“On Wednesday night, August 22 a group of over 60 protesters, led by the Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles (DSA-LA), showed up at the Glassell Park home of City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. The action was coordinated in support of the rent-striking Burlington tenants, 200+ Latinx constituents of O’Farrell’s district who are facing mass eviction in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Westlake. About 20 of the tenants themselves were present, in addition to supporters from the Los Angeles Tenants Union(LATU) and the homeless-women advocacy group SheDoes.
To those in attendance, the protest represented a powerful linking of some of the more militant organizations in LA, and demonstrated the continuing momentum of both the Burlington struggle itself and the tenants’ movement more broadly.
The tenants, LATU organizers, and now DSA-LA all accuse O’Farrell of siding with the ultra-rich landlord Lisa Ehrlich over his own constituents, evidenced by a recent letter he sent to the tenants that signaled the end of his involvement in the matter and that repeated several lies being pushed by Lisa Ehrlich, the landlord. They also point to his refusal to support expanding rent control.
“It seems pretty clear to me where Mitch’s loyalties lie — with developers and the real estate industry,” said Arielle Sallai, of DSA, in an interview. “He loves that these neighborhoods are gentrifying and becoming ‘trendy,’ even though that includes the mass displacement of low-income Latinx communities. He’s not going to support any struggle, no matter how just, that gets in the way of rising property values.”
The demonstration began with a rowdy march up O’Farrell’s street as the protesters were chanting and banging pots and pans. Upon reaching O’Farrell’s house, the chants were interspersed with short speeches on the megaphone from representatives from the various groups and the tenants themselves. (Livestream of the event here and here.)”