Friday, December 22, 2006

A Victory for Echo Park Activism

The Right Site Coalition, a group of neighborhood activists and organizations and homeowners whose homes were condemned, won a great victory in court. The judge ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to do a full environmental review of site 9a, which was proposed by LAUSD for a school in Echo Park.

Our schools must be built together with the community, for the benefit of our children, our neighborhoods, and our urban fabric. There are too many good examples where LAUSD's building program has made great strides--look at the joint-use park facility at Washington Irving Middle School for one example--but the proposal for this site was flawed from the start.


The site, between Alvarado, Marathon, Santa Ynez and Mohawk streets, has already had its residences cleared out, so it's a bittersweet victory. Many families were here for more than twenty or thirty years. They've already moved out. Some owned their homes and were compensated, but others were tenants and got assistance in moving and rent.

The judge ruled in favor of our argument on six grounds:

  • it would cause traffic problems in the neighborhood
  • it would hurt the fire station's emergency route and response time
  • it would make it dangerous to cross the street
  • the demographics are changing. We won't have as many children in our schools, but we need the housing that is already here.
  • on cultural and historic resources
  • on land use and planning.
I especially want to applaud Christine Peters, who chaired the coalition and never gave up the fight.