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LA Building Pocket Parks to Force Sex Offenders to Move

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Congratulations Harbor area, you're getting three new pocket parks! They'll be located in Harbor Gateway and Wilmington and one of the parks will be LA's smallest yet, with room for just two jungle gyms and a couple of benches. But these parks aren't really about giving kids a new place to play; they're being built to force registered sex offenders to move out of the neighborhoods. Restrictions on where sex offenders can live--not near schools, parks, beaches, etc.--means that they wind up concentrated in the few locations, like Wilmington and Harbor Gateway, where they are allowed. According to the LA Times, the part of Harbor Gateway getting the pocket park has one of the highest concentrations of registered sex offenders in the country: 86 in a 13-block area. When the park opens it will force 33 offenders to move out of a nearby apartment building. The city is looking to spend $6 million on a park in Wilmington next to a community center, which would force a former hotel converted to housing for sex offenders to close. Joe Buscaino, the City Councilmember who represents the area, says the residents deserve to have the offenders removed: "He said he isn't sure where they should go, but added that he would like them to leave his district." To which the president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws adds, "I understand that sex offenders are not a popular part of society, but they have constitutional rights."
· L.A. sees parks as a weapon against sex offenders [LAT]