Thursday, November 15, 2007

Los Angeles Times is Negligent in its Diligence

I walked out of chrysalis. I walked around Skid Row. I did not want to go back to the room. I wanted to experience some things. I also wanted to check on the link I placed on my brother in law's organization. I was wrong. I changed it.

Now I know why he knew of blogdowntown when I told him about it. He works downtown.

I ended back at the library. First I walked through Pershing Square and realized how nice that space really is.
for some reason I thought of Downtown News. Why I don't know. I need to figure that out. I know why, I just have to examine the potential or lack there of more thoroughly.

Then I received a call from Jose Egurbide. He had mentioned to me about talking to the Los Angeles Times. I had agreed. I forgot about it. More honestly, I was hoping he had forgot about it. I have to deal with alot of issues before I talk with the Los Angeles Times writer. First of all, I have to do with the fact that I know lots of people in Los Angeles. I do not want the world to know I am down here. Jose asked me if my pride would get in the way. I said "Yes". If it can help people then I will do whatever I can to put the pride thing past me.
I won't let him down. I just won't. I just realize that I will cut deep into some wounds.

He thinks it will help my blog. I do not know about that. Then there is something that really gets me.
There is one thing I give to that guy Evan George of Downtown News. I saw him at the Press conference at the LA Mart about the Safe City Initiative. He is all over Skid Row issues. I even saw him at the Monthly walk on Skid Row, the same night following the press conference. He seems to be active and is sincere about finding out what is really going on.

I have a problem with the LA Times. I read articles that the LA Times wrote about addiction and Skid Row before I even arrived down here. Furthermore, everybody keeps talking about Steve Lopez.
He is with the Times. Why is it that the LA Times seems to always be the Johnny come lately with respect to accuracy about Skid Row.

Last night I walked down San Julian and San Pedro. I counted the people on 6th st. I counted the people on some other streets. The streets that I went down are the streets where the critical mass of people are.
I did not count thousands. I counted a few hundred at most and I added 50 or so. There are a few encampments on 4th and Towne, etc. but I accounted for them even without walking. You can add twenty or so people on each street and you just don't have the gigantic numbers that I read the LA Times reported. I just don't see it.

I guess, the real truth is, I am saying to myself is why should I talk to this guy? I could write the article myself. If the man was on top of things, whoever he is, he should have been reading my blog. In effect, it outlines out what I would say to him. I mean, if I were a writer for the LA Times, and I wrote articles about Skid Row or downtown, in general, I would know about my competition. I would know about Blogdowntown.
Hell, my brother in law heard of blogdowntown.

I wrote about the three on three league and then I see some half baked article in the Times about basketball in Skid Row. There seems to be so much controversy about Skid Row Homeless numbers.
You know, I have two of those LA Times Front page books. I studied those forever. I used to drive down Rossmore Ave, passed the Chandler mansion in Hancock Park all of the time when I was going to and coming home from school. The Los Angeles Times is sacred to me.

However, I have this gut feeling they just do not get it. I hope I am not confusing this with pride. Is it that I am jealous that I am not writing for them? I hope that is not the case. It just seems to me that they are off the mark about Skid Row. And for God Sakes, Skid Row is a 3 wood shot away from the LA Times headquarter building. The LA Times should not only have accuracy in numbers, they should have accuracy in the attitudes of the people. They should have their finger on the pulse of Skid Row. That is what gets to me.
Jose should not have to be the intermediary for this reporter to speak to me.

This reporter should have already contacted me. Hell, if he reads blogdowntown, I am sure he notices the blogroll. In any industry you are to know who the competition is or potential partners/teammates are.

but this is their backyard. A reporter should be able to walk out of their building and have all kinds of contacts in Skid Row because it only is a 5 minute walk from the LA Times Headquarters to the worse street on Skid Row, in the very heart of Skid Row.

Homelessness, drug addiction, real estate develoopment issues are big topics anywhere in the country. In every big city, these topics are discussed. But nowhere are they discussed more than in downtown because of Skid Row. All of those issue Collide together on Skid Row. Hell, 60 minutes does a segment on Skid Row because of the lady who was dumped. Skid Row is a destination spot, as funky as it is. People may not stop but they want to drive through and see it. When we put up the web cam, the traffic count went off the charts.
I knew it would.

Now, I ask you with Skid Row being on the radar of every paper, every tv station, wouldnt you think that the LA times would want to be a major player in reporting detailed, WEEKLY OR MONTHLY REPORTS about the most infamous area in the country that happens to be no more than 1 mile from its headquarters.
They should be professors of Skid Row. They should have all types of access to any kind of information or people they want from residents to case managers to street people to mission executives. They should have
been able to marshall change on Skid Row. They should have been able to bring resources to bear on Skid Row. AT the very least, their information should be beyond reproach. Yet it isnt and they want to talk to me about it.

Let me tell you this. I know nothing about the fashion district. I believe the fashion district is going to be big in the world market. I believe the fashion district and its designers are going to play a major part in the development of Downtown Los Angeles in the international marketplace. I know this. I believe this. Whether I am wrong or not is not the point. The point is, as a reporter, if I believe that, then I should know everything there is to know about the Fashion district. I should have every kind of contact there is to have in the Fashion District. And I would have every kind of contact. I would even know all of the parking lot attendants.
They know all kinds of data.

I am slowly going to learn about the fashion district as one of my gambits to expand out of Skid Row

Anyway, I feel this. The la times should have had a reporter walk through Skid Row once a week since the beginning of the year. at least since 60 minutes did the segment on it and then it should be the expert. l Not some magazine tv show from New York. And make no mistake about it, I love 60 minutes.

I am glad I have had the chance to dig inside and figure out what really bothers me. I must tell you, I am disgusted. The Los Angeles Times should give lectures on Skid Row, and the forces that brought Skid Row where it is today.

I said I knew nothing about Skid Row. I stated that on my very first blog on blogomonster.
I have stated it several times since being on blogger. I started learning about Skid Row
on September 25, the day I moved out of the facility and moved into the Marshall House. Within days, I was able to establish contacts with people on Skid Row. Of course, it helped that alot of people were in that facility at one time or another.

However, the LA Times has the opportunity everyday, has had the opportunity everyday for years to understand, to learn about the forces that brought Skid Row to what it is today. In learning about Skid Row, you learn about a lot of things that are peripheral to Skid Row, alone, but combined are the main ingredients of a recipe that perpetuates the misery that is not only down here but everywhere in the lives of people. Why, because these ingredients are not exclusive to Skid Row. The are in the fabric of unstable or erratic existence anywhere in America, or the world for that matter.

I used to go down to the Urban Institute when I was in college. Allot of my old friends used to work there. It is a think tank. I did not know about Skid Row but I knew how to find out
information. I punched in Urban Institute and Skid Row and the first thing that came out was the SRC, Skid Row Collaborative, and the HNI.(homeless something initiative). The details of the name is not important. The first thing it said is that city and county departments do not cooperate with each other. Interesting. Why does not the LA times talk about that.

After the Rodney King riots, the LA Times did a 5 part insert about the state of Racial affairs in Los Angeles. Skid Row affects Los Angeles just as much as the Rodney King phenomenon.
Maybe even more.
The LA Times should have produced by now a highly detailed report, in segments, and on going about the forces that brought this area to be the way it is. They should have reporters walking in these facilities at least once a week to meet people. It would have taken no energy at all to meet all of the players of Skid Row. None. I have done it in less than two months of trying. It is shameful. Shameful I tell you.
The LA times is suppose to be experts on the acquisition of information and the packaging of it and the delivery of it. All they had to do was walk out of their door and walk down the street to purchase a Coke once a week for a few months and they would have known what they need to know and who they need to know. I met someone from the Midnight Mission. I talked to that person a few times. Now, if I ask him something he says"talk to that person about that , walter
or talk to this person about that issue and that person about this other issue".

It takes no energy to establish that type of rapport. Any sale person knows you have to know your territory. It is expected that you go and know every person who may be remotely interested in purchasing your product or service. In real estate you are expected to know every person who owns a property. You are to know every tenant. It is standard operating procedure.

I can not imagine a real estate agent, who would live on Skid row and whose territory in Skid Row not knowing anyone or anything about it.

Well, the LA Times has accomplished that. Skid Row is in its back yard and it does not know anything about the people, the troubles and the challenges that people face. If they do not know that they do not know the sociological forces, the economic forces and anything else that contribute to this malaise.

It is embarrassing for The LA Times to not be the educators of the world about Skid Row.
Heather McDonald, I think that is her name, wrote a great article about Skid Row. She is back east. LA times is a stone's throw away and they are Skid Row illiterate.

Why is that? I challenge them to come up with a reason that makes any sense.

I will talk to the reporter. I will face my demons. I do not trust the reporter's knowledge of anything to paint a multi textured painting with depth and range of feeling that would adequately capture the complexity of the kaleidoscopic dynamics of Skid Row and a person's position in that matrix. Not one bit.

But I will not let Jose Down. Never. I should write the article myself and let the reporter plagiarize it. At least I got down to the bottom of things. I was diligent in finding out the truth about what was bothering me. And, I will go back over this again and again until I am satisfied I was fair and not just letting off steam. I will email a couple of people to ask them their opinion.
I trust they will tell me if I went over the top.

To be fair, I do not just single out the LA Times, I hold the total media accountable in their neglience in utilizing their collective research resources to investigate this deplorable situation to the highest degree of detail. I said Skid Row was an opportunity. The powers that be that can do so much have failed. They have failed to learn. They have failed to educate. That have failed to make a difference. Hal Green of CBS said he became a reporter to find out the truth and to make a difference. The media had not endeavored to find out the truth over an extended period of time. They have failed to treat the malaise of Skid Row as an opportunity to get to the core of a multiplicity of things. I am ashamed.

They say you need vision to be an entrepreneur. You need vision to be a purveyor of facts. Why because you have to see the signs of what the forces are that will have a bearing on certain
inevitable conclusions. These forces, collective and individual have been in the making for a long time. If the LA Times or any other part of the media had been doing their job, they would have had the vision to see that certain forces, neglected, would lead to certain things. They did not see. They did not look. They did not use their tremendous power to educate and stem the tide of human suffering and prolonged hemorraghing of this situation. I am offended.

They can not give facts because they have no facts. They can not give perspective because they have no feeling. They have no field of vision. They have nothing substantive upon which they can grab onto and say, "we know this." And the Los Angeles Times, the paper, that has been integral to the information delivery apparatus of Los Angeles since the beginning is within walking distance of this horror. They could have called in every professor, on their on expense, to find out something.

I saw the editor of the Times ask the Mayor at the Walt Disney Theatre a few weeks ago about what he has done for homelessness? Something bothered me about that . I could not figure it out. I ask this question "What has the LA Times done about Homelessness, drug addiction
disease and the malaise that exists on Skid Row? Not much. Skid row and the LA Times are neighbors. Oh, I forgot, they are only neighbors for a few hours of the day. the LA times does not have to study Skid Row, never has had to study Skid row because they can go home at night. Maybe if one reporter spent one night on Skid Row, just one night. maybe that could be enough for them to want to try to see things and know things.

Good night world. I Love you


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