Stop Urban Cleansing, Save the Affordable Historic Apartments at Crossroads

In Housing, News by Ileana Wachtel

At a press conference on July 10, Coalition to Preserve LA stood with tenants of the Las Palmas Courtyard Apartments, Selma recording studio, members of the L.A. Tenants Union Hollywood Local and Margot Gerber, Hollywood resident and historic preservation expert, to decry urban cleansing by Harridge Development and the wife of an L.A. City Councilman.

Harridge wants to build 3 skyscrapers and displace 80 tenants, ushering in a terrible new era in which luxury towers destroy a diverse community, its history and its irreplaceable rent-stabilized housing.

Many of the residents are Spanish-speaking, and have lived in the Las Palmas Courtyard Apartments for 25-30 years. Several of them are elderly, disabled and living on Social Security. Losing these rent-stabilized units to a mega-development is the exact reason we have a homeless crisis in Los Angeles.

This gentrification plan is thanks in part to Mrs. Curren Price, Del Richardson. She moved a satellite office of her firm, Del Richardson and Associates, into a unit in the historic apartment complex that stands in the skyscrapers’ way, and from there has pressured tenants to accept tiny $200 fees to move out — a sure recipe for homelessness.

Jill Stewart, executive director of Coalition to Preserve LA, called Richardson’s role a “blatant conflict of interest for her husband, Curren Price, a member of the City Council’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which decides whether developers can wipe out irreplaceable rent-stabilized housing for penthouse skyscrapers.”

Stewart said, “Curren Price must immediately recuse himself from all discussions, hearings and votes involving Crossroads and all developments in L.A. that might push out low-income tenants and hire ‘facilitators’ who pressure them to leave.”

Note: Councilman Price this year vetoed a homeless elderly development on the site of a junkyard in his own district — because he wanted “a mix of bedroom choices” and found the project to be “boxy.”

The Crossroads mega-development would set a second horrible precedent, aside from the insider relationship between wife and husband, both benefitting from displacement: skyscrapers would kill the community known as Hollywood via urban cleansing  — forcing out working-class diverse people and replacing them with upscale and far less diverse residents.

“The real solution is to stop taking away homes in the first place,”said Susan Hunter, member of LA Tenants Union Hollywood Local. “We don’t need a monstrosity of luxury living as an answer to all of our vacant units in Hollywood.”

Hollywood’s “short blocks” are the worst possible street system for skyscrapers, resulting in massive traffic, blocked emergency and freeway access — and quickly eroding neighborhood street life.

L.A.’s luxury housing glut has been widely reported, from Zillow to Real Deal, with mass vacancies in Hollywood alone.