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Move underway in L.A. to create Little Bangladesh

March 31, 2009 |  7:38 am

There's a new proposal in Los Angeles to carve out a special district in Koreatown and name it Little Bangladesh. That has some local Korean American leaders unnerved. More from the Associated Press:

Now, the graduate student and other Bangladeshis want to carve out a special district in Koreatown and name it for their own homeland. The proposal has shocked and angered Korean American leaders who have worked for years to turn Koreatown into a Southern California cultural destination.

“There is a pride in calling this Koreatown,” said Chang Lee, chairman of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles. “The residents and businesspeople, when they heard the news, they were appalled.”

As first proposed last year, the district would have cut a half-mile swath through the heart of the nation’s largest Korean enclave, a bustling area of Buddhist temples, restaurants and businesses a few miles west of downtown L.A. Since then, both sides have agreed to create Little Bangladesh on the fringe of Koreatown instead of within its core. But the actual boundaries are still being debated, and a final agreement has yet to be reached.

The turf fight is unusual for Los Angeles, where roughly 40% of residents were born abroad. Over the years, the City Council has granted special district designations to a number of areas, including Chinatown, Thai Town and Little Ethiopia after residents filed petitions seeking the status. There are no direct financial benefits, but neighborhoods can raise their profiles and perhaps their economic fortunes by being noted on maps and streets signs and getting mentions in the media.

 Koreatown is already one of the most high-profile areas in the city, but it didn’t seek an official designation from the city until February — after the proposed creation of Little Bangladesh.