Health concerns on skid row prompts cleanup
LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, backed by police and firefighters, launched a major cleanup effort on downtown''s skid row, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The operation, which was requested by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is expected to last three weeks and was launched in response to numerous health dangers cited in a recent county report, the article stated.
According to the article, the county Department of Public Health inspected a nine-block area and discovered "human waste, hypodermic needles, condoms and a rat infestation in violation of state and county health codes."
City officials, who attempted to clean up the streets last year, say they were impeded by a federal court injunction issued last year that placed limits on the removal of unattended items, the article noted.
Neighborhood activists, who have long clashed with the city over tactics used to clean up skid row, say the court order to clean up the streets does nothing to prevent city employees from removing items that present a health or safety risk, saying the city has deliberately allowed conditions to deteriorate to bolster its case against the injunction, the article added.
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