Elephant Hill

Since moving to El Sereno, I’m learning a lot more about this part of Los Angeles and gleefully rejoice in the fact that celebrities, overpriced stores, hipsters and flakes are not subjects. There’s a place over here called Elephant Hill. It’s 110 acres of untouched land in the middle of the city. Apparently, it’s been a big deal over here for a long time. Many people want the hill to stay untouched. It serves as home to many flora and fauna that have been driven out of other developed areas. Apparently, El Sereno is used to being ignored and abused by the so-called civics leaders of LA. City Beat reports:

For years, those residents say, their neighborhood was the backwater of the backwater, an overlooked corner of overlooked East L.A. “Maybe it’s because we’re at the northernmost and easternmost edge of the city,” speculates Hugo Garcia, president of the local neighborhood council. Garcia’s family moved to El Sereno in the early 1960s, and over the past 40-plus years he’s watched a jumble of boxy apartment buildings and escalating cut-thru traffic clutter up his neighborhood. “In El Sereno, we’ve been neglected and taken for granted and run roughshod over. When it comes to business development plans, or resource allocation, or a plan to preserve open space, we don’t get it.”

I’ve lived here for 9 months and can see that. Actually, I noticed it before we bought our house, but hadn’t quite realized the boundaries of other cities were so close to El Sereno. When we need anything that’s not Latino food, we must go to Alhambra, South Pasadena or Pasadena for it. I mean anything, books, office supplies, clothings, imported beer. Our councilman, Jose Huizar is MIA for the most part. At least on this side of the hill. Apparently, in Eagle Rock they just adore him as he bends over backwards to fulfill their every wish. This side of town, not so much.

We moved from Hollywood. From our house, there were 4 parks within walking distance (10 – 20 min) with even more just a 5 – 20 min. drive away. Still, we’re told that open space in LA is relatively low. In El Sereno, it’s drastically lower at almost 2 acres for every 1000 people. That’s concrete jungle right there.

But Elephant Hill is privately owned and they want to build luxury McMansions up there. The owners did not get the proper environmental report and despite 200 people showing up at the council meeting to protest the development, the city still approved it. To give Huizar some credit, he has taken on this case and is listening to his constituents on this issue, though it’s not like he’s promising to never have development up there. He just wants the Planning board to go over the details, make sure everything’s legit and at least listen to the constituents.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I understand the need for housing, but at this time, the last thing LA needs is more overpriced, poorly constructed dicks on slab. We need affordable housing in this city, but more importantly, we need preserve what open spaces we have left.

Also check out The Battle for Elephant Hill by Mindy Farrabee.