A police cruiser is stopped at a light on Sunset boulevard and Vermont avenue.

Know your Neighborhood: Being Policed in Los Feliz vs Silver Lake vs East Hollywood

Over a five year period, from 2012 – 2017, the Million Dollar Hoods (MDH) project compiled data for estimated costs of arrests by both the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (LASD) across neighborhoods, community college areas, Metro subways and bus lines in L.A., and more.

Data taken from LAPD show areas where people were arrested from 2012 – 2017, how many days those people were detained, and “price tags” for booking and detainment, which is to say the costs for time that people spent under arrest at LAPD stations before arraignment or release.

Data taken from LASD took into account home addresses–when available–of all people booked into jail by the sheriffs from 2012 – 2017, which are not shown in the data set for obvious reasons, as well as the total number of days those people spent incarcerated, and the average daily cost of their time within the L.A. County Jail system, which is the largest jail system in the whole United States. Additionally, the data set for LASD’s arrests shows the level of alleged offenses by detainees, or whether detainees were held for misdemeanor or felony charges.

The following are a set of statistics taken from the MDH project for the Los Feliz, Silver Lake and East Hollywood areas in Central L.A., which show major disparities between which racial groups are policed in any given area, as well as between expenses accrued for people arrested in different areas even while those areas just walking distances from one another.

Beginning with Los Feliz, over a five year period, the LAPD spent at least $607,237 to cover costs for 1,333 people arrested there, whose time in detention amounted to 2,642 days. During that same time, the LASD spent at least $272,892 for 133 people arrested in Los Feliz, and whose collective time detained amounted to at least 1,737 days. Together, the LAPD and LASD’s costs for arresting and jailing people in Los Feliz amounted to at least $880,129 for 4,379 days of jail time from 2012 – 2017.

Also keep in mind that in Los Feliz, as recently as 2008, the median household income was $50,793, about the same as the amount for L.A. County at the time. Not surprisingly, while Blacks made up just 2.2% of the population of Los Feliz, they showed up as 13% of those arrested there, or nearly six times their demographic share. Latinos, who made up for 14.2% of the population, appeared as 25% of those arrested by LAPD in the area. By contrast, whites, who made up 67% of the population in Los Feliz, accounted for about 40% of arrests by LAPD there.

In the Silver Lake area, over a five year period, the LAPD spent at least $641,943 to cover costs for 1,313 people arrested there, whose time in detention amounted to 2,793 days. During that same time, the LASD spent at least $331,673 for 149 people arrested in Silver Lake whose time detained totaled over 2,142 days. Together, the LAPD and LASD’s costs for arresting and jailing people in Silver Lake amounted to at least $973,616 for 4,935 days of jail time from 2012 – 2017.

As recently as 2008, the median household income in Silver Lake was $54,339, also about the same as the amount for L.A. County at the time. Similarly to Los Feliz, while Black people made up just 3.4% of the population, they accounted for over 14% of those arrested by LAPD there, or over four times their demographic share. Latinos, who comprised just over 35% of the population, accounted for 52% of those arrested by LAPD in the area. Whites made up 43% of the population in Silver Lake, but accounted for only 25% of arrests by LAPD there.

Less than a few square miles from Los Feliz or Silver Lake, the most vulnerable geographic area in the vicinity proves to be the most policed. Over a five year period, East Hollywood saw more expenditures for policing and jail time than Los Feliz and Silver Lake combined and multiplied twice over. The LAPD spent at least $3,454,495 to cover costs for 6,852 people arrested in the area, whose time in detention amounted to a jaw-dropping 15,030 days, or three times the rate of time in jail for those arrested in either Los Feliz or Silver Lake. At the same time, the LASD spent at least $1,487,910 for 516 people arrested, whose time detained totaled over 9,981 days. Together, the LAPD and LASD’s costs for arresting and jailing people in this area amounted to at least $4,942,405 for 25,011 days of jail time from 2012 – 2017.

By 2008, the median household income for East Hollywood was $29,927, or nearly half of that of L.A. county at the time. Blacks made up just 2.4% of the population, but still accounted for 13% of those arrested by LAPD, once again nearly six times their demographic share. Latinos made up for just over 55% of the population, but accounted for 65% of those arrested by LAPD. Whites, who made up 24% of the population of East Hollywood, accounted for 13% of those arrested by LAPD there.

Additionally, in all three neighborhoods, males made up more than 3/4ths of those arrested by LAPD, while females accounted for 1/4th of those arrested. What’s also true is that at least half of the charges filed against people by the LASD were misdemeanors, though it should be noted that even misdemeanors on people of colors’ records can prove fatal for their chances at employment. Furthermore, as noted by the folks at MDH regarding their research methodology for these data:

“While the County Auditor-Controller calculations include variable costs (like staffing costs, travel and supplies), overhead costs, utilities costs, and accounting adjustments, our calculations only include variable costs. As a result, our estimates may be interpreted as conservative (emphasis mine): they do not include costs associated with building facilities and keeping the lights on, administrating the jail system as a sub-unit of county government, providing health care, or interfacing with the law enforcement and court systems.”

Even statisticians will admit that no data set tells the whole story, but the MDH project’s data allow communities to consider just how many taxpayer dollars go yearly towards disproportionately jailing not only people of color, particularly Black and Latino people in Los Angeles, but those within just a handful of areas inside of L.A. County.

In particular, communities within the areas of this comparison can now consider the disproportionate level of jail time and detention costs for arrests in East Hollywood, where more than 52% of the Asian and Latino communities who make up almost 3/4ths of the area are “foreign-born,” compared to the amount of costs and jail time for arrests in neighboring Los Feliz and Silver Lake, which are substantially whiter neighborhoods. Clearly, the state has a concerted interest in continuing to target Blacks, Latinos and working class immigrants wherever they may be clustered in Los Angeles, which also happen to be the groups which have seen the least amount of support for housing, education, and fair employment in Los Angeles over the 172 years since the state of California was forcibly taken by the U.S. from Mexico.

As if to add insult to injury, in a sheriff’s document online listed by the MDH study, the front page informs readers that their department’s motto is “a tradition of service since 1850.” Clearly, such “service” refers to a very different entity than the one so many tend to imagine when they think of this “Golden State.”

J.T.

Who is your Neighborhood, the team behind two back to school parties in East Hollywood, is Now Official

It’s true! Quien Es tu Vecindario–also known as Who Is Your Neighborhood–or the team behind two Back 2 School parties in the LACC area for two consecutive years, is now an official “non-profit” corporation for arts and education in East Hollywood registered with the state of California, entity number C4612184.

The organization is the first non-profit in East Hollywood founded and led by members of the community born and raised in the community of immigrant single mothers and families. Following completion of our first fund-raiser, the team will begin work on our first grant application for opportunity programming with the L.A. County Department of Art & Culture. Goals for programming this Fall include an online book club for the neighborhood, homework help for teens, and forums for families in our community during these trying times.

Keep up with Quien Es tu Vecindario online, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any lines of support. To be sure, as with our “unofficial” events before any non-profit lingo, we do not need a lot of money. We just need a lot of ganas!

J.T.

EPISODE 23 – IT GIRL THOUGHTS

In our twenty-third episode, listeners meet Tricia Lopez, the author of In Time I Will (2020), a collection of poetry, as well as the host of It Girl Thoughts, a podcast by Tricia documenting her work and journey as a 21 year old graduate student in the creative writing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University. We discuss Tricia’s coming of age in the Cypress Park area, L.A.’s Downtown Magnet schools, her matriculation through Woodbury University as a first generation college student, family life, and more. A truly special session for listeners.

J.T.

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Rick from Rick's Produce, Serving the People

Our communities are not defined just by struggle. We thrive even as we fight for our humanity

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 100)

Through more than five lifetimes across the American continent, even after the genocide and enslavement of our bloodlines, from the rainforests of Brazil to the mountaintops of Canada, and through this dizzied land of war-songs and bombs, Indigenous, African and more descendants of colonization have still managed to live, love, and laugh in America. We still do. Some days we only manage one of the three. But we get close enough. Each day we fight to keep living.

Most of all, we continue to push past heaps of winds threatening to slow down our progress. Let it not be forgotten that as hostility for our communities rose, our communities chose to rise up in power, guided by love, not by hatred. Let it not be forgotten how this pandemic has shown the whole world the way we keep rising. The way we refuse to be put down.

As one student I worked with last year put it in her first spoken-word poem:

“We broke them damn chains.”

We continue breaking them today. What has also lain exposed after three months of “Pandemic in Los Angeles” is that while the people’s elected leadership and representatives have largely failed, the people themselves have not. The land forgets nothing. And we are the land.

More than as just Americans, we have acted as global citizens with the world for our localities. In marching, outraging, and organizing, we have done so not just for the benefit of ourselves, but for the benefit of all people, for the 21st century and beyond, if our global pueblo can manage to see it.

We have done an immeasurable amount of teaching, just as we’ve done an astounding amount of learning. Consistently in our discourse it’s become apparent that our teaching and learning has been most of all for ourselves, to continue uplifting our youth, families, elders, and more with this lifetime.

If white Americans have been able to grow in their perspectives from our teachings, which have been offered to all since the first day, to become more than just “not racist,” but anti-racist, then great. But if not, that’s fine just as well, because what’s also become abundantly clear for our communities is that it’s not our responsibility as the oppressed to consistently guide our oppressors into behaving more humanely. Moreover, it’s clear that in any case, whiteness is breaking itself down, collapsing under its own fictitious weight, exposing its brutality through the baton for anyone who dares to challenge the inequality it has created as anything but just. One way or another, white Americans need to come to terms with this, which is likely not the end of “whiteness,” but the end of white supremacy, to the best of their abilities.

As for our communities, which still need to see to the development of at least the next generation of great teachers, artists, critical thinkers and more to expand on this great, axis-turning shift in consciousness:

We have an incredibly long way to go. But that’s because we have incredibly long ages to live for.

As I witness the brilliance of our people past even a great fracturing of the roads before us during these last few months, I think of all the societies lost, burned down by the greed of the colonists and slave-masters. And of all the great minds, kidnapped and broken into by the infectious lust for power. But the fact of the matter is that these minds never wholly died, just as the societies never entirely left. Remember: the land never forgets; its roots are here once again now, speaking through only more of our voices as we collectively reclaim a world we know we’ve been given to love.

Speaking of which, this makes 100 blogs from yours truly in as many days for “Pandemic in Los Angeles.” Thank you to each and every reader and supporter, and please expect more soon after a small break to refresh the sound and keyboards.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 47

This upcoming Sunday will mark Mother’s Day 2020. I’m taking mom out for some chile relleno, even if it still has to be takeout. Earlier today, I was stopped in my tracks when I heard LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner recognizing his own mother as the catalyst for his life in education during his weekly address for parents and families in L.A.:

The most important teacher in my life was my mom. She helped thousands of public school kids learn to read, including me. The love of reading she taught me led to a love of learning, which is with me today, as I try to better understand the world around me. Thank you, Mom.”

Austin Beutner

Let’s leave it simply at that for today, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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A New Support Line for Workers, Families, Elderly and Disabled People in East Hollywood During this Crisis

Written all en español for madres solteras, mayores de edad, gente discapacitada, familias inmigrantes, y más, the Quien Es Tu Vecindario website posts daily updates and also maintains a chat-line to inform the community and keep them resource-full. Please take some time to visit the website, or direct someone you know who may need to it. And if you’d like to get involved or support, please reach out through our contact page.

A nuevo flyer for Quien Es Tu Vecindario, an arts and education collective in East Hollywood.

Thank you Los Angeles,

J.T.

Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 22

Over the past nearly six years with my blog, I’ve seen frequently how writing–just like educating myself–has rarely ever been just about my personal peace of mind, but about shining a light on the specter of the world around me.

In Los Angeles, that shadow has consistently loomed through the confines of poverty. And the interest to speak out and create awareness about this world hasn’t been just a light, but a conflagration in my mind and a roaring passion in my spirit I suspect won’t vanish until every breath in my lungs for a better world leaves my body.

I glance at the past. A hundred years ago, if it weren’t for Malcolm Little coming to share a home with his single mother and eight other siblings, I wonder if he’d still have been able to stand at the intersections of Detroit and Harlem, calling out to the streets in the name of justice as he eventually came to do.

A hundred years before Malcolm X, in Harriet Tubman rose a woman with no formal education who still understood the most important issue of her time: that slavery was an offense to the history of the human species. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act notwithstanding, she literally led others to freedom.

When I think back to Los Angeles then, a city at once quite removed from the history of slavery at the same time that it’s steeped in slave wages and disinvestment in its communities, I see a world where education has never been more accessible at the same time that it’s deeply devalued.

I also see a world where, long after the coronavirus passes, our communities will continue struggling to honor a few basic tenets of humanism: that every child deserves an education empowering them; that every human being deserves a living wage and a place to call home like any other; that no community should be victim to policing, jailing, and conviction simply for being the least resourced among our society. The same world that loomed over Malcolm, Tubman, and so many more. I also see myself moving through these worlds, searching at each turn for a better way to unite and advance them.

Earlier today I filed Articles of Incorporation for Quien Es tu Vecindario, a special step for the collective that it’s turned out to be. If approved, it will be the first step in officially recognizing the group’s arts and education work in East Hollywood as non-profit work, making it eligible for funding such as grants as well as partnerships to sustain and expand its noble movement through Los Angeles.

During this time of so much resetting, and so much reflecting, small acts like these keep me not only wondering, but looking forward to what such work can still bring to the future of my community. Because from one generation to the next, we have to keep standing, calling out, and running: the fight for a better world continues. It is a long road towards all of our freedom.

J.T.

EPISODE 12 – THE ACTIVE VARIABLE

In our 12th episode, we sit down with our brother from another mother Edwin Monroy. We talk about a slate of different projects Ed’s been up to since our first Back 2 School Party together, including his new podcast The Active Variable. We also discuss a major fundraiser for his family following the recent passing of his father, Nery Edwin Monroy. To support Ed’s GoFundme, find the link HERE.

J.T.

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EPISODE 11 – KAIROS CHURCH

In our 11th episode, we sit down with Gregory Larson, local instructor at Los Angeles City College, pastor at Kairos Community Church and avid advocate for East Hollywood. We discuss everything from our cultural isolation while growing up to the socioeconomic environment surrounding LACC, as well as our meeting for the first time at East Hollywood’s first Back 2 School party. Learn about Kairos church at their instagram: @kairoshollywood.

J.T.

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Rap Heat Coming from a Latino: Music in L.A. with Sal Roses

“What you give is what you get,
But I only give respect,
Where I really think it’s due,
Tell me who the hell are you?

Sal Roses is a Salvadoran American writer born and raised in the City of Los Angeles, whose parents hail from the Pueblo of Santa Rosa de Lìma, La Union, El Salvador. As a member of the ‘first’ generation of his family in L.A., Roses’s world was one where a survival & entrepreneurial mentality at home often clashed with the systemic nature of American schools, work and life. Before finding himself as an artist, Roses would navigate through violence and abuse at home and his environment, financial instability, and the process of discovering his voice, eventually learning ‘to turn mud into gold.’ He now seeks to influence the world through music emblazoned with messages of confidence, self-reliance, and determination to turn one’s dreams into reality. 

1. Who are some of your earliest musical influences?

Parents are always first. They introduced me to Latin music, including cumbias, románticas, and all that good stuff. But it wasn’t until my cousins introduced me to hip hop that I saw the most for myself in the music. They introduced me to Chicano gangster rap, and that’s when I really started to visualize what these artists were going through. I could see it going on with my primos.

2. Tell me about Appetizers, Vol 1. What led you to this name for your EP?

It’s just a taste! And you can’t have the entree without a set of appetizers. It’s a build up to the full course of art we intend to supply. At 3 songs it felt like the perfect follow up to Killing Other People’s Beats The Mixtape (KOPB The Mixtape). Appetizers Vol. 1 also gives me creative freedom to drop a snack whenever I feel like the people are hungry for it. Just gotta stay hungry.

3. Tell me about the Spanish verse in Now; why did you choose to include Spanish in your opening song?

It was very important to include Spanish on this first project. Spanish and English have been equally important in shaping me to the point that it would have been wrong to leave out a verse in the latter. Plus, now more than ever, you can feel the strength of the language; it just carries a little more weight these days.

4. What do you make of Latinos in Hip Hop in 2019?

We’ve been consumers of Hip Hop from near the beginning but have gone mostly under-represented for a while. As a market, the Latino culture is being targeted more than ever before in the music, but it also calls for creatives like us to fill in the missing pieces. There are still so many stories to be told, so many thoughts to be brought up for discussion, deep rooted issues that need addressing. Our true contribution is still being formed and that’s the most exciting part about it.

5. And so, what if Adam ate the apple first?

This is my favorite line in the whole project! Imagine a world where, for all intents and purposes, Adam took that bite instead of Eve. Would men feel more inclined to push for gender equality? Would we want women to treat us differently? I say this as someone who considers themselves a feminist, pushing for true gender equality and not gender overcompensation. To me it’s thought-provoking, like a whole different world can be imagined just based on that thought.

Sal Roses; Summer 2019

6. Tell me about the drums in Richard’s Drums.

I was making this beat, and my drums were sucking bad. Every single sound before the drums excited me, but when I got to them, they kicked my ass. So I called Richard over, and in like 2 minutes he laid it down. We named the track after him in that moment.

7. Who else would you like to shout out now that your EP is out?

I’d like to shout out anybody and everybody whose been supporting our movement. So much work has been put in behind the scenes just to get to where we are right now. It’s still so small-scale that having true support from people who believe in what we’re doing has been instrumental in creating not just music, but a movement, a mobilization, a future. Thank you all.

To check out Sal’s Appetizers, Vol. 1, find his album on Spotify HERE.

J.T.