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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Delays on Chavez Ravine

Aug. 11, 1959, Movies

Aug. 11, 1959: "Horrors of the Black Museum" in Hypno-Vista! 3 1/2 stars on Netflix. Six stars on imdb.

Aug. 11, 1959, Chavez Ravine Movement toward a new ballpark for the Dodgers kept slowing down.

City Atty. Roger Arnebergh wanted the City Council to wait before approving $2 million in street work for the area destined to be the Dodgers' new home in Chavez Ravine.

The whole matter was still in the hands of the Supreme Court so Arnebergh wanted the city to delay until there was a court decision or the Dodgers agreed to reimburse the city the cost of the work if the ballpark wasn't built.

Was he just being cautious or was he worried?

Meanwhile The Times ran a United Press International story out of Washington detailing another Chavez Ravine appeal filed with the Supreme Court that charged Los Angeles' efforts to lure the Dodgers were "too enthusiastic."

--Keith Thursby

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Comments (2)

The way it turned out, the County ponied up $2-3Million in road work, builidng roads that made the stadium accessble.

As has been demonstrated in Don Nordmark's book of photoraphs, the Chavez Ravine/Palo Verde area had many dirt roads not feasible for stadium access.

What's missing from this scenario? Chavez Ravine was a thriving Mexican-American community that had roots in the same era that spawned Olvera Street and the original center of the city of Los Angeles.

After WWII, the federal government had earmarked millions of dollars (a lot in those days) for neighborhood development that would reduce the segregation that had built up in Los Angeles during the rush to work in the Southlands's weapons factories and shipyards. Chavez was one such neighborhood; it had been promised millions of dollars to pave the dirt roads, put in running water and -- in some places -- electricity.

Chavez Ravine residents balked; they were suspicious of a local government that had betrayed them before, and they believed their way of life in this surprisingly rural neighborhood was an intergral part of their culture, their history, and their souls.

Many left, being given housing vouchers that "guaranteed" them housing when the federal/Los Angeles redevelopment project was complete. Many more refused to leave their homes, the homes of their great, great grandmothers and fathers. They stayed on, and resisted efforts to throw them, first legally, then by force, out of their homes.

It was a soulful endeavor to hold onto Chavez Ravine's integrity as a part of Mexican culture, and it had tragic consequences, not only for Chavez RAvine, but for other heavily segregated neighbor hoods in South and Central Los Angeles. Perhaps you started there, Mister Harnish, but if you haven't covered this story as part of your Chavez Ravine blog, you should.

best regards,
Charles Degelman


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