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Boyle Heights gentrification protests may be problematic, but they have started a vital conversation

Boyle Heights gentrification protests may be problematic, but they have started a vital conversation
John Schwarz, co-owner of Weird Wave Coffee, assesses damage caused by a vandal who may have thrown a rock at the glass door of the coffee shop Wednesday morning. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Steve Lopez's column in Sunday's Times scores an important point.

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Who are these self-appointed bullies with their masked attacks on Weird Wave Coffee? Will no one of good character in Boyle Heights call these miscreants out for what they are and take action against them?

Tom Pincu, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Steve Lopez swung and missed. He has joined the choir of those attacking the protesters.

Yes, we all should all reject violence and the destruction of property. But it is not clear if the individual who did this is connected to the protesters.

Rather than attacking those who demonstrate peacefully, we should be praising them. These protesters should be given credit for sparking this vital conversation.

It is silly to argue that this is about "change" and that these people are "cowards." This struggle in Boyle is not about rejecting "change."

It is about injustice about the ruthless displacement taking place. Developers are in bed with politicians and art galleries, and renters feel powerless.

Chamba Sanchez, Silver Lake

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To the editor: The perception of an outsider who sees Weird Wave Coffee Roasters as the flagship model of what is to come in Boyle Heights is barely scratching the surface of the economic changes that are occurring in the neighborhood.

First and foremost, the median income for a single household in Boyle Heights hovers above $34,000, so anyone with a college degree has a high likelihood of making an income that is higher than that threshold.

Secondly, race and income in the United States are historically interrelated. We should not ignore the fact that black and brown families have historically been undervalued and overlooked when purchasing a home.

Finally, gentrification does not provide benefits for the existing members of a community. If a new business attracts other new businesses, then the amount of generated job opportunities do not outweigh the number of local residents who will be displaced by non-native community members.

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Steven Almazan, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The anti-gentrification push absolutely misses one of the biggest opportunities to support the future of their own neighborhood.

Look back at the post WWII era and you will see how exclusionary laws and housing covenants, which sidelined minorities from purchasing houses in many areas of Los Angeles, were the largest roadblock to success.

As mentioned in the article "some longtime residents like the rising property values," it is those minority families who did purchase in Boyle Heights when they could not buy in other parts of the city who will be most hurt by this movement.

Fight for your community by supporting independent businesses that generate wealth locally, hold developers and politicians accountable to build low income housing with rent controlled units but do not prevent your own neighbors who were smart enough to purchase over the last 60 years from receiving return on their investment.

Anthony Saccacio, Los Angeles

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