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Vermont Square

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Tell us what Vermont Square means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?

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i grew up in LA it ws cool , then gangs start taking over people stop careing for one another,kids started geting killed dueing drugs an people stop going to school...with all the programs thats in LA i cant see why people would be out of wack like that ..i couldnt take it no more i moved an its the best thing i have ever did i no things happen all over but not like CA ITS HARD people dont try there they, take wut they want an they never think about the kids..all i can due is pray...an tell every body eles to pray ever nite an in the morning for ,love ,peace,happyness .wisdom,help from one to another an to bring there children up educated even if it mean geting a teacher a cuzzin boyfriend gurlfriend some body that can read write spell to sit down with the kids an show them the write way to due things ..remember if u dont no some thing then pick u a book read..its important we need doctors lawyers firefighter for the future.god is coming wut side are you on,get save in the blood of the king...you can only serv one...in god we pray AMAN.

— ms we need god
May 7, 2012 at 10:38 p.m.

This is where I grew up, had my first real girlfriend, some of my best sports moments. Vermont Square will always be special to me and my family. I love the library, the park which theuy replaced with rocks so u can't play either soccer or football. My name will forever be linked to Vermont square Park. We even had one person make it all the way to MLB, R.I.P. Chris Brown Giants and Astros, There were no downside when I was there. None. The 70's

— Michael "Dorsey" Harvey
April 28, 2012 at 4:08 a.m.

Trash in the street is an ugly sight. Most of it comes from people who buy from fast food stops. They eat in their cars, at the bus stops, or while walking. Napkins, paper plates, paper or plastic bags, and even food are strewn wherever. Adults with children mimicking seem to see no problem with their childish actions.

Crime has always been a problem in poor neighborhoods. There are those people who commit social abuses quietly and no one tells because "it's not the thing to do." There are those who childishly "do their thing" whenever and wherever the impulse strikes them. They get caught and maybe incarcerated. If so, the bad rap will restrict their future employment and social life.

Life is hard and ugly when you can't pay the utilities, meet the rent, or when the children need new shoes.

Yes, the vendors are everywhere, but they aren't prostituting their women or themselves on the streets. It increases self-respect when you make it and someone buys it.

Of course, the food is not clean. There has been a lot of information about that. However, I don't eat at restaurants for the same reason.

Many inner-city people have poor education and no stimulus to get one. How many engineers like my son, computer specialists, like my daughter are not working?

When we moved here, the neighbors were Whites. Many wer drunks, wife=beaters, child-molesters, etc. They moved away -- into those pretty, new homes that were restricted to Whites, only

Then, we Blacks, moved in. We got rid of the rats and roaches, fixed the ancient plumbing, rewired, painted, put in new lawns, and worked two shifts to pay the mortgage and make the homes livable.

Our children had such poor quality teachers that I urged them to make use of the libraries -- help themselves. They passed the SATs and went to college. They had jobs, and now they don't. So?

I still live here. But, how long will my lawn be green? I've always had a garden. But, with the cost of watering, one of you might pass by and see my lawn brown.

Well, for seven decades, I've watched the rise and decline of the economy and the decline and rise of racism.

One seems to rise as the other falls. When we're hurt or scared we want to blame something or someone else.

My community has always worked with the officials to whom we pay taxes. I think they are beginning to work with us. I pray a lot.

— Audrey
August 24, 2011 at 8:46 p.m.

I feel the frustration of former and current residents...I still live there, it's a family home/house, been there on and off for 50+ years. Two of the things that anger me most, are the mattresses, sofas, molded carpet pieces, and appliances strewn on the curb. I've prepared mailers in both English and Spanish informing careless residents the LA Dept. of Sanitation's phone number to pick up discarded bulky items on trash days. The other is the "street corner restaurants" with the electrical cord and one light bulb, I presume illegally connected to someone's car repair garage outlet, the dirty water and other unknown germs, the mangy dogs hanging around a so-called "food handling establishment." When I leave my house, my vehicle automatically directs itself in a westward direction; i.e. Culver City, WLA to do what I have to do. I guess the good part for me is that my property taxes fall under Prop. 13 and house insurance is affordable. Peace!

— Ms. Senior Citizen
November 18, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

Wow ! It's really a trip to read about my old neighborhood where I grew up in the 70's. Driving past Normandie Avenue Elementary brings back alot of old memories. It's just unfortunate that the neighborhood hasn't necessarily changed for the better. And no, I'm not talking about its ethnic make-up. I'm talking about the political apathy and the school system,... among other things.

What ever happened to the sports programs over at Vermont Square Park, or even playing touch-football in the streets ? The neighborhood used to be full of talented athletes. How things have changed.

Things have gotten better though as of the last several years. For a while there during the 80's and part of the 90's things had gotten really bad.

In my heart it's still home, ... and always will be.

— Josh
October 21, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

This is home.. although I no longer live in this part of LA it's still where my parents live and frequent the area. It's much "safer" now than what it was when I was growing up there in the early 90's, but with the recent "revival" of downtown LA it seems like crime has moved back south and crime seems to be increasing. The area needs more sit-down restaurants... quite frankly most are fast food joints.

— Hector
October 1, 2010 at 5:18 p.m.

I have spent about 30 years in the area of "South Central" Los Angeles. I love this city but it does have some issues. Blacks and Hispanics need to stop turning a blind to the bad apples among them. If a crime is being committed call the police!! To many people have a "it ain't my problem" attitude until they become the victim.

— L M
September 30, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.

I lived on this block for a long time and I know the problem. Black people blame Hispanics and Hispanics blame black people. To tell you the truth both races are the problem. Notice how other races don't have a "Watts" or a "East L.A."

Both cultures need to make a drastic change otherwise the Nation that we all love, that was built by Immigrants, (English, African, Spanish, French, and Asians) will perish by immigrants, and unfortunately is going to be by both of those cultures.

— D. Rodriguez
June 10, 2010 at 9:43 a.m.

Well it has change a little. My sons basketball court was taken from inside our front yard, a yard that has a 6 foot fence and a closed door at all times. That is not the only thing or the only time, last year we lost about $8000 when our home was broken in to. Its nothing to the countless murders, assaults and vandalism that goes unpunished. Sadly the Vermont Square will never return to its glory days unless we have a change of citizens.

— D. Rodriguez
June 10, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

It used to be a lovely area and probably still is to many. For me it was like heaven, for I was born in the neighborhood near 56th and Vermont in

1915. The days of model T Fords and streetcars

that you could ride all over LA for 5 cents. Went to Budlong and John Muir then Manual Arts.

Played in Exposition Park before the Coliseum. From our neighborhood to the Pacific Ocean there was nothing but Inglewood and not much of it. Well, I could go on, but this is enough. Bless you all. Arnold

— Arnold Burghardt
May 3, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.

You know, I clicked on the news for the South LA section of the LA Times and frankly I'm tired of this one sided story. Can you guys write about anything positive? I just went to an Earth Day fair two days ago in my neighborhood at Normandie Avenue Elementary School. It was an amazing event with artists, craft vendors and people of every color loving life, the event and a nice Saturday. How come I never see articles about things like this?

and P.S.

People don't dump trash on my block. The lawns are watered, the kids ride their bikes, and people do the best they can, using their own money to plant trees out front.

— The Positive
April 19, 2010 at 3:14 p.m.

To everyone that seems to ''think'' this area is bad don't seem to know what they are talking about. I'm currently living in this area, and let me tell you ive had a great time. This community might have its issues, but its not a ''vendors'' fault. Its the people's ignorance to decide from good or bad. Yea you may hear the bird in the sky almost every night but maybe its because its passing by...

— 41st Resident
February 27, 2010 at 4:32 p.m.

I often hear complaints from people and I very often hear off-colored remarks made about particular ethnic groups, when discussing poorer areas of L.A. Everyone tries to point the finger at one particular group as if that group were the sole source of all the problems. However, what is most often lacking in these complaints is a single mention of individuals taking a role in changing their community. Complaint after complaint is followed by inaction. Did you know that you have a neighborhood council that represents most of this area? It's the Voices of 90037. They meet on the second Wednesday of every month at Normandie Ave. Elementary School at 6:30pm. I attend all the meeting and I rarely see more than three or four community members at the meetings.

I live in this community and yes, I am aware of the problems. No, I don't like the vendors; no, I don't like the prostitutes; no, I don't like the crime or violence. But, you know what I've done to try and bring some change? I've become involved with the community and government entities that can help bring a change. I didn't wait around and hope that somehow all the problems would magically disappear. This IS America and regardless of where you came from or what color your skin is, it is a democracy that is dependent upon its citizens to define and shape civil society. So, instead of complaining and expecting someone else to do the work necessary to change your community, why don't you stop complaining so much and start acting to bring about a change to your community?

"Be the change you want to see in this world." -Mahatma Gandhi

— Ernesto A.
February 3, 2010 at 12:21 p.m.

I grew up in this area, and I really don't like it but I can't hate it. I was never scared about anything until I became an adult and started seeing reality in a different perspective due to difficult encounters. There is some tension between blacks and hispanics i'll say. And I agree with all the other post about the noise levels. I can't even concentrate reading at night because helicopters are out almost every other night. Is a tough life here I've seen and know but there is not much we can do but write a post. My parents house is clean and I don't think our block is trashy. Moving on to the vendors, I never really notice "vendors" till a few years back when they just started booming out of no where in every other block. I understand why they are selling on the streets, because they are poor and can't find another way to make money to pay for their expensive. Not only that but if you notice closely is mostly Hispanics/Latinos not "Mexicans" or "Blacks" selling. They are at least being honest trying to make a living but not very sanitized as I seen and hear on TV in my account. South L.A will always be an impoverish place due to lack of education upbringings, surroundings by "gangsters", and the poverty. And for Barbara, I don't see why you are complaining about the vendors, if you probably would be inside driving a Mercedes and not walking maybe you wouldn't have to be smelling the smoke of that food. I'm just saying you know....

— kathleen
January 26, 2010 at 9:07 p.m.

So, after reading some of the comments listed.

1. Stoney, learn how to spell “piece” and take a look at your neighbors and tell me which homes are the filthiest with a bunch of junk on the street.

2. Vendors on the street? Maybe on Slauson and Western

3. One can’t even walk down the damn street because of all those bloods and teens trying to mug someone or “bang on you”.

— Someone that actually lives in the area!!
January 21, 2010 at 4:38 p.m.

I grew up here (45th and Denker) in the 40's and 50's and have fond childhood memories. We moved to the Valley in '56...I was in jr high and getting my butt kicked often by then...less than 1% white even in those days...some of the younger brothers of 49th Street gang members had my back, so I didn't die.

Today's conditions sound grim and that makes me sad. My Mom and her brothers and sisters all grew up there, started families and moved on frankly because of the violence and racial tensions. Let me say this...people need to survive...no, thrive...let it happen.

— steve delnick
January 12, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.

People that reside in the area are not the problem. i work around many different ethnicities and within those races, mexicans just do not clean up after themselves. it is as if they have never thrown a peice of trash away in their lives. they just leave it all on the ground. there, you get the TJ analogy? just clean up after yourself and things will be fine. its not that difficult.

— stoney
January 8, 2010 at 9:32 p.m.

Why does it bother anyone that there is venders on the street?? No one is forcing you to buy anything!! Do you rather them pan handle or commit crime instead of trying to make a buck? Sure the streets are messy but thats the neighborhood in general the venders are not responsable alone for the mess, it's the people who live there in general... I grew up in this neighborhood around the early 80's and people would clean up after themselves!!! People are lazy period!!!You want cleaner streets? Start by having the people who live there clean it up! The city is not going to do it, they can't even manage their budget let alone clean streets. I beleive vendors are part of the problem but they are only trying to make a buck on the streets that don't no one care!!

— Adrian
December 9, 2009 at 3 a.m.

I took a nice long drive down Western, from Ktown to the beach. I didn't see any vendors along Western in this area, as many of the other comments have mentioned, perhaps I was not on the main drag. However, this area depressed me.

It was a Sunday afternoon, the few strip malls I saw were barred up and not open and looked as if the only thing they've ever sold in their lives was cigarettes, Night Train, and condoms... maybe scratch the condoms. There were few trees, litter and graffiti everywhere. The homes I could see from the main road looked like they had some cute architecture, but again, run down, ugly bars covering the windows, trash in the yards. At one point I noticed a vacant lot in the distance, and I said to myself, "please don't let it be filled with trash... let me be mistaken about this area..." of course as I passed there was tons of trash and waste dumped there.

I ask the residents this, " Why not use a trash can?" to the city, " Why not plant some trees?". Also, pretty much copy and paste this for the next 3 or 4 neighborhoods south, probably east and west.

Welcome to L.A..

— Leigh
November 18, 2009 at 9:12 a.m.

In response to Mark, Ugh! :0 I never thought of that. Where do they wash their hands??? ITA, with your comment too! Not all vendors or street salesmen are from Mexico. But I think Barbara used that country as an example because maybe that's the only one she is familiar with. LOL! Anyway, I got her point. They conduct street sales in lots of poor communities but this community isn't that dang poor and should rise above this. There are many neighbors in this community that are just not into street sales. Contact your district representatives ASAP! Then you can get your community back to its original state. Hurry!

— Truth
October 3, 2009 at 9:57 a.m.

This is a responce to Barbara, Why would you think that all vendors in the streets are from Mexico (Tijuana)? All hispanic people are not from or are decendents of Mexico. Yes The sidewalk vendors should be monitored. My big question with such vendors is where do they use the restroom and then where do they wash their hands?

— Mark
October 2, 2009 at 11:43 a.m.

I'm not sure why my last response dissappeared. Hmm! However, in Barbara's defense, I believe she is right to ask outside vendors to pull up stakes. As I wrote before, the real estate value of the homes in this area has decreased tremendously due to people from near and far selling items on the street. I lived in this area for many years and decided to move away like many other homeowners and renters. I'm sure many have moved away due to the absolute disregard for peace and cleanliness in the neighborhood. Many vendors play loud music and do not clean the areas they occupy once business has ended for the day. This of course leaves soot and trash in the street as well as on the sidewalks. It would be better to sell items inside of a "flea market" or inside of the local "swap meet" but not on the public street for all to see. 99% of the business districts in America do NOT allow such an intrusive act unless there is a parade. Again, this only lessens the real estate value of the community. Is this what you want or need for your neighborhood these days? President Obama won the presidency so shouldn't we collectively as a community get our act together? Please! :)

— Truth
September 20, 2009 at 7:01 p.m.

In response to Barbara, I would like to ask this: Why do you think "these people" grilling chicken on the sidewalk shouldn't be allowed to "get away with this" and that it is a bad thing, save the smoke you momentarily pass through? Not everyone has an office job and some people actually count on money they make selling things on the sidewalk, so before you knock it open your mind. The neighborhood is more vibrant due to these vendors and is part of the local culture, which YOU are coming into.

— Amanda
September 14, 2009 at 4:06 p.m.

This neighborhood reminds me of Tijuana with all of the sidewalk vendors and such. Why are these people allowed to get away with this. This is the United States! I can't even walk down the sidewalk without walking through a cloud of smoke because of chicken being grilled. They get away with this.....WHY?

— Barbara
September 6, 2009 at 8:12 p.m.

Vermont Square

is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the South L.A. region of Los Angeles County.
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About This Project
Vermont Square is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
About The Data Desk

This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.