Tuesday, February 07, 2006

SANTA MONICA? WHAT'S UP?

I had the pleasure of driving around Los Angeles and the surrounding communites this past weekend as I visited bookstores.

The good news was that they all carried BECOMING LATINA and were thrilled to have me stop by to autograph their stock.

The bad news was that I barely recognized this area. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, spent summers on the Santa Monica pier, went to the theater (movies --this isn't NY) in Encino, the Argentine club in Burbank. These were my old stomping grounds.

So, I was so sad to see how many people are living in the streets in Santa Monica. I parked my car in a parking structure -- because there is no parking in LA unless you pay for it -- and walked out into an alley where a homeless guy was urinating against a wall. It was dark, and at this point, I was not feeling terribly safe. Now I know why people in LA carry mace. Once I got to the actual 3rd St. promanade, it was not much better. Every bench was occupied by someone who lived out of his shopping cart. It saddens and shocks me that a city as vibrant as Santa Monica can't do more to help people not have to live in the streets.

Maybe I'm naive. But what's going on Santa Monica?

Lara

3 Comments:

Blogger Teresa Bodwell said...

Lara--
I know what you mean. I grew up in the eastern suburbs of L.A. Pico Rivera and then a tiny place called Rowland Heights and I went to UCLA. I visited a couple years ago and I couldn't believe how different it all was.

L.A. was a big city when I was growing up, with a lot of urban problems, including pollution, crowding and poverty, but it's all so much more intense now. Traffic never stops, people seemed less friendly and laid back.

Can't wait to read you new book, btw.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Lara and Teresa B.
The homeless problem consist of 1/3 drug addicts/alcoholics, 1/3 insane and finally families which include children.
The homeless problem became worst during Govenor Reagan administration when lliterally thousands were release from mental hospitals to the streets. As for families most of the parents work but can not afford to rent. They rent motel rooms when they can. Alcoholis and drugs addicts are usually people that their families have stopped helping from frustration and disappointment and they have no where else to go but the streets.
There are homeless that do not want help and perfer to be on the streets.
My bother drove a truck for a fruit and vegatable place. He would hire a guy from under a bridge in L.A. to help him unload all the time. He was a hard worker and appreciated the $20 and food my bother would give him. My brother asked him why he did not get a job? His answer was who is going to hire a homeless man with no address and dirty clothes.
There is no simple solutions. The way i see it is for everyperson in the streets there is a story to be told.
If your character had not extended a helping hand to that thirdteen year old she would have been homeless and a more than likely a prositute with small children.
Any society is only as good as their worst citizen.
We were a compassate and giving nation. We have changed we are now practical and afraid of our own shadow. Thanks to NEWS being based on fears and rating.
Watch BBC news and the Spanish language NEWS for real news not based on fear.
Well enough of this.
Love Theresa

8:28 AM  
Blogger LaraRios said...

Theresa,

I have to disagree about our nation not being compassionate. Americans are some of the most giving people in the world. I do believe however that many people are tired or afraid to get involved.

And who can blame them? I wouldn't stop to help a stanger change a tire, for example. I would instead call the police to go help them out. Maybe it's an indirect way to help, but it's help just the same. And that way I didn't put myself or my family in any danger.

Sad, but a reality of life these days.

1:59 PM  

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