CRENSHAW SUBWAY COALITION'S FIGHT AGAINST GENTRIFICATION

crenshaw.jpgThe new Crenshaw subway line extension and related mall and housing development projects have falsely and predictably been sold as a form of positive urban renewal. But in reality, they are actually the antithesis of any real notion of urban renewal. If implemented as proposed, it would go a long way toward decimating and scattering this vibrant majority African American community, the vast majority of whom will no longer be able to afford living in what has historically been an African American community.

True and honest urban renewal would have incurred the greater expense to put more of the Crenshaw subway line underground to have less of a negative impact on this predominantly African American community. It would have also used community members to conceptualize and build all aspects of this project, so that community members, who this project is supposed to benefit, would actually share financially in at least some of its benefits- maybe they might even be able to afford living in this renewed segment of their community once it was built.

But like San Francisco's once African American majoritary Filmore District and other once vibrant innercity African American communities like it around the country, all the Crenshaw subway project will do as presently conceived is displace and exclude those who presently live in the community, because they will no longer be able to afford living there.

Two key pieces of legislation being used by the real estate lobby- the biggest contributor to the Democratic Party and those behind this and other projects running roughshod over existing communities are Costa- Hawkins Act, which preclude rent control for any housing built after 1978 and Senate Bill 827, which removes all parking requirements for the market rate high rise dwelling being pushed by those behind the Crenshaw subway projects.

The only real strength the present African American majoritairy community has in stopping this real estate speculators exclusively profit driven agenda is in their numbers. By possibly using an Historical Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), existing members of the Crenshaw community could use their numbers to legally restrict development of their community with elements of the HPOZ that prohibit the changing of the residential areas immediately surround the proposed Crenshaw subway developments. By eliminating high density highrise residences, the density of population necessary to make the proposed mall and other projects viable would no longer be there, which would end the present exclusively profit driven real estate juggernaut.

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