Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Highland Park residents share stories of gentrification during Saturday night demonstration & vigil


Photo by Nathan Solis


HIGHLAND PARK — A silent, candlelight procession marched down Figueroa Street on Saturday night  to vacant apartment buildings where people gathered to hear poignant speeches about being displaced from the neighborhood in the second gentrification demonstration to take place in recent weeks.

Organizers wore orange arm bands while they carried a puppet representing a greedy landlord. This was a much lighter version of the organizers’ last march down York Boulevard where they served eviction notices to businesses. “We had different goals with each event,” said Arturo Romo speaking on behalf of the Northeast Los Angeles Alliance.

November’s protest was to show that some businesses are complacent when it comes to gentrification, said Romo. Saturday’s silent vigil is more of a reaction to development plans for the neighborhood.“We’re trying to highlight that gentrification is displacement. The whole process seems to have snowballed in recent years.”

The demonstrators gathered in front of an empty apartment building across from the Gold Line tracks, flashing the words “Housing is a Human Right” across the building whose tenants were told to move out by the new owners. Moses Kagan of Adaptive Realty, which is managing the property and overseeing the renovations on behalf of the owners, said the renovated apartments will be leased to any qualified tenants willing to pay market rents.  In a blog post, Kagan said:

We understand that losing one’s home is scary and painful. And we know that, even if you’re not losing your home, seeing your neighborhood change rapidly around you can be disorienting, at a minimum.

That said, having considered the issues carefully, we come down on the side of those who believe that housing ought to be subject to the free market, just like most other things we consume. So, we will continue to conduct our business in a way which is lawful (of course) and also respectful of the feelings of the people whose lives are affected.”

But many Highland Park renters who participated at Saturday’s demonstration said they feel disrespected and angry. Vanny Arias, a single mother of three, spoke about her former home off of Avenue 52 and York Boulevard. When the rent went up and Arias could not afford to stay there she was forced into a one bedroom apartment.

“I can’t help but feel angry,” Arias says of the new face of Highland Park. “How are they going to raise our rent like that? Everything I know is here.”

Eduardo Bedoy feels tension with some of the new businesses in the neighborhood. “It’s hard to see your mother being ignored in a boutique or at a gourmet restaurant. That doesn’t feel good.”

The silent vigil culminated at Tierra de la Culebra Park on Avenue 57 where more people expressed their dealings with the changing neighborhood and gentrification. Some sang, others vented, and most simply nodded their heads in agreement.

“Once someone leaves their home they become invisible, so we’re trying to share these testimonies now,” Romo said. “There is a trauma involved when you’re asked to leave your home, so it means a lot for these people to have a place to talk.”






Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.

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  1. I hope they stayed up all night and silently protested the rising sun.

    • Realistic solutions

      Btw- who is selling to the gentrified and making a nice profit

    • The regular joe tenant

      i hope this community and the other ‘gentrification’ communities start to realize that they should be protesting for higher minimum wage or equal education because protesting against gentrification is like going against capitalism. this is how the economy works, the apartments/retail spaces that are being bought out to be renovated and they are a business. it’s a free market and these people are just angry that change is coming.

      how about the native american folks that were forced out of their territory in this area long long time ago? how about the mexicans that were enslaved and had their land taken from them in the past? change is inevitable and that’s life.

      I am from an immigrant family that had to move around several different states because my family couldn’t afford to live there. so now we are here in california to find a better opportunity. i accepted change and i made the best out of my situation with my family. get over yourselves. i have no sympathy for you all. go make the best out of your situation as many other minorities like myself and family are doing.

      • Agree, Joe. As you wrote, the real problems stem from lack of education and from employers not paying living wages.

        • too much unskilled labor from mexico is driving down wages; keep the illegals out.

          • Unskilled labor from Mexico? Like all the guys doing construction work or picking food in the fields? Or working in local kitchens? Unskilled. Hm. Interesting. How about these people who are being kept “illegal” are being driven here by NAFTA and the drug war and being used a wedge to break organized labor in this country. You fight that by giving these people legal status and a hand up to work side by side with the rest of the labor force, not by keeping them down and letting their status as an underclass continue to eat away at wages and workplace standards.

          • ubrayj02,

            If the illegals weren’t here, wages would have to increase; simple economics.

            Have you ever been to an IN and Out?

          • Agreed. I’ve always wondered why there is never a black male looking for day laborer work.

      • The regular joe tenant

        What does illegal immigrants have to do with all of this? Nothing!

        I am a citizen of the U.S. and I still cannot afford to buy a house in LA area with my college education and work experience. It doesn’t matter if the illegals are here or not, that was not my point.

        My point is to stop complaining about stuff like gentrification, but complain about the unfair wage in our area compared to let’s say – SF, NY, etc!. Some of our income cannot support to buy a house. So we rent. And when we rent, sometimes we can get evicted for (not paying on time, illegal activities, etc). Also, it’s a free market, the businessmen (building owners/developers/investors) have the freedom to do what they want to their assets. This is not a country for commies so get out of here if you feel some other type of way. Or just move to few cities over, or better yet- move some where else in the IE!

        This neighborhood deserves a chance. the illegal immigrants deserves a chance too, so don’t talk negative about them!

      • Agreed. We need more gentrification. It’s good for everyone. If one can’t afford to live in Highland Park, then there are other places. That’s just life. There’s Willowbrook, Maywood, etc., etc., etc. And I’ve always been amazed that those screaming about “gentrification” (which is defined differently by everyone) tend to be white people who consider themselves the exception in an otherwise ethnic neighborhood solely because they proclaim themselves as “cool” or gay.

    • fewer illegals means fewer anchor babies; the invaders have helped to drive up the cost of housing in CA; keep the invaders out…

      • Truth. More people means more competition for housing. More
        Competition for housing means landlords can charge more. Basic economics, see the forest for the trees people. Illegal immigration and immigration in general hurts those who live here. 30 years ago before all these Armenians moved here housing was affordable. Mexican immigration is not the only problem.

    • They should move to the high desert and BUY something. There is lots of cheap land, 100% financing (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/hsf-about_guaranteed_loans.html), and since they will be land owners, they can forge their own community without the threat of being displaced due to rising prices!

  2. We finally have some names attached to Northeast Los Angeles Alliance.

    So, Arturo “We had different goals with each event” Romo, what was the goal of intimidating and threatening local mom and pop business owners?

    • ““It’s hard to see your mother being ignored in a boutique or at a gourmet restaurant. That doesn’t feel good” is the hostile environment that needs to be addressed and confronted. Accordingly, sharing the discomfort is the principle goal of these protests that I wholeheartedly support.

      • El pequeño grande, while I certainly feel for that man’s experience it is so subjective and completely out of context, it’s impossible to ascribe any meaning to it at all. If a cashier at Super A isn’t as friendly to me as the one’s at Trader Joe’s on a given day, should I chalk that up to hatred of gentrifier/”outsiders”? Or, would I be overly personalizing something that quite possibly HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME? Best to not personalize everything, you’ll be much happier.


        • Excuse me EastsideFarts, I had no idea that YOU were so equally familiar with the experience of poor and working-class people given the “if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it” vibe from business conspicuously designed to NOT cater to their needs. You just know EVERYthing, don’t You?

          • Yo Pooper Doo,
            Not every business, new or old, needs to target every single person in the community. Some businesses have different segments/ demographics that they target their business to. Some businesses target women, some target people with children, some target young singles, etc.

            So, if a business does not target the poor as part of their target demographic, there’s nothing wrong with it.. just like a business that doesn’t target men (ie a women’s clothing store). If there’s not enough of the target demographic to support the business, then the business either has to change it’s targeting or it will go out of business. So, if there’s enough people who will buy a $5 cappuccino or enough people willing to buy a $1 taco from a roach coach.. then those businesses ARE catering to (some segment of) the community.. and that’s fine.

          • No, I never said I was “equally familiar with the experience of poor and working-class people”, I’ve got my own outsider experiences to draw from. That’s not the point. Point is, the man’s statement is completely subjective and without any context at all…. so it’s essentially meaningless. Got it?

            Btw. I prefer Old Gringo, has a better ring.


          • @True Freedom.

            Isn’t it funny how you never get a response to your perfectly logical explanation of things? Is Pooper doos pretending not to read it? I have a feeling the truth is far to hard to accept versus the weird made-up racist ploy he thinks white people have against brown people.
            Yeah, stick with your plan pooder doos, it’s doing you lots of good!

          • “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”
            Laurence J Peter

    • Hi, the goal of the Evictions Action was to bring awareness to the issue of displacement and the role of small businesses in that displacement.
      The action was not threatening because we had no authority to evict anyone. The evictions were fake as I’m sure you realize.

      Here from our press release:
      “Lastly, the Eviction Action was a provocation, a reminder that sorrow is not silent. Our evictions weren’t an attack, but a symbolic provocation. Nobody was actually evicted that night, unlike many residents who are actually being evicted as the property in Highland Park and the rest of Northeast LA attracts exploitative investment after decades of disinvestment and disenfranchisement.”

      I look forward to a productive conversation, but won’t engage in any debates with people whose primary goal is to derail legitimate conversation or to create hurt feelings for their own pleasure.

      • Hey Arturo, certainly not taking pleasure in hurt feelings…… I live in the community. Looking for clarification as I’m sure you’ll agree: the intentions and goals of the Alliance are completely vague and misconstrued to most here. My points regarding the quote, “it’s hard to see your mother being ignored in a boutique or at a gourmet restaurant. That doesn’t feel good” are completely valid.

        IMO, your organization skirts the issues and perspectives brought up on this blog. You would do well to answer and clarify your positions. You may find more common ground than you think.

        • @eastsidearts: I was responding to lebarton’s comments, sorry for the confusion.

          About the Northeast Alliance:

          The Northeast Alliance is a group of local Northeast Los Angeles Residents committed to witnessing and documenting the changing socio-economic landscape of NELA. The group is committed to understanding the full effect of gentrification on immigrant, working class and poor communities and addressing these effects through education, organizing, visual and performing arts and ongoing scholarship. Recognizing that many of the narratives defining gentrification are not coined by the immigrant, working class and poor communities it profoundly affects, Northeast Alliance is non-complacent in challenging those prevailing narratives by presenting and recording voices of those who are not heard.

      • Can you explain what you mean by the role that small businesses play in displacement?

        • @Jonjon:
          There’s a connection between boutique type shops and rising rents and house values. Steve Jones, the “hipster flipper” featured in part four of the Marketplace series York and Fig, makes the connection explicit. He’s interested in property values rising so that he and his investors can make 35-40% off their initial investments. They admittedly have no authentic connection to the neighborhood. Boutique type businesses that cater to more affluent cliental serve Steve Jones’ and other investors agendas by bringing in more affluent residents. This to the extent that Jones has begun an attempt to facilitate the quickening of the boutique-ification of York and Fig by holding meetings with business owners. All this is to say that certain businesses are instrumental in the gentrification of a neighborhood. And since gentrification unquestionably results in the displacement of residents, it’s safe to say that certain types of businesses play a strong role in the displacement of residents. That’s not to say that the owners of these businesses opened shop expressly to displace residents, but that their business model may in fact be facilitating displacement, and that they might in the end profit from the displacement of residents.

          • @Aturo I generally support your cause, if not always your method. I’d be interested to know what you guys are doing to specifically protest the business ethics of the likes of Steve Jones and Nicole Deflorian? It seems hugely unfair to target the businesses that, in good faith, are setting up in Highland Park. They aren’t the ones directly driving out older retail tenants.

          • Hi Arturo,

            Could you tell us more about how Yolanda Noguiera who you served an eviction notice to and the previous generations of her family who also owned stores in HLP are playing a strong role in displacement?

          • Beverly D'Angeleno

            Arturo, your activities in support of the status quo are quixotically romantic, but similarly misguided.

          • “Could you tell us more about how Yolanda Noguiera who you served an eviction notice to and the previous generations of her family who also owned stores in HLP are playing a strong role in displacement?”

            Jonathon…it’s clear anyone hard-working and successfully operating in a capitalistic, free-market economy– and not getting state/fed handouts– is “the enemy” and responsible for all social ills. Or, he’ll just deflect the question with “see previous comments,” or better yet, “this forum is not conducive to communication,” all the while using it freely for other “propaganda” purposes. Lol, except for the underlying truth of the matter.

          • What does it say when local businesses of longtime residents (mom and pop shops) get tagged with the anti-gentrification message as well? No one will sympathize with the NELA Alliances cause unless they have clear message of what they intend to do.

            This is not the answer.


          • Do the Eastsider’s advertisers know this blog is promoting a racist and violent organization? They should be notified.

          • To be fair, it may not be from their organization.

          • @Genrification

            That photo is just so uncool.

            Those who sympathize or help the NELA Alliance needs to stop harming, hurting, intimidating, vandalizing, and harassing small businesses like The Awesome Playground.

            I hope law enforcement is paying attention and doing something to stop vandalization of small businesses.

          • More of the same…

            I guess Eagle Rock is part of HLP now.


        • Here’s a link to the story:

          • Since it doesn’t seem like I’m able to reply to sub-threads on this comments page, I can’t reply to Jonathan or to Wurstead directly without the section becoming disorganized and muddled.

            @Jonathan: please reread my previous post. Also, the marketplace piece I cited is illuminating.
            @ wurstead: unfortunately, the comments section isn’t really conducive to continuing any type of dialog. I’m open to communicating through other channels.

          • Hi Arturo,

            I’ve re-read your previous posts several times in trying to make sense of them but I see no connection between vague first-year student anti-oppression platitudes and the act of serving an eviction notice to a Latino-owned small business that has been in the neighborhood for several of the family’s generations.

      • Arturo –

        What is you opinion on the graffiti that was put up on awesome playground. I think it would be in your movements best interest to denounce this tactic and it perpetrators. If you are looking for a community dialogue. Your group is being discussed in connection and I think you have some bridges to build. That is if you want to be part of a growing and ever changing community.


        • @arcjpeg

          Thank you for your concern.
          We have been in communication with somebody from the playground and have made it clear to them that we had nothing to do with the graffiti. This issue is resolved as far as our organization and the playground is concerned.

          The purpose of Saturday’s candlelight vigil was to allow people from the community to give testimony about their experiences of displacement. There should now be no doubt that gentrification in Highland Park adversely affects renters, who make up the majority of residents in the neighborhood. As evidenced from this comment section, the issue brings up many strong emotions for people. Let’s hope that those strong emotions don’t result in baseless and foolish accusations becoming more entrenched in a discussion around an issue as important as this one.

  3. Los Angeles is expensive, and housing stock is short.

    Buy a house where you can afford so you don’t face a higher rents displacing you and your family.

    If buying property isn’t an option, then you will always have that spectre hanging over you, and be prepared to move.

    Is it fair to say that Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park are too expensive for some people – who then had to move to Highland Park to buy a home? I know people priced out of those neighborhoods, so they bought in HLP a few years ago.

    Where is this thread – the hipster who was priced out of Echo Park and had to buy a home in Highland Park?

    • It’s easy to tell someone to buy a house where you can afford it. We’re generally talking about renters here. Their landlords are basically kicking them out to build apartments they can’t afford. Renters aren’t as empowered as those with homes are. We’ve seen NIMBY movements left and right, and it’s generally the ones with more money that get better terms.

      • It’s very tough for those forced to move, but when the for sale sign went up on the building…didn’t they have a clue what was coming? Did they know they were in a building not covered by the RSO? I want to be compassionate, but these folks aren’t refugees fleeing ISIS.

        Are people being illegally evicted from rent controlled buildings?

        • We don’t need your compassion, we need solidarity, but humanity is too much to ask from you (or so it seems). As a property manager, I have spoken to some of the folks that were displaced, and yes the evicitions were unlawful. These folks are mostly single mother’s living paycheck to paycheck. They live in unsuitable conditions and due to lack of knowledge, they get taken advantage by slumlord’s. These same slumlord’s that will let the building fall in order to deam the building unhabbitable, so that folks vacate, to then renovate, and ask the new tennant for more money.

          • Tenants illegally evicted to not need solidarity, they need a lawyer.

            I doubt illegal evictions happen very often. Even the stories of specific evictions in this and other publications were lawful evictions. I have yet to see one documented that was illegal.. though, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen.

          • If you don’t need compassion you must be better off than I thought.

          • Lis, if they were evicted illegally then there is more that the Alliance can do than just have a candlelit procession, they can help them get legal redress. I can’t imagine why they aren’t doing that already. Unless the evictions weren’t illegal….

          • @nick Correct as a member of the community manager, an alliance member, I have conducted unit inspections in unhabitable units, where a slumlord has issued a $350.00 rental increase. We also host tennant right’s workshops, that help educate the community about rental and owner rights. We do more than the Art pieces, yet the Art is what gets the attention.

          • In support of Liz, unlawful evictions happen all the time, both in LA and elsewhere, Property owners have a lot of money at stake, and simply take the gamble that the tenants won’t do anything due to a variety of reasons , mainly related to economic circumstances and language barriers. In most cases they’re right. Most people who are struggling to get by are too overwhelmed to launch a full-scale battle with a wealthy individual or company who has way more resources at their disposal.

            These were later ruled unlawful by the California Supreme Court after a group of former tenants sued the company. The 900+ units sat empty for almost 9 years in the meantime.

            Here’s an example of shady tactics practiced by landlords in Brooklyn to capitalize on gentrification.

            Sadly, a lot of people get greedy when money is at their fingertips, and it takes constant vigilance.

          • Sorry, Lis!

          • Lauren, I don’t think you will find anyone here who would condone or support those practices/tactics.

      • Can’t afford the rent, want stability, want property? Move to where you can afford to live.

        All of this brouhaha will make a nice footnote in some PhD dissertation, that’s about the extent of these Saturday interruptions.

      • finish school; quit having so many babies; CA needs to stop importing cheap labor from Mexico; driving down wages.

    • illegals have children that they can’t support.

    • Good point. Being 50, we are hardly hipsters, but here is our brief story. 20 years ago, we were renting a home in Mt. Washington, and not being able to afford to buy there, bought a hillside home in HP. With a 360 degree view of the city for $175,000. Now the house is worth over $700,000 as per appraisers (keep in mind we’ve poured a lot of money into badly needed renovations). If Santa Claus really existed and we won Lotto, it would give us great pleasure to sell the house to a nice family that couldn’t afford to otherwise buy one, for a nominal sum. But back to reality. We’re planning to leave L.A. next year and the profit we make when we sell will mostly pay for our next home. No guilt here!

  4. I just really wish that instead of constantly reacting with disgust and judgement — which this thread will likely illustrate — people would stop to empathize for just one second with people who are being shut out of the neighborhood.

    So, maybe these changes are inevitable and maybe you don’t like the tactics of protesters, but seriously, there is so much sadness for people who can no longer live in the neighborhoods they’ve called home for so long.

    Maybe just stop and consider the sorrow real people are feeling before you tell those people that they shouldn’t feel sad or displaced or sad for being displaced. Many of these people don’t have the options that you might have. If they lose their home, their whole family life is put into turmoil.

    I know it’s easy to feel defensive when someone in pain is telling you that you are responsible for that pain–even if you’re just trying to make your own way–but can you just imagine how they might feel for a minute?

    • It’s capitalism they’re protesting. And on that point, I’m with them. But this isn’t neighborhood-specific. Perhaps their protest is an example of “act locally, think globally”… but I have a hunch they’re more myopic than that.

    • The reason why many of us react with judgement is summer up beautifully in your last paragraph — this assertion that we are somehow responsible for your pain, simply by virtue of choosing to live in or open a business in this wonderful community we call home. The fatal flaw of the Northeast Alliance is targeting a significant portion of this community and labeling up interlopers or colonizers. That’s not a great way to win friends and influence people.

      • Right on, plus the veiled racial under/overtones don’t help. “Check your privilege” etc.
        There are ways connections and alliances can be created, but consistently drawing dividing lines doesn’t help.

        Are the families who’ve bought here recently not hardworking? Or recently renters themselves and as such possibly displaced from or out priced of their former neighborhood? Does everyone who’s not a “longtime resident” eat out at Ba and Sonny’s every night? So many assumptions and accusations.

      • Look, I get that completely. And I’m not one of the protesters nor a displaced resident. Actually, I’d probably be considered a gentrifier.

        I just think that so many of us who are new to NELA don’t want to face the uncomfortable truth that our presence is affecting people. Like I said, this is probably inevitable, but why is everyone so viciously opposed to seeing that this reality is really terrible for many people? Just on a human level.

        In the threads for these articles people are so angry to people who are expressing their sorrow and anger for losing their homes and neighborhood.

        I thinK some of this is guilt, honestly. Because a lot of us consider ourselves liberals and good people, so we can’t deal with the sadness of people who are saying they have no place to go.

        If we heard this same story on NPR or This American Life about some other neighborhood, so many of us would empathize. It’s different when its about you.

        • I hear what you’re saying. But I don’t accept that I should feel guilty because “my presence is affecting people.” If anything, my presence in HLP has helped many working class families because I shop regularly at their markets, restaurants and stores. Do I feel empathy for people who’ve fallen on hard times? You bet. I just don’t accept any responsibility for it. And I sure don’t feel like I should have to apologize for who I am, for my culture or for how much money I have in my bank account. I suppose you could say I’m being defensive. But that’s because I feel attacked, solely based on the way I look or some perceived privilege I might have. Frankly, I’m sick of it.

          • I respect everything you are saying here. I’m also not saying anyone should feel guilty, but I know a lot of people are saying that.

            I used to be so defensive about this and angry that people were protesting small businesses because I think a lot of the new businesses are affordable and the owners are very kind and hardworking. these days, though, I’m really working to see the other side of it and have some compassion even if I’m met with anger on all sides. That’s all.

          • Your words make so much sense, I feel the difference is that I do take resposibility…
            I apoligize because I consume more than what I need. I apoligize, because the American Culture, which I am a “part” of, takes resources from others and sells them to those who can (Corp’s or Mom and Pops).
            I am attacked daily for what I look like, for what I lack, and for what I should be (including by you), so get tougher skin or protest us. Hopefully, one day you’ll be able to take that “sick feeling” to make sure no one experiences as such. In a positive way!

          • You don’t have to feel guilty or apologize, and I agree, that tactic is really divisive. However, what if all the new people in the community came together to express their support for the long-term residents who are being displaced? And for NLAA, how about offering positive ways that the newcomers can help and support you? It sounds like what’s really needed is reforming property laws which allow for evictions if the landlord makes repairs over a certain dollar amount. As someone has pointed out, this is frequently abused, I’m sure there are some lawyers in HP – why not help out?

            So close that and the condo conversion loopholes, or at least advocate for a moratorium, and you can coexist with the fancy new shops on York. You can’t choose what type of shops open, and that’s a matter of taste anyway – but perhaps by working together you can enact meaningful change for these members of your community who are clearly suffering.

      • I agree that last month’s protest seemed misdirected, but it looks like the NELA Alliance has learned from that and this Saturday’s action seems to be more carefully considered.

        There are different levels to what’s going on in the neighborhood. I found Marketplace’s recent piece on the subject to be pretty eye-opening, as it contains a lot of information that was new to me. You can read the whole thing here: http://yorkandfig.com.

      • @rockineagle You pretty much nailed it.

      • The last sentence was just a call for empathy for the displaced. These protests are pretty clearly targeting landlords; if you are a landlord…well do what ya gotta do for business, but also show some empathy. Even the actual landlord did that.
        If someone has lived in a neighborhood for 30 years, raised kids there, grown old there – it is sad when they are given the boot – and when higher rents mean that they can’t stay in their neighborhood.
        I know that often there isn’t much to be done – that’s just what happens in life to those without political power.
        I can’t say it happens to everyone, b/c in similar circumstances, the property owners who were threatened by inflation and higher taxes in California did put in a law to block tax increases, So now someone who owns a $3 million house purchased in 1984 pays less property taxes than someone who purchased a $450,000 home last year…

        • I would certainly support this:
          if a landlord is charging market rate rents… they should pay market rate property taxes.

          • Right, because property owners won’t simply pass the cost of the tax increases on to the renters. C.c

          • @skr : Yeah, actually you’re right.. because Prop 13 does help keep rents lower. The increased rental income landlords are seeing gets taxed via income tax … so the gains are being accounted for.

            I stand corrected !

        • ” can’t say it happens to everyone, b/c in similar circumstances, the property owners who were threatened by inflation and higher taxes in California did put in a law to block tax increases ”
          Exactly Ryan – the golden rule (he who has the gold makes the rule)
          Why people are so supportive of this at the status quo, I really don’t know…

    • @dreamer

      “I know it’s easy to feel defensive when someone in pain is telling you that you are responsible for that pain–even if you’re just trying to make your own way–but can you just imagine how they might feel for a minute?”


      I refuse to sympathize with people that refer to me as a colonizer. I refuse to sympathize with people that call me out on my color yet did nothing when their own community was violently driving out black people.
      Where were their candlelight vigils then?

      F-ing Hypocrites.

      It’s called supply and demand. You live in the second largest city of the richest nation on Earth.

      Also, the vast majority of Highland Park is rent controlled. I do agree that the rental laws need an overhaul but the only thing I’m seeing here is a sense of entitlement.

      How about the NELA alliance providing some actual statistical data on evictions instead of relying on knee-jerk emotional displays?

      And just exactly what kind of “privilege” am I supposed to check? Be more specific.

      • I never said you were suppose to “check your privilege”, but now that I think about it, being in a place where you can be angry at people who are losing their place in a neighborhood they love, is a place of privilege. I’d rather be pissed off than unable to afford housing in a neighborhood that I’ve called home for years. I’m a home owner and middle class, so I don’t really know what it must feel like, but I imagine it’s tragic.

        I’m also not arguing the economic realities of “supply and demand,” If you read what I said, I admit this is inevitable, but I also admit that my ability to move to NELA and help new businesses thrive is causing a reaction that is terrible for some people. That is the reality.

        I’ve read about the pushing out of black people in the 80s and 90s, and I definitely find that abhorrent,, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse to hate others or dismiss other people’s feelings and real life situations. Even if it would feel better to do so.

        Did you listen to the Marketplace series? Some of that stuff was ROUGH to hear. It’s fine to say that all is fair in a capitalist society, but to me, it doesn’t make it acceptable to say, “Oh well, f’ these people! It’s capitalism. Deal with it.” I’m sure most of the people moving to Highland Park would never say something like that aloud.

        • Good points Dreaming. I wonder how the demographic statistics in HLP are influencing the issues surrounding gentrification/development? And if the demographic figures are comparable to other neighborhoods such as Echo Park.

          Median age is young in HLP: The percentages of residents ages 10 or younger and 19 to 34 are among the county’s highest.

          Also, the education statistics are interesting:

          14.3% of residents 25 and older have a four-year degree, about average for the city of Los Angeles and about average for the county.

          The percentage of residents 25 and older with less than a high school diploma is high for the county.

          25,982 (45.1%) of residents are foreign born, high for the city of Los Angeles and high for the county. Mexico (55.3%) and El Salvador (12.0%) are the most common foreign places of birth.

          I am absolutely not judging anyone, or placing blame, but in a difficult economy and in a gentrifying area, having a low level of education does not help with one’s options for employment or upward mobility.

          • Yes, access to decent education is something many poor and working class people often don’t have.

          • Agreed, but it would seem to me that if the part of the population with low education levels (less than HS) is being consistently replenished via immigration than the situation never improves and neither do the numbers. NELA has a very high percentage of foreign born residents, so whether it’s a class, language or poverty issue it just never improves.

          • dreaming – you know that eagle rock has had some of the highest ranked schools in the LAUSD. So the access to education has always been there.

        • Let’s try to keep some perspective. Having to move is not “tragic.” It’s inconvenient or unfortunate, but it’s not tragic.

          The call to be compassionate and feel other people’s pain is also strangely misplaced. Feeling someone else pain does nothing to improve their situation. It also doesn’t encourage any sort of productive behavior.

          That’s the problem with these protests. They’re basically telling people not to move into the neighborhood. It’s blaming people for buying a house where they want to buy a house. What should they do? Buy a house somewhere that they don’t want? Open a business in a neighborhood that they can’t afford or that doesn’t have a market for their goods?

          What does the Alliance want people to do? I have no idea.

          • Some good points Mick, but you’re wrong about compassion. From the most general definition possible: “Compassion is the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.” (dictionary)

            Also, compassion is directly related to action and not solely limited to “feeling sorry for someone”.

            “Compassion is often regarded as having an emotional aspect to it, though when based on cerebral notions such as fairness, justice and interdependence, it may be considered rational in nature and its application understood as an activity based on sound judgment. There is also an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual’s compassion is often given a property of “depth,” “vigour,” or “passion.” The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.

            Compassion is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. In ethical terms, the expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule often embodies by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Wiki)

            The vagueness of purpose so far by the NELA Alliance will frustrate the desire to help and thus result in a lack of improvement.

          • If you lived somewhere for 30 years and all of a sudden had to move so someone could make money off a real estate deal you might feel differently. Has that happened to you? Okay.

            Compassion plants the seeds for action.

        • The problem with this call to have “compassion for people being displaced” is that it’s so non-specific. Some of the people being displaced (e.g. some residents of the apt. building on Ave. 55) are gang-bangers. I’m really happy to see them go. Some of the people being displaced may be the people that let their dogs defecate in my yard and don’t pick it up. I’m glad to see them go. Some park their cars in front of my house, eat their fast-food dinners and then leave the wrappers in the gutter. Some have no control over their kids, who are running around tagging up the neighborhood. I could go on and on. Many of my neighbors are great people, and I certainly don’t want to see any of them priced out of the neighborhood. But others .. good riddance!

    • Echo Park resident

      I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I could never move home to the town I grew up in, or any other cities in the area I spent time in as a child. My parents are only able to stay in the area because they bought their home many, many years ago when the area wasn’t popular with the tech crowd.

      I’m not protesting over it. I moved somewhere where I could afford to live. And I’m the daughter of a Hispanic immigrant. Things change, and sometimes you get the short end of the stick. People need to realize this is just capitalism at work.

    • Realistic solutions

      Has any one considered history rather than histrionics? HP has undergone demographic changes before and no one paid any attention and frankly the people complaining now had little if any concern over the people they displaced or impacted. This whole discussion is little more than social media fodder that keeps sites like this active with pseudo news.
      Rather than discussing gentrification find solutions for affordable housing, food security, parks and open space decent schools etc. those are the real issues that need solutions not the ever changing demographics of an urban center like LA. Give it a rest people and do something productive- that’s meant for both sides of this conversation.

      • Beverly D'Angeleno

        Agreed. In the context of long-term HLP residency, one established community is being displaced by a new immigrant community. In this scenario, the NELA and others are opposing the immigrants. This clear irony is the fatal flaw in their convoluted argument and the reason their well-intentioned but ultimately illogical protests will fail to garner any real support beyond the immediately impacted community and their sympathizers.

      • We have enough schools. We just don’t have enough parents who care or can assist their children in their educational journey. Woodland Hills and Highland Park and Watts are all part of LAUSD. The Woodland Hills kids will succeed at a far higher rate than the other two examples. What we need is more cops, more criminal courts, and, sorry folks, more jails and prisons. Places like HLP were and are crime neighborhoods because of the , duh, criminals who live there because, duh, it’s cheap. Any mom and pop Mexican store there would smile when I walk in because I look like I’ve done something with my life, and yes I’m white in case you’re wondering. They know I’m there to spend good money and I know they would love it if I moved there.

  5. I genuinely feel sorry for families like Vanny Arias. Beyond documentation, what are the goals of NE Alliance? Raising the minimum wage/living wage? Renter’s rights education? Stopping the economic development of NELA?

    The current economy is difficult for everyone, even the so called “hipsters”


    “The government’s release last week of income and poverty data for 2013 brought renewed attention to the apparent stagnation of the American middle class — not just since the financial crisis hit six years ago this month, but for much of the decade that preceded the crash. The report showed that the economic recovery has yet to translate into higher incomes for the typical American family. After adjusting for inflation, U.S. median household income is still 8 percent lower than it was before the recession, 9 percent lower than at its peak in 1999, and essentially unchanged since the end of the Reagan administration.”

  6. Housing is NOT a human right. That sense of entitlement is the first thing they need to change before any progress can be made.

    • According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a number of international human rights instruments, yeah, it is. But I’ll be sure to let the UN and other interested parties know that “El boomerator” disagrees so they can plan accordingly.

      • UN Declaration of Human Rights is something they teach in undergraduate classes, and that’s the extent of its reach or importance.

    • So, you prefer homelessness? I’m sure if there were homeless people around your home you’d complain about that too. Maybe we should just send the poors off to an island somewhere? Jesus, the people on this board!! This is why I left LA…

  7. As a landlord I really resent being called greedy. Yet, the term greedy always seems to precede landlord. It really shows a great deal of ignorance and a touch of hypocrisy to use the term “greedy landlord”.

    To all that use this term, one question for you. If the person responsible for paying your salary offered you 10 – 50% or more money for doing the exact same amount of work, wouldn’t you take it? Yes, that is the hypocrisy.

    • If me getting a raise leads directly to a single parent of three being kicked out of a house then I might reconsider.

      • I’d agree with the last four letters of your moniker.

        It is so easy for all you renters to skate over the risk and red tape us landlords have to deal with while maintaining a safe place for tenants to stay. Not to mention the risk and maintenance involved. It is NO walk in the park!!!!
        It feels like the greedy landlord SLURRR comes out way too easy without you minions considering what we have to go through to provide you comfort.

        Of course I have sympathy for the single mom who is being displaced but that has NOTHING to do with free market capitalism.
        The bottom line is. Everyone needs to have more personal responsibility. Part of that responsibility would be knowing that; IF YOU RENT v OWN, THESE DISPLACEMENT ISSUES MAY COME UP AND YOU SHOULD PREPARE FOR THAT.
        IF you are not comfortable with the prospect of being displaced, make a plan so it does not effect you.
        Would you have the same sympathy for people who built their home in the (likely) path of the Hawaiian lava flows? No. They were the “renters” of that land. they took a risk and lost. I see it much the same. If Someone moves into someone else’s property and expects static or less growth. That is 100% on them not the property owner.

        Now, if you’d like to talk about government funded housing projects and the rights surrounding them, that is far different from what we are talking about.

        Either way, Market forces are at work. Educate yourself on how they work so that you too (YES EVEN YOU) could take advantage of it. Nothing can stop our capitalist system from working.

        • “IF you are not comfortable with the prospect of being displaced, make a plan so it does not effect you.”

          Please share your plan!

          • Here are two ideas

            don’t rent in buildings 78 or newer
            save 10% of your income – minimum

          • @Lauren

            I’ll give you a few.
            – do not live beyond your means. This means the rims on your car shouldn’t be worth more than the car.
            – do not have children until you can afford to support them. Birth control is not your enemy!
            – focus on education / stay in school

            That’ll give you a nice solid start.

          • Lauren, you’re a grown up, so figure it out on your own. There are 1000s of life choices and plans. The nanny state should be the last resort, not the first resort. Enough with the meek minded people who want others’ hard earned stuff.

      • altruism is for heaven; i live in the real world.

    • If all I cared about was myself and how much money I can accumulate, then absolutely. However, just because a landlord CAN raise rents doesn’t mean a landlord should, or that it’s the right thing to do. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have a legal obligation to set rents at market rate.

      • Legal Obligation? of course not. Moral Obligation. Yes.

        If you have a tenant who plans to stay, currently the max rent rise is 3% annually. Barring of course all the improvements you can directly charge. Such as seismic retrofits and soon to come separate water meters! YAY

        New tenants = what ever you want to charge. It re sets to the free market as it should!

        • Correction on the 3% increase stat– that rent control is only valid for properties built before 1978. For families in Highland Park living in complexes built after that date, there is no level of protection whatsoever. The community has dozens of these complexes, housing up to 60 units each.

          • Yes, and tenants have a responsibility to know that when they move in. Then, they can be responsible and prepare for the future. When the “for sale” sign went up, did anyone think, “hey, maybe I should find out if this building is covered by the RSO?” or, “I’m probably going to have to look for somewhere else to live, better get ready”. Too many victims here.

  8. ‘housing is a human right’?? ok…whatever. let’s say it is. IF it is, you still would have NO say in WHERE said housing was located.
    it certainly wouldn’t be located in a desirable location, when others are willing to spend money$ to live there.

  9. When Whites were pushed out by Mexicans no one had a vigil and would have been considered raciest. A community where 95% of the people are Latino is not diverse, HP needs more diversity, it needs Whites, Mexicans, Korean, Chinese, Armenian, that’s what makes LA great. If you want an area to remain Latino you are a raciest, if you got priced out then you got priced out because you never bothered to get that college degree. Don’t blame the landlord, or White people or Asians, Blame yourself. LA County is a huge place rents in Lancaster and Riverside are half of HP and you get much more, always a good if not better place to live for less in LA Metro.

  10. Housing in a specific location is not a human right. If I lived in beverly hills for 10 years and then fell on hard times and had to move to Silver Lake, should I lead a protest? I feel for working class people who live in an expensive city like Los Angeles. Let’s not forget though that a good number of working class families who owned homes in these areas are now sitting on a fortune and some have cashed out.

  11. WelcomeToLosAngeles

    There are a lot of sides to this gentrification displacement coin. One of the big issues is what the poster, Dreaming, mentioned above. The people that come on this board are so quick to get angry and post vitriolic hateful messages. YOU are the voice of your community and what you are expressing is a sad reflection of how you think about your new hood. Try to have some compassion for your neighbors. Maybe it is guilt that’s causing so much anger towards these protesters, maybe you just think protesting is a waste of time in general. But as mad as you are at the protesters, imagine how mad they are when they’re told they can no longer live in their home.

    • I’m not new to the neighborhood. I don’t have sympathy for people who don’t know how to prepare for their future.
      perhaps next time, they will buckle down and save for a down payment vs living day by day.

      This group can continue to point fingers and play the blame game but the message should be : focus on family and education, work to be able to control your own destiny. Educate yourself on how the system works so you can benefit too….

  12. Gentrifiers come to EAST L.A., I would welcome gentrification, it would make the neighborhood a lot better and maybe get rid of all those metal collector trucks parked up and down the streets. I wish Whittier Blvd would get gentrified. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time. fingers crossed.

  13. Here’s some info for those facing eviction. Use whatever leverage you may have to make your best deal.

    How “Superman of Renters” Daniel Bramzon Revolutionized L.A.’s Eviction-Defense Industry http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/12/10/how-superman-of-renters-daniel-bramzon-revolutionized-las-eviction-defense-industry

  14. Displaced people are displacing people, who in turn will displace people in south LA, then Santa Ana, then San Bernardino, etc, etc….

    Out political correctness is causing us to dance around the issue of asking how exactly have we ended up with the largest explosions of concentrated poverty in recent history? And how can we enforce the right for affordable for all when we have a seemingly endless stream of undereducated, under qualified, already poverty stricken people moving here every day? Population just topped 10 million. Rezoning and increasing density isn’t going to fix the messy situation we are in. LA is a expensive city. In ten years we my be talking about how we are going to save the suburbs from overcrowding and overwhelming poverty.

    • Pardon my typos

    • You really don’t know how we ended up with a concentration of poverty? Have you heard the term “sanctuary city”?

      If we continue to import impoverished, uneducated and low skill workers without insisting that they assimilate this is the result!

      • Yes, I said that in my post. And I think we need to not let our guilt or political correctness get in the way of addressing the reality of the situation.

    • the illegals are hogging the housing(ten in a bedroom); turning the school system in crap; driving down wages; the solution is easy. CA needs to stop importing proverty.

  15. Dreaming is a voice of kindness in this discussion. My husband bought his house in HP 21 years ago e Alyse that is where he could afford to buy. There are many changes happening and even though it is inevitable, we an have compassion for those that are financially less fortunate and act with compassion and understanding. Am I being displaced? No, but I still feel for those that are.

  16. Sure, it is sad that some people are getting priced out of the neighborhood but I honestly don’t know what the protestors are suggesting be done about this. The WHOLE POINT of working hard, saving up, and buying your own home is so that you are buying yourself and your family future stability. Fundamentally when you rent you are living in a house that belongs to someone else. A lot of working class folks bought a house in Highland Park when prices were affordable to working class people, They aren’t the ones being displaced. It seems to me that he ONLY solution for the protestors is to do what they need to do to eventually buy a house so that they don’t face future displacement. I assume the protestors are young people. If so there is time for them to study hard, get the most out of their education and then they can take control of their own future. They may be priced out of Highland Park, but you never know for sure. If it is their goal to live in Highland Park and they study hard and work hard enough maybe they will be able to but a house someday from one of the current hipsters.

    They may have missed the boat in Highland Park so why not take that as a lesson and

    • Education is not a magic pathway to homeownership. I’m from LA, know a lot of highly intelligent and capable people who went to good universities, and almost none of them (maybe 2 or 3) can afford to buy a home in the city anywhere in the conceivable future. That’s the reality we’re living in. There’s this fallacy that if only people go to college (and undergrad is the new high school diploma, let’s face it) and then just work really hard (whatever that means), success is inevitable.

      • unfortunately in NELA these is a large percentage of the population that don’t even have a high school degree. also, success takes time. I know quite a few people who weren’t able to buy until they were in their 40’s. should the development of parts of the city be stopped so that we can provide low rents for people? the RSO already does that.

      • you also need a degree in a marketable area. you can’t just go get an art history degree.

  17. I think NELA and much of Boyle Heights are done. East LA is the place to still stake a claim.

  18. The irony is bringing awareness to this issue advertizes the changing of HP as a great place to live and to investors. I usually buy homes and complexes in Westlake near downtown and Pico-Union but after NPR story and this article I’ve been actively looking for complexes and investments all over HP. The best thing these people can do is buy a condo or home, HOA loans only require 3% down, almost anyone who works and can save a small amount can buy a condo or house.

  19. I seem to recall a whole movement opposing the development of new housing in HP along the metro gold line, which resulted in a smaller building being submitted by the developer, and which was still opposed by many. So, meanwhile HP continues to have large surface parking lots in areas that could absorb a lot of new housing and relieve some of the eviction pressures on lower-income residents who are at the heart of the vigil.

    Honestly, while I know the new housing that would get built and the rental housing that is the subject of the vigil aren’t the same exact thing, housing is housing is housing. And so long as people organize against building more housing where it would make sense, demand for all the remaining housing will just get that much worse, resulting in pushing more people out of their homes. That doesn’t mean roll over and let developers just build whatever, but we’re all paying a price for the sake of a few folks who want to preserve their neighborhood’s “character,” whatever that even means.

    • I think this is a pretty important comment. HLP is a desirable place to live, that’s what brought people here to begin with. It’s going to keep being desirable, so the solution to keeping people in the neighborhood is larger developments that have some lower-income setasides. Transit-friendly buildings of the right scale could make this happen, but as mentioned by LAifer, they were opposed. Neighborhoods are always in a state of change, sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slow.

      If community organizers want to keep the HLP spirit they will help development, not hinder it. If the housing stock stays low, old residents will get pushed to East LA and new residents will upgrade the existing stock. Look at Echo Park!

      • Density is already high in the area and the infrastructure isn’t going to change that drastically, EP has Sunset blvd. running through it. Our little streets are too full already.

        • Eh, population density in both Highland Park and Echo Park is a little over 16,000 people per square mile… as far as urban neighborhoods go, that’s not very dense (comparable to sleepy outer residential neighborhoods in other major cities.)

          Figueroa and Sunset are wide and well served by mass transit. Sounds like ideal infrastructure to build medium density, walkable urban neighborhoods (i.e. 4 story mixed use apartments, with neighborhood serving retail, no setbacks and minimal parking.)

          • Once you get away from Fig the streets are small and congested from street parking. More infill/small lot in the hills is what I’m talking about.

          • Yeah, I’d prefer we heavily restrict hillside development (and open up development in the flats along our rail lines and major bus routes — places where the infrastructure can handle growth.)

  20. Gentrification is just a symptom of a much larger trend… the American middle class is moving back to the citiy. This isn’t a bad thing, but displacement of the working class is certainly is an issue that needs to be addressed. My two cents: fix the zoning in LA to allow for conventional urban growth. There’s a helluva lot of underutilized land near mass transit in this city (parking lots, stripmalls, dingbats, what have you.)

    • California, where some “communities” mourn a slum, while never protesting the gangs they tolerate/foster that made it that way in the first place.

  21. It would have been smart if NELA Alliance had projected their Housing Is A Human Right on Loyd Kattro’s Highland Hotel Apartments. He and his group, “Friends of Highland Park” have sued to prevent 80 units from being built as the Highland Park Transit Village. But then again, NELA Alliance just seems to be lashing-out at the most obvious targets in HLP that they can find.

  22. This thread is pleasantly devoid of much of the vitriol of many of the recent coversations on ‘gentrification’ in HLP. So, this may not be the perfect place for this comment. But, in the interest of finding community unity where we can and not overestimating the conflict (at least in terms of rhetoric): this IS the internet. People tend to say things, mean-spirited and incendiary things, that they would NEVER say face-to-face. Lets just keep this in mind before we all meet at some community meeting to-come and think that there is only polarity – only “go home bourgeois gringos” vs. “get a job you reverse racist”.

  23. Tenants need to be educated. Citt of LA has huge tenants rights. If someone goes to the housing dept, they will GIVE you a lawyer for Free and get you the money ypu are entitled to as a tenant. Its around $8500 per person and $17000 for a family (approx.).

    I have watched landlords offer people $4000 to leave, and these poor people accept, cuz they dont know. Also, tenants have to follow their lease word for word, or they are OUT with no compensation.

    You gotta learn how to play the game.
    Im for improving the neighborhood…… But people should excerciae their rights.

  24. I’ve been a critic of the Alliance but I think they did a good job with this demo. Why? Because it was very specifically targeted at a very good example of the kind of change in HLP which is unjust.

    The Moses Kagans of Los Angeles are precisely the people who we should be shining the spotlight on – not small business owners and not vague groups like “outsiders” or “white people.”

    Moses Kagans response to the protesters is exactly what you’d expect – it’s a big eff you to anyone who dissents to their profit first attitude. What an obnoxious d*ckhead.

    People like Kagan want the rest of us to think there’s nothing that can be done as long as “they’re obeying the law.” Well, the majority makes the laws and we could desperately use some new laws which prioritize affordable housing for working people as much as the current laws which have the effect of prioritizing “luxury rentals.” It is the people who regulate the market, and if we decide that developers will have to be satisfied with smaller profits, then that’s tough sh*t to the Moses Kagans – they will have some new laws to obey.

    • Exactly. Protest and work to change the laws to preserve and enhance renters rights and make sure the gentrification tide helps raise all boats. Protesting small businesses and ostracizing “colonizers” is just asinine.

    • Perhaps that’s a good thing that could come out of all this turmoil. While targeting small businesses will never really get you anywhere with most people, targeting the laws that govern people like Kagan might be something a lot of residents, new and old, can agree on. Some support what he’s doing, but a lot of people are uneasy or flat out against it. It will be interesting to see. I’d love to see something positive come out of all this, including a diverse, vibrant, inclusive Highland Park.

    • @Northerner, we have to deal with the existing rules and laws while working to change them. People need to know what their rights are and how to have them enforced. Talking about how things should be is a luxury for those of us who are not threatened. When your back is to the wall you need to know your rights and/or have a knowledgeable advocate to fight for you. Kagan’s blog has some useful information as does this article I posted earlier today.

      How “Superman of Renters” Daniel Bramzon Revolutionized L.A.’s Eviction-Defense Industry http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/12/10/how-superman-of-renters-daniel-bramzon-revolutionized-las-eviction-defense-industry


    • >> It is the people who regulate the market, and if we decide that developers will have to be satisfied with smaller profits, then that’s tough sh*t <<

      This is exactly right.

      Now, personally I think voters are smart enough to understand that capping developers profits didn't help the housing situation in 1978 and it won't work today.

      But those who are whining about the big bad landlords should mobilize to put something on the ballot. Let the voters decide.

      • The housing situation today isn’t working.

        Developers can’t be blamed for trying to make as much money as possible. They’re like children in this way – they just want what’s best for themselves.

        What’s rational and best for the largest number of people has to be arrived at democratically and laid out through public policy and regulation. We need a housing policy which allows for ALL kinds of housing solutions – not just the one which works best for the tiny minority of Moses Kagans.

      • @Dave

        That is a moronic idea. You’d take away the incentive for developers to build by limiting the profits?

        …and you think you have a housing shortage now, let’s wait for “Dave’s” brilliant idea to be implemented!

    • You can’t fault Mr Kagin for seeing an opportunity and taking advantage of it. This is no different than how any product or service you use is produced. If you want more affordable housing – fight to increase supply. Price controls reduce supply – who wants to risk capital of there’s no return? – and only benefit a lucky few.

    • Lest we forget, Kagan was also behind this incredibly tone deaf campaign to get people who couldn’t afford the Arts District to buy in Boyle Heights by going on a bicycle tour. Seems like he’s making a career out of ham-fisted over the top gentrification efforts and then making insincere apologies when he gets called out by the poorer residents of the neighborhoods whose affordable housing stock he’s gobbling up.
      He’s not a villain per se, but it’s ridiculous to say “So, we will continue to conduct our business in a way which [is] respectful of the feelings of the people whose lives are affected.” when that seems to be the opposite of what he’s about.

      • Seems like buying in Boyle Heights was a good suggestion back in May. Many are now priced out and houses are being rehabbed and flipped.

        • Agreed. But to gleefully lead a pack of would-be gentrifiers on a bike ride through the area? Seems like a bad public persona to cultivate.


  26. Talk about racism being alive and well!! Cant believe some of the harsh negative comments. Smh… it disgusts me. Some people just don’t see the pain and anguish of the affected families. It’s not easy to just uproot and move. HLP is all i know. I work just as hard as any of you and maybe even harder, but my struggles are different than yours! I don’t ask for your sympathy but just realize that in a lower income community we dont have as much advantages as we could if we lived in a rich neighborhood. It affects me because i couldnt afford to continue my schooling. My mother was a single mother struggling to support our family. She couldnt afford it. Some have managed to break away and go to college and get better paying jobs, careers etc. All of our situations are different. How can you not see the displacements of families from whole buildings as a problem. Just because it doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting someone else. When you watch commercials of children in third world countries that dont have a home or food etc. Im sure you can’t help but feel the need to help right? Well do you realize that some families with children are homeless here in our neiborhood because of displacement. All due to money and greed. If you can extend your heart and empathy to another country, why not your own neighborhood? I live with the fear of being homeless every month, hoping my landlord doesnt decide to raise our rent. It’s so easy for all of you to say “oh well move out”! Where? What about my job, school, babysitter, family and so on? I feel emotionally drained after reading all this negativity.

    • Look, you’re obviously struggling and I sympathize. It’s awful to have to worry about not being able to pay your rent and I sincerely hope you get to stay in your home and your community. That said, the idea that HLP is “all you know” is kind of lame. Sorry but you need to get out more. We live in a very big city. If your rent in HLP is too high, you could move ten miles East and pay half as much, and still be able to commute to your job. It’s not the end of the world. People move for various reasons all the time,

      • Yes! Move 10 miles away and never see your family, friends, school mates, or anyone or any place that matters to you. Sorry! You’re one of the lucky winners of the oligarchs coin toss housing bubble real estate game. Move 10 miles, lose your social network. That will help you cut expenses you would have had as you spiral into depression – less food, less water (fewer baths!), less entertaining (no friends or family), and more time with your kids (hope you have a TV!), more pollution (rents are cheap next to the freeway/battery plant/IE).

        • Give me a freakin break. We have something called cars and bicycles and public transportation, that allow us to move to other parts of the city (10 puny miles we’re talking about) and not lose touch with our family and friends. You sound ridiculous. All of my family lives on the East Coast. I wish I could see them more, but I had to move here for work. It’s called life! We make choices and our choices have consequences, some good and some bad, and we hopefully learn from the bad choices and make better ones in the future.

    • Vanny, please find a rent controlled building to move into. There you will have protections. Single family homes and properties built after 1978 are not covered. These suggestions are not racist in any way, just meant to help you have more control of your destiny. Good luck.

    • You may want to rethink your stance on the racism statement…


      • Brown Pride Worldwide! Easier to blame than to take responsibility for your life and situation.
        These kids are a joke.

      • If European Americans were standing around with signs like that there would be an uproar.
        WTF is wrong with these people?

        • Here they go again picking on local businesses.

          • Eastsider, clearly the North East Alliance is using tactics and language that would be completely unacceptable if used against another group, i.e. African Americans, Asians, gay folks. So why the hell are they getting a free pass in all of your reporting? #armthepeople? Your blog is becoming a promoter of racism.

            SHAME ON YOU!

          • This is really upsetting. I agree with eassidearts: Jesus Sanchez, Valentina Silva, and Nathan Solis need to stop providing cover for the NE Alliance’s racist, hateful tactics (and yes, I’m blaming them for that graffiti, be they directly or indirectly responsible).

          • If racist behavior is occurring the media should report it. Reporting the news is not promoting the behavior. We are better off that the multi-sided hateful ugliness in Highland Park is exposed rather than festering beneath the surface.

          • Exactly, but the Eastsider is not providing balanced reporting. Comments section maybe, but not the blog itself.

          • Eastsider advertisers need to know they are supporting a blog which promotes racism, vandalism and intimidation in our community.

    • Echo Park resident

      You’re assuming that anyone who is white, or not like you, or didn’t grow up in HLP grew up “wealthy.” That’s woefully ignorant. White doesn’t automatically mean you hit the lottery. My family went without many, many things for many, many years. Only when I was an adult did I learn a lot of our Christmas presents came from charity handouts, or that the only reason my sister and I were able to attend the good schools in our town was because my mom worked extra jobs to pay the tuition that wasn’t covered by financial aid.

      Don’t be so fearful or accusatory of your neighbors just because they aren’t the same ethnicity as you, dude. You might have more in common with a “white person” than you may think.

  27. Here’s an interesting question– how much of Highland Park is there left to gentrify? York Blvd’s business redevelopment has reached it’s terminus, Figueroa has limited retail space and I would hazard to say housing demand has probably peaked in the area, with prices now rising above market value as opposed to below. How soon before people move on to the next “hot neighborhood”?

    • They are already moving into other neighborhoods. I grew up in Boyle Heights. decided to rent in Alhambra a while back but now that me and my husband decided to own we where shock that we were getting priced out in the east side neighborhoods, El Sereno seems to be next in line. I got something decent just in time. I also notice as we where attending open houses a lot of this so call hipsters where showing up along with foreign investors. Alhambra is the worst even if appraisals come low they are willing to pay cash for the difference. I say to those who own especially those who still have their parents in the neighborhoods DO NOT SELL. It’s not so much that the house is worth is the Land. The closer you are to Downtown the more expensive it is. Yeah you can find better square footage towards the IE but is it worth driving two hours and getting stuck on traffic every day. From what I hear it’s gonna get worst.

    • MM3118- There is lots of gentrifying left. 50% of residents of highland park of renters.

  28. We fight over crumbs while a few take the loaves. HLP is the current crumb.

  29. You know I can’t help but feel sorry for some of these displaced folks. I have been in the are 11 years and have seen the changes happening. I welcome the new businesses and the development of the area. I am a little perplexed and confused by some here on the post and also some of the concerns voiced by some displaced. My wife and I purchased here because it was affordable. And we have met a number of wonderful families some new to the are and some who have been here for decades. I am in a mixed raced relationship and remember that at times I didn’t feel welcomed by some of the older residence because i was a outsider some I feel was just me and other times it was legitimate. .I remember coming across an article back in mid 2004 about gangs targeting blacks and that made me very nervous and we began to hunt for home elsewhere. We ultimately decided to stay and have come to love it and feel welcomed here. I admit it was difficult to accept that they are forces and those who don’t welcome change and outsiders but we decided not live our lives in fear besides we have come to know a large number of families and friends here and love it. I have mixed feelings about what is currently going on because I understand they are some feeling pushed out or left out. Earlier in a post someone mentioned blacks being targeted in the past and forced out through violence. that struck me brought up memories. Although these events took place many years ago I can’t help but wonder how some of the folks complaining about the out siders and feeling displaced by them felt about what was taking place and a part of me thinks they are truly hypocritical. Did they wage a vigil for the plight of the victims of this attack? Did they support it either verbally or just remaining silent as there fellow citizenry was targeted ? I really don’t know that answer. I do know however the deserve respect even though they may nit have presented that to others who were violently discourage to live here. It’s a hard thing though to gloss over so I ask if anyone else feels this as well. Targeting one based on there race is just wrong. Targeting one for there economic status is wrong as well but I have to admit one has a greater sting especially when you factor in the violence associated with it. I’m not sure where I’m going with this post but I agree we must live together and resolve these mess civilly. Those displaced need a voice but they must also construct there anger at the right sources not the small mom and pop sores which have poped up. As to the notion of not feeling welcomed I believe some of that comes cultural differences and distrusting of the “others/outsiders setting up shop in my neighborhood.” What does that mean ,nothing really because it doesn’t belong to one group or another. Those over tones remind me sadly of the attitudes which poor blacks who chose this neighborhood felt when they attempted to move here so( I’m forgive me) less sensitive to the plight of anyone who utters that term. Thje neighborhood has gone through several transformations over the years. 40+ years ago it was predominantly Jewish and Irish and then became Latino. Now many cities across the country are seeing whites and middle class folks moving back into these areas so some of it is greater than us. I feel the landlords who do disservice to those displaced but no neighborhood belongs to a race, class or social group. I take issue with terms such as “I can’t help but feel angry,” Arias says of the new face of Highland Park. “How are they going to raise our rent like that? Everything I know is here.” and Eduardo Bedoy feels tension with some of the new businesses in the neighborhood. “It’s hard to see your mother being ignored in a boutique or at a gourmet restaurant. That doesn’t feel good.” I know there feelings are legit but I feel it focused on the wrong people and thing. I can’t however shake how they reacted to blacks being targeted in this very neighborhood not so long ago. That’s a personal feeling I have on that front but sadly what goes around comes around. But we must however be sensitive and sympathetic to there concerns. But please stop targeting the small business owners or the new families and neighbors who have decided to invest here target the sleazy land lord who never took care of your need in the first place. Although my wallet maybe fuller than yours believe I/ we you have a lot more incoming in this economic development in the neighborhood take your anger and frustration out on the developers not these so called outsiders.

  30. http://instagram.com/p/wt00uyGvm1/

    One of their tag lines spray painted on yet another local family’s business.
    “Gentrification is not progress”….yah, but I guess graffiti and intimidation are. I’m done trying to have a dialogue with these disrespectful faux revolutionaries. They don’t deserve the attention.

  31. Well, its become apparent that the Northeast Alliance is the local version of the KKK. All this crap: the violent threats, the nasty spirited graffiti, the intimidation is for one purpose only and that is to keep their own rents down. They can try and hide behind bullshit rhetoric as if the issue is bigger or different than protecting their cheap rent. That’s as simple as it is. Well, screw them, they’re scumbag racists who are fighting an uphill battle they will never win.

    They can try to destroy the neighborhood and denigrate it down to their shitty ghetto quality of life they’ve become accustomed to over the last 30+ years but this thing is so much bigger and better than them. Good riddance to each and every one of those myopic selfish assholes. If you can’t afford the rent and don’t like what’s going on with the neighborhood then MOVE. Billions of people do it all the time. Shed tears for the property owners who work hard and have to deal with the pointless nasty vandalism and threats but not one tear for a bunch of gang banging sympathizing assholes who doesn’t know how to spell or get a job.

  32. Eastsider advertisers need to know they are supporting a blog which promotes racism, vandalism and intimidation in our community.

    • The Eastsider is simply reporting the news of the neighborhoods. The racism, vandalism and intimidation in Highland Park and other neighborhoods was there before the blog existed.

      • Not the stuff that is clearly born out of the NELA Alliance’s hateful rhetoric!


        • I think it was below the surface.

          • Possibly, but what about all of the citizens of HLP who enjoy the changes? Or working class folks who have been able to sell their home, make a nice profit and provide an enjoyable retirement for themselves? Business owners of all backgrounds who positively contribute to this community every day, have taken huge risks to do so and provide employment in HLP?

            No, I see a bunch of crybabies who can’t take responsibility for their own lives and expect someone to come change their dirty diapers for them.

        • Sorry @eastsidearts, I had to leave. I agree with you. I just don’t see anything wrong with The Eastsider publishing the NELA Alliance’s rhetoric, hateful though it is. They obviously have chosen HLP as their line in the sand in what amounts to a class war. Some of the property owner’s rhetoric is condescending at best and hateful at it’s worst. Commenting that there is something wrong with those who would enjoy a cup of Starbucks even if it’s served from structure they consider an architecturally unworthy “ghetto bunker” is a classist insult that’s inflammatory. These minor slights stay in people’s minds. Many comments in this blog are inflammatory. I hope the bomb throwers don’t represent the opinions of greater community.

          • Got it, good points. IMO, I would’t drink Starbucks coffee even if they served it out of the Palace of Versailles, although I do believe they repent some good attributes as a company.

        • Disgusting as I mentioned before defacing someones property and making sweeping statements only makes it worst and weakens there argument. I’m sorry but there is no way one should tolerate this type of behavior. Anyone associated with these acts should be called out and condemned for it. If anyone knows or if anyone associated with this movement is a part of this they should call it out and distance themselves from this. How is this civil or productive. It saddens me and makes me sick to see that type of behavior. It angers me that it’s even a go to tactic. As the owner of the store states her and her husband grew up here why deface there property and call them out. I have no tolerance or sympathy for such behavior and I find it juvenile.

  33. Why would you want to live in area you can’t afford? Lancaster, Riverside, Texas major cities even Vegas etc. offer a higher quality of life for far less money. Buy a home in these places so you never have deal with rent again and not have to worry like this. Do something about the situation, become a home owner.

  34. I think they may have created an environment which allows or encourages these types of defacement. I don’t know if it was intentional but what a juvenile and shallow way to get your point across you wont get any sympathy or alliance from such behavior. Good lesson to teach our youth. The sad reality is that any legitimate claims are lost and washed away once people star to go down the road of destroying/defacing someones property. See how well that’ll work out for you in the long run. I trust they like the wasteland this neighborhood became before those of us decided to invest in the area. I was sympathetic but this is way too disturbing to allow to continue. We need real legitimate dialogue not this mess. Boy am i angry about this. I need to take a breath because I don’t see the point and it only drives a wedge. It pins anyone who has just arrived today or even 10 years ago as unwelcome and outsiders. That to me is the hight of hypocrisy and tells me no matter what is said it comes down to that. Sickening really it brings to mind other tactics used 10 years ago to keep out blacks only they used violence to enforce it. hypocrisy sorry but I can’t accept or condone that type of ignorance no matter the race of those involved in perpetuating these acts.

  35. It is only a matter of time before NELA starts to blame the Jews for their own ineptitude. Invest in education, professionalism and not hanging out with your homies, living with mom your entire life. Tagging the neighborhood with gang graffiti does not in fact make it your neighborhood. Legal title to property makes it your neighborhood.

    • I lived by these apartments. Noisy. Trash always around. Graffiti. Maybe if the renters took pride in their home they would still be there. I am so glad somebody is investing in rather than destroying the neighborhood!

  36. I’m liking how Republican this board has become.

  37. just move into any number of equally dumpy apartment complexes. God knows there’s thousands of them in HP…and quite your whining

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