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Councilmember Kevin de León Opposes Boyle Heights Development, Following Appeal By ‘Anti-Gentrification’ Group

The move for a politician to openly support an anti-gentrification group is uncommon in Los Angeles, where three city council members have been convicted of corruption in four years. Find Kevin de León's full letter in the article.

12:22 PM PST on December 7, 2023

Just a little over a year after L.A.'s City Council had one of the most significant racism-based controversies in history, involving leaked audio and the former City Council president Nury Martinez, former CD1 representative Gil Cedillo, and CD 14 representative Kevin de León, de León has now penned a lengthy letter opposing the development of a new six-story mixed-use building with 50 units on what is now a Mexican restaurant, independent book shop, and beauty salon, along with a rent-controlled residential unit at 2125 E. Cesar Chavez.

According to the letter that L.A. TACO obtained on December 1, the councilmember, who refused to resign despite consistent pressure from activists, stands in solidarity with El Apetito Finessa Colectivo, the collective of tenants who is responsible for the mural on the side of the building bearing the words: "Brooklyn Ave is not for sale."

Last week, those words were whitewashed twice and a larger anti-gentrification mural is currently in the works by a collective of local artists.

León's letter was addressed to Michael Yap, Eunice Song, and Gloria Gutierrez of the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.

It reads as follows:

"I believe the proposal regrettably would worsen the effects of gentrification, displacing local businesses and affordable housing units, further diminishing affordable housing in the community. This proposed plan runs completely counter to proposed changes to the Boyle Heights Community Plan, which I have called for to preserve our community's identity and demand real affordable housing solutions for Boyle Heights residents, not displacement."

The move for a politician to openly support an anti-gentrification group is uncommon in Los Angeles, where three city council members have been convicted of corruption in four years.

On Tuesday, León was present at a meeting to stop the moratorium against rent hikes. Renters can expect at least a 4% increase in their rents beginning in February and up to 6% if the landlord pays for gas and utilities. Mayor Karen Bass must sign and approve the ordinance before it can be enacted.

Viva Padilla, who started the anti-gentrification collective, is cautiously skeptical of León's letter of support for her efforts, but hopes that he comes through with his word.

"This is a time to hold a public servant like León accountable for his supposed support," she said.

Find the full letter below.

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