Tag Archives: History of Sidewalk Obstruction in Los Angeles

The History of Sidewalk Obstruction Enforcement in Los Angeles (Part 1)

Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
This is the first in an occasional series of posts examining various episodes from the rich and disturbing history of the criminalization of sidewalk use in Los Angeles. As we shall see, the sidewalks of our city have been a site of contention for well over a century.

We begin in January 1887 when, according to the Los Angeles Times,

There has been great complaint about the abominable fashion in which the sidewalks—especially at street corners—are blocked up by loafers and by thoughtless citizens; and the police have been ordered to enforce the ordinances and abate this nuisance.1

Even then, evidently, maybe especially then, an order to “enforce the ordinances” had a subtext. Ensuing events show that Officer Little didn’t understand these unspoken aspects:
Continue reading The History of Sidewalk Obstruction Enforcement in Los Angeles (Part 1)

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