That Time 50,000 Pupils Enrolled in L.A. Schools; Taxing Buildings’ Capacity

“More than 50,000 pupils enrolled in the city schools this morning. By the end of the week the superintendents estimate that a maximum enrollment of 70,000 will be made—50,000 in the elementary, the rest in the intermediate and high schools…

Principal Housh of Los Angeles high school hopes to limit the enrollment of his school to 1900, but may be forced to take in 2000. There were 250 registrations for the senior class, a record-breaking number. About 850 pupils can be accommodated at Hollywood high school, but no estimate could be made this morning whether any would have to be turned away…”

“Miss Maria de Lopez, Teacher of Spanish, Who Has Been Instrumental in Opening the Second School in the City for the Education of the Poor, Addressing a Group of Mexicans in the Plaza,” Los Angeles Herald, September 16, 1912

Source: “50,000 Pupils Enroll in L.A. Schools; Tax Buildings’ Capacity,” Los Angeles Herald, September 16, 1912. California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, http://cdnc.ucr.edu

J.T.

J.T. Supports the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) Coming to L.A.

At the same time that calls increase on our public officials to support not luxury, but humane housing in Los Angeles, a growing number of people are also calling for more Community Land Trusts (CLTs). CLTs maintain community ownership–or shared stewardship–over land and housing, committing to permanently affordable housing options for community members.

According to Matthew Vu, a resident of South Central Los Angeles and student at L.A. Trade Tech’s Community Planning and Economic Development department, CLTs require participation from homeowners and tenants, as well as other members of the community in their governing board meetings or governing structure. Vu also notes that renters in areas covered by CLTs can work with local CLTs to acquire a property together, facilitating the process of acquisition for tenants as well as the non-profit stewards..

The first modern Community Land Trust was born in the late 1960s in Southwest Georgia, when Black farmworkers and civil rights leaders, including members of the famed Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, founded New Communities Land Trust, turning nearly 6,000 acres of land into homesteads and agricultural area, as well as providing affordable housing for Black farmers and their families on the land. As of 2019, New Communities turned 50 years old and is still operating in partnership with Black farmers.

There are now up to 225 CLTs in the United States, twelve in California, and five in L.A. County. In June 2020, the city of San Francisco passed the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, providing local CLTs there the first opportunity to purchase buildings and take them off the market once they’re on sale. At least six buildings in the Bay area at risk of being purchased by speculators have been saved by local CLTs since the law’s passage, keeping them affordable for low-income residents there.

Now, in an effort to create more for Community Land Trusts across Los Angeles County, which at 10 million residents is the largest in the U.S., CLTS in Los Angeles have formed a coalition and are urging communities to learn about the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act. The L.A. Community Land Trust Coalition (LACLTC) is an organization of L.A.’s local trusts, “committed to the preservation of low-income communities of color by decommodifying housing, promoting education, community empowerment, the conversion of tenants to owners, and making housing a human right.”

The Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is a proposed law that would give tenants in unincorporated areas of L.A. County the first opportunity to buy the building they live in if and when a building’s owner decides to sell the property. The five Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in L.A. County advocating to bring TOPA to L.A. include: Beverly-Vermont CLT (BVCLT) along the East Hollywood and Koreatown areas, El Sereno CLT (ESCLT) in the El Sereno community, T.R.U.S.T. in Historic South Central, Fideicomiso Comuntario Tierra Libre (FCTL) in the Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles area, and Liberty Community Land Trust for the Southwest and Mid-City communities.

Want to learn more? Check out the TOPA Town Hall hosted by the T.R.U.S.T. and Liberty Community Land Trusts this past February.

J.T.

In Los Feliz, No Good Deed Goes Uncovered

The working people of Los Angeles are people who do not believe in much until they see it. Here is a recovered Deed Restriction from Los Feliz, circa 1926, reading, on Paragraph 11:

“This property…subject to the following conditions…That said property or any part thereof shall not, nor shall any interest therein at any time, be rented, leased, sold, devised or conveyed to or inherited by, or be otherwise acquired by or become the property of or be occupied by any person whose blood is not of the Caucasian Race, but persons not of the Caucasian Race may be kept thereon by such a Caucasian occupant strictly in the capacity of servants of such occupant.” 

The image is taken from Cal State University Northridge’s LA: On Film and On Record series.

Since 1926, the Los Feliz neighborhood has grown in diversity, but according to a study of the 90027 zip code, in which Los Feliz is situated, as recently as 2018, 59% of the neighborhood remains white. Latino and Asian residents make up 21% and 13% of the neighborhood’s population, while Black residents make up only 3% of the population. The data make Los Feliz one of the more segregated neighborhoods with respect to the city of L.A.’s current demographics.

To learn more about deed restrictions and housing in Los Angeles, you can now RSVP for Making Our Neighborhood: Redlining, Gentrification, and Housing in East Hollywood, our panel series with This Side of Hoover, via EVENTBRITE.

J.T.