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“I just don’t see this mass-scale gentrification happening” — Boyle Heights councilman on neighborhood change

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Anti-gentrification activists want Boyle Heights galleries to move out

BOYLE HEIGHTSCouncilman Jose Huizar has a message for those fighting gentrification in his home district of Boyle Heights: Don’t overstate the threat, and lay off the militant tactics.

In an L.A. Times story this week about anti-gentrification forces in Boyle Heights, Huizar said:

“I don’t think we will see the mass-scale change of demographics in Boyle Heights — by demographics, I mean either racial or income level — as other parts of this city have experienced, because of the fact that over 70% of the people who live in Boyle Heights are renters and about 90% of them are under rent control … I’ve kind of felt comforted by those numbers to assure folks that I just don’t see this mass-scale gentrification happening given that.”

Boyle Heights has made headlines recently as activists try to push art galleries out of the neighborhood. They believe that such galleries are an early step toward higher land values and the end of Boyle Heights’ working class Latino character. One group, Defend Boyle Heights, has targeted 11 specific art galleries on its Facebook Page.

Though Huizar, who lives in Boyle Heights, did not single out this particular group or tactic, he told the Times:

“I think these tactics are counterproductive to creating the type of harmonious city that is respectful of all people’s backgrounds. I disagree with the tactics that have been used by some groups who evict people from Boyle Heights simply because of their racial or economic background.”

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31 comments

  1. Bruce Brook Pfeiffer

    I think Boyle Heights also has an uphill battle simply with its name. While I know the spelling is different I don’t think anyone can hear “Boyle” and not think of a skin abscess. I just don’t think it can possibly become an upscale neighborhood with that association.

    I’m reminded of the Orange County city that changed its name from El Toro to Lake Forest as it started to grow into a higher income community. Closer to home we have the example of “Rodeo” of Rodeo Drive being pronounced differently in Beverly Hills than it is pronounced in Baldwin Hills.

  2. I’m glad to see Councilman Huizar speaking out in favor of moderating these demands.

  3. Wait Im confused. These latino groups are trying to kick out artist and their galleries because the artists aren’t Latino? Wow that would be difficult to pull off if it were reversed. Imagine someone from Boyle heights opening up in Beverly Hills and BEVHILLS residents object for any reason! pretty sure there would be riots. This is racist right? Why no outrage over these racist acts? Donald Trump is a racist for what he says, why can’t these people be?

    I am seeing examples of this more and more though. One of the benches on the west side of the Lake has a tag which says “Fuck white girls” – Loid It’s been sitting there for at least 5 weeks. I can only guess it would be gone by now had it targeted one of my fellow human races who aren’t doing as well as whitey.

  4. Wait Im confused. These latino groups are trying to kick out artist and their galleries because the artists aren’t Latino? Wow that would be difficult to pull off if it were reversed. Imagine someone from Boyle heights opening up in Beverly Hills and BEVHILLS residents object for any reason! pretty sure there would be riots. This is racist right? Why no outrage over these racist acts? Donald Trump is a racist for what he says, why can’t these people be?

    I am seeing examples of this more and more though. One of the benches on the west side of the Lake has a tag which says “F*ck white girls” – Loid It’s been sitting there for at least 5 weeks. I can only guess it would be gone by now had it targeted one of my fellow human races who aren’t doing as well as whitey.

    • RIAI. If you haven’t already done so, please report this by phone to 311, or to MyLA311. Thank you

      • 311 does not respond to graffiti removal within the confines of Echo Park Lake. The Lake has it’s own maintenance staff to which I have pointed this out among many other tags to no avail.

  5. “These latino groups are trying to kick out artist and their galleries because the artists aren’t Latino?”

    They want to kick out the Latino ones too! Self Help Graphics had been in East LA for 40+ years, and moved to Boyle Heights a few years ago, and even they’re being told to shut down. Totally, completely insane.

  6. Bent Over Bento Box

    I’m looking to buy in Boyle Heights and let me tell you, there are no bargains for the dumps they are selling. The renters might not like gentrification, but Dios Mio, the sellers sure do.

  7. This kind of nonsense speaks volumes of the half-assed nature of the smart phone generation, with their lack of respect for public funded art programs, and their utter ignorance on how commercial real estate works.

  8. Former B-Town Resident

    Huizar states that because 70% of residents ate renters and 90% are under rent control are the reasons that gentrification willl unlikely happen? I disagree. The renters who make up the community have no say so if landlords decide to cash out and sell to new incoming “hipsters” who have the cash to do so.

    • Renters have rights under rent control and cannot be evicted simply because the landlord is selling the property. If the new owner decides to move into the rental unit, he or she can do so, but the renter would qualify for relocation $$.

  9. LA Times and other publications have a responsibility to call out this racist bulls*t. Defend Boyle Heights represents the worst in community activism.

  10. I grew up in Boyle Heights and let me tell you gentrification is coming. It’s slowly consuming our identity and making it commercial. They are closing Carnitas Michuacan that has been a part of our community for 33 years and replacing it with a Panda Express.

    • Carnitas Michoacan? Lol. What did they replace 33 years ago? When did Carnitas Michoacan become a landmark. I’m sure the neighborhood will be up in arms if a 33 year old McDonalds was to move. The horror of oppression.

    • You consumed someone else’s identity when you came, the circle of life…. change is inevitable. Why do folks think neighborhoods must stay frozen in time, in one of the most dynamic cities on the planet? Boggles the mind.

    • Who’s neighborhood is it?

      It’s a good question.

      If you rent, people don’t care.

      You own property, it’s different.

      I know a few Latino families who happily cashed in and sold their home for 3-4 times what they bought it for.

      Are those people complicit in changing the demographics? There’s a private property side to this – “I own and I have the right to sell when I want.”

      It’s complicated. It hurts to say – some people will have to move. Should they have to? A change in homeowners is one thing. It does feel that an apartment complex being up-ended is another.

  11. If you have to ask or have a debate “Is our neighborhood gentrifying?” then it’s happening. It’s happening in Boyle Heights.

    This group is providing ammo to realtors who will repackage it as evidence that it’s the right place to buy in. I think they’d be right to do so and promote. Can’t stop economics.

    Same thing with the rent strikes at the Marmion apartment in Highland Park by the metro stop. They are making such a media stir that in the end – attracts more new comers to scoop up real estate.

  12. I don’t know about Huizar’s comment. Seems like those were similar numbers in Echo Park and that didn’t stop it there.

    I bet he’s cashing in. Everyone that owns property stands to make some good money IF you want to sell. But then what? Go buy in another even more expensive hood?

    It’s the renters and poor people who get screwed in this. Fewer and fewer apartments are left for our working class. They keep this city running but is it right if they have can’t even afford to live somewhere remotely close to where they work? And for most likely low wages. If you live in the city, we all need them.

  13. Trying to stop gentrification is like pissing in the wind. Bottom line is LA has a major housing shortage and lots of people want to live near downtown (tons of jobs and cultural institutions.) Really, it’s the same story in every major city around the world… LA’s just late to the party.

    Best thing for these advocates to do, is to try and work with Huizar and the rest of the city departments to cut red tape in the zoning, so it’s practical for local entrepreneurs to guide this transition on their own terms (i.e. locals building more housing and commercial property with minimal hassle from City Hall.)

    The status quo just benefits $$$ west side developers who can afford to spend years on soft costs. Protesting art galleries? Talk about amateur hour… get in the game.

    • The problem is most people who are anti-gentrification are also anti-development. They just want their red lined little piece of paradise to be preserved in amber forever. And we all know how well that worked for SF….

  14. I wonder if it dawned on any of the socialist inspired “Brown Beret” members that their whole reverence for everything Che related is a practice irony. Che, a rich kid from an aristocratic Argentine family was of Basque and Irish decent, not the ancestor of Toltec or Montezuma many would love to be true. Furthermore Che became what many in the DBH decry as imperialism. He headed up Cuba’s banks and then sought foreign investment from Eastern Block states with frequent boating trips with Ernest Hemingway while many in Cuba starved.
    To further the irony present in these malformed DBH protest, the original Jewish and Eastern European residents of Boyle Heights actual formed Socialist colaitions of the Jewish and Latino working class to help address issues concerning the growing latino population.
    Maybe these youngsters and older opportunistic protestors would help their cause if they knew a bit about their own neighborhoods cultural history. Adopting the racist socialist anti capitalistic anarchist stance will give you a blurb here and there;however,what will remain in peoples minds is that you attack the wrong people.
    If they were truly interested in bettering the neighborhood they would adopt an inclusive socialist stance that addresses the lack of secondary and college education within the community, the rampant health crises of diabetes, signing up people to vote, getting involved in real estate so as to understand the real details of how communities change and steps you can take to garner those investments where they belong.
    It is far easier to blame someone else for your current ills, scapegoating galleries is laughable especially Self Help who has done more for the community than the ridiculous Clitoral Mass.
    Finally, no one was ever taught that renting is a form of a stabilized life, part of the risk of renting is laid out in the actual word , you rent to use a property not to own it. The idea that any tenant deserves owners rights to a signed and agreed contract that implicitly states a sum of money for an agreed amount of time is an act of delusion.

    If the final argument is that the real ill is the capitalistic society we live in and that it should be changed , one should look at Cuba’s current economic explosion embracing the said devil and Venezuela’s sharp decline as the result of falling oil prices and socialist trade policies. I assure you DBH aren’t trifling with real economic facts it’s much easier to be racist.

    • This is bordering on off-topic but since you brought up Venezuela I think it’s important to state that Venezuela is a petro-state and is suffering due to very low oil and gas prices. Alberta, Canada is suffering economically right now as well for a similar connection to the oil and gas industry.

    • This is a reoccurring issue with millennials; no sense of history, understanding or logic when it comes to this anti-gentrification “activism”. They are loaded with false-pretenses and displaced angry and down right racist with most of this so called activism. LA Times should call them out on this, but never will as they are always in support of any Latino cause no matter how wrong or racist it becomes.

  15. Private Designer

    These people are ridiculous. I am Los Angeles, a mixture of Mexican American/Irish-German American, my child is also part Japanese American. My family has lived in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles for almost a hundred years!! Nobody owns this neighborhood… this neighborhood was once a beautiful mixture of many nationalities, Jewish, Japanese, Russian and Mexican to name a few. It would be amazing to see it brought up to the beauty it once was, open to all.

    Stop the Hate. Carry peace in your hearts friends… this is the City of Angels?!

  16. These cranky children demand that all art galleries leave the neighborhood. They have sold their souls to their xenophobic agenda. Art has always been a liberal progressive outlet for free speech for everyone from any background. These cranks hate art and are effectively telling poor people that art is only for the privileged, poor people have no place in art and don’t deserve to enjoy it. What’s next, hating on libraries and bookstores?

    • Next, they will demand all coffee and bike shops to move because those are privileges only white people enjoy!

      • They already have! What could possible be more welcoming to people of all backgrounds regardless of income than coffee, reading, art and bicycling? So offensive that these protesters have declared poor people don’t have a right to enjoy any of these things.

    • What I’m With Her and several other commenters are not seeing is the role cultural dominance plays in occupying a neighborhood, commercial or public space. Things like juice shops are signs that let commercial developers know this area is safe for redevelopment. How much foreign direct investment is in Highland Park? What effect does this have on the housing costs in LA/SoCal? What middle class/college grad can compete with a foreign investor who offers $500k-$1M cash on a home? In the end galleries are signs of bigger changes that will harm the middle classes and kill the American dream. Is it terrible to not want Boyle Heights to become one big offshore bank to protect some milionaires Yuan?

      ps the idea that art “has always been a liberal progressive outlet for free speech for everyone from any background,” is quaint and misses the reality that art has become a top dollar commodity. When that bubble bursts it’s going to make 08 look like childs play.

  17. mal ojo al despojo

    citizen x.. ha, more like vendidx

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