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LAPD Headquarters: Criminal Neglect

January 27, 2011


When I first posted about the then-new LAPD Headquarters (read it here) in October 2009, I had high praise for the landscape design … especially because succulents play such a major part in the design. I loved it, and loved seeing it every work day. I posted about the HQ again in July of last year (read it here), showing one of the planted succulent beds in its entirety, simply because I was so struck by its diversity of foliage and color in the summer’s light. Well, that was then, this is now: The same bed is choked with weeds, some of which are as tall as I am! I wish I could say this overt neglect was confined to this particular bed, but I can’t … almost the entire landscape is showing signs of what I consider criminal neglect. And I have questions …

Evidence (click to enlarge)

Q: Why are weeds such a major problem in this scheme now? Surely someone would’ve considered that weeds would come in time; was weed-block fabric not employed at all? Weeds and unplanned grasses are literally choking out some of the succulents in their beds … and others are now rivaling in height the palo verde trees. As they get bigger and take over entire areas, can the weeds ever be controlled?

Q: Was there no plan put in place for ongoing maintenance of the HQ’s landscaping? Beginning months ago I began to be driven insane by the sight of weeds choking out the flowering aloes in their raised beds … then the wispy grasses edging the sidewalk began to overtake the sidewalk … then the flat areas and paths of decomposed granite began sprouting weeds of every stripe … and here we are today … and no one seems to be addressing it! in fact, I’ve never seen anyone working on the grounds … Even the most low-maintenance of landscapes need some tending, I can’t figure out what gives here.

Q: Who do I talk to about this problem? I plan to forward this post to someone in the LAPD HQ’s administration, so I’ll keep you posted on any response I receive. I hate seeing this integral part of a striking bit of LA architecture allowed to literally go to seed like this. I can’t be the only person who cares about this, right?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 4:51 pm

    Those photos are insane! I’m sure there will be an excuse about lack of money but really…surely someone could have organized some sort of work party before it got this bad, and at Police headquarters no less? If there had been graffiti on the hardscape would that have gotten their attention?

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 27, 2011 4:52 pm

      Excellent point, Loree … each day I pass this ever-spreading mess I get more and more irritated …

  2. January 27, 2011 10:56 pm

    they are so busted! you are such a vigilante gardener! sometimes you just have to take the shovel into your own hands.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 27, 2011 11:06 pm

      Busted, indeed! I emailed the LAPD today, I hope I get a response.

  3. January 28, 2011 2:36 am

    How awful. Maybe the over zealous rains of December is the partial culprit ? Still, there’s no excuse for a landscape like this to be installed without a plan for the weed issue. Jeesh.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 28, 2011 3:55 am

      I’m sure the rain contributed to the profusion of weeds we see today, but I had already noted the problem months before the rains began …

  4. January 28, 2011 3:26 am

    I noted the sad state of this landscaping a couple weeks ago when I was downtown. I’m wondering if these plants were peddled as bulletproof and the maintenance issues downplayed…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 28, 2011 3:51 am

      Could be, Denise, we’ll see if I can wrest any sort of response from anyone regarding the landscaping plan…

  5. mattisalomaki permalink
    January 30, 2011 3:32 pm

    I remember seeing a video of some younger kids (middle school / high school) that were into the whole guerrilla gardening thing…sorta edge for a teen. They would go around and either plant or weed out patches. Funny thing again was that it is least where they are located. Time to get that crew and do a late night weeding session at strip. On a more serious note…Yeah, I suspect that it is all due to lack of budget. I suspect that if they were to stay ontop of their weeding for one year that the bed would probably stay pretty good and only need a hit quarterly.

    Oh wait…maybe suggest…community service weeding. Matti

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 30, 2011 5:45 pm

      At this point bands of teen guerilla weeders would be welcome, though not likely. And, I’m not sure those forced into community service would take the gig very sensitively, and the succulents would be destroyed … someone, somewhere, is really not on their game in a very high-profile way, as far as the PD landscaping is concerned … I suppose I shouldn’t be entirely surprised: soon after the building was inaugurated the PD had a huge party on the city-block sized lawn on one side of the property, complete with monstrous tent; the set-up took weeks it seemed … and this, in effect, killed the grass … it took them months to address that problem finally, too. The lawn’s back now, but still.

  6. July 18, 2011 8:14 pm

    The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) has been organizing monthly community clean-ups of the LAPD HQ since last Fall. We get out with our neighbors to prune, weed and trim the first Saturday of every month at 10AM. With just a little bit of volunteer time we’ve managed to get the weeds and grasses along the street edge under control. DLANC is also working towards long-term solutions for the maintenance considerations beyond volunteer scope. See for more details on future efforts. Would love to have you and friends join at our next one!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 18, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment! Your work has been noted and the LAPD’s presentation is much improved … though I find it truly amazing that it’s through volunteer efforts the work is being done. Wasn’t the ongoing maintenance of the HQ’s landscaping a consideration? You just might see me one Saturday morning, although it’s not easy. I live in Riverside and commute via Metrolink, as I don’t drive.


  1. driveby garden; LAPD headquarters, Downtown Los Angeles « A Growing Obsession

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