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Echoing Renants Demands, The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Supports Eminent Domain For Hillside Villa

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project-Los Angeles stands in solidarity with the Hillside Villa Tenants Association.

Hillside Villa Tenants Association organizing and rallying for the city to use eminent domain in response to unjust fair increases

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project-Los Angeles stands in solidarity with the Hillside Villa Tenants Association in resisting unjust rent increases, and we call on the city of Los Angeles to commit to keeping their home permanently affordable through the use of eminent domain.

AEMP is dedicated to resisting the dispossession and displacement caused by real-estate speculation, technocapitalism, and racist housing policy. Our collective of tenants, researchers, and organizers come from a variety of backgrounds, spaces, and politics, resists as one alongside these fierce tenants against the unscrupulous slumlords of the Botz clan. In this demand we state explicitly that property rights and unlimited profit maximization cannot be endlessly used as justification for shredding communities of families, youth, neighbors and the elderly from the networks and social structures that support their lives.

Senior citizens, families, recent immigrant arrivals, students, and more call Hillside Villa their home. Like all tenants, they deserve to live in dignified conditions. But their wealthy landlords have engaged in a long campaign of harassment and intimidation to undermine their organizing as a tenants association. Botz has acted in bad faith and pulled out of negotiations with the city to reach a fair resolution. Landlords like the Botz family will absolutely take advantage of working-class tenants and these residents deserve other options so that they may stay in their homes.

Around Los Angeles, California, and the United States, landowners like Thomas Botz and his children are pursuing an inhumane strategy of gentrification and dispossession for their own enrichment. Evicting working class tenants to make way for richer ones; gutting the city’s remaining affordable housing; investing in market-rate development on Broadway or tech spaces off Spring Street; paying into the Chinatown Business Improvement District, which has violently harassed elderly and unhoused residents — all these choices are part of a global settler-colonial land grab that puts some people on the street and others in mansions in Malibu.

Given the unjust circumstances in Chinatown and the cruel treatment from the Botz family, taking the land by eminent domain is the right step towards housing justice. Not only do we support the campaign to resist Botz’s intimidation and expropriate this property, but we also join many other housing justice organizers in calling for the expropriation of deed-restricted affordable buildings before they become prey to greedy developers seeking unjust rent increases.

Many times in recent decades, the city of Los Angeles has seized the the homes of its poor residents of color for the benefit of its wealthy white developer class. Less than a mile from the HIllside Villa apartments, the former communities of La Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop once thrived, until the city removed the people and took the land through eminent domain. They promised that the turmoil they inflicted on these families was necessary for the public good — specifically, to build public housing that residents could permanently afford — only to turn around and sell the land for a private baseball stadium. The city of Los Angeles and other government agencies have often seized poor people’s homes for uses that do not house more people or genuinely invest in the well-being of a community. For example, Metro has displaced residents in various communities including when they demolished apartments and displaced residents in Boyle Heights to build a police station. It is finally time for the government, in this case, the City of Los Angeles, to use this significant power to protect the people who have suffered the most under the regimes of gentrification and “economic development.” It is time for public land and public power to truly serve the public good.

We will stand with the Hillside Villa Tenants Association in the corridors of their apartment complex, in the chambers of City Hall, outside the Botz residence in Malibu, or on the streets of this city. Join us and so many others in supporting the Hillside Villa Tenants Association and say: “Enough is enough! Housing is a human right!”

Add your name to this petition demanding the use of eminent domain; the Hillside Villa Tenants Association appreciates your solidarity!