“I think it’s terrible. When you [Lisa] already have such an extraordinary level of wealth, and you’re evicting little kids. It’s just terrible.” — Lena Bernstein, lifelong Pacific Palisades resident.
On Sunday morning the Burlington tenants and their supporters from the LA Tenants Union rallied for the third time at the Pacific Palisades farmers market to inform Lisa Ehrlich’s community about her greed and the mass evictions — of over 200 people, including 50 children — she is now pursuing as she looks to cash in on the rapid gentrification of Westlake. Tenants chanted, gave speeches on a megaphone, and passed out fliers and had dozens of conversations with the local residents. (photos here)
The public shaming seems to be working, even as it’s geared towards the population of one of the richest and whitest areas in the city. This past Sunday we received a particularly warm welcome from most of the people we encountered, with many approaching us and giving words of encouragement, and some even offering to pose for pictures with signs reading messages like “Lisa Ehrlich, stop the evictions.” Maybe a dozen cars honked in hearty support, something that never happened during either of the other two rallies. Perhaps most telling of all, not once were we even approached by security — the police arrived in force the previous two times we showed up.
Thanks to these protests, robust local media coverage, and a modern, social media-fueled grapevine, the majority of Palisadians we spoke with knew why we were there. Many of them had heard and read extensively about Lisa Ehrlich’s long history of slum-lording, the Burlington Unidos rent strike, and Lisa’s evictions that are currently working their way through the courts.
A Palisadian named Susann (with two ‘n’s) said she’d already emailed Lisa to ask her to negotiate — as the tenants have been requesting of local residents — after seeing the rally at the farmers market a few weeks ago. “I’m absolutely moved by the story. We’re at a time when human rights mean far more than financial compensation,” she told me.
Another local resident, Karen, said she plans on emailing Lisa and will be posting about it on Facebook. Karen’s friend, Susan (with one ‘n’) said “it really struck me on the flier that it says she’s evicting kids.”
Lena, quoted at the top, even compared Lisa Ehrlich’s evictions to Donald Trump’s actions targeting immigrants: “Liberals in the Palisades like to take stands against stuff that’s happening somewhere else, like Trump separating families at the border. But what about kicking families out here? I think it’s terrible and it’s such a shame.”
Lena’s mother, Celia, agrees. “As we’ve learned,” she says, referencing the grotesque conduct by Trump’s ICE, “there is a time where what’s legal and what’s moral do diverge. My heart goes out to the tenants.”
The tide seems to be turning against Lisa. Given that this is a battle that promises to go on for months in the courts, this is just the beginning. Lisa Ehrlich’s reputation in her community will only sink further as the tenants continue to inform her community, and as larger media outlets start to pick up the story — we’ve heard that The Nation, The Guardian, and Vice are all in the process of creating content about this.
Ultimately, it’s up to Lisa to determine if her reputation has a price.