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Will economic inequality lead to the next L.A. riot?

A sign tells passersby not to tresspass on a vacant lot at the intersection of 84th Street and Machester Avenue in South Los Angeles. Vacant lots dot the South L.A. landscape 25 years after the riots. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If we are all getting along well since the 1992 Los Angeles riots despite the facts that poverty here has only slightly diminished in the last 25 years, income inequality is the highest since 1928, and the black-white income gap has persisted, then Angelenos should be congratulated for observing good behavior against all disparities and injustice. (“In L.A., more racial harmony, more economic inequality,” Opinion, April 28)

And yet a recent poll quoted in a Times article this week shows that 6 out of 10 Angelenos think that another riot is likely to happen soon. Could this mean that patience is running out for those who have been waiting for better opportunities to get out of poverty?

In a city like ours — where nearly one-quarter of the people live in poverty, and where our housing is among the least affordable in the nation, making the American dream attainable for only the few —it is a matter of time when the other “big one” will hit.

Berta Graciano-Buchman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: I did not learn much reading articles about the 1992 riots that followed the acquittal of the officers who beat Rodney King. What I do know is that with racism, police culture and economic barriers to black advancement rampant, nothing much is going to change. With leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson pushing the deceptive police discipline reform initiative Measure C, along with Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey performing just as if she were wearing a blue uniform, I submit that things will not get much better.

Throw in the fact that the average person is not prepared for the incredible speed of technology along with gentrification, and the outlook for Los Angeles not bright.

Arthur P. Nelson Jr., North Hills

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To the editor: Police brutality seems as old as the police to me. It makes me pity the good cop, who I would like to believe is in the majority.

When the Fullerton police officers who were responsible for Kelly Thomas having been beaten to death were acquitted, I was no less angry as when the Simi Valley jury rendered its verdict in the King beating. My anger, for whatever reason, doesn’t manifest itself in violence as a rule; I have a tendency to internalize it. It seems so difficult to process when its cause is founded in something so seemingly senseless as brutality committed by people in authority.

I have to admit that my respect for authority is turning into little more than fear of power, particularly when I think of the sort of bullies who are so often awarded it.

Ronald Webster, Long Beach

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