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Antonio Villaraigosa
10 years later, L.A.'s skid row remains an urban dystopia
10 years later, L.A.'s skid row remains an urban dystopia

On a cool, drizzly day 10 years ago, I met a lonely, afflicted soul in downtown Los Angeles who would eventually take me to places I'd never visited. Disney Hall, for instance, and the White House. And to the depths of skid row. Nathaniel Ayers survived on music, memories and a dream that with practice and dedication — along with inspiration from the Beethoven statue in Pershing Square — he might one day get "back on track" as he called it. Skid row was a repository for thousands of people who had veered off the tracks, and I had never seen anything like it. Every manner of human suffering and social breakdown was on full display in this teeming colony of the...

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