New Year, New Inequality in Los Angeles

In 2021, given the last year, as well as the historic norm for rights-of way in Los Angeles, what this blog is certain of is that the gulf between the haves and the have-nots in our city will only continue to bulge, making L.A. ever less affordable for the historic, working class communities which have given L.A. so much of its form. At 1185 Myra Ave in Silver Lake, or the old apartment residence of the late Roger King, the chess & boxing coach, the 18-unit building, a structure originally built in 1964, is now on sale for approximately $7,000,000.

Former residents used to pay $1,200 a month for apartments at the rent-stabilized building as recently as a few years ago, that is, until they were bought out by the building’s landlords through the “cash for keys” program, which grants landlords the right to offer cash buyouts to tenants in order to have them leave their units more expediently than what’s legally allowed once owners decide to vacate their buildings for the purpose to sell.

Just 300 feet north of the $7 million deed, at 1215 North Myra avenue, the former site of a small group of single-family homes, as well as the Ikonic Auto Garage, not to mention the legendary Korner Grill, which served generations of local King Middle School students, including yours truly, is now being scaled for infill, or the repurposing of the land there for a new type of construction, likely more high-end apartments for renters of serious means only. YouTubers, maybe? Pictured are a group of presumably Central-American laborers preparing the land for the many months of work ahead, and who are almost certainly being paid less than minimum wage for their time. This is Los Angeles.

In 2014, when Roger King first sat down for an interview with the blog, he told me of witnessing Los Angeles go from the provincial 1950s, when it was more of another city in the way of the mid-western tradition, into the 1960s as not just a metropolis, but a megalopolis.’

Yet if today the city is already a megalopolis with barely a lifeline to name for its working-class communities–to say nothing of the tens of thousands of people who sleep on its sidewalks, including in Silver Lake on any given night–what does the city become by 2030? Something tells me that if Coach Roger was still here, he’d tell me to ‘lace up,’ because the battle for the answer to that question will surely rage on.

The late Roger King, chess & boxing coach and a group of disciples in Silver Lake, Los Angeles


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