY POLICING FOR SKID ROW, STILL CONSIDERED AND ACTIVELY OPERATING AS A “CONTAINMENT ZONE” WHERE EXCESSIVE DRUG USE AND SALES ARE ESSENTIALLY ALLOWED. BROKEN-WINDOW THEORY SOUNDS GOOD, AND I HAVE READ UP ON IT- BUT IN REAL LIFE APPLICATION FOR SKID ROW, I THINK IT IS SEVERELY LACKING AND NOT A WELL-SUITED POLICY FOR THE TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN SKID ROW- AND I AM SPECIFICALLY REFERRING TO THE HUGE MENTALLY ILL POPULATION AGAIN HERE. ALTHOUGH CRIME HAS DECREASED WITH THE SCI, AND THERE ARE SOME POSITIVES TO IT, THERE WAS NEVER ANY CONSIDERATION FOR SANITATION ISSUES IN SKID ROW, SPECIFICALLY THE PARTS OF SKID ROW THAT DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE A BID. I MAINTAIN THAT IT IS NO LESS THAN A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY TO LET THE CONDITIONS CONTINUE AS THEY HAVE FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES. SKID ROW STILL HAS NOT IMPLEMENTED ALL OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE RECENT LA COUNTY HEALTH REPORT- SUCH AS PROVIDING AN ADEQUATE NUMBER OF TRASH RECEPTACLES, MAKING SURE THEY GET SERVICED, AND INSTALLING MORE APTS- OR PUBLIC TOILETS. ALSO, THERE ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE CONSIDERATION FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE REMOVAL FROM SKID ROW WEEKLY IF NOT DAILY. HUNDREDS OF NEEDLES WERE REPORTED ON THE STREETS  BY OPERATION HEALTHY STREETS WORKERS- AND TO THIS DAY, NO PLANS ARE ON THE TABLE FOR HOW TO FIND AND DISPOSE OF THEM. MANY PEOPLE IN SKID ROW WALK ABOUT BAREFOOT AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SPREADING DISEASE HAS STILL NOT BEEN ADDRESSED OR MINIMIZED).

Action:Develop and expand community-based-policing tools such as Neighborhood Prosecutors, foot/bike/horse patrols, and senior lead officers.

(WE HAD SOME LAPD ON FOOT PATROL FOR A FEW WEEKS A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. IT WAS SO REFRESHING AND HUMANIZING ON SO MANY LEVELS. WHY AREN’T THERE MORE FOOT PATROL IN SKID ROW ALL THE TIME- 24/7)?

Action:Partner with BIDs, LAPD, and City Attorney to identify problem areas and issues,then implement strategic, consistent law enforcement (e.g., aggressive panhandling,proliferation of shopping carts, intelligence-based graffiti removal).

(I’M NOT SURE WHAT “INTELLIGENCE-BASED GRAFFITI REMOVAL” IS. I NEED CLARIFICATION. BECAUSE IF IT MEANS GETTING RID OF GANG TAGS- YES, I AM VERY SUPPORTIVE OF THIS AND MOST EVERYONE ELSE WOULD BE HERE TOO I IMAGINE. BUT WE DON’T WANT TO CRIMINALIZE AND DISCOURAGE TRUE GRAFFITI-STYLE ART FROM PROLIFERATING, MUCH LIKE IT HAS DONE IN THE ARTS DISTRICT AND WE DON’T WANT A REPEAT OF THIS. SOME COMMUNICATION WITH COMMUNITY RESIDENTS AND LOCAL ARTISTS IS IN ORDER HERE TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE.)

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