Below is an excerpt from an article from the latest edition of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles' (AAGLA) monthly magazine Apartment Age. The article brags about AAGLA's role in Los Angeles' notorious, infamous and racist displacement of the low income Latino community of Chavez Ravine.
To state that the hard-working mostly Mexican-America and Latino Chavez Ravine residents, who lost homes that were owned by generations of family members, were all "gang members and tenants who did not know how to maintain apartments," is incredibly insensitive and smacks of the racism that resulted in their evictions in the first place.
Any group that is proud to take credit for having a role in one of the darkest moments in L.A.'s history, should be discredited in the eyes of our elected officials and the public at-large.
From the March 2007 issue of Apartment Age Magazine: "Beware of Imitators" By Charles Isham, Executive Vice President — entire article is viewable here
on page 10:
Another little known fact is that AAGLA is indirectly responsible for the Dodgers playing in Chavez Ravine.
"How's that," you may ask?
Well, it seems that the City of Los Angeles recommended the construction of 26 federally subsidized high-rise buildings and 160 subsidized two-story row houses at a then-cost of $110 million (about $3 billion today) in Chavez Ravine.
Thanks to the lobbying efforts of AAGLA's members, the project was cancelled and Los Angeles was saved from the consequences of the "instant slums that were filled with gangs and tenants who did not know how to maintain apartments."
The city later cut a deal with Brooklyn Dodger owner Walter O'Malley and the rest, as they say, is history...which is the reason AAGLA's official stationary color is Dodger blue!
Chavez Ravine - What Really Happened
The following was featured
in Z Magazine, published in November 2005:
The story of Chavez Ravine resonates to this day, especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling that eminent domain is an acceptable and viable law for cities to employ when land is deemed appropriate for commercial development. Little has been written about the communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop that made up Chavez Ravine. The tale is unfortunately a common one.
The short form is that a minority community with virtually no representation was forced from their land. The longer story offers a wide and varied cast of characters that includes local Latino activists, HUAC, Richard Nixon, and Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times.
As is the case today, there was a great need for housing in post-war Los Angeles. Many of the city's neighborhoods had grown old and were riddled with crime and poverty. The Roosevelt Redevelopment Administration of the New Deal era had mandated that if a neighborhood was too rundown, it should be rebuilt through the cooperation of city and federal agencies and then given back to the people.
This was the mandate that well-know civil rights activist Frank Wilkerson, then an official of the City Housing Authority, took up. Internationally-renowned architect Richard Neutra was brought in to design a planned community.
Neutra's Elysian Park Heights development plan included low cost housing, parks, schools, shopping centers, and adequate off-street parking facilities.
The Housing Authority then issued eviction notices to the residents of Chavez Ravine, promising the families that they would have first choice of the new housing once the development was completed. The Ravine residents who sold their property to the Housing Authority soon discovered that they had limited choices for where to relocate. Many residents chose instead to ignore the eviction notices and squat on their own property.
The public was fed a steady diet red baiting and racism as the House on Un-American Activities waged a destructive war on citizens' civil rights. By 1953 Neutra's dream design was dead. Wilkerson had been hauled in front of HUAC, labeled a "Red," and subsequently fired from his post. The LA business power structure didn't care for the idea of spending millions on developing real estate for poor people only to give it back to them for a pittance.
The LA Times of the period was barely a step above Hearst's Los Angeles Herald-Tribune yellow journalism, broke it down as subsidized housing was what communist countries did; Americans paid their own way and anything else was un-American. The public bought the line and Mayor Bowron was voted out, along with the housing project.
Newly elected Mayor Poulson quickly cut a deal with the Housing Authority. The city purchased the land at a 75 percent discount over what the feds paid for it in 1949. The single stipulation to the agreement was that the land had to be used for the good of the public.
The city's population had skyrocketed during and immediately after WWII. To Chandler, Los Angeles lacked what any respectable major city east of the Mississippi had-a professional major league sports team.
In 1958 the city's voters passed Proposition B, which settled the matter once and for all by giving the land to the Dodgers. On May 8, 1959 the LAPD arrested the remaining residents in Chavez Ravine, forcibly dragging many from their homes. A phalanx of bulldozers began flattening every structure in their path. On April 10, 1962 the Dodgers played their inaugural game at the new stadium in Chavez Ravine.