A homeowner recently bought a house in December 2020 that is next door to the Venice High School baseball and softball field. After purchasing home, he expressed concern about safety and threatened to file a lawsuit if the Venice High teams were not barred from playing their season. Recently a video surfaced showing Andy Choi, a real estate developer, aiding the homeowner in cutting a hole in the Venice High fence creating a doorway for private access to field for reasons unknown. The homeowner also reportedly verbally confronted students about practicing there.
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Venice home games were planned to be moved somewhere for the remainder of the season to appease the neighbor but students and parents demanded support from LAUSD to continue the season at home. A meeting took place between parents and district representatives on Monday May 10 where it was decided to let them finish season at home.
This follows a trend of new neighbors, recently moving in, attempting to dictate and control the actions of long time community members and institutions. New neighbors feeling entitled to changing everything around them to their desire in order to feel more comfortable. The trend of gentrification, NIMBY sentiments and lack of community awareness by folk moving in has begun to affect even our students and schools.
The racial justice dimension must also not be ignored. Venice High School is 63% “Hispanic” or more accurately of Spanish speaking Indigenous heritage. As a person of color it begs the question if LAUSD would have acquiesced to the complaint so quickly or if the complaint from the “neighbor” would have even existed if the school was all predominantly Anglo or affluent.
Unfortunately this is all too common in our gentrifying communities. Many claim they “don’t like to get involved in politics” but the more we don’t correct such disparity reinforcing behaviors the more injustice and disrespect will ensue. Step up Westside, don’t let this type of behaviour go unanswered, if at least for our children.
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