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Jasmine Cetz
English 113B
Professor Mercado
May 2, 2016
An Unpleasant Transition
In a community like Boyle Heights, places are drastically changing because many
successful people believe it will benefit low-income residents to transition into a better place. In
reality, they are pushing out poor residents so they can build extra projects for newcomers. The
action of enlarging the number of middle-class citizens in a certain area is commonly referred as
gentrification. This is done so by renewing, rebuilding, or destroying heavily populated areas.
Although people with money may think that renewing a community is best for the citizens who
live in poor areas, I believe it is not a good idea to gentrify a neighborhood that is barely rising
themselves out of low-income places because many people are losing their homes, getting
pushed out of their neighborhood, and are not able to afford new housing. Therefore,
gentrification is likely to be negative in poverty stricken areas because it not only devastates a
city but its citizens as well. In order to solve the problem of gentrification, one must take the
initiative to not to destroy a community but rather renovate what is already there.
In a place like Boyle Heights, people are slowly moving out of their neighborhood
because they eventually begin losing their homes to funded redevelopment projects. Businesses
and homeowners want to destroy low-income places by renewing many locations in Boyle
Heights. As Jackie Guzman mentions in her article “The ‘Good Neighbor’ Role in
Gentrification”, the Los Angeles Unified School Board president Shmuel Gonzalez states that “ a
lot of people don’t want dense housing because they are feared of the demographic changes,” he

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later goes on to say, “let's be honest it's because that means non-Latinos are moving in.”
Basically, Gonzalez argues that countless people in Boyle Heights are afraid that their
community isn’t going to be the same. For instance, many people may lose their homes, prices
will spike, and small businesses will lose sales to big corporations. Specifically, Sears, located in
Boyle heights, still tries to take over the community, which does not better the lives of the
citizens but makes it harder for people to live in the neighborhood. In order for people not to be
scared, they need to work together to substitute low-income housing and build new projects in
the community. Big companies with money pretend to be anti-gentrification which means that
they publicly campaign their projects as a way to push out more poor people. Sadly, they take
advantage of the situation by refurbishing the surrounding community with new expensive
housing.
Gentrification is a problem in Boyle Heights because many people end up losing their
homes; thus making it harder for people to look for a new home within their budget. Guzman’s
article also mentions that the co-executive director of the nonprofit LA-Más, Helen Leung, stated
that “renters are getting evicted because the cost of housing is very high, meaning renters get
priced out of their homes in neighborhoods that are becoming attractive, like Highland Park,
Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights”. In other words, Guzman argues that many people are losing
their homes because people with power like developers, real estate agents, and investors are
destroying the little things a community has. Gentrification is also pressuring small businesses to
come to an end, as they cannot make a substantial amount of money. Small businesses are in a
situation that they are trying to figure out what is best for themselves because they are pressured
to leave their location to build something better. It is still becoming more expensive for existing
residents to live and shop in their own communities, which can later affect their way of life.

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Many activists like Serve the People claim gentrification is just another word for racism
because it taking over a place that primarily consists of low-income Latino families. In the article
“Boyle Heights Tenant Seeks a Say as Area Changes...” by Cara Mia DiMassa, states that “a lot
of landlords threaten that they are going to kick you out tomorrow, they are going to call
[immigration officials], that you are going to lose your property.” She argues that the community
is supposedly transforming for the better yet suggests the opposite. Many people do not like the
idea that their community is changing because they fear that they will not have the ability to find
a better living condition. They also fear that they will be deported while their neighborhood is
being destroyed. And so, gentrification not only changes neighborhoods entirely, but also forces
its residents to live a life of poverty. Affordable housing in Boyle heights has become scarce and
non-existing because they are being destroyed by people who have the ability to demolish
property. There are two council members in Los Angeles who are arguing about what should be
done in Boyle Heights. Jose Huizar argues that changes should be done because it benefits the
community as he mentions that Boyle heights were “once known as the gang capital of the
country. Now it's known as a place people are proud to live in.” However, Gloria Molina believes
that the community shouldn’t be destroyed but rather revitalized. The definitions of both
gentrification and revitalization are confused at first because they seem to suggest the same thing
the reconstruction of a ruined place. It is up to one's interpretation when comparing the two. As
seen in this paper, gentrification seems to be kicking people out of their homes to make way for
other people to come in. On the contrary, revitalization suggests the positive change in one's
particular area. This can be interpreted as the assistance given to redevelop struggling areas.
Therefore, areas should be renovated rather than gentrified because it helps out the community
preferably than pushing people out of their homes.

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Sadly, many people in Boyle heights are being pushed out of their homes to build new
buildings. Fortunately, the Law of Los Angeles in turn gives qualified households compensation
for their understanding. The East Los Angeles Community Corporation is a community
development corporation that focuses on developing houses for residents. They find affordable
housing, homeownership, and financial education for the well being of the community. This
program helps the community to take advantage of economic opportunities with increase income
and resources. Although the Law of Los Angeles and the ELACC are providing a good amount
of money to the citizens who are being kicked out of their homes, it isn’t helping much about the
problem of gentrification because not everyone who is forcibly moving out have the same
opportunities. Several corporations are slowly making the community look “nice” by offering
tons of money to destroy and build new buildings. These buildings attract newcomers to be part
of Boyle Heights as they feel that they contribute to the neighborhoods improvement. People
with money just want to get rid of low-income residents because they foresee improvements on
the community. There are businesses and homeowners who are interested in making low-income
properties disappear because they want to provide new things for the community. In reality, they
do not want to keep low-income families because they want to expand Boyle Heights to people
of a better class.
Boyle Heights is not the only city that has been gentrified. In July 1915, just a few miles
away from Downtown Los Angeles, cities like Palo Verdes, La Loma, and Bishop were home to
300 hundred families in the Chaves Ravine before Dodger Stadium was built for the Brooklyn
Dodgers team. The city of Los Angeles sent letters to the residents of Chaves Ravine, notifying
them that they need to sell their homes to make way for low-income public housing by Frank
Wilkinson who led the housing project. Wilkinson mentions that the Chaves Ravine community

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was one of the first choices to build a Dodger Stadium because it was “predominately vacant, so
you can build without displacing so many people.” Many people in this community lost their
homes because they were forced to get out and when many people couldn’t sell their homes the
law condemned the citizens of Chaves Ravine property for their lack of cooperation. This was a
troubling time for the residents as they did not have a sufficient amount of money to go
somewhere else. It was their home in which they couldn’t leave. However, the community was
given certificates by the housing authority that if the community from Chaves Ravine wanted to
come back after the project was built, they would be the first ones to move in. As a matter of
fact, it was all a lie. Franklin Wilkinson and his people never built any housing but rather built
Dodger Stadium. This shows that many people lost their homes because people with money
decided to throw out people from their community to build something for the public. Many
people loved their community even though it was falling apart because it was a place where they
cherished moments. Even almost 50 years later, many people who lived in the Chaves Ravine
community were still saddened by the fact that they were kicked out of their own homes. As a
result, this shows that gentrifying a community has had a huge impact on its citizens because it
traumatizes them to think that they cannot own a home which causes them to fear that one day
they will have relive the past. Many people are afraid to call their homes their own because they
are feared that one day their homes are going to be taken from them.
Although some long-time residents many benefit from gentrification in Boyle Heights,
the consequences are too great to ignore. Some possible changes include a cleaner neighborhood,
safer streets without gangs, and better schools. People may have new job opportunities because
more stores and buildings are formed to make people's lives better and making the city improve.
However, traumatizing people in the neighborhood to feel helpless is unforgivable because it is

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saddening to think that all residents can live a life of success with little income. After seeing the
benefits and the negatives, it's clear to think that gentrifying will lead to the downfall of a city. I
understand that gentrification is a good way to help a community like Boyle Heights but as a
resident, I believe it is pricing our people out of their homes because we are being pushed out to
live a life of poverty. We are being thrown to live a life we did not sign up for. We as a
community help each other to overcome our problems by working hard and trying to better the
lives of our families; in fact, by renewing our community is a way of destroying my friend and
my family’s life because it is taking everything we have and the hard work we have constructed.
My community may not look the best but in our eyes it is because it is the heart of Los Angeles
meaning we cherish the moments we spend in the community; we love the way that our people
in our neighborhood contributes to the community. For instance, when my neighbors or my
family celebrate New Year's Eve, we all contribute to take food for the party because we like to
help each other out with simple necessities we think is important. This shows that we care about
the surroundings that are happening within our homes, our neighbors, and the public. So to say
that Gentrification is good; it is actually not a good idea in our community because it raises the
cost of living because the people with money are building houses that are over budget for us to
live in, which it causes homelessness in our community.
Gentrification should end completely because it changes the lives of people, which cause
problems with the community, redevelopers, real estate agents, and investors. In the article
“Promise, Pitfalls and the Boyle Heights Art District” author Abe Flores mentions that
“gentrification in Boyle Heights could destroy its character, dilute its unique arts scene, and
disconnect it from its immigrant history.” This indicates that many people are against their
community being gentrified because it loses the meaning of Boyle Heights. I believe it should be

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replaced by revitalization, which means that it should bring out a new life for people who
struggle everyday rather than to completely destroy a community. Our community should be
redeveloped which would make it easier for people not to be in poverty. It will help many people
through their economic problems rather than pressuring them to get out of their neighborhood. If
gentrification is going to happen, houses shouldn’t be over the budget of people’s income
because they wouldn’t live a fruitful life. They will constantly live in struggle to try to find a
home within their budget. Rebuilding structures and homes that has been damaged throughout
the area of Boyle Heights will help us live a life where we do not have to struggle much about
economic problems.
In conclusion, Gentrification destroys the community because it forcibly pushes people
out of their homes, takes over small business, and makes things expensive. Gentrification is
reducing the creativity and the culture of a place where many people are living happily with the
small things they have.

Work cited
DiMassa, Cara M. "Boyle Heights Tenants Seek a Say as Area Changes; at a Workshop,

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Residents Learn how to Ensure that their Voices are Heard as Low- Income Housing
Gives Way to Increasing Gentrification." Los Angeles Times Jul 23 2006. ProQuest. Web.
11 Apr. 2016 .
Flores, Abe. "Promise, Pitfalls and the Boyle Heights Arts District." KCET. N.p., 16 Sept. 2012.
Web. 30 Apr. 2016.
Guzman, Jackie. "The ‘Good Neighbor’ Role in Gentrification." Gentrification : Eastern Group
Publications/EGPNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.
Maddaus, Gene. "Gentrification Fears at Heart of Eastside City Council Race." L.A. Weekly.
N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
NationalBrownBerets. "CHAVEZ RAVINE." YouTube. YouTube, 12 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 April
2016.