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Hollywood’s Urban Cleansing via LA Weekly – MMXLII

Hollywood’s Urban Cleansing via LA Weekly

We came across this article today which was related to an LA Weekly cover story we saw a week or two ago. For some reason we never posted the article but it’s definitely a must read. With the facelift of Hollywood and all the new things popping up there, it seems as if a huge Latino community is being pushed out in exchange for hipsters and high rollers. Hit the jump to check out the article.

In the 1960s, Mercedes Cortes arrived in Hollywood after fleeing her homeland of Guatemala, which was roiled by bloody unrest. After moving around a bit, she and her husband and their three sons settled in a two-bedroom apartment on Eleanor Avenue, a community of run-down apartment buildings and old Craftsman-style houses, which is a short walk from Paramount Pictures and Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where many stars are buried.

A decade later, Cortes’ world was shattered again — when gang violence and drug dealing hit her beloved neighborhood. This time, the affable, soft-spoken housekeeper bravely stood her ground as Hollywood was engulfed in the wave of bloodletting that gripped Los Angeles from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. A small, unimposing woman, she became a visible member of Neighborhood Watch, walking the dark streets in candlelight vigils to confront the thugs.

And it worked. Cortes and her neighbors slowly won back Eleanor Avenue. She never dreamed that she’d be evicted — for being too poor to live in her improved, more livable community.

But in 2002 her apartment building changed hands during the real estate bubble, a particularly frenzied phenomenon in Hollywood, where the taxpayer-subsidized, nearly $1 billion Hollywood Redevelopment Project Area helped fueled a Wild West of land speculation, building flipping, profit-seeking — and skyrocketing rents. In 2003, projects such as the stylish face-lift of the Cinerama Dome were completed. In 2004, Cortes’ new landlord told her she had to go.

“I was working and doing good things for my neighborhood and they treated me like that,” Cortes says. “For what? They wanted more money.”

A gracious, churchgoing woman, Cortes represents a Latino diaspora of working families priced out of Hollywood and East Hollywood, a mass departure that has fueled an unexpected — and, for City Hall, increasingly embarrassing — net population plunge of 12,878 people in those two neighborhoods between 2000 and 2010.

Hollywood, defined here as the huge flatlands roughly bounded by La Brea, Melrose, Western and Franklin avenues, has lost one in every 12 of its residents. Latinos are streaming out, as a much smaller number of higher-income whites takes their place. The Latino population plummeted 17 percent, about 6,000 adults and children gone.

East Hollywood, roughly bounded by Western, Beverly, Hollywood and Hoover, has seen a net loss of more than 5,000 Latinos.

Hollywood-area City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor…[Read Full Article]

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