Should Highland Park Latinos welcome gentrification?

York Boulevard cafes and shops

HIGHLAND PARK — New York Times columnist Hector Tobar says that the gentrification of many L.A. Latino neighborhoods like Highland Park, where his Mexican-American wife, Virgina Espino grew up, has helped end “decades of de facto racial segregation.” Tobar said that the 2010 census showed that L.A. County was the nation’s most segregated metropolitan area when it came to Latinos and whites. Gentrification has priced out many working class residents but Tobar says the same changes have re-integrated neighborhoods and left Latinos less isolated.

In a column titled Viva Gentrification,  Tobar, whose family immigrated from Guatamala, says of recent visit to a Highland Park market:

The point was driven home to me the other day, when I stepped into that same bodega and saw a fair-skinned child of about 6 wandering past the stack of tortillas. It’s one thing to see a 20-something white dude walking with freshly picked organic lettuce in his backpack. But the presence of this girl in that small retail space, filled with Spanish chatter, pork rinds and other symbols of Mexican-ness, bespoke a deeper shift.

Tobar’s wife, who saw whites move out of Highland Park during the 1960s and 1970s, “is starting to warm to the changes” but the transition has been difficult:

After a walk on York one night, my wife nearly burst into tears. The vibe and ethos of her old neighborhood had shifted before her eyes: from a place where Latino people scraped by and took pride in doing so, to one where newcomers practiced conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. Our local panadería underwent a major renovation, and jacked up the price of the Mexican sweet bread. A beloved mural with kitschy Latino themes was painted over to make way for a French restaurant.

Tobar and Espino live in Mount Washington.


  1. this was a really well balanced read and I encourage everyone to read the whole article and not just eastsider’s quoted sections.

    • Silly headline. White and African American neighborhoods have been totally taken over by mexican and central americans, but that is fine. Its only when caucasian gentrification happens, that all of the sudden, its a problem. Completely hypocritical and a double standard.

      Established neighborhoods all over Southern California (from 50, 60, or 70 years ago), have been completely taken over and are 99 percent latino. But that is OK, no problem with that.

      • 50, 60, 70 years ago no one forced the whites to leave; they left because they didn’t like whatever minority group moved in.

  2. Must be a nice feeling to look down on your old neighborhood from Mt. Washington. Nostalgia for the past has such a piquant aroma.

    Still don’t understand the belief some Mexican Americans have that their childhood neighborhoods should remain exactly the same, despite waves of various immigrant groups and folks moving around, which actually happens in cities. It’s so provincial. It’s like a few new shops opening up in a three block stretch of York equals some sort of cultural genocide. Ridiculous.

    • What starts as a few new shops ends up a complete cultural cleansing that changes the character of a neighborhood for decades to come. The white hipster and the working class latino have virtually nothing in common. This friction in cultural values is what causes gentrification to get such an emotional response from people. Those who argue it’s an unequivocal good thing to clean up the neighborhood haven’t thought about the issue deeply enough.

      • I know plenty of hip white people who also happen to be working class. They have more in common with working class Chicanos than you think. And a lot of them have moved to Highland Park and El Sereno.

        • I agree. This assumption that all white people are new to Highland Park and can afford to shop in the shops on York is funny to me. Let’s stop painting all people with such a broad brush.

      • wow….virtually nothing in common. what an insular way of thinking. That’s the type of language slave owners, kkk, and segregationists use.

      • This is some serious racist bullshit. Whites and latinos have nothing in common? Dude you’re seriously a racist.

      • Well since you can’t really stop “gentrification” in a free market, perhaps the emphasis should be on finding common ground? The hype over York’s new businesses not being inclusive enough seems kinda bogus to me anyhow… a lot of these “hipster spots” are some of the most diverse spaces in the community. I mean what could be more inclusive than pizza or ice cream?

      • “Cultural Cleansing”? Jim, I think you need to go back to your community college social studies class. I didn’t run into either Pol Pot or Hitler at Maximilliano’s last night.

      • Has it occurred to you that young white people might be moving to Highland Park because of its Latino heritage, not despite it?

        As evidenced by the popularity, among people across multiple ethnicities, of businesses like Tierra Mia.

      • Hey Jim,

        I found an article that talks about “a complete cultural cleansing” in HLP


        damn those hipsters.

      • Jim: Have you been the the Valley in the past three decades? If there is a thing such as “cultural cleansing”, it certainly hasn’t favored white people there.

        HLP will survive just fine these upwardly mobile youngsters moving into the neighborhood. And it is a manufactured myth that they are all white (and therefore don’t belong).

        Couples in their 20s to 50s are very often white-hispanic, white-asian pairings. It has become the norm so much that no one even notices. This city is probably thee most culturally diverse city in the history of the world and yet comments like yours still are uttered.

        It is important to keep in mind that no one is taking anyone’s home. These homes are being sold by the mostly hispanic owners. Good for them: They’ve profited, and can downsize now that they’re kids have moved on, and they’ve got a good nest egg to retire with. They don’t need being patronized to.

    • The underlying issue is with these newcomers is their LACK of sense of community. I think that’s why Tobar’s wife is crying…

      • Sez you, Mr. If You Come On My Property You’ll Be Met With A Shotgun? Did you read the part of the article where she actually likes the changes and refers to Highland Park as some sort of cultural Main Street?

      • Handle-hijacking impostor above. Also, gentrification is about wealth disparity being imposed on not only those at the the bottom of the socio-economic ladder but also those in the middle, which includes working-class whites and asians who have ALWAYS

        • . . . been conspicuously evident members of our community. This obsession with race and ethnicity is itself racist. NELA has never been as segregated as ELA, SLA, WLA, and definitely NLA. even after waves of white-flight, NELA has always had a conspicuous element of non-hispanics co-existing with the majority.

      • Proper Dos, why do you think the newcomers won’t develop a “sense of community”? While they may not want to hang out with you because of your negativity towards them, they will probably want to hang out with each other. Many of them are having kids. Young parents like hanging out with other young parents. You might refer to these people as “breeders.” If so, yeah, you probably won’t find much usefulness in searching for that “sense of community” with them. But, you’ll be just fine. Worse things happen.

    • I’ve lived in Highland Park for 13 years. I’m about to be evicted because the owner will be jacking up the rent nearly double. I don’t want to leave, but I have no choice. This is very difficult for me. I understand that I’m not entitled to anything. I’m just telling you my situation.

  3. Tobar makes a great point about segregation.

    There’s a surprising and depressing amount of re-segregation happening in this country, and its not all coming from evil white people by any stretch. Every day you hear stories about various racial groups wanting their neighborhoods to stay one color, wanting their teachers to be all one color, their schools to be one color, etc.

    Tobar makes the great point that even after all the changes of the past few years, HP remains a majority-Latino neighborhood in a majority Latino city, in a majority Latino state. There is no question of whites elbowing Latinos out of the way because there simply aren’t that many white people! So the real question becomes whether we want to continue histories of segregation even though the old conditions no longer apply, or whether LA wants to lead the way in showing the rest of the country what a truly integrated city looks like.

    • “There is no question of whites elbowing Latinos out of the way because there simply aren’t that many white people!” intregated cities only last for a moment, the young twenty something white couple that moved into highland for the latino culture is positive but what follows them is developers and investors who see that young white couple as the future and investment then segregation follows through economics, working class latinos will be elbowed out of their community by whites systematically in the name capitalism.

  4. Thought provoking article. Have been noticing creeping “New Yorkist” terms when referring to L.A. tiendas, abarrotes, “licor”mercados or that old false cognate: “marketa”. As a Boyle Heights born and raised Chicana, “bodega” means “warehouse”. Please note, authentic L.A. writers should know the difference.

  5. How have we not figured out yet that diversity is always a good thing no matter what!! Go to neighborhoods that are 99% white where you can’t find anything to eat other than Applebees, they suck. Go to neighborhoods that are 99% Mexican where you can’t find anything to eat other than tacos, they suck. Go to places in a city like New York where there are tons of cultures mixing and sharing the best of each other and they are awesome. We need more diversity in LA everywhere. To be able to walk down the street and pass a wide variety of small businesses like a home made taco stand, a panini shop, a chinese food place, an espresso cafe, a record store, a pastry shop and a knick-knack store all within a few blocks…that is what we should all be striving for.

  6. The author appears to be ignorant of the effects of rent control regarding gentrification. Lack of rent control and renter protections has nothing to do with what’s happening. It’s quite the opposite in fact.

    First of all, the amount of rentals that lack rent control (~20%) are small compared to dwellings that do afford the protection (~80%).

    Second, rent control is a government created market inefficiency which leads to a shortage in housing supply. How? It causes those with rent controlled apartments to cling to that protection, leaving the only available supply to be mostly unprotected units which are now subject to skyrocketing rates due to high demand.

    Additionally, rent control units disincentivize the owner from providing standard upkeep and hurts neighborhoods on the whole.

    The fact the author is calling for more rent control is disturbing in light of ubiquitous evidence of how destructive it is on the rental market.

  7. @Eastsider,. If you don’t write the article don’t mess with it. This is the second time you’ve done this of late. Its cheap troll move that is only meant to flame your comment section. You should have more respect for yourself and your own abilities than to co-op some ones work for a few measly clicks on your troll website.

  8. The title of this piece is racist. What about the white families who lived here in the 70s to today. Should they welcome gentrification?

    Also the tears of happiness answer the question to this piece. The neighborhood went from one where people scrapped by to progress.

    • The title is accurate. It simply asks the question to those who are most negatively impacted by Highland Park’s gentrification. Everybody knows the white hipsters, the real estate agents, the house flippers and speculators are all cheering on the changes. Why do you think you get the York Blvd “coolest street in LA” hype?

      Nothing wrong with ethnic diversity but what’s happening in Highland Park is promoted by the fast money, fast talking shyster.

      • Dude you realize “shyster” is a racist anti-semitic term right? I’m sure you think of yourself as a very socially progressive type, stop with the racist bullshit.

        • “A shyster /ˈʃaɪstər/ is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, politics or business.”

          Yep, describes the Highland Park gentrification cheerleaders quite well. Not all but many.

          • What is your opinion on street food vendors in Highland Park who operate without a license and do not pay taxes? Way smaller scale but just curious.

          • What is disreputable or unethical about buying a home from a family and providing something like a 500% ROI?

            Many latino families that invested in homes and land are realizing major returns, why would you ignore that?

      • If half of Highland Park’s Chicano population moved away they would still be the ethnic majority. Maybe you should stop blaming white people who are way way way the minority and instead look at the real culprit which is OVERCROWDING

  9. I completely agree with neighborino. The diversity of people is the absolutely positively best thing about the U.S.A. and neighborhoods and cities that are full of different types of people are the best. Highland Park is becoming more diverse not less, and that is something to be celebrated.

  10. “Oh no, the price of Mexican sweetbread has gone up since I was a child!” If she loves HLP so much why do they live on Mt. Washington?

  11. Here’s the understory. Read part 4. lol

    • These are bad people. On this we can agree.

    • I’m familiar with that story, however…. people are moving into this community, opening businesses and investing in the community. Long time members of the community who are homeowners are benefitting. Do you like the park at York and 51? More choices of places to shop and eat? On York there something for everyone: El Huarache Azteca, Arco Iris. Mariscos Sinaloa, etc. Sonny’s Hideaway and the York if that’s your speed. Ba if you’re feeling fancy. Super A and El Super markets. Different types of juice places, yoga, Fusion Burger, Maximilliano etc. Sounds great, right?

      Figueroa is next and it’s gonna be fantastic!

  12. But what about the Latin hipsters? And the black hipsters and asian hipsters? We all like espresso too.

    • Dear Latino espresso lover,

      Please sell out your culture in private. We would prefer you to push your rickety but picturesque slushy cart in the neighborhood we remember from high school. One day, you can aspire to operating a decaying but picturesque 99-cent store. Please keep it the way it was in the 1980s so we can visit from time to time and reminisce.

      Nostalgic newspaper columnists

  13. oh, man…that is the trolliest troll gentrification headline i’ve seen on this site yet! SMH.

    what is becoming of ‘the eastsider’? lately it seems that every other article is deliberately angled toward starting an ugly argument in the comments section…which, like most internet “debates”, of course winds up dominated by the loudest, least informed, and nastiest bloviators, who just endlessly type-yell at each other while ignoring all posts that attempt any sort of nuanced, thoughtful analysis. rather than encouraging the latter, the editorial direction of ‘the eastsider’ is more and more often blatantly encouraging the former, which only serves to fan the flames of divisive (and frankly, mostly stupid) argument, rather than spark rational discussion that might actually lead to some understanding and calming of tensions in the community.

    pretty soon, rational readers are going to abandon this site completely, and all that will be left are a bunch of ugly people yelling ugly things at one another. i feel like we’re already more than halfway there, TBH…what a shame it is to see a valuable community resource become part of the problem instead of the solution.

    think about it, editors…please.

  14. The Eastsider has resorted to trolling itself.


  15. I think its fair to say that Latinos have done a fair amount of self segregation over the years. The large flow of immigration coming from Mexico and Central America have made California one of their main destinations. It should be no surprise these people would settle (at least initially) in neighborhoods where the culture is more familiar. What did the Italians, Jews and Irish do when they first arrived? Also, Latinos are at every level of life in Los Angeles. I can’t stand the liberal stereo type of victimized poor Latinos being mistreated by the “White” people (what a meaningless generalization that is in itself). What a joke! I’ve grown up here. Latinos are by no means this little group of victims. I think that’s the narrative a guy like Tobar and his wife need to play up because that the little story they get paid to continuously repeat. You too Solis.

  16. What atomZ said is entirely true.

    I stopped checking the site daily (or every other day) because of this exact reason. Simplistic posts about restaurant or clothing shop openings are one thing, but it definitely seems like a lot of the articles are click bait disguised as the gentrification debate.

    What a shame.

  17. If I were running the Eastsider, since my modus operendi would be manipulative clickbait anyway, I would just have some fun and swap out comment sections from different articles. It would be fun and, seriously, no one would know.

  18. I’m white. Have lived in Highland Parkfir a long time. My husband is white. He and his mom lived in Highland Park when he was young. We have a lot of Latino neighbors who own their homes. We all get along. All like each other.
    It’s really not that big of a deal. My Latino neighbors have lived here a long time. They are educated people, work hard, enjoy the block parties with the white folk and other races. It’s just a nice neighborhood. Go shop at La Tropicana and you will see what I mean.

  19. Lots to ponder here.

    Provincial white folks moved out in the 1950, 1960s, and 1970s, and were criticized for the trend of “white flight” despite the fact that the white flight opened up a lot of units for the current residents. The white flight folks’ open-minded children and grand children, now home-buyers, move back to the neighborhood and are criticized as “gentrifiers.”

    Gentrification, THAT WORD, is ill-defined, which is a source of the vitriol and even the more genteel disagreements on this board. The categories of the word GENTRIFICATION, I see on this board are these.

    1. Gentrification means white people moving into predominantly hispanic neighborhoods, and changing the “character of the neighborhood.” This is unfair and victimizes hispanics, because they should be left alone by white people.:

    This argument is made by the most extreme anti-Gentrification folks. This position is ironically most heard coming from the mouths of left-leaning whites. They shout through their kazoos yelling “I’m one of the good ones!”

    2. “I am a white person who moved into Echo Park (for example, but also applies to HP, ES, SL), a decade ago, and I am one of the good ones, and the white people who are moving in now, are the insensitive and bad ones ones. And, they make more money than I do so therefore I am the good one and they are the bad ones. I should stay, and the newbies should leave.”:

    No explanation is provided for this absurd irony. This kind of person tends to be ok with the drug culture, is concerned about being “cool” at age 40-60, and most of their friends are white, or at least American born. (Another irony) They think brown people need and want their sympathy and patronizing ways.)

    3. “Orange County developers have no regard for the “character of the neighborhood” and are greedy”:

    Everyone loves to make money. No one is immune from it. The desire to make or earn money isn’t greed. It is human nature. I don’t consider developers greedy at all. They want to build their businesses like everyone else. That they are from Orange County or from Iran is really of no concern. Anyone here on this board can do the same thing. If they choose a design that some Echo Park renter-of-a-room doesn’t like, that is really too bad. In the finest and not so finest neighborhoods, there is a huge diversity of home styles. Frankly, Echo Park needs a little architectural diversity. There is a lot of tired and dilapidated homes with bars on the windows.

    4. “People with money are forcing out people with little money”:

    True, but only in part.

    a) The home owners selling to gentrifiers are making a pretty good profit,and these home owners ARE voluntarily selling, so they want to do this. They and their kids benefit, don’t they? That now they can move to Mt. Washington is something they shouldn’t be criticized for, but are, (see above).

    b) Renters who don’t have a lease, or are not protected by rent control are bearing a burden. But, really, this isn’t a reason to stop free enterprise. It has always happened, everywhere in the world. It’s also the part of the life of being a renter: There is no guarantee that the owner is going to keep the renter until the renter decides to leave. That part of the rental agreement is priced into the rent, isn’t it? Example: If the landlord had to consider the renter’s wishes before selling, or renovating, or rebuilding, the rental unit price would reflect that restriction on the price of the unit. For a renter to claim “foul” lands on deaf ears with me.

    5: “Gentrification is racist”:

    These people imply that reversing white flight is now a racist act. These people just like to complain. And it is always a white vs. hispanic set of examples. (No one seems to complain about white, black, hispanics, etc. moving into Koreatown. heck, not even Koreans are upset about that.


    The way I see this gentrifiction drama is that is is being fueled largely by left-leaning white people who think that hispanics need and want their sympathies and patronizing ways. These people just do not see the huge number of young people from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, most of them American born, many with parents from 3rd world countries, highly educated, moving into neighborhoods, making them better,

    • The idea that everyone loves money so its ok to make as much as you can regardless of how it affects anyone is a bad social contract that ultimately leads to poverty for most. You may believe it’s a God given right but in fact it’s a choice we can make as a society on what the balance between profit and community is.

      As an example theere was a brief time after the depression through the fifties that we sorta agreed as a country were better of together than apart. It was an unspoken social contract the ties between business and employees was never stronger and the disparity between the rich and poor never smaller. The me me me mentality is just bad business if the business is the stability of the country.

      Also where you live absolutely does affect the choices you make when you have to face your neighbors as well as the consequences of what you build everyday. It’s ridiculous to state otherwise.

  20. I don’t get it. Why does the author’s wife nearly “burst into tears” upon seeing the changes in her old neighborhood? It didn’t happen overnight, little by little ALL neighborhood’s change. No where is it written that people can’t move from, or move into the neighborhoods of their choice. And with that comes inevitable change. My extended family is a prime example. We all grew up in NELA. Of my seven aunts and uncles and their families, only me and one aunt still remain here. Everyone else moved on a long time ago. None of them wanted to stay because of the gang violence that ran rampant then. My Aunts and Uncles relocated to the Valley in the 1970’s like a lot of other Latino families did, bringing ethnic change to those neighborhoods. They moved because they wanted to and because they could. So why is it that when Non-Latinos move back here, it is frowned upon when things begin to look different? Whopping double-standard. I also find it funny that a lot of the criticism aimed at the “Gentrifiers” is being leveled by outsiders or Johnny-come-lately’s to HP: Chicano Fundamentalists towing the barrio mentality line that this part of L.A. can’t change and who have chosen HP as ground zero to legitimize what is essentially racism against, well, white people.

    • Ishamine, you are spot on with all of your observations.

      But am I the only one seeing that the loudest screamers against gentrification are indeed those white people who are the first wave of gentrification?

      • yes, you are the only one.

        frankly, i’m sick and tired of this stock right-wing-talking-points “white guilt” BS that says certain “liberals” can’t talk about race issues just because they happen to be white. any halfway intelligent, thinking person capable of rudimentary observation can grasp the concepts at hand, it ain’t rocket science, bud….and the discussion shouldn’t be limited to anyone of any particular color.

        i didn’t see a whole lot of “white first wave of gentrification” people participating in those woefully misguided NELA Alliance protests…did you?

        watch a little less fox news, it puts your IQ at serious risk.

        • Dude, I don’t know what you’re talking about bringing up Fox News. Your anger, was it fueled by Tina-meets-the Red Bull at 3:00 a.m? I was asleep. Maybe you should have been too.

          • your expression of that particular attitude is so run-of-the-mill, big-box generic “conservative”, i just assumed that’s where you got it…you might as well have, it doesn’t really make any difference. it’s still ridiculous, and of course you didn’t address my question, but only responded with an insult (also a par for the course “conservative” response).


      • Yah I think you’re alone on this one. I can tell you’re not a fan of tattooed barely employed musicians and creative types from some of your other posts. Totally fine, but you must be constantly scoffing at these folks given you live in echo park. Also Maywood.

      • Since you asked: You may well be alone. I think some newly-arrived homeowners are “concerned” about their effects on the neighborhood. But that’s just casual conversation, not translated into street-level action. Perhaps it’s those people whom you are noticing.

        The people driving the narrative seem to me to be ethnocentric young adults (in the passion of youthful activism), and crotchety older adults (who don’t want change, but to whom it may be as much a time-of-residence issue as an ethnic one). The latter group should know better. Another component, with whom I personally have sympathy, is people who agonize when working-class renters are forced from their residence (by legal or illegal means).

        The concept that it’s “white first-wave gentrifiers” driving this seems out of touch to me.

  21. Sic Transit Gloria

    There was an event at Aldama Elementary a few years ago about dealing with the re-integration of non-Latinos into Highland Park. Tobars essay would have helped a room full of adults looking for answers.

    Since then, that school’s been through an emotional wringer over its dual language program (lots of people flocking to the area to teach their mixed race or white kids Spanish and English) and the regular English-only wing of the school.

    Tobar got a lot right in his opinion piece. There are a lot of people who want to integrate themselves into the new Latino-majority culture and there is a strong push back to keep these folks out. For some Latinos, they seem to prefer a status of permanent victimhood over other narratives. Some simply hate what they see as a bunch of wannabe’s. Others are (like in all other ethnic groups) simply racist or xenophobic and prefer to hate or mistrust those who didn’t grow up on the same block, eat the same food growing up, and live the same life they have. There are still others who, silently, have nodded their heads with approval as a smorgasbord of yuppies buy into their neighborhood’s history, architecture, culture(s), food, and lifestyle.

    For all the hate directed at hipsters for “discovering tacos” or daring to sell hand made goods from Guatemala in their vintage stores what is being missed is that being Latino is what others are striving to be. People from the dominant American culture are trying to become more Mexican, more Latino, more chicano.

    Compare this with the slurs of the past when the last thing a lot of people wanted to be, including most Latinos, was a “taco vedor”, “beaner”, “greaser”, “wet back”, etc. We’ve gone from the days of calling taco trucks “roach coaches” to celebrated food trucks.

    Things won’t stay crystallized in the Latino/Chicano world of the 20th century as it becomes the mainstream in this state. You can choose to stick with a victim mentality, or with xenophobia, or you can do what all wise conquerors have done and find the best of the people you’re taking over and integrate their teachings into your culture. There is a lot to hate in our dominant culture but there is a lot worth celebrating and passing down too.

  22. This article is devoid of historical analysis and an INSULT to ethnic communities, whose generations past tried to carve whatever niche they could find in order to work, live, and prosper. In fact, it was the white privileged who had the most significant effect on the segregation of LA communities. Their need to move out of areas where minorities were settling in is what caused the segregation. Redlining (racist real estate practices) along with the creation of physical divisions (e.g. freeways) contributed to the segregation of LA communities. How can he say that same institutional oppression that caused minorities to move into these ethnic enclaves is now saving it? How dare he vilify ethnic communities for being segregated when it was the white privileged who caused the division and did not want to integrate and cohabitate with minorities in the first place!
    NOW, the author is saying racial integration is saving these communities? Why is that when the white privileged move into our communities it is viewed as “integration” and a benefit to all, but when minorities move into white affluent areas it is deemed as a depreciation of the community and labeled as white flight? It is a shame that ethnic communities are only celebrated through “re-integration” and “re-discovery,” by the upper class and deemed undesirable just because immigrant communities have banned together in order to survive.
    Let us not mask the intentions of many gentrifiers as willing to “integrate”, when we know full well that they are here for profit through investment or because it’s “artsy” or “bohemian.” Highland Park, with a predominant [email protected] population, was not closed off to whites. Whites did not want live here because it was unworthy of them. It was not until the prospect of investment arrived did they want to “integrate”

    • So, what was the spark that initially got white folks to start moving here? Was there a secret meeting held where white people decided a takeover? Maybe it was just a combination of low interest rates, a historic downtown adjacent location and low home prices (at least a couple years ago).

    • so is your argument that segregation is productive? You claim he author vilifies ethnic communities for segregation and ignores the cause. why does the cause matter 50 years removed? do you think segregation is a good thing for HP and other latino neighborhoods?
      i don’t think you grasp the concept of gentrification. lumping all newcomers as “gentrifiers” with a negative connotation, seeking only to profit, clearly makes your ignorance visible to all.
      come out the clouds and get in the real world bro.

    • Even though I don’t believe that you are from around here, I have a two part question for you anyway since you clearly seem to be advocating for some sort of twisted re-segregation of your “communities”: A. Are you for the banishment of “privileged white gentrifiers” from traditionally Latino neighborhoods such as HP? And if so: B. Where do you propose that said white people move? As a follow up question: Is their a particular type, or lesser offensive example of “white” personage that perhaps you may willing to coexist with? I know this isn’t exactly a Proust’s Questionnaire, but still, I gotta know.

    • Martin Arredondo

      Was Proper Dos in your class?

  23. Sorry Garol, but I do think people DO see it, but just don’t know how to deal with the irony of it all. The fact is that it is indeed white people living in ethnic communities who are screaming against ‘gentrification’ the loudest. I think they want to protect some self-righteous status that they think they have. They fail to see that they are gentrifiers themselves.

    And why this phenomenon of reversing the white flight from 40 years ago is not seen as a positive thing is beyond me. Perhaps you can address that? You and I agree on a lot of these issues. As far as me scoffing, well yes, it is hard not to scoff at these self-proclaimed artists who can’t seem to show us their art. I am sure you’ve met these types too, and scoffed. My recommendations to these people of moving to Maywood is really not snide, it’s just a suggestion that there are plenty of neighborhoods for low income people to move to, and if the white, artsy types want to show how much they love being in edgy, high crime neighborhoods with window bars, gangs and graffiti all around, Maywood is certainly an option – just like Highland Park was 2-5 years ago.

    • There’s something unappealing about neighborhoods south and southeast of downtown LA for some reason. Although Leimert Park is apparently getting hot with “arty types”. I’ve been a longtime champion of San Pedro. It’s like Highland Park by the sea. And it’s perfect for edgy arty types because not all of them need to be adjacent to downtown at the usual rush hours time slots. As a life long east sider, highland parker since 98 and recent homeowner I can say I’m very pro gentrification. It indeed has positive results and far as walkability and appearance are concerned. My friends who have bought houses in the area feel the same. We all want more dining options, shopping options and safer streets for our children. And I really really hope they open a CB2 in the old Frank’s Camera location, despite it being a chain store.

  24. Leimert Park has ALWAYS had “arty” [sic]types, they just weren’t white which automatically precludes them from being “arty” types to begin with, I suppose. This type of ongoing subversive race based obtuse narrative that many whites bring back into non-white urban neighborhoods is chiefly the reason why so many that are living there expel a collective sigh. Not only will they and their neighborhood be seen as “the other”, “exotic” or “coooooool” but it will be done with such a hefty amount of ignorance that it could only originate with a people who formerly didn’t like you, moved away, raised their kids in an absolute vacuum, and then sent these ignorant and untaught people back to the former urban area that you left to decay with all of the wealth that you gained over the past 70 years during de facto segregation in your intentionally ethnically isolated suburb. If you’re too stupid as to not understand that white flight was the largest transfer of wealth based on ethnicity and race in the US and the ONLY reason why whites (and those that became white later*) are 16 times more wealthy than the average African American (demographics being relative) then shut up and start learning. You’re on the computer, google this sh*t, it’s easy to find. These are facts. And please don’t do the white whine “but I didn’t do it”. Of course your dumb ass couldn’t engineer this sh*t but it happened and now it’s systemic or built into the system. Does that mean you can’t move to HP? No that doesn’t mean that you can’t move to HP mf! It means that you should be more sensitive to the inherent racism and ethnocentrism already in the system. So please again, stop the white whine, not only does it immediately call you out as being privileged up to your eyeballs but it’s just f*cking annoying!

    read: How the Irish became white

    • You’re incredibly racist and insane. Wow.

    • Wow, anger much?? Someone’s got a case of the Mondays. If you read my post you would know that I stated I am native to this side of town. Sorry for not knowing the history of Leimert Park but I honestly don’t really care that much why people are moving there. And you’re not going to get any guilt out of me either. I moved where I wanted to and didn’t need a friggin Google search to learn the history of racial oppression and segregation in Highland Park. I walk around my neighborhood every damn day and never feel any tension of resentment. It’s only from armchair activists with a chip on their shoulder posting on this site that gives one the sense that there is this underlying impending threat crap. So when you’re done pounding your fists on your laptop, you might want to take a Xanax. Heard it helps

      • You didn’t know because you’re inherently clueless. You’re not colorblind, you’re colordumb.

        • Any other areas in Los Angeles I should constantly keep tabs on, you uptight grump?? Sucks for you to live a live so coddled by racial awareness that you can’t have a casual discussion with someone of a different color. You must be a blast at cocktail parties.

      • @ C. Phylis….Amen!!

    • Let me guess, your’e not from around here either, are you. Yet you feel you got us all figured out with your bullshit dogma and tired cookie cutter stereotypes. Yawn. How early 70’s of you. Must be a bitch singing the same old song no one will hear. May be you should write your Congressman, or talk to your Therapist, or Parole Officer to work through your issues. Talk about whiny and privileged, lady you take home fist prize for that distinction.

    • Dear C. Phylis: You have a wild imagination. I love that play-on-words that is your handle. You should see a doctor though before it makes you more delusional. Some think Jesus had the same condition, becoming a megalomaniac that some bought into and then started a religion.

      Regardless, “inherent racism and ethnocentrism already in the system? I’m not seeing that at all. I see fully integrated schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, bi-racial couples and children, and see laws protecting against racism being enforced by attorneys and the courts. The only racism I see these days is being practiced by people of color against other people of color: Try being a Mexican male at Glendale High School and wanting to date an Armenian girl. You’d get beaten up by Armenian boys even before you ask to meet her father. And if you survive that fight, her daddy still won’t let you in the house. And, you will not find a black person living in Maywood. Other examples abound.

      Gentrification=Reintegration. That you do not see that is amusing. From now on I will not use the G word, and instead use “Reintegration” so that people like you can see it for what it is: The exact opposite of “inherent racism and ethnocentrism already in the system”. I doubt, however, that full-time complainers like you will ever acknowledge that.

      • The history of integration doesn’t look anything like your creative wording “reintegration”. If we followed the historical pattern of integration then whites moving into HP would find stores not willing to serve them, or not being able to enter a Starbucks from the front door. Why aren’t whites being treated the same way that they’ve treated others up until just merely 40 years ago? And if you now say that America isn’t like that anymore, tell me what happened, how and who changed it? Who made “reintegration” as you call it now easier for whites in 2015?

        • We all know the history Phylis, so please do not talk down to me. That is not the case any longer, and you know it. I’m loving this reintegration. I hope you come to love it too.

          Now, once this is accomplished, we can start our work on tolerating a different kind of diversity: Diversity of thought.

          Good day.

  25. Waaah. I have lived in Eagle Rock/Cypress Park/Highland Park all my life, as has my husband. All have changed over the years. In the 1960’s early 70’s Figueroa Street was the local shopping district, with department stores; Iver’s, People’s, See’s Candy, etc. When the ER Plaza opened, then later the Glendale Galleria, the retail on Figueroa (and Brand Blvd. for that matter) declined, to follow was the residential property. My husband’s family and extended family owned HUGE 3000 sf homes in HLP and in order to stay above water (avoid forclosure) they sub-divided the homes into apartments – no one could rent a place that large, and this saved them from losing their life savings. People can cry all they want, no one was calling out those who were moving into the neighborhood. I’ve said it before & will again; no one cared that they were losing thousands, and they didn’t cry about it, they just dealt with it. always felt NELA is my HOME, along side everyone else & am not going to be pushed out, just go with the flow. Now if someone wants to give me 1M for my HLP property, and laugh all the way to the bank!

  26. the_avenues_call_me_guerito

    Apparently, the author’s wife suffers from a very serious form of prosopagnosia?

    “I saw them all move out,” my wife said one day, referring to the neighborhood’s white residents. “And now I’m watching them move back in.”

    Actually, Ms. Espino, any white people who moved out of Highland Park in the 60’s and 70’s would have to be at least 35 by now. Rest assured, they are not the white people moving in presently. I understand that our angelic glows can sometimes make it difficult to look directly at us, especially on sunny days, but surely you’ve developed some personal strategy for telling apart all of your white neighbors up there on Mount Washington, right? If not, don’t fret because we white people have been dealing with the problem of telling one another apart our entire lives and over the millennia our kind have actually come up with some ingenious methods of identification… although nowadays most of those have been lost and we usually just resort to taking cell phone pictures of each other and then white balancing them as fast as possible in order to figure out who we’re talking to.

    • It is so good to see good people supporting re-integration, and appreciating it, despite the claims of people shedding “tears” over it. The anti-G folks (who should be referred to as the anti-reintegration folks) had their platform of false cries and crocodile tears unchallenged for way too long. Imagine if people in a very white neighborhood like Brentwood were shedding tears over a “changing of the character of the neighborhood”. We all know what slur they would be called, do we not?

      Some people (see above) have called out The Eastsider paper as stooping to “click bait.” I do not see it that way at all. Click bait is a term for causing a click-through to something that claims something that it isn’t. The Eastsider should be commended for allowing us to vent our differing opinions, in the hopes at learning something. In this case, we are seeing the ugly side of reverse racism, masquerading as racial protection.

      Thank you Guerito.

  27. mommy…why aren’t any black people in highland park?

  28. Gentrifying Census Tracts: These lower-income Census tracts experienced significant growth in both home values and educational attainment. To be eligible to gentrify, a tract’s median household income and median home value needed to fall within the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the beginning of the decade. Tracts considered to have gentrified recorded increases in the top third percentile for both inflation-adjusted median home values and percentage of adults with bachelors’ degrees.


    Census Tract 1832.22
    Status: Gentrified
    Population: 3,267 (-323)
    Median Home Value: $461,600 (+98%)
    Bachelor’s Degrees: 38.5% of adults
    (17.7% had bachelor’s degrees in 2000)
    Median Household Income: $44,300

    Census Tract 1833
    Status: Gentrified
    Population: 3,626 (-113)
    Median Home Value: $369,000 (+74%)
    Bachelor’s Degrees: 20.3% of adults
    (12.4% had bachelor’s degrees in 2000)
    Median Household Income: $51,905

    Census Tract 1832.20
    Status: Gentrified
    Population: 4,508 (+145)
    Median Home Value: $355,000 (+79%)
    Bachelor’s Degrees: 14.2% of adults
    (6.8% had bachelor’s degrees in 2000)
    Median Household Income: $51,071

  29. I lived in Highland Park in the 60’s and when I got married I moved out of here. I didn’t want to raise my children here because of the gangs. I now moved back and it’s getting better but not fast enough. Figueroa has to get new businesses like on York. I see they are slowly coming in on Fig which is great because I only shop in other neighborhoods because there’s nothing here. Just swap meet type stores which aren’t good. At least in the 60’s there were some stores like See’s candy which should never moved out, Iver’s and People’s and we had 4 fabric stores. Nowadays the only place to buy fabric is Jo-Ann’s, Walmart, Hobby Lobby we had 4 stores and they sold everything a fabric store sells I think we need at least one fabric store in 2015 on Fig.
    We need real stores on Figueroa. For example “Forever 21” started it’s first store in Highland Park but you would never know it because they are superstitious and are afraid to improve the original store which is still here but you’d never know it. It’s “Fashion 21” They could expand and make their store bigger with the building next door. They could make the store nice like every other store they own, EXCEPT ours! If they did this I’m sure other well known stores would come. And that wife who cries because the neighborhood has changed, well thank god and hopefully for the better. And you live in the white area up on Mount Washington so if you want to live with the Mexicans come down to the avenues and move in if you miss it. I can hardly wait to see the new stores that come in and improve the neighborhood and I like white people moving in. And I’m half White and half Mexican so I can say it! And all you gang members please stop writing on the walls this is your neighborhood too so please don’t make it look like a ghetto, be proud of where you live. Writing on the walls is a big waste of time and paint. If you would like to write on the walls why not write on your house that you own. But you wouldn’t do that because you wouldn’t want to mess up your house so let’s not do it to other people’s homes or businesses. Thanks so much in advance!!

  30. I cannot help to think what readers would think if it were titled “Should __________ Caucasians welcome gentrification? Oh wait let’s forget that only white people can be racist!!

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *