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University of Chicago sociologist Forrest Stuart spent five years hanging out on Los Angeles’s grittiest streets for his new book, Down, Out and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row. “I figured this was ground zero for trying to start over, for testing the American bootstraps story, and I wanted to see if and how it could work,” Stuart explains

Right away I started seeing how the police, in part just because of their numbers in Skid Row, were creating a situation I’d never seen before. Just as a guy was starting to get on his feet—for example, he had finally secured a bed at a shelter—some small infraction would cut him back.

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It could be as little as getting a single ticket for loitering. For people living on dollars at day, to suddenly have to pay $150 for a sidewalk ticket is huge! If they don’t pay, they can be arrested. Not only do they have to spend time in jail, they usually lose their bed at the shelter or their room in low-rent apartments. In a lot of shelters or apartments, if someone doesn’t show up at the end of the day, the managers give away all their things. So now they’d be right back to square one. Broke, homeless, just trying to get a roof over their head. The bootstraps were cut.

This Sociologist Spent Five Years on LA’s Hyper-Policed Skid Row. Here’s What He Learned, Mother Jones, by Maria Streshinsky, Aug. 1, 2016

 

Water, the Lifeblood of Society

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“Too much is being asked of the Delta. The levees that define the region’s water channels are aging…Native fish species are on the brink of extinction in part because of this massive water-transfer apparatus…

“The Delta, they fear, could end up wiped out like Owens Valley, once home to a 100 square mile lake, which Los Angeles drained like a cold beer on a hot day. Chinatown was made about that battle, and Delta residents don’t want to be immortalized in a sequel…

Go to a faucet. Turn it on. This—water flowing out, clean, drinkable, always-on—this is the lifeblood of society…

“Add water and anything—people, alfalfa, nine-hole golf courses, swimming pools—can proliferate endlessly. According to the logic of half a century ago, when the word ecosystem was just coming into the common parlance, water in a wet place does humans no good. Water in a dry place? Well, that’s Los Angeles…

“The state’s water system and the farms and cities it feeds are perceived to be so important to the functioning of the country that when a drought hits California, the White House pays attention…”

The Town Los Angeles Drank by Alexis Madrigal at Mother Jones

(Emphasis Mine)