Plans for a new pawn shop in Little Village got a boost Tuesday despite opposition from City Clerk Susana Mendoza and community members who argued the store won’t be a positive addition to a Southwest Side shopping area.
The City Council Zoning Committee voted to advance a proposed EZ Pawn in the 3900 block of West 26th Street after Ald. Ricardo Munoz spoke in favor of the shop in his 22nd Ward.
“A lot has been said about what can and cannot, what should and should not go on 26th Street,” Munoz said. “It needs to be noted that the same folks that are in opposition to this are the first ones to complain about how many vacancies we have on the strip in the neighborhood.”
Allowing the store to open will help diversify the shopping district and fill a vacant storefront, Munoz said. The alderman drew boos from some of the two dozen or so opponents who voiced their displeasure with the pawn shop.
Foes said the shop would dissuade more desirable businesses from locating in the neighborhood, and argued there already are several pawn shops around there. They also gave the committee a petition with about 740 signatures against the business.
Mendoza, who lives in Little Village, submitted a letter to the committee on clerk’s office stationery, stating the pawn shop “will only further contribute to a general decay of this vital neighborhood.”
Munoz said he was surprised Mendoza wrote the letter. “I’m concerned that she’s now getting involved in local ward matters,” Munoz said after the meeting. “That hasn’t historically been the clerk’s role.”
Mendoza spokeswoman Kristine Williams said the clerk is simply backing up a campaign promise to make her opinions known.
"Ever since she started campaigning, the clerk has said she would be a strong and independent advocate for issues she believes in," Williams said. "She feels particularly strongly about that community."
The EZ Pawn proposal next must be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals, and opponents said they will take their fight there.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times