Artists, Others Rally to Save Affordable Rentals

From Times Staff Reports

A group of Leimert Park businesspeople, artists and patrons gathered for a rally Saturday to support a fledgling plan to buy rental properties they say are being priced out of their reach by a new landlord.

Organizers said some longtime business owners have already been forced to relocate or close after a new owner sharply raised the rent on nine storefronts in August, soon after purchasing the property.

They said the previous landlord had tried to nurture the area's identity by keeping rents below market rates.

About 250 people attended the rally, which included jazz performances, interpretive dance and poetry.

"A person selling art isn't going to get rich, but it's still important," said Torrence Reese, a rally organizer.

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