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43 Olvera Street Merchants Protest Rent Hikes

The first of the month approaches on Olvera Street

The first of the month approaches on Olvera StreetPhoto: Jason Lam/Me So Hungry via Flickr

Forget that daffy "Tea-had" for a second, as a local revolt is brewing on our own Olvera Street. 43 merchants here are refusing to pay new, increased rental rates established on April 1st by the management of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. L.A. Downtown News reports that these with-holdings have left the city $72,000 short, while businesses like Casa La Goldrina restaurant could face eviction notices for pointedly paying only the amount of their old rents, which a recent audit found were well below market-rate.

The group of vendors was successful in staving off proposed increases until January when the city attorney granted El Pueblo the right to raise rents in amounts anywhere between $316 to $5,762. Though evictions of the vendors, many of who have stayed allegiant to the district for decades, sounds like a last resort-strategy to implement the new rents, Casa de Souza cofee shop was evicted this past fall after 60 years on Olvera Street. A solution between El Pueblo's managers, city officials, and the tenants are being considered, while most merchants say they will pay their rents but the current hike is "too much and too soon." Those feelings are echoed by Councilman José Huizar, "I would fight tooth and nail for anybody that's being asked to leave because of this process. It was a terrible, horrible process. I don't disagree with rent increases, but the process was a horrible one."

Dozens of Olvera Street Merchants Withhold Portion of Rent [L.A. Downtown News]

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