Echo Park one of the first L.A. Suburbs, latinos businesses and families being pushed out by the high rates of rents.  “People here seem to believe that because they are angry they don’t have to be civil,” said Christine Peters, who runs an animal rescue group at her home. “… From my perspective, we’ve lost a sense of community.”


Francisco Torrero, a neighborhood council member, stands by a cluster of houses at Santa Ynez and Alvarado streets. Neighbors complain that these vacant houses harbor drugs, prostitution and vagrants.  Link to Los Angeles Times to read complete article written by Scott Gold.

In a landslide victory for renters throughout California, Proposition 98 — a measure that would end rent control in the state — failed.

This is a great victory for every renter in California, but particularly for low-income families threatened by gentrification. In high demand areas (like our neighborhood, the Figueroa Corridor) the market seems to drive prices higher and higher relentlessly so it becomes clear that affordable housing will completely disappear unless it is explicitly provided for. According to a member of the LA Department of Planning, the City, County, and State don’t have the funds to provide for affordable housing. That leaves the federal government (and no one is holding their breath waiting for that to happen).

So how do we provide for affordable housing? One way is by making the big developers who want to put high rise luxury apartments in our neighborhood provide affordable housing set-asides for our families so they aren’t displaced (See Gilda Haas’s article, “Community Benefits or Community Control” at the Making Sense Blog for an excellent analysis of this tactic that puts it in its proper context). Prop. 98 would have made rent control illegal AND it would have made affordable housing set-asides illegal.

But since 98 failed, we still have a powerful tool to preserve affordable housing.

Thanks to every voter that made this victory possible!

“Prop. 99 Passes; Prop. 98 Defeated” in the LA Times

Meditations on the meaning of Space


The building called “Senderos” is an improbably purple-colored building in a residential area where a visitor can see Victorian-aged single-family properties of varied quality and condition, intermingled with apartment buildings, many of which conceal the slum conditions that can be found within. Esperanza owns four of the apartment buildings, which have all been beautifully rehabbed and rented to local low income families, most of whom were relocated to these buildings from surrounding substandard properties or returned to the same building once they were transformed from their former slum conditions. Senderos is one of those buildings.

Senderos had been one of the most outrageous slums in the region; in fact the target of a community action held in the mid-eighties to publicize the injustice and health and safety hazards of LA’s slum housing. When Esperanza first secured this building from foreclosure, and temporarily relocated its residents, the building’s basement was a cesspool reflecting all the decay and neglect of the tiny single room units that had housed twenty-one households in squalid conditions.


“Mi Realidad”

Lamentablemente mi realidad es la realidad de muchos. Empezaré compartiendo que soy sobreviviente de violencia doméstica, por consiguiente una madre soltera con cuatro hijos MARAVILLOSOS. El poder sobrevivir en este sistema es muy difícil cuando la economía no está a tu favor, día a día mis hijos y yo luchamos por salir adelante y ser útiles a la sociedad a la cual correspondemos, aunque difícilmente la sociedad reconoce nuestros esfuerzos. En muchas ocasiones he recibido quejas ó me han etiquetado, el porque no participo más en las escuelas de mis hijos, o porque no asisto a reuniones comunitarias, o porque no pertenezco a ningún comité de la iglesia al cual asistimos. Son innumerables los adjetivos que utilizan para etiquetarme como mala madre, o mala vecina, o mala creyente – en fin adjetivos que no comparto con nadie.


The Onion (a publication not intended for readers under 18 ) has had some funny articles on gentrification:

“Sometimes I Feel Like I’m The Only One Trying To Gentrify This Neighborhood” is an article written from the point of view of someone who has recently moved into an ethnic community and who wants to attract people of his own demographic to the neighborhood — by rendering it completely unrecognizable.


Report: Nation’s Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization is a great re-imagining of the classic narrative of upper-middle class populations entering a low-income area. It describes a situation where the incredibly rich (like 18th-century-dukes-and-duchesses-rich) move into already gentrified neighborhoods.