STREETS: `It’s like Vietnam around here’

Earlier today, I was covering the aftermath of the shooting/fire in East Hollywood that took the lives of two people (the shooter being one) and left four people wounded Thursday afternoon. (Here’s the LAT story)

I was leaving when I was approached by Sherman Werner, the self-proclaimed “only Anglo for three miles around,” which I believe, as East Hollywood is largely Central American, Mexican (Oaxacan mostly), Filipino, Thai and others.

Mr. Werner, turns out, lived in Porter Ranch then sold his house and moved into an apartment building he owned seven years ago, a few blocks from the fire/shooting.

One of the interesting parts of LA scenery are the last remaining Anglos in areas that have gone through enormous demographic change and are now largely immigrant communities. From these folks, whom I’ve occasionally come across,  you’re likely to get a highly unvarnished view of things.

Mr. Werner was no different, commenting on the women, the numbers of murders — “One there, one next door to me, now this one, and they’re all about infidelity.” He was wearing no shirt — of course not. he’s 71. who’s he got to impress any more? — and his dogtags from his Marine days.

In 1965, he was drafted, on Lyndon Johnson’s birthday and sent to Vietnam,which he compares to the neighborhood where he now resides. “I haven’t seen this much action since the Vietnam War,” he told me.

He had choice words for the MS gang whose graffiti we saw a few yards away. He had that horse laugh of a long-time smoker, and showed me where he’d taken shrapnel. I hardly had to do any talking.






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