Gentri-flyer Opens One Hell of a Conversation. Now What?

Boyle Heights residents gather at Prospect Park for the Primavera Festival and a talking circle on gentrification. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
Boyle Heights residents gather at Prospect Park for the Primavera Festival and a talking circle on gentrification. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog


Much like with pornography, everybody is pretty sure they know what it is when they see it, and almost everyone has an opinion about it.

But, nailing down a set of defining principles everyone can agree on so we can sit down and have a discussion about it is easier said than done.

For one, communities change. Teasing out whether that change was catalyzed by gentrification, community-led development efforts, or the normal growth and change neighborhoods undergo as cities grow and change can be a challenge. Especially while a community is in the early stages of that transformation.

And, keeping conversations from getting heated, as they did when the gentri-flyer heard ’round the world (below) hit the Internets last Monday, is no small task. While many people do finally seem to understand that any benefits the influx of investment bring won’t “trickle-down” until well after many of the lower-income residents have long-since been displaced (assuming such benefits even exist), questions about the significance of social impacts can get very contentious.

With good reason.

The gentri-flyer. (Photo source unknown)
Behold: the gentri-flyer. Touting Boyle Heights as a “charming, historic, walkable, and bikeable neighborhood” where you could put down “as little as $40K with decent credit,” it invited Arts District neighbors to join in on a (free!) hour bike tour followed by a discussion and artisanal snacks. (Original  photo source unknown, click to enlarge)

It can be hard for those in communities undergoing gentrification to speak about issues that profoundly affect them — social marginalization, the criminalization of minority youth, feelings of vulnerability at the possibility of losing one’s family home, the trauma of displacement, or the loss of a cultural community, shared history, and/or social networks — without implying that someone is to blame.

Meanwhile, those looking for an affordable place to live who get labeled as “gentrifiers” often wonder what exactly they were supposed to do differently and see it as unfair that they, as individuals, are being blamed for a process that they feel they had little control over.

That is, if they are even cognizant of having a role in a larger process at all. Many may not be. Or, they may instead see themselves as part of a different process altogether, one in which they are the brave “pioneers,” rescuing homes, businesses, and neighborhoods from disrepair and contributing to the betterment and vibrancy of an “up-and-coming” community.

All of which makes figuring out what to do about gentrification — or even coming to a consensus about whether anything should be done at all — even tougher.

In the case of the “gentri-flyer,” no sooner had residents of Boyle Heights and other minority communities begun to express concern over the predatory tone of the flyer, than all hell had broken loose.

Those on the extreme in favor of gentrification lambasted the poor and minorities for hating white people and blamed them for all manner of ills (I’m paraphrasing, here): preferring to wallow in their own filth, being degenerates, being poor, selling their properties/not buying up their own houses, whining, being lazy, and leaving it to white people to clean up their messes and their neighborhoods. Many also wondered why minorities should get special treatment, complaining that everyone would be up in arms if whites protested against minorities moving into their areas.

And that was just on the NPR comment boards.

Those on the other extreme weren’t necessarily restrained, either, lashing out at what they saw as an invasion and a concerted attempt at cultural genocide. Many called for organized resistance and a few others got profane, calling out predatory “whites” (usually read as middle/upper-middle class people as a whole, not just whites) for waiting for poor neighborhoods to fall apart so they could start buying it up.

Thanks to all that ugliness, an opportunity was squandered to have a more serious dialogue about a number of pressing issues. Among them: the extent to which affordable urban housing is an issue for everyone; how current policies aimed at making urban neighborhoods more “livable” fail to adequately value cultural communities or incorporate a more inclusive approach to social health; how few comprehensive tools are available for those seeking to develop their struggling communities from within; how difficult it is to undo the damage of years of disinvestment in poor areas by the city (especially when relying on private investment); and how few ways we have to ensure that development is equitable and that displacement of the poor does not continue to be the norm.

One of the many historic murals at Estrada Courts on Olympic Blvd. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
One of the many historic murals at Estrada Courts on Olympic Blvd. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

But, sometimes you need that level of outrage to breathe new life and momentum into ongoing dialogues on challenging topics.

A number of members of the Boyle Heights community that gathered at the Primavera Festival this past weekend for what would turn out to be a 3-hour discussion on gentrification acknowledged that the flyer had done just that.

Some even thanked the flyer’s creator — real estate agent Bana Haffar — for both showing up to listen to their perspectives and for giving the discussion a new urgency.

It did not mean they were OK with the flyer or its characterization of the community, they explained. But, having the chance to discuss why they had felt so disrespected and angry offered a new opportunity to help those unfamiliar with the area understand just what it was that the community believed was at stake.

They spoke of the long history of discrimination against their community and how those early practices and policies had made Boyle Heights one of the few safe havens for Mexican-Americans while also denying them the possibility of home ownership for generations to come.

In 1939, the federally-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) described the neighborhood, then largely comprised of a Jewish business class and Mexican laborers, as “hazardous residential territory” with “diverse,” “subversive,” and “detrimental racial elements.” As such, it accorded the area a “red grade,” signalling to private banks, real estate agents, and mortgage lenders that this was “no place for upstanding citizens to purchase a home or get an easy loan.”

Meanwhile, construction of the freeways in the late 1940s further isolated the Eastside in devastating fashion, by “clear[ing] wide urban gashes through the multi-ethnic but mostly Latino neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, and East L.A., demolishing thousands of buildings and evicting homeowners from their property. […] By the early 1960s, all seven of the planners’ freeways crisscrossed the community.” (For more, see here.)

Where white residents in Beverly Hills were able to stop a planned freeway through their neighborhood, the residents of Boyle Heights, despite their protests, got Interstate 5 right through the lake (and boathouse) at Hollenbeck Park.

Boyle Heights and its many freeways carving up its western and southern ends, as well as Hollenbeck Park. (Google screen shot)
The many freeways carving up the western and southern ends of Boyle Heights, as well as Hollenbeck Park (at top, left-ish). (Google screen shot, click to enlarge)

The second wave of the Great Migration of African-Americans also hit the West Coast in the post-war period, further segregating Boyle Heights by changing race relations in Los Angeles.

Now faced with a rapidly-growing minority population, the city felt it was time to reconsider its definitions of “whiteness” and warily welcomed Jews under the more forgiving label. The shift granted Boyle Heights’ Jewish population the freedom to join the newly arrived community of Jews growing in prominence on the Westside. Those that remained in Boyle Heights tended to lean to the left and unite with their Mexican-American neighbors against both overt efforts to deport immigrants and more institutionalized forms of prejudice (for more, see here).

That history of progressive activism drawing strength from shared experience, community, heritage, and struggle manifested most visibly in the 1968 Blowouts, when 15,000 students walked out of several Eastside schools. They demanded an equal, qualitative, and culturally-relevant education, access to basic educational resources, and teachers and administrators that would treat them with respect.

Murals referencing that struggle and encouraging the community to take inspiration in the very heritage that the white population saw as their greatest weakness still dominate the landscape today.

Many of the people that participated in the Chicano movement remained in the area as well, and their children are intimately familiar with the history of those and subsequent battles. The later generations’ relationship to that history of struggle and their own work to empower members of their community — often grounded in that history, other aspects of their shared heritage, and a common belief in social justice — is part of what makes resisting gentrification such a personal cause for many.

Messages of empowerment referencing the Chicano activism of the 60s at Roosevelt High School. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
Messages of empowerment referencing Chicano activism at Roosevelt High School. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

For all of the efforts of more engaged community members to raise consciousness through the arts, education, and community-led healing, however, until very recently, the area has suffered from a lack of investment by the city and it continues to struggle economically. A third of the population lives below the poverty level; 62% are considered to be low-income.

And, when only 11% of residents are home-owners and so many homes and apartment buildings are for sale (see here or here), there is unfortunately a limit to the extent to which longer-term strategies aimed at nurturing future leaders and raising community consciousness can stave off turnover.

Especially given the intensely precarious existence of so many families.

Immigration status issues, unconventional living arrangements (too many people in an apartment, the illegal conversion of garages into living quarters, or questionable leases), a lack of understanding of their rights (or reluctance on the part of the authorities to enforce them), and/or limited financial means can make many afraid to speak up when they are taken advantage of. It puts them at greater risk for eviction when a new buyer takes over their building or a greedy owner looking to sell or raise rents is willing to let the building fall into disrepair in the hopes that tenants will leave of their own accord.

Ideally, rent control laws should preserve residents’ rights to remain in place with a reasonable rent when an apartment building built before 1978 is bought. But, many of Boyle Heights’ dwellings are single-family homes that have been converted to apartments and may not fit into that category (depending on how they were converted). Those that do meet rent-control criteria are not necessarily safe, either. The L.A. Times recently found that evictions facilitated by the Ellis Act are on the rise.

The Ellis Act, considered by some to be a “safety valve” for landlords looking to get out of the renting business, can be invoked if owners take the properties off the rental market or demolish their buildings and put up new apartments. Any new units built are allowed to be rented at market rates, but are subject to rent control in subsequent years. But, there’s even a way to get around that clause. Property owners that set aside a certain number of new units as affordable housing can avoid subjecting the rest to rent control.

Although any evicted tenants from rent control properties would be entitled to relocation fees ranging between $7,600 and $19,000 per unit, even temporary displacements can present significant challenges for the working poor.

Relocation fees are not always enough to cover people’s losses. Moving expenses, the struggle to find comparable rents in areas that are transit-accessible and within a reasonable distance of their work or schools, and the loss of a social network that can provide a softer landing for them (i.e. help with child care) can make adjustment to a new life hard for the working poor. And, once they’ve resettled, they may not have the funds to come back to their community, should their renovated apartments eventually be put back on the market.

Sadly, it’s not necessarily in the city’s interest for them to come back, either. The turnover and renovation of the apartments can often take a major bureaucratic burden off the city’s back with regard to the enforcement of building and safety code and policing of violations.

In other words, once those residents are gone, they’re usually gone for good. And, since many of the properties for sale would likely need major renovations, the potential for displacement is high, regardless of the intentions of the new owners. The problem will only compound itself as property values rise and more properties come onto the market.

Students perform short theater pieces advocating for more investment in their education at the Saludarte festival in Hollenbeck Park. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
Boyle Heights students perform short theater pieces advocating for more investment in their schools at the Saludarte festival in Hollenbeck Park. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

“Those that have been working on this issue understand that train has left the station,” said Evonne Gallardo, the Executive Director of the arts non-profit Self-Help Graphics (SHG), referring to the question of whether properties and people would turn over in the area.

She and others involved in the year-long series of community dialogues on gentrification in 2012 saw that reality all too clearly.

But, many had held fast to the hope that, with the right tools, they could build the foundation of an arts district and foster development from within without pushing their own people out. There had to be a way, they felt, that both advanced the community and culture and brought everyone else along.

What they didn’t know, said Gallardo, was how they were going to forge that alternative path without policy in place to protect the community.

The city has moved slowly on even the most basic of things, including a long-delayed street vendor law that could grant greater economic security to so many of the community members who both make their living as vendors and help make street life more vibrant. The likelihood that the city would move quickly on other potential protections — local hire policies for new businesses, greater aid to existing micro businesses (including immigrant owners) looking to upgrade their stores, limiting the use of the Ellis Act, etc. — are slim.

More challenging still is that, unlike in South L.A., where residents were able to fight for concessions from USC with regard to the university’s expansion, there is no single property owner for Boyle Heights residents to take on or even partner with.

Those obstacles aside, SHG and the other community-based organizations and activists appear committed to engaging the process of change before it becomes too firmly entrenched. Over the next several months, they plan to hold a series of community dialogues with residents and other interested parties and policy makers about the future of Boyle Heights.

It’s time, Gallardo said, to see if they can find “new solutions to old problems.”

Community-made art at the Saludarte festival in Hollenbeck Park. "LCFF" stands for "local control funding formula" and refers to an initiative that would give the community control over how local education funds are spent. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
Community-made posters at the Saludarte festival in Hollenbeck Park. “LCFF” stands for “Local Control Funding Formula” and refers to an initiative that would give the community control over how local education funds are spent in their schools. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

It is indeed time.

Too often we talk about gentrification as an all-or-nothing proposition, as if externally-driven “revitalization” is the only way a struggling community can move forward. But, communities like Boyle Heights and Leimert Park (some of whose efforts have been chronicled here) believe there are diverse ways to thrive. And, that there is much to be gained by carving out space and time for those communities — especially those of cultural and historic importance — to do so.

Not to the exclusion of others, of course, but in a way that cements its foundation in the people of the area, not just in the structures and artifacts that commemorate their history.

* * * *

I’ll be following the community’s efforts to grapple with change over the next several months. Follow me on twitter @sahrasulaiman to keep up with that series and other happenings in Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles.


*The term, “gentrification,” was first used to describe a turnover in housing stock. Coined in 1964 by sociologist Ruth Glass, it described the phenomenon of middle- and upper-class households (the “gentry”) moving into distressed working-class neighborhoods, upgrading derelict housing, and eventually displacing the working-class residents, thereby changing the social character of the community. Since then, it has come to be understood as process that reaches far beyond residential rehabilitation to encompass the spatial, social, economic, and cultural restructuring of communities.

  • traal

    Is there any evidence that gentrification causes a net exodus of low-income families absent density limits?

  • sahra

    I spent the week reading a lot of academic work on the topic and that does seem to be something people acknowledge to be the case… which shouldn’t be surprising, given that that is where the word takes its origins. Although, scholars have differing opinions on whether or not it is a good thing. And, since there are often different phases of gentrification (artists moving into an area first, for ex.), some of the new-comers might also fall into the category of low-income, tracking turnover can be complicated. But I still have more reading to do (I don’t profess to know much about density limits, for ex.)…and, as a former academic myself, I am more than aware of how easy it is to just reference those that support your own thesis. I did think it was telling that Garcetti recently referenced the issue with regard to the LA River revitalization and spoke of the need to ensure existing residents would not be displaced:

  • LetsGoLA

    Great read, as always.

    The other thing I would really like to see added to the dialogue is looking at how city-wide and regional land use policies drive these local impacts. Land use decisions are often made at a hyper-local level by neighborhood councils and NIMBY lawsuits, but the outcomes affect the entire region.

    In other words, gentrification in Boyle Heights doesn’t start in Boyle Heights, it starts in Cheviot Hills… and Mar Vista, and all the other high-income neighborhoods that don’t allow any new construction.

    When Santa Monica’s “Residocracy” gets Bergamot Station approval revoked, when people in Venice complain about the impacts of new apartment buildings on R1 zones, when Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park get themselves zoned R1 for eternity… that has a huge impact on what happens to you if you live in Boyle Heights, yet you effectively have no say in those decisions.

    In fact, the gentriflyer lays that out in plain sight – “why rent in downtown when you can own in Boyle Heights” – translation, we know you like neighborhood X but you can’t afford it any more, so how about neighborhood Y instead? If the gentriflyer target audience could afford downtown, there’d be a lot less pressure on Boyle Heights.

  • traal

    Poor people often move into and out of areas, but in the presence of gentrification, is it really a *net* exodus of people and not just a drop in the ratio of poor to wealthy people or a drop of poor households? I haven’t been able to find any literature confirming this.

  • sahra

    Good point. I’ll put it on my list of things to read up on…it’s an area I’m still learning a lot about.

  • sahra

    I’ll go back and retrace some of what I read and post any relevant links (although, not today. Brain is officially dead). I did see more speaking about that exodus than not, but, as an issue I will be continuing to follow, both here and Leimert Park, I’ll be continuing to read up on it, too. I think, too, that it is dangerous to fixate on just the numbers. In more recent years, there has been a lot more work done on the social impacts of turnover and the potential for that to be a push factor for all of the minority residents, not just the lower-income ones. It’s complicated. And, as I note in the piece, determining the parameters of what constitutes gentrification and what it specifically is responsible for isn’t always clear-cut, either.

  • mgles

    In LA, rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like Silverlake, Echo Park, Hollywood, Highland Park and Boyle Hts all have been losing net population – even as many actually gain housing units. So clearly gentrification is resulting in the net loss of (poorer) large households in the favor of smaller (wealthier) households. Not only is that fundamentally unjust, but it’s terrible from a planning perspective as our core transit neighborhoods get less dense and core transit riders are dispersed.

  • traal

    It sounds like those neighborhoods have density limits, so they don’t count.

  • mgles

    Every neighborhood (except downtown) has density limits so I’m not sure I understand. Plus if we were to lift density (and presumably height & FAR) limits there would be even greater redevelopment of rent stabilized for luxury apartments and condos. So the replacement of poor vs rich would increase. Eventually if you succeed in getting hundreds of thousands of units built the City might be a bit cheaper but the local displacement in hot neighborhoods would be massive.

  • sahra

    As I understand it, density limits in the neighborhoods listed are somewhat elastic with regard to affordable housing and building around transit lines. I think, however, you’re not thinking about population density, and an area like BH is one of most overcrowded neighborhoods in the city. As I mentioned in the piece, many of the existing units rented by the poor are significantly overcrowded. I can’t tell you how many students I’ve worked with in BH or Echo Park that have talked about having to study in the bathtub or under the kitchen table because there was no other place for them to go. Six people might be living in a studio apartment. 11 in a one-bedroom. Entire families in converted garages. So, even if something is torn down and more units created, you’re going to have a net loss of lower-income people, regardless.

  • traal

    The reason they put in luxury apartments and condos instead of affordable housing is because with density limits in place, only luxury apartments and condos are cost-effective to build:

    So if density limits like this were removed, affordable housing could be built without subsidies.

  • sahra

    That piece makes a much more eloquent case for the removal of parking requirements. Density limits would seem to be one of many different tools that could be adjusted to facilitate different kinds of growth, but would be no panacea on their own.

  • mark vallianatos

    “There is relatively little in the way of persuasive empirical evidence
    that suggests [displacement] is indeed how gentrifying neighborhoods change.”- That’s a quote from Columbia Professor Lance Freeman from a 2005 study, and more recent research backs it up. Of course, if someone buys a low-rent apartment and converts it to higher cost condos, the people living in those units can be displaced, but that kind of direct impact is statistically insignificant (in most times and places) compared to other reasons why people move out of a neighborhood. Low income residents tend to move out of gentrifying neighborhoods at the exact same rate they move out of non-gentrifying neighborhoods. Gentrifying neighborhoods experience demographic change not because poor people are driven out but because, when rents rise, it is harder for low income to move into those neighborhoods. Gentrifying neighborhoods are in a sense removed from the ‘circuit’ of neighborhoods that low income families tend to move between (because of affordability, social connection, etc.). The recent studies that look at the largest sets of data on this topic are:

    I personally have problems with anti-gentrification politics based on more than weak data. I think that focusing on gentrification takes the super-important issue of the spatial dimensions of inequality and ‘poisons’ it by tapping into people’s xenophobia. It reminds me of the era when US labor unions were strongly anti-immigrant. Gentrification panic is also a shame because there is lots of evidence that concentrated poverty and segregation hurt low income people but freaking out about a few hipsters moving into the neighborhood shifts attention off of the processes that really harm communities. Anyway, I hope whatever discussions ensue veer back to productive solutions to real problems.

  • ubrayj02

    A proposal to end the displacement of renters caused by real estate speculation:

    Any property owner that receives more than the original purchase price of their property plus an adjustment for inflation will have the difference taxed and added to a community land trust.

    Why do populations get displaced? It has to do with real estate speculation and uneven access to capital.

    I once worked for a company that was able to plow millions of dollars in money from Taiwanese investors into a series of stupid, money losing, over paying speculative real estate investments. Once my company over paid for these properties, planning a borrowed-to-the-hilt mega project usually, we were then “forced” to raise rents by 2x or 3x to cover the costs of the loans we had to take out to make the purchase.

    We shouldn’t have been allowed to offer the amounts of money we were able to – because it ruined the market for anyone who didn’t have millions in Taiwanese dollars. That money went to a property owner who promptly pulled up stakes and converted the value of the land that was created by waves of artists and community members into cash, pocketed it, and never paid a dime to support those that created that value.

    When people are allowed to dangle stupid amounts of money in front of a property owners face, money that owner can take and run away with (money that represents the value created by the community as a whole and not anything the property owner has done) we need to have a mechanism to stop that. Rents go up when property changes hands in grossly speculative real estate purchases.

    To prevent this, we can do something like this:

    (Original Sale Price) + (Inflation Adjustment) = What Property Can Be Sold For

    Any sale price above “What Property Can Be Sold For” should go into a community land trust, Business Improvement District, or should go to the State or County as a one-time fee.

    Real estate, land, is not a commodity like corn and pork bellies and it should not be treated as a simple commodity.

  • sahra

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterize the reaction of residents in BH or Leimert to an influx of “outsiders” as xenophobia (social media hysteria on both sides aside…). The bulk of the people in both communities are more interested in having a safe space for their culture, community infrastructure, and way of life. And they are unhappy that the only solution proffered is one that privileges private investment, regardless of the social and other costs to the existing community. It’s one that almost seems designed to pit people against each other.

    And, i think current residents would argue that the facility with which a “few hipsters” are able to move into their neighborhood is linked to some of those larger processes that harm communities that you allude to.

    Again, I’m still reading on the subject, but my sense is that although it is understood that there is turnover, a lot of the data regarding what is behind it is really quite dependent upon how gentrification and displacement are defined, how populations and mobility are assessed, data sources used (the poorest of the poor, minorities, and renters (when looking at census) are harder-to-reach groups) and what push factors are incorporated into analyses. And that specific cases might vary wildly… a neighborhood like BH, where you have such low levels of home-ownership puts people at much greater risk for displacement. And I’m interested in data looking at the mobility of the poor. BH is interesting in that it is one of the older communities of arrivals and also one of the newest — it has both. But I know many people that have been there for generations. Even more recent arrivals might move around a lot within the community if they are struggling with economic stability, but they tend to remain in the area (or come back if they’ve left for a short while). But that’s anecdotal…What is true is that their mobility “choices” and options are very different than those of higher incomes. And voluntary(ish) mobility is very different than involuntary mobility. Regardless of the rates, if a family has to move, it can have a very different impact on their economic and social well-being than a family making a move by “choice.”

  • calwatch

    Plus, I and many other people have a philosophical aversion to carping about “gentrifiers” due to the fundamental free market basis of the American economic system. As LetsGoLA mentions, the solution is more supply, and to start removing many of the parking requirements that hamper new development near transit friendly areas, and decouple parking from housing so that people can sell parking separately from housing. Yes, that means that visiting to some of these neighborhoods are going to be more difficult, but as parking requirements have grown, it makes only “luxury” housing viable due to the amount of square feet required per unit in order to make the parking pencil out.

  • DMalcolmCarson

    The conversation IMHO should be brought back to where it belongs: rent control. I think the vast majority believes that more public improvements and private investment in areas that have suffered historically from a lack of both are good things and that people being forcibly displaced from their (relatively) affordable, convenient and socially-connected homes is a bad thing. The only way to bring the two together is to have the strongest rent control protections possible, so that you minimize forcible evictions as much as possible, and guarantee full relocation benefits where they can’t be avoided. There could be better laws on the books, but there could also be more resources for legal education and representation, city housing inspections, etc.

  • thejeffreypine

    So if you’re a middle class couple or family, where are you supposed to buy a house if you want to live on the east side (where your jobs are)? SL, EP – too pricey. HP is close to that too. The poor have their advocates, the rich have their money, but if you’re just an average middle-class person, you can either be derided as a gentrifier or move way out in the valley somewhere? The middle-class is being squeezed too, it’s not just the poor. All of this rolls downhill.

  • sahra

    I’m sure I’ll be in touch with you for advice as they work on putting together the discussion forums. The people I’ve been speaking with who are looking to organize them seem interested in opening up the discussion to include policy makers and city people so that we can look at better solutions. I think all of us (myself, included) are good at pointing out what the problems are but have much to learn in the way of the proper mix of fixes (as well as the pros and cons of each… i.e. more inspections could facilitate displacement because of the # of code violations/overcrowding/etc.) that could address some of their concerns while allowing for balanced public and private investment (rather than overwhelming private investment).

  • So you’re saying if I worked really hard all my life. Bought a Duplex. Eventually wanted to move back in or raise my rents since it’s my own property…then I couldn’t do so?

    I’d have to pay $7600-$19,000 per unit to move? That could be $40k for a duplex.

    Doesn’t make sense. Rent Control seems illegal and unfair to property owners.

    If the city or government wants to subsidize housing etc then they can do so. But this regulation of private ownership is ridiculous.

    A home owner should be able to rent out his house for whatever price he wants. If the landlord asks too much a renter can find another place.

  • Does it also result in lower crime?

  • mgles

    There are ZERO limits on density downtown and we are getting basically ZERO affordable housing in return. Removing density undermines the one affordable housing program we have in LA – density bonus.

  • traal

    It is false that there are zero limits on density downtown, and here’s proof:


Gentri-flyer Sets Off Social Media Storm in Boyle Heights

When I first saw the flyer at left pop up in my social media feeds yesterday morning, I actually thought it was a joke. Touting Boyle Heights as a “charming, historic, walkable, and bikeable neighborhood” where you could put down “as little as $40K with decent credit,” it invited Arts District neighbors to join in […]

The Ultimate First Street Guide to CicLAvia: Where to Eat and Who to Meet

CicLAvia! Bicycles! Hipster Invaders! Gentrification! Made you look! Probably provoked some strong emotions, too, given the way recent headlines (see here, here, here) in asking whether activities assumed to be the purview of “hipsters” could be compatible with lower-income communities, have inadvertently re-ified the “us vs. them” framing that guides too much of the conversation […]

Equity 101: Bikes v. Bodies on Bikes

“Maybe you didn’t catch that you jumped into a convo specifically about transportation/police issues?” the self-described “police/community relations specialist” and bike advocate tweeted at me. “You’ve been whitesplained!” announced the cheery AOL-style voice in my head. It’s the voice I hear every time I am told by a white person that race and class have […]