Will Silver Lake secede from the Eastside?*

The debate over what is and is not ‘ the Eastside has landed on the agenda of tonight’s Silver Lake Neighborhood Council meeting*.  The council’s Governing Board is scheduled to take up a motion that would change its standing rules to state “that Silver Lake is not located in the ‘East Side’ of Los Angeles.”

What’s prompted the motion? Was it the drawing of Silver Lake on the cover of the new “2014 East L.A. Calendar”? Or was it because, after  so many million-dollar home sales and  $9 cold-press juices, Silver Lake might be more Westside than Eastside?   Neither.

Council member Dorit Dowler-Guerrero said the motion –  inspired in part by her husband, Al Guerrero, Jr. –  is intended to help inform residents about the city’s history.  “He grew up in East L.A, and the reason for the motion was to educate folks that Los Angeles has a historic East Side community that is not Silver Lake,” she said via email. Calling “Silver Lake the East Side robs the original East Side of their name and history.”

Whatever the council decides, Silver Lake will always remain Eastside to The Eastsider.

* Update: Council voted to approve the motion. “Who is going to enforce it?” said board member Rusty Millar, who voted for the measure.


  1. I’ve lived in Silver Lake all my life (40 years) and I couldn’t agree more. I hope this symbolic measure passes and people begin to give the REAL eastside it’s due respect.

    • oh it’s all about $$. Greed!

    • Totally agree. Time to end this gross injustice! We will not stand for this!

      While we’re at it. the LAKE is not actually SILVER.
      LIES!!! Please file a motion to change this to “Little Black Balls Lake”! Or maybe “Rapidly Drying Up Lake”.

      Ya know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard an ECHO in the PARK.
      More LIES!!!

      Oh, and don’t even get me started on DOWNTOWN?! DOWN from where?! Burbank?!


      We’re gonna need more motions.

    • I protest the use of the word “East” anywhere. This is the WEST COAST. Save that for the East Coast.
      I propose a motion for the following new names:

      West Side = Left West Side
      East Side = Right West Side
      East LA = Far Right West Side

      Oh, does this sound stupid? Yeah, just like the whole debate in general.

  2. We’ve been here before: You’ve got your Westside, Midcity, Eastside, Downtown and East LA. The more interesting question is what the boundaries might be.

    • Funny, but no one cared about SL and EP being called “Eastside” until the White Devils moved in. This is such a stupid debate that probably has more to do with veiled insinuations about race than about geography.

  3. Dorit needs to understand that locals do not confuse the east SIDE with East Los Angeles. This just seems like such a waste of the council’s time, because taking Silver Lake out of the east side category will not eliminate the use of the phrase “east side”.

    • East LA refers to the unincorporated area of the county, which begins at Indiana St. The area west of that is Boyle Heights belongs to the City of Los Angeles. Both are areas are considered the Eastside.. A lot of people say anything east of the LA River is the eastside, but the NELA areas has it’s own history and vibe.

      These ideas of geography have always been fluid and very debatable. If you asked 10 people to draw a map of LA, every single would look different and have a different city center.

      • East LA is more than just the unincorporated LA County portion. It includes Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights as well. The official name of Lincoln Heights used to be East Los Angeles if we’re being historical.

    • There will ALWAYS be ignorant people, and damn proud of it. Regardless of facts or history.

  4. Way to work big to small SLNC. Great use of time.

    Any idiot looking at a map can tell you that Silver Lake is not east of LA.

    Consider this: Do you think anyone who lives in Silver Lake would EVER even CONSIDER living in East LA? NO. The reason people call Silver Lake and Echo Park “the eastside” is merely for lack of a better term – it’s not “the west side” and thus opposite the west side is the east side.

    By no means are people trying to steal what ever “cred” you are trying to defend in EAST LA. It’s not even a consideration, because again, they would never want to live there or be associated with East LA.

    • So, essentially these people are creating their own whitewashed version of L.A.?

    • Look at a map of the actual city of LA.
      Not counting the valley, the western-most part is Venice. The middle is in the apply named “mid-city” area – north of that is Miracle Mile and Hollywood. That is the center.
      And on the East? Yep, silverlake, echo park, atwater… northeast is Eagle Rock, Highland Park, etc. – Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights too.
      Downtown itself is pretty east, but it is its own thing: Downtown.
      And East LA? It’s not in the city of LA, just the county. It is east of LA itself, it is not the ‘eastside’ of LA.

  5. Anne-Marie Johnson

    As one of the authors of this motion, this has nothing to do with home sale prices or “marking ones territory”.
    The intent of this motion is to educate those who may not understand the historical relevance of Silver Lake and communities located in the east side (Eastside) of Los Angeles.
    As stated in our motion, “Silver Lake and the East Side of Los Angeles are distinct and unique neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Both communities have their own history and identities. Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and Lincoln Heights have historically been designated as communities located east of the Los Angeles River, yet over the past few years, the term “the east side” has been incorrectly applied to describe Silver Lake and surrounding communities. The incorrect labeling of Silver Lake as the “east side” disregards generations of people who shaped both of these rich, distinct and vibrant communities.”
    This motion is not unique to the council. Years ago a motion was presented to clarify the fact that Silver Lake is two words, not one. That clarification was added to our standing rules. We don’t consider motions like the two mentioned a waste of time or minor. If anyone is curious about our meetings, all are welcomed. Please visit http://www.silverlakenc.org for more meeting and agenda information.

    Anne-Marie Johnson
    SLNC Co-Chair

    • It does not degrade anyone. If the casual labeling of another community in the same direction takes away any respect or history, then that’s the issue. No one has any less respect for Boyle Heights or East LA because someone referred to Silverlake as the east side (most likely in conversation with someone who lives elsewhere and is just trying to give them an idea of where they live).

    • What’s your occupation?

    • Echo Park resident

      Anne, this is a waste of time and money. No one in Los Angeles thinks Silver Lake and East Los Angeles are the same thing. “The East Side” is used much like “The West Side” — as a geographical descriptor based upon where someone lives in the METRO LA area. When discussing what people generally think of when “Los Angeles” is mentioned, Santa Monica is to the West, the Fairfax area is in the middle, Silver Lake and Echo Park are to the east, and so on. Most people consider East LA it’s own distinct region, and to assume anyone who calls Silver Lake “the east side” is ignorant of the history, significance or general location of East LA is a very rude and judgmental stance to take.

      Maybe talk to your neighbors and see why people use “East Side” instead of making baseless and time-wasting assumptions. Why not try passing or discussing ordinances that benefit the community, instead of focusing on arbitrary details like this?

    • People have been referring to Silver Lake as part of the East Side for a lot longer then the past few years. I’ve never heard someone say the east side of Los Angeles as stated in the motion. Somebody else made the point succinctly: it’s called the Eastside because it’s East of the Westside. Who can argue with that logic?

  6. Whats the difference?

    It’s all part of the same city.

    No matter where I’ve been in the world, I’ve never seen a people of a city so geographically obsessed as Los Angeles…. as if it actually matters.

    Makes y’all sound like a bunch of provincial bumpkins.

    • Your comment makes you sound like an ignorant transplant jackass with no respect for the city that has reluctantly taken you in.

      • Actually, I do care about the city enough to have invested into a certain neighborhood on the East Side of the city.

        It’s the chest-thumping “where you from?” attitude that I think is pretty damn childish, insecure & idiotic.

        Have a nice day, bumpkin.

    • Thanks for this helpful viewpoint. I’m very insecure, and anxious not to seem like a provincial bumpkin.

      For instance, I know Londoners make no distinction between East London and West. And it does not matter if you live south of the Thames, or north. As for NYC, nobody cares if you are below 110th or above. Or on the west side of the park, or the east. There is no difference! San Francisco, same thing. I heard someone say there was some kind of “cross-bay rivalry”, but they were wrong. Chicago, same deal. Southside, north side, Boys Town, Loop, it’s all one thing, really.

  7. East Side has been used simultaneously by two different groups. For West Siders, East Side meant (roughly) East of Western. For people live in East Los Angeles, “East Side” meant all of the communities East of the river.

    Both of these designations can be considered accurate and historic. The changing nature of Los Angeles now, with the West Side losing its cultural dominance, can help to account for renewed pride in the East LA definition of East Side.

  8. I honestly can’t believe this is being discussed at a council meeting. Are they running out of things to talk about?

  9. This is so stupid. Give the east side the respect it deserves? How dumb. People are going to call something whatever they want. I can’t believe this is even a topic of discussion. Are we lacking things to discuss so terribly that this is what we turn to? Well, I’d like to debate the color of the sky. Many people call it blue but to me it is more of a teal! Give the sky the respect it deserves.

  10. I support this measure because people need to learn where they live! East side / East LA is east of the LA RIVER! Just saying “oh, it’s East of another spot people I know live so it counts as the East side” is completely arbitrary and does rob the sense of place and identity of people who actually live in the East side! What I don’t understand is why are Silverlakers so invested in saying they live in the East side? It’s bizarre.

    • The LA river is a confusing border to use for the eastside/westside distinction. For example the Atwater elementary school is west of Alessandro elementary school but atwater is east of the river and silverlake/echopark are west of the river. the silverlake library is almost directly south of the atwater library but they are on opposite sides of the river.

      I for one as an eastsider (if you will allow mount Washington to count as eastsider,) am never confused nor feel my birthright is stolen when a silverlaker says they live on the eastside/

      • Atwater Village is grouped with Glassell Park, Mount Washington and Highland Park as Northeast. Eastside neighborhoods consist of Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.

        • Thanks! I did not know that. i can see how that coincides with the bend in the LA river. What is the line that makes something north? (just curious, I have not lived in the area that long)

      • Atwater is part of NELA.

        BillBill, Mount Washington is not part of the EastSide. That’s probably part of the reason why you’re okay with people incorrectly calling Silver Lake the ES.

  11. Those who think Silver Lake is the “east side” just don’t know the city’s history, or how to read street signs and maps. With that in mind, I seriously doubt these same people keep up with local politics enough to even know we have neighborhood councils… much less go to the meetings.

    In the meantime, there’s serious issues in the neighborhood that are largely ignored (homelessness, traffic safety, lack of affordable housing, lack of open space, etc.)

  12. This only validates the complete, abject uselessness of the SLNC. This motion is as inane as they come.

  13. THANK YOU!!! Love that so many people on this website still argue that Silver Lake is part of the EastSide. It is not and thank you SLNC for starting the motion to get it official.

    Silver Lake has never been the EastSide, neither has Echo Park.

    It IS an important issue because it’s about the history of this city that we all call home. L.A. sadly forgets things too easily, the definition of EastSide should not be another one.

    Thank you!

    -Boyle Heights current, East Los raised.

    • Echo Park resident

      People use “east side” and “East LA” to describe very different regions. No one is invalidating the existence of Boyle Heights by using “east side,” Get a grip.

    • If in conversation with another person that does not live near me or is unfamiliar with my neighborhood, I describe it as more east than west, it does not mean I forget any history. If you think history of a place can be forgotten by arbitrarily referring to a direction of a city then I’m sorry. There are actually bigger things to worry about on the actual east side then whether or not a neighborhood more west is called east.

      • If you refer to Silver Lake as the EastSide, you are taking away from the history of the real eastside. There is a great, wonderful story to the history of silver lake, it’s just not the eastside.

        Eastside neighborhoods are Boyle Heights, El Sereno, City Terrace, Lincoln Heights and East LA.

        If you talk to a westsider, they think anything east of Fairfax is the eastside, doesn’t mean they’re right.

        • Haha ok. If you think that someone you don’t know and may never meet describing the direction of their neighborhood really takes away from the rich history of another neighborhood then you can have this fight because I don’t really care and it is a absolutely stupid argument.

  14. Well it is the eastside. I always tell my New York friends who ask where I live in Los Angeles that I live east of Hollywood. I mean really east side of LA? Who give a rip about Los Angles anyhow? Oh I hear Downtown id cool now…
    Ya I’m trolling.., but I’m not detracting from this debate, because its completely retarded already.

  15. so dumb, they waste time on this? It’s simple, East LA does not equal East Side. come on….

  16. To me, the term Eastside, as it is commonly used to describe the area that includes Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park has never meant the Eastside of LA. That was never the intent of the term. I’ve always thought that the epicenter of the terms Eastside and Westside is Hollywood. If you’re immediately West of Hollywood then you’re in the Westside and vice versa. It’s a locally known geographic term and doesn’t denigrate people who live East of here. Downtown is easy of here for God sakes.

  17. Atwater Village is grouped with Glassell Park, Mount Washington and Highland Park as Northeast. Eastside neighborhoods consist of Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.

  18. This is a lot of fuss for an item on the consent agenda. At tonight meeting we will be voting on some very important issues- upcoming elections, development that will alter the way the community looks and how the SLNC will spend the taxpayers money- and the only press we are getting is the Not East Side motion.

  19. Wait, it’s April 1st?

  20. This is not about geographical locations. It’s all very simple. This issue is about white bread suburbanites and rich “slummers” escaping from the valley and the westside as well as new transplants wanting to appear “edgy” and “bohemian” through easy direct means. Here’s the drill= Move to the (new) Eastside, get a tattoo, patronize the local art scene and trendy eateries, drink pricy coffee. Voila! suddenly you’re hip, modern and relevant!

  21. Call it White Devils Lake!

  22. does anyone consider downtown to be ‘midtown’? No, not really. The City of Los Angeles is not just downtown, Our western border is actually West Hills and Woodland Hills. Geographically, Silver Lake actually is East in the big picture of the city. In fact East LA is not even part of the city, it is incorporated county land.

    here is a map to help you out.

  23. It’s amazing how the only people saying this is all incredibly stupid/waste of time are those insisting Silver Lake = East Side. They also claim no one is disrespecting the history while showing they don’t know or care about the history and saying it doesn’t matter. Lovely.

    • Echo Park resident

      I’m sorry, do you know anything about me or what I’m passionate about? No? Then don’t tell me that, just because I think this “debate” is a waste of taxpayer money means I don’t care about the history of LA. How many petitions and letters have you sent to the city or your council representatives to, for example, preserve the historic buildings in your neighborhood? How much do you know about the expansion of LA in the early 20th century? How much do you care about preserving the architecture that made places like Boyle Heights the formerly beautiful neighborhood it once was? I care A LOT about this city’s history, and I’ve worked really hard since moving here almost a decade ago to help keep that history alive. Don’t tell me what I do or don’t care about because I think this debate is silly and arbitrary (and frankly, bigoted towards non-Latino residents of Silver Lake).

      Just because I refer to the area on the eastern border of the city as “East Side” doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about this city’s history. Shove off, man. Your ignorance and bigotry is astounding.

      • “How much do you care about preserving the architecture that made places like Boyle Heights the formerly beautiful neighborhood it once was?”

        FORMERLY beautiful??? It has and always will be beautiful. Your arrogance is showing.

        “Just because I refer to the area on the eastern border of the city as “East Side” doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about this city’s history”

        You are making the point perfectly clear. Thank you. The area on the eastern border of the city IS the eastside, that’s the whole debate. The eastern border of the city is Boyle Heights, El Sereno, City Terrace, etc.

        Thank you for correcting your former opinion that Silver Lake is on the eastern most edge of the city, it definitely is not.

  24. I live in Atwater Village but I refer to it as “Bel Aire”.

  25. i live in silver lake.

    when i talk to folks from other parts of the country, and they haven’t heard of my neighborhood, i always say it’s “about halfway between hollywood and downtown LA.”

    that may or may not help people from new york (or new orleans, or new mexico, etc.) place my area on a map, but it gives them two places they have heard of, and places us in their company.

    i love LA – east, west, north, south, & (where i live) central.

  26. “Funny, but no one cared about SL and EP being called “Eastside” until the White Devils moved in. ”

    I would like to commend Keep it Real for exhibiting cultural sensitivity by capitalizing both the word “White” and the word “Devil.”

  27. If this motion passes… Will the eastsiderLA need to change its name?!!
    Time for more motions!

  28. I am so glad that this issue has been resolved I can finally sleep at night. I live in Silver Lake (or is it Silverlake). So now maybe those members if the Silver Lake council can deal with some issues that aren’t as important, I can think of two off the top of my head. maybe our beloved council can do something about the horrible traffic on Rowena Ave? if that is to small of an issue maybe they can do something about the out of control developers who’s construction workers have physically attacked Silver Lake residents? But thank god we have the whole are we part of the east side name thing dealt with?

  29. Silverlake Resident

    EASTSIDER FOR LIFE!!! Can’t wait to run the reservoir and drink overpriced coffee in the fantastic Eastside that is Silverlake! For reals, I never called Silverlake the Eastside but I will for sure now!! I might even make shirts! And flyer the neighborhood. You cant tell me what to call a neighborhood because it is so ridiculous! I think I am starting a petition to call Mid Wilshire the Eastside because if I am in Westwood, it is the Eastside. Eastside!!

    • That’s the whole reason the transplants were WRONG when they STARTED calling Silver Lake the Eastside!!

      You can call Santa Monica the Eastside for all anyone cares, but you’re still going to be wrong =)

    • For all you who are like “Silverlake Resident” here who refuse to stop calling SL the eastside, by all mean please continue to use the term incorrectly. We snarky LA natives love to roll our eyes and chuckle to each other when we over hear your clueless conversations, it’s one of our favorite things to do. Honestly it’s really the only reason why I ever hang out at the coffee shops on Sunset, please don’t deprive us of the privilege.

      • elbatmanuel, you are just 2cool4school. You get the 2cool4school stamp of approval gold star of the day. Native and Snark? 2cool4school

  30. I dropped my wallet on the westside and had to kick it all the way to fairfax before I felt safe enough to bend over and pick it up. That’s where the eastside starts

  31. Don’t let the door hit ‘ya on the way out Silver Reservoirers!

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