A second act of vandalism at Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights — part of ongoing anti-gentrification protests in the area — stirred up Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar, who called the tactics “unacceptable.”
Huizar, who appears to be the only council member to have addressed escalating tensions in the neighborhood, spoke out on Friday against the vandalism and race-based tactics that have been used against local businesses in Boyle Heights, including art galleries and coffee shops.
“We all have the right to express our 1st Amendment-protected opinions – that is not in dispute,” Huizar wrote in a statement. “But when that turns into destroying property or violence of any kind, or targeting people solely based on race, that goes against everything Boyle Heights stands for.”
Weird Wave Coffee had another one of its store windows broken last week – a few days after a different window was smashed in a separate incident. The Los Angeles Police Department is looking into both acts of vandalism.
Neighborhood groups have been protesting new ventures that they deem representative of gentrification in the area. These businesses, the protestors argue, will drive up rent and push out local business owners and families.
Huizar said he is working with community organizations on several housing initiatives, including a door-to-door campaign.
“Instead of targeting business owners, particularly small business owners, we should instead focus our attention on tangible solutions to address the gentrification issues we face in Boyle Heights, and indeed throughout the entire city,” he said. [LAT] — Subrina Hudson