ALL WORLD STAGE:
CRISIS re EVICTION for real estate profits
for LEIMERT PARK METRO station 10-13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 11, 2013
ICONIC WORLD STAGE PERFORMANCE GALLERY UNDER ATTACK
PRESS CONFERENCE, WEDNESDAY OCT. 16, 4 PM
COMMUNITY RALLY, SATURDAY, OCT. 19, 1 PM
The World Stage, Artistic Director
[Los Angeles, CA]-Iconic cultural institution The World Stage Performance Gallery is being threatened with eviction. In what community members are calling an attempt to gentrify the Crenshaw District’s Leimert Park neighborhood in preparation for the forthcoming Crenshaw Line Leimert Park Station, eight long-time Leimert Park businesses have recently been informed that their leases will not be renewed or they have been served eviction-related notices, including The World Stage. A press conference will be held to discuss these issues on Wednesday, October 16, 4 PM and a community rally on Saturday, October 19, 1 PM at The World Stage Performance Gallery, 4344 Degnan Bl., LA, CA 90008.
According to The World Stage’s board president Wiley Brown, soon after the city council voted to approve the Crenshaw Line on May 22, the eviction notices began to arrive. “It’s unethical, and frankly, shameful that the women and men, the culturally-aware business owners who helped to make Leimert Park a cultural landmark for the African American community, are being forced out at a time when the Crenshaw Line Leimert Park Station is going to bring unparalleled business opportunities to the area. The city leaders cannot let this happen,” Brown said.
Brown and community stakeholders organized a meeting with 10th District City Councilman Herb Wesson, who failed to show, but later his chief deputy Deron Williams arrived. According to jazz singer and World Stage board member Dwight Trible, who was at the meeting, Williams agreed to:
1) organize a meeting with the property owners who were seeking to evict the long-time African American tenants
2) work through the city council to designate Leimert Park as a cultural landmark
3) work to help finance a “light and signage package” which would bring business-friendly neon-lights and attractive signage for Leimert Park businesses and
4) organize a meeting between the property owners and the African American business owners who are being forced out.
According to Trible, when the stakeholders tried to contact Wesson’s office to follow up on the meeting, their phone calls were not returned for several weeks. Later, a Wesson staffer confessed that “they had hit a roadblock.”
“I was upset that Wesson was not at the stakeholder meeting, but chief deputy Williams looked us all in the eye and seemed so genuinely concerned. He said that he was from the community and he would not stand by and let this happen. That’s why I was so shocked when Wesson’s office completely dismissed us when we called to follow up on their promises to Leimert Park. The stakeholders in this community are facing an existential crisis and Herb Wesson, our elected representative, has turned his back on us,” Trible said.
Spurned by Wesson, The World Stage is in the middle of an emergency capital campaign. It is taking donations through its website (theworldstage.org) in an effort to raise $25,000, while simultaneously working on a long-range strategic financial plan.
When I read this article about World Stage performance Gallery in the newspaper my first thought was, "again with the reaction instead of proactivism?".Seriously. I remember Mr. Breye at Museum In Black had the threat of eviction twice if I'm not mistaken. Then there was the problem with Lucy Florence although this eviction came from non payment of rent....wait that was the problem for Museum in Black too wasn't it? Of course there was the foreclosure of property owned by Marla Gibbs in the eighties.Then there have been the general pleas to "save Leimert Park Village throughout the years. Save Leimert Park Village from commercial enterprises like Barnes and Noble versus Eso Won and Daniel's Jeweler's versus Sika', Baskin Robbins versus ??? Save the particular store against the rent being raised..So I'm confused and I have questions. I think what I'm asking or saying will sound as if I'm against the Village but I'm not. I think its awesome to have a "premier African American cultural and art center".Many of the other cultures in greater Los Angeles do. It's just that I've often puzzled if you could call a place your cultural center when the majority of store owners are renting?
I've also been amused at the irony of Leimert Park being branded as the African American cultural mecca in as much as Mr. Leimert was all in favor of the restrictive covenants at the time the community was developed.
So now in all of the time that Leimert Park Village has been into being why aren't the properties either owned by the storel owners or owned by other African American people. Other than Marla Gibbs were there any other celebrities that could have made an investment? What about wealthy African Americans? The McClaney family [I have probably spelled that name incorrectly] comes to mind. Where is the plan that forecast the possibility of what could happen ? Where is the Leimert Park Village Think Tank?
For a long time I just thought the properties were still owned by the descendants of the original property owners and weren't on the market.However in 2012 that gun dealer Botach purchased seven buildings. Seven plus the one they already own. Eight properties owned by someone who has no stake in a "Black cultural mecca".Remember that's why or how Eso Won came to move into their present location which I assume is also owned by the gun dealer. [Ha! Gun dealer in the culteral and arts mecca] My thought is how did our community....our village....the stakeholders to our cultural mecca sleep on this and now that we are awakened .....again what are we going to do about it and how will we stratgize for more than one battle at a time?
So let me see if I understand.....our community fought a good fight to get the subway line to come to and stop at Leimert Park Village but it won't be
Here's an awesome article by Sahra Sulaiman about the World Stage:
The humiliating irony for me is that the Quality Of Life Plan of Sept 2009 written up by Community Build, LOCATED at: 4305 Degnan Blvd., for the Crenshaw Corridor seems to have been D.O.A.
The four large kiosks Herb Wesson had set-up along the Taste Of Soul Crenshaw walk this past Saturday, had me thinking he was running for President of United States.
I am terribly saddened by this report of elected non-representation in our Community. Its horrifying. Unconscionable! And unfortunately not surprising. My heart aches for all of OUR struggling Business Owners having to face this horrendous challenge.
WE need some 'real' changes here. Let us find the strength, courage and dedication to renew our home! <3
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