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"The Skiddiest of All Skid Rows"

The San Jose Mercury News looks southward towards LA's skid row to examine the competing visions of downtown's revitalization and what it means for our homeless population. They lay out some of the measures the government has taken to clean up skid row to make the area more attractive for those luxury apartment buyers:

• Police have conducted drug stings, making more than 5,000 arrests during the first three months of the year, including one in which actor Brad Renfro was caught trying to buy heroin.

• Authorities tried to keep thousands of people from sleeping on the streets, but a federal appeals court stopped the effort until the city provides adequate beds to house all its homeless.

• The city council placed a yearlong moratorium on demolition of about 240 skid row flophouses while officials try to balance affordable housing needs against the conversion of older buildings to apartments that can rent for more than $1,000 a month.

And did you know you can take a nighttime walking tour of skid row? Why on earth would you? Beats us, but the Central City East Business Association provides the tour in an effort to "take back the streets." For some reason, they're baffled that so few people want to stroll through Tent Town ``You'd be surprised how few people take us up on that offer,'' [Lopez] said, noting only four did on a recent walk. Um, no. We're not surprised. At all.
Fate of L.A.'s skid row straddles two visions [MercuryNews.com - registration required]