Is DTLA for Real?

Posted on July 5, 2015 by

Downtown Los Angeles is surpassing Silverlake, West Hollywood, Echo Park, Los Feliz and all the rest as the most “hippified” neighborhood in Southern California. Now rivaling Williamsburg, Brooklyn for its bohemian urbanism, DTLA blends sights, sounds and smells of authentic city life with requisite population density and underground train stations.

The tension between wealth-driven “gentrification” and economic deprivation is right in your face when you walk downtown as canvas tents housing skid row residents collide with newly renovated lofts. The city council and mayor grapple with these competing interests, deciding what police should or shouldn’t be allowed to do to curtail proliferating homelessness.

No easy answer here.

A less life-and-death struggle but nevertheless troubling is LAPD’s insistence on pestering pedestrians downtown with jaywalking tickets. This practice is abusive and ridiculous, an outgrowth of the era of L.A. cops as occupying force, obsessed with using authority and intimidation to control behavior.

If we’re going to have a real central city neighborhood, the cops will have to stop treating us like kids in the school yard.  And let’s figure out a way to deal with the disgraceful neglect of the city’s poor and build a bustling and creative neighborhood for residents and visitors.

It’s time for DTLA to grow up.

Comments (3)


  1. Kathleen Yasuda says:

    FYI, my understanding is that the cops are using the jaywalking tickets as a way to “control” the homeless population. Given them enough tickets they can’t afford to pay and then you can arrest them and “house” them in our jail system… keeping the streets “clean” and “safe” for the gentrified new businesses and residents.

  2. Betty Madden says:

    Wow! That is a very expensive way to get the homeless into housing. Ticketing the poor into hyper poor victims to have them submit to jail time and transition to housing. That is nuts.

  3. Nancy Kaye says:

    Since LA is always compared to NYC, pedestrians cross the streets whenever they think they can!!
    Gentrification certainly accentuates the homeless problem in DTLA, but neglect of the poor and mental health services have been going on for decades. It’s seen all over LA and it’s tragic.

Leave a Reply