By David Busch
Joining with the South Central Farmers in this city’s infamous, quickly growing, and newest developing tenant revolt, a group of low-income LA renters are now calling on residents across LA to join with them starting on Friday Dec 2, at 8 a.m. --in erecting a emergency ongoing tent city on the lawn in front of LA’s Downtown City Hall --to help save their own landmark LA homes, and to save themselves from immediate homelessness.
Among the 60 evictees, two third of the people are either seniors –and or the disabled.
“We can’t afford to move anyway --so now it looks like, as we’re evicted, we’re all going to be living in tents,” says one of this newest protest’s organizers, Erin Grayson.
She states, “We going to be at the LA City Hall with our tents starting Friday, and from here on out; and we really hope people will come on down, and will support --and even join with us.” The renters’ homes, The Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice, after a more than 18-year struggle to save Lincoln Place, two weeks ago, was declared a State “historical district.” Nevertheless, and in an amazing act of retaliation, the property's owner, the publicly-traded, Denver-based, AIMCO Corporation, is planning high profits on condo conversions, and seeking city “emergency” waivers --and for the developer, one of the nation's largest --to increase demolitions and household density without any public review: and in a new tack in the struggle, has also now served eviction papers to every single one of the property’s tenants.
AIMCO’s President, Terry Considine, the man behind the evictions, is a Republican --and meanwhile claims also to be a “born again” Christian too.
In 1992, he ran for election to a Colorado US Senate seat --and lost.
Meanwhile, too, just weeks ago, low-income farmers in South Central Los Angeles have also begun rallies and protests --and calling upon city leaders to protect a local community garden from being razed for a developer's warehouse. Among the battling farmer’s supporters is the group, Ozo Motley --and Zack DeLaRocha --formerly of the punk band Rage Against the Machine.
And as for the newest renter battle at the 500 unit Lincoln Place: the LA City Council, and led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is now planning a meeting tomorrow for 11 a.m. at City Hall, and concurrent with the tent-city protest, to discuss the developer's so-called "crisis." But it is refusing to open the meeting to the public. And too, so far, the LA Mayor’s office says that despite the buildings' now "historic" status, and the recent farmer’s controversy, the newest evictions at Lincoln Place, and the developer's (AIMCO’s) applications for "emergency" waivers of the law, still --will go forward.
States one tent city protest organizer, “The city of LA’s now evicting us --and everybody knows there’s no more affordable housing here: so we all really want to know, ‘Where’s the Mayor?’”
Faced with a deadline that expired midnight on Nov. 30th --and that was only extended for ten days by Mayor Villaraigosa; and perhaps only in order to keep them from hitting the news on Thanksgiving --the tenants are huddling in their homes amid a sea of already emptied apartments; and awaiting their evictions by marshals now at any minute; and are organizing the Friday protest to now also bring attention to today's secret City Council meeting
The evicting developer, AIMCO, meanwhile, with hundreds of these empty apartments, and in the midst of this city's unprecedented low cost housing shortage, has also now, nevertheless, found an ally in LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo --and has often vowed its intent to tear down the historic and inexpensive LA buildings, and erect luxury condos.
Despite directly being labeled by the state a “historic” landmark, Delgadillo’s office, in a written statement, even outrageously maintains recently that there is still “not a shred of evidence” that the low-income landmark itself is "historic."
And Delgadillo, in a recent LA Times scandal, has meanwhile also been alleged to be taking massive campaign donations from slumlords --and other big developers.
“Delgadillo our target,” says tenant Greyson. Adds another activist, “He’s (Delgadillo) supposed to be protecting us --the law’s on our side: and he’s just not doing anything.” “We've got a gun to our heads, [it's] these evictions," says Grayson.
"And we think the Mayor needs to do something now,” says another.
Meanwhile, too, despite widespread public interest in finding affordable housing anywhere in Los Angeles, Friday’s City Council meeting --with demonstrators now camping in tents just outside, and with hundreds of low-income and now historic apartments now just sitting empty in Venice --again, is currently being set by the City's politicians to be held only in a secret "closed session.”
The South Central Farmers website is www.southcentralfarmers.com
The Lincoln place tenants website is www.lincolnplace.net