Monday, August 28, 2006


Council is still in recess, and Council President Garcetti remains in Florida for his service in the Naval Reserves. The following is a guest post by CD13 communications director Josh Kamensky.

Quinceañera is a terrific document of how Echo Park's different communities overlap, interact and conflict. Chicken Corner evaluates the film from the POV of a long time Echo Park resident, pointing out that the effects of gentrification are painful, but they aren't as new as other reviewers have suggested.

I won't go into a full-on review in this space (short version: I loved it), but I thought the CD13 blog would be a good place to add a minor but important detail about gentrification and city policy that didn't get picked up in the film itself.

(Spoilers after the jump.)

One of the twinned plots concerns Carlos, who lives with his cousin and their Tio Tomas in an apartment on the same lot as their landlords' house. After an affair between Carlos and the landlords goes sour, they move to evict the family from the apartment.

What no one in the movie ever points out is that under Los Angeles's Rent Stabilization Ordinance, this is completely illegal. The family could have learned their rights and defended themselves by calling the Housing Department.

Leaving out this detail didn't make Quinceañera any less realistic: Very few tenants know their rights, and many more are probably scared of exercising them. But Los Angeles filmgoers and tenants should know that although public policy can't untangle every knotty problem linked to gentrification, the city can help you fight unfair evictions.