Episode 13: Filipinos and Gentrification

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Apparently, cities are back. People are moving back into the inner core of cities. Coffee shops, bars, and artisanal eateries are thriving in certain neighborhoods. Millennials are ditching their cars for public transportation. Politicians are touting the brand new economy of “hipster-dom” that is reviving cities nationwide.

But what do these changes mean for families who live in these inner city neighborhoods? What happens to the demographics of the city? How does it affect young folks who are looking for a place to live or trying to buy their first home? How do these economic shifts impact the diverse Filipino American community who live in both the inner core and outer suburbia?

In this TFAL episode, the crew speaks with Jennifer Ganata, a housing advocate and community activist in Los Angeles, to discuss the economics of gentrification and how it affects Filipinos in Southern California and throughout the country. Whether you live in neighborhood likes SoMa Pilipinas, Beacon Hill, or Woodside or suburban areas like Rancho Bernardo, Bergenfield, or Skokie, gentrification has a major impact on all of us.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Have you seen major demographic shifts in the place you grew up in or the place you live now? Do you have any opinions on gentrification? Let us know your thoughts on thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or (805) 394-TFAL.

One thought on “Episode 13: Filipinos and Gentrification

  1. Sorry to be such a Philologist here but you are continuing the self-destructive myth of HiFi-LA by saying that Historic Filipinotown is a “Filipino Town, in memory”… you are equally inferring that there are no more Filipinos in HiFi… the specific meanings of words matter here! “Historic” = famous or important in history, or potentially so! “Historical” = of or concerning history; concerning past events, belonging to the past, not the present. This is still a welcoming hub but not only for the Pinoy. Remember it is the oldest existing ethnic enclave of Filipinos in America, 2.1 square miles, not the largest ethnic enclave of Filipinos in America. And the only place in all of America that has “Filipino” designated in the official civic name.

    Ultimately the bigger question here is how you yourselves disappear as Pinoys in your own minds at a public meeting that is dominated by other interests, like the other night, concerning the supposed North Westlake Design Ordinance (Why was it not the Historic Filipinotown Expansion Design Ordinance?
    If the Councilman was the true hero for the FIl-Ams in HiFi-LA as he pretends to be in front of you all he would have moved closer to this point of contention in the face of 60% potential Latino opposition).

    All Pinoys & others that are listening to this Podcast need to stand strong (more drums & loud music at the next Kalayaan Parade down Temple St for the 120th year of independence from Spain, would help!)… we all need to go talk to our Councilman & stop being super deferential to someone that is trickling down on us while we kiss his ring at events, while he bows to greater puppet masters… The old Derby Dolls site, slated to be called, the “Alexan South Echo” (South Echo-What? Is there a place that has ever been branded South Echo anything?) …it is funded by the Grand China Fund & the project should be more honestly renamed the “Spratly South Echo”.

    That building was supposed to have “Historic Filipinotown” boldly emblazoned on the top floor so all can see for miles around the HiFi Brand on this mixed use project that was supposed to have “affordable” units… (when will that 5% to 8% get built? Ask the Drink Haus on Robinson!?!) …& where is the now removed, one whole floor of community space that was promised to the community… because its removal makes things more code compliant with no more offices for the local organizations that have been serving this community long before the CRA folded & John Ferraro first put up some signs identifying the south side of the freeway.

    What has happened to this group of concerned locals that are “driving community engagement”? A group informally known as the “HiFi Community Forum”, made up of “community leaders” and concerned stakeholders, (that have been convening since February?) The goal of enacting a number of improvements and goals for the neighborhood is a noble cause but where is the follow through?

    They have identified such issues as access to healthy food, establishing community gardens, business development, increasing “affordable” housing stock, infrastructure improvements, preserving historical landmarks, neighborhood branding, and renter’s issues as priorities for the area, but what do we have to show for all this “civic engagement”? Revitalisation, Gentrification, the Colonization of Luxury Apartments (at $6,500.00 a month & listed on Airbnb concurrently…) instead of the very low cost housing that was disguised as “affordable” 10 years ago.

    When will we stop getting the short end of the stick in HiFi? I don’t know… I know my neighbors housed and unsheltered, I’ve been a bedspacer… I have taken a cold water Pilipino bath more than once… I’ve been “Elised” out of my home once or twice & I live in an illegal boarding house today because it is what I can afford, here in HiFi… yet I’m still a white devil kano gentrifier to many of the community & that might never change but I am still listening to you all & working on the social justice issues that first brought me to HiFi in the first place while many others have walked away in frustration long ago.

    “Fatsilog Restaurant” isn’t that where I can get a French Fry & deep fried Saging-Langka or Apples Pie with my Pandan Flan & Crispy Pata? It’s on San Malo Ave & Temple St at the Manila Village Presidentcha, di ba? Historic Filipinotown has come a long way since 2002 but we have to become more than the “in-name only” historical or hysterical Filipino footnote in the City of Los Angeles. This Historic Filipinotown is real news & no “Jollitown” chuckle fest on Facebook, so please, ituloy ang bayaning kaisipan!

    This show is amazing & each one gets better the more I listen to the series… but Historic Filipinotown is not & was never named as a mere historical reference point… it is not named as an admission that Filipinos once lived there. It was named because it is famous & important in history, or potentially so!!!

    Like

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