L.A. City Council Votes

To Rename South Central

LOS ANGELES -- The City Council voted unanimously yesterday to take South Central Los Angeles off the map, renaming the historically black area in an effort to divorce it from an international image of riots, poverty and gang crime.

With one member absent, the council approved the motion 14 to 0 to use the name South Los Angeles when referring to the region in all city documents. There was no organized opposition.

Supporters call it a first step in getting outsiders, particularly the media and filmmakers, to recognize that what they have been calling South Central is an ethnically diverse region with proud neighborhoods and a few million-dollar mansions.

"It's just a start," Councilwoman Jan Perry, one of the motion's authors, said a few days before the vote. "It's basically one way, albeit a small one, to give a community its identity back."

In the media, including "gangsta rap" albums and movies such as "Training Day" and "Boyz N the Hood," the name generally has followed the southerly and westerly movement of the black community.

It had recently been used to cover every place from Watts -- center of the 1965 riots and strongly identified with street gang violence -- to Baldwin Hills, which boasts the homes of doctors and lawyers.

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-- From News Services