Homeowners on Wilton and Ridgewood Place on the edge of fancy Windsor Square will soon be voting on whether or not to assess themselves $6,800 each to improve street lighting. They're hoping the unromantic glow of the new lights will encourage sex workers to ply their trade elsewhere. "We get a little tired of going out in the morning and cleaning up condoms, or explaining it to our kids," one resident explained to the Park La Brea News. Ballots will be mailed in the coming weeks, and if 60 percent of voters agree, every homeowner will be assessed the installation fee, which can be paid over 10 years. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who represents the area, explains that the city doesn't require streetlights in residential neighborhoods, and that putting them up is left to the developers who build the houses. Which is no help to residents of this historic, 100-year-old neighborhood. In the meantime, the city is taking other steps to try to stamp out the flourishing Windsor Square-area sex trade. No left turn signs have been posted on Western to try to keep drivers out of the residential neighborhood, and new rules allow police to impound cars that are used in "prostitution activity." One police officer said this has been a problem along Western for years, and that the new streelights, if the residents vote to put them up, would make an "enormous impact."
· Improved safety comes at a cost in Windsor Square [PLBN]