I’ll be honest, I was extremely hesitant in sending you this letter, mainly because over the years we’ve definitely had a difference of opinion on how things show up and how dots are connected on this platform. However one of the things I have to credit you for is ALWAYS paying attention to the reality of what’s happening in our community and how the residents are impacted, not just always seeking the bait click headlines and stories.
I’ve seen you post about what’s happening with 4821 and 4949 W. Century. (Did we ever find out if the city owns the property?) Around that time, all of the organizing, pushing the city to enforce the rent moratorium and you shining a light on the issue definitely slowed down the momentum the owners had as they were trying to upend the lives of the residents, particularly in 4949 W. Century. But that marathon of struggle continues for the residents.
4821 W. Century has been completely vacated and turned into a motel. The owners of these spaces (4949 and 4821 W. Century) decided to turn their spaces into hotels because of the new “entertainment district” the City is creating. At 4949 W. Century, even though 10 units are still occupied by Inglewood families, the owners have started to demolish the empty units, particularly ones right next to occupied units, trying very hard to make the space inhabitable. Folks have holes in their walls because of the work. The building was built before 1955 so asbestos could probably be in the air in the adjacent units. Some are having electricity issues.
I got a call from one of the residents a few weeks ago, and immediately got them in contact with Building and Safety and well as Code Enforcement at the City to find out that the contractors were doing this work illegally because they did NOT have a permit to be doing this, let alone any work on the site. The work never stopped, the residents health and safety still being put to risk, but someone must have notified them because now the City as a participant in the detriment of these families, gave them a permit.
This has emboldened the contractor to threaten homelessness and making living in their homes extremely difficult and inhabitable. Take a look at this video below. One of the residents was just trying to get into his parking space only to not be able to because the contractor was blocking the entrance. Instead of just moving, the contractor decided to tell the resident that he doesn’t have a right to be there, that he was going to be cutting off the power, water and gas for the entire building and that he was gonna get them out of there one way or the other. What you don’t get to see in the video is the guy also telling them that he “knows who [they] are, has all [their] information from the owner, knows what school [their] children go to, what [their] license plates are…” as if he was trying to threaten them into compliance.
https://s.amsu.ng/mavAD3xhdXxN (This link will expire tomorrow so it needs to be downloaded)
We are going to do our part to get them the representation and support they need. That goes without being said and is currently being worked on as I write this email. At this point though, I’ve decided to help tell their stories and other real stories of struggle and consequence that the decisions the City is making is causing. And I’m reaching out to you to get some help amplifying these stories. They, the City, are touting an unreal narrative of a thriving city, where for real, our working class community – that worked to keep the lights on in this city before all this development – is struggling to maintain and survive. The city is basically forcing people out and cheering about it.
Dust in an adjacent apt due to the work.
Call to action: we all have to get involved and really make sure our voices are heard. And we need leaders who are like minded to run for office to change things. Because if we leave it to these folks, our best interests will never be met.
I’ll keep you posted on how things play out buttrust, this is one of many stories I want to tell from the many many calls we get every day. Thank you for taking the time to read through this one.
–In unity and health,
Derek Steele, Inglewood resident and community organizer
“Together let’s see the world and change lives in the process!”