I live in an apartment complex called Skyline Terrace. It's just north of downtown, on the Dodger Stadium hill, just up the hill from Chinatown. The apt complex itself is great. We have w/d in apt and it's pretty cheap, but that's because the area leaves a lot to be desired. There's just nothing to do here, it has nothing to do with being unsafe. But, however, we are right by all the freeways and it takes me 10 minutes door-to-door to get to USC. As far as Pasadena, Glendale, South Pas go, I really love Pasadena and South Pas, but I think the commute is too long for me during rush hour. The 110 S can get pretty nasty during rush hour. Still, I think those are the best places in the LA metro. I'd definitely check it out and see if you can deal with the rush hour commute.
Anyway, the web site for Skyline Terrace is www.skylineterraceapts.com
. If you want a nice apartment, really close to USC, but are willing to drive to go to restaurants, shopping, etc, it might be a good place to look.