Los Feliz is amazing -guest blogger Melissa W.
Los Feliz is amazing.
When I moved here five years ago, I described it to my parents as one of the last true neighborhoods left in Los Angeles. It has the perfect combination of people – from the table full of Hollywood hopefuls talking about their next screenplay – to the young family building their new life in their first house – to the two elderly women walking down the street rehashing old times in the old country. Even on a weekday, the streets bustle with neighbors meeting up for yoga, coffee or the best carne asada burrito in town.
It is a quiet, friendly community. We walk everywhere -- to the small mom & pop shops…to church…to bars…to the natural food store… It is our version of Grover’s Corners in the middle of a maddening, commercial megatropolis.
Last night’s neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed “Hillhurst Square” brought out a side of my community I had never seen before. We were angry. We were worried. We had the fight in us.
Many people were concerned about traffic, zoning, safety and the demolition of our cherished Derby. One small, older woman stood with an impassioned plea, “Find somewhere else to build this. Not here! Not in my town!” But one stately man put it the best when he said, “This is a bastardization of our village.”
No one who has ever lived and loved this area wants a five-story eyesore full of overpriced, cheaply made condos and mega-chain retail stores to clog the streets with traffic and put our beloved neighborhood businesses out to pasture. It does not and will never be something that fits in with our village – faux Spanish-style architecture or not.
Even worse, because of zoning, approval of this project opens the door to other developers who will tear down other historic buildings in the area and replace them with a TGI Fridays or a Walmart. Where will they draw the line?
Of course, the corporatization of land is what makes this country the prosperous nation it is, but the abuse of it quickly destroys it. The truth is, the new owners of this space must make a profit. They must exploit the land. They will cram as many money-making possibilities in one space as possible.
However, what they didn’t count on is the spirit of Los Feliz. The representative from Adler Reality even admitted he didn’t expect this kind of response from this community, from so many people. The developers didn’t expect we would be this… educated, informed, involved and united. They didn’t count on us caring this much about where we lived. Perhaps they need to live here, just for a few weeks, to realize that what we have always cherished is the quaintness and the heart of this village.
We do have the fight in us, and we will not roll over and forget what we are fighting for. I love the Derby, but it is so much more than just this great landmark. It’s our community that is slowly being whittled away, and as long as we stand firm and together, they will not get the better of us. They have yet to see how strong the fight can be.
See you at the next meeting.
(Special thanks goes to Melissa W. Local Los Feliz Resident/writer who took the time to write and submit this article.)