Attack of the NIMBYs, Rise of the Gentrifiers: How Name Calling Damages the Dialogue
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
It has been a tremendous journey since the inception of this website. As we dug deeper into this issue, we began to familiarize ourselves with the reasons for concerns and support.
Our stance on this is firm. We oppose the proposal as it would narrow traffic down to one lane. We fear this would cause crippling gridlock which may negatively impact the local businesses and the community. All we ask is that studies be conducted specifically on this part of Eagle Rock along with more outreach towards residents and stakeholders in the form of mailed letters, flyers, surveys. The council members should allow sufficient time to gain feedback before moving forward with this project.
Among all of this, there is one thing we need to address... the toxic discourse between the two camps.
We took issue with the renders presented on the proponent websites that paint a vibrant picture of the boulevard with wide open streets. We are familiar with this form of deceptive advertising in marketing and public relations strategies. Based on our own personal experiences driving through Colorado Blvd. especially during peak hours of traffic, these images are not accurate. The authors of this initiative also made claims that they have had wide reaching support from residents, organizations and businesses. However, this did not account for tens of thousands of residents in Eagle Rock and we counted 162 businesses located on the proposed one car lane stretch, 20 of which were listed on the coalition. We have never seen any published surveys conducted for public consensus.
To say that adding extra time in traffic near their area of residence is nothing but a minor inconvenience is completely dismissive and belittling. Worst of all, we've read claims that the opposition are a bunch of selfish baby boomer NIMBYs who do not care about environmental or social issues and that the status quo of the white enclave of Eagle Rock must be defended from any outsiders. It is really misrepresentative of the individuals who live and work in this community. The variable traffic conditions may be the difference between sitting on the streets bumper to bumper for hours on end or spending more time with families.
We empathize with disadvantaged communities who don't have equitable access to transportation for work or school. We see clogged up 20 lane highways as a disastrous failing of urban planning. Our staff empathizes with finding solutions in maintaining physical health and the vibrancy of green communities.
We acknowledge that the proponents see themselves as forward thinkers who think about future generations. Although the world itself is huge ocean, they believe that their impact is strong enough to send ripples of positive change throughout. To call them a group of gentrifying outside developers, conspiring to increase the property and rent values for their own benefit is emotionally hurtful and further antagonizing.
Since Kevin De Leon published his letter to delay the project, we have read absurd accusations hurled around, such as him wanting to divide the neighborhood by joining the NIMBys. He was voted in just a few months after his predecessor Jose Huizar was removed. Huizar, who was a proponent of the Take Back The Boulevard Initiative, had criminal investigations brought up against him amid allegations of fraud. Although De Leon championed The Green New Deal and many other socially progressive movements during his campaign, he still listens to the valid concerns of residents here in Eagle Rock.
This toxic discourse has led us down a deep spiral of hate and paranoia. Consequently, we cannot take into consideration the issues that all Eagle Rock residents face on a daily basis. Instead of finding common ground, there is this need of dogmatic one-upmanship. Within this divisive dialogue, it would be surprising to learn if both camps had common interests.
Many of the opponents who were uninformed felt the passing of this resolution was underhanded due to a lack of outreach. We expect that any sort of major change in the community would be broadcasted in the form of mailed letters and flyers posted in high foot traffic areas. This site was created in response to that. It was a created to give light to the issues, in contrast to the swath of the perceived one-sided support for the Beautiful Boulevard Project.
Our staff is mainly comprised of a few people, we are people of color with full-time jobs. We have taken time off our personal schedules and responsibilities to pour our own resources in fueling this website. For the sake of avoiding any form of harassment or threats we have chosen to remain anonymous.
We have no association with anyone or any organization. We have only been observing the conversations on this contentious subject.
In our view, it all boils down to one issue: narrowing down two lanes of traffic would cause massive gridlock rippling throughout Colorado Blvd. This region lies in between two major freeways. As lifelong residents, we are more than familiar with the ebb and flow of people trying to drop off their kids to school, get to work, and run simple errands.
To us, it would be a major disservice to the residents and local businesses if fulfilling an "ideal vision" were to cause irreparable damage to the community.
We are not Anti-BRT, we are not Anti-Transit, we have never taken a stance against the 4 bus lines that frequent the boulevard. We would like to see improvements made without the expense of people's livelihoods. We want to reach a consensus that would mitigate any unintended disruption to their daily struggles, as well as giving a fair chance for those in lesser economic standing to help build themselves up. Change is coming for better or worse, but our concerns should never be dismissed.
These are the conversations we see online through Facebook, Twitter and in publication sites such as Streetsblog LA.
Streetsblog LA Comment Thread:
Facebook posts and threads:
Again we strongly condemn any form of harassment or violent threats. We had sought to come together to find a solution that would benefit all communities.