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  • The Rainbow Collision (Ciudad magazine, Oct./Nov., 2005): Tensions erupt between African-Americans and Latinos on Los Angeles streets.
  • Dead of Night (Ciudad magazine, June/July, 2007): A look back at the Night Stalker's murderous reign of terror in the summer of 1985.
  • The Other Side (Ciudad magazine, Feb./March, 2006): An examination of Latinos who vociferously oppose illegal immigration.
  • The Gentle Beast (Ciudad magazine, Aug., 2007): A profile of Ultimate Fighter Tito Ortiz, who overcame a hardscrabble childhood to become a champion in a controversial sport.
  • Desolation Boulevard (LA CityBeat, Feb. 5, 2004): A pre-Steve Lopez feature about the intractable conditions for the homeless people living on L.A.'s Skid Row.
  • A Turbocharged Obsession (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 22, 1997): The first mainstream look at the import-racing scene that would inspire the Fast and the Furious movie franchise.
  • Gangster's Paradise Lost (LA CityBeat, Nov. 6, 2003): A different angle on the gentrification of L.A.'s urban Westside; decades-old gangs face extinction.
  • A Shadow on the Waves (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 26, 1994): The rarely-told story of a mythic wave-charger who changed the sport of surfing by inventing the modern board.
  • Boomtown (LA CityBeat, Nov. 18, 2004): The gleaming resurrection of downtown represents a new era for Los Angeles, but leaves working-class residents in the dust.
  • Sample This! (LA CityBeat, Oct. 14, 2004): A little-known court ruling outlaws most sampled music in hip-hop, dance and beyond, but artists find creative loopholes.
Above: Dennis Romero interviews electronic musician Felix Da Housecat in Miami in March, 2003. Photo by Eddie Lin.

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Gangster's Paradise Lost

LA CityBeat
Nov. 6, 2003
By Dennis Romero
Cover photo by Steve Appleford Losing the mural, it seems, was a sign of the times. In 2002, when the city renovated the recreation center at Stoner Park in West L.A., the last remnants of the Westside's Latino gang culture were told that the building's big Chicano-era mural would be temporarily removed to accommodate construction, but then returned. The big tableaux from the side of the building was an homage to the Mexican flavor of the neighborhood, and a point of homeboy pride.
But when Mayor James K. Hahn presided over ribbon-cutting ceremonies celebrating the completed makeover last summer, the mural was absent, and the homies still haven't seen it. (A council district field deputy who keeps his eye on parks in the area said he has no idea what happened to the artwork.) Today, a few survivors of the Sotel 13 gang, which has claimed the park since the early 1950s, still congregate at the rec center each weekday at 3 p.m. – lik…

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a Southern California journalist who has covered popular culture, youth culture, raves, ecstasy, marijuana, electronic dance music, surfing, the housing crisis, wealth disparity, crime and other topics extensively in the span of 25 years. He participated in the Los Angeles Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the L.A. riots.

Before joining NBCNews.com in 2018 as daily contributor he worked as a 40-stories-per-month staffer at LA Weekly. He's also been a recent contributor to the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times. His work as also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the Guardian. He's been on the feature writing staffs of the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Emmis Publishing's Ciudad magazine. He's appeared on CNN, Investigation Discovery and Reelz multiple times to speak about stories he's covered. He's participated in panel discussions organized by Zocalo Public Square, the National Hispanic Media Coa…

News & Features

Journalism for NBC News, the Washington Post and more:
Elon Musk doubles down on a subterranean dream (NBC News, Nov. 29, 2018)
Migrants met with fear, disdain in Tijuana, Mexico (NBC News, Nov. 17, 2018)
A Chicano renaissance? (NBC News, July 15, 2018)
A comedian’s Cholofit videos spoof gentrification (Washington Post, April 6, 2018)
Visiting Friendship Park in the Trump era (California Sunday Magazine, March 29, 2018)
Will Marijuana Legalization Benefit People of Color? (LA Weekly cover, Oct., 2016)
Strider Wasilewski is the Dogtown Surf Hero You've Never Heard Of (LA Weekly cover, July, 2015)
How Hollywood Keeps Minorities Out (LA Weekly cover, Feb., 2015)
How Pasquale Rotella Built His Rave Empire (LA Weekly cover, Sept., 2013)
Koreatown: America's Hippest Neighborhood (LA Weekly cover, Nov., 2012).

Pop music coverage:
Gary Richards Splits With Live Nation (LA Weekly, Aug., 2017)
Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Co. Raise Dead (Rolling Stone, Sept. 2015)
Steve Aoki: The Neon Punk of EDM (L…