HIGHLAND PARK (CBSLA.com) — Tensions were mounting in Highland Park this week after a contractor working on an under-construction home put up a large sign apparently telling neighbors to welcome gentrification with open arms.
“PLEASE BE PATIENT. We are almost done,” the sign says. “Instead of COMPLAINING, you should be thanking Nikki and Jeremy the owners of this house for bring UP your PROPERTY VALUE. Have a NICE day.”
The sign’s was published in Eastsider website and then began circulating on social media on Tuesday, tipping off a heated discussion about gentrification in the East Los Angeles neighborhood, which has for years been known as working-class, with housing that was affordable by L.A. standards.
The sign struck renters as especially tone-deaf, as many renters have been forced out of the area as landlords choose to sell properties to take advantage of a red-hot market.
Bernadette Basurto said when home values go up, rent prices rise, too.
“I’ve lived in this area since the 80’s and I’ve never seen the rents this high before,” she said.
“I don’t agree with the spirit of the sign that was left on the side of that house,” said long-time Highland Park resident York Wilmore.
Allen Ferguson also said she’s lived in the neighborhood for most of her life but that his apartment building is being redeveloped as office space, forcing him to look for a new home.
The sign had been taken down by Wednesday night, but much of the underlying tension remained.