Tuesday, May 16, 2023

What’s Going On With Pellissier Village?

Although today’s topic is only marginally related to this blog’s focus, it needs attention, so kindly spread this far and wide. Please forgive any formatting issues; my laptop is being repaired and I’m typing this on my phone. 

Pellisier Village, formerly part of Francois “Frank” Pellissier’s dairy farm, sure seems to be drawing a disproportionate amount of attention from code enforcement.

The LA Times’ Gustavo Arellano breaks it all down for you. I won’t rehash Arellano’s piece here, but it sure seems like someone in a position of power wants to harass Pellissier Village’s horse-loving homeowners right out of their neighborhood. 

Many years ago, Los Angeles County was very much the Wild West and the “Queen of the Cow Counties”, and horses were just part of everyday life. While it isn’t practical to keep horses in most of modern LA County (and I have to admit I haven’t ridden a horse since 1999), there are still a few precious pockets linking it to its equestrian past (and, in this case, to Mexican vaquero culture as well). 

Arellano notes that while most equestrian communities are expensive, Pellissier Village is a rare affordable one, with small, modest houses. You will never see this nonsense happening in richer (and whiter) places like Calabasas. 

Could the county be trying to push out residents to redevelop the neighborhood? I wouldn’t put it past the authorities. While I’m not opposed to development per se, there are plenty of other places that should always be considered first (dead malls, strip malls, empty lots, possibly the half-dead Third Street Promenade*…). Development should never take place at the expense of existing affordable housing. 

I’m far too young to remember the Chavez Ravine communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop being bulldozed for Dodger Stadium, but I know someone with money and power decided a baseball team needed the land more than working-class families did. And I know I don’t want another neighborhood taken away from its residents for someone else’s benefit. I sincerely hope that’s not going to happen here, but I’m too familiar with LA’s history to just shrug it off as code enforcement trolling for fines.

Streetsblog reached out to let me know that a freeway-widening project could take away area homes. Which is particularly concerning, since Pellissier Village just so happens to be tucked right next to the junction of both freeways slated for expansion. You won’t see freeway expansion in a richer area either. (Note: if you look for Pellissier Village on Google Maps, you’ll get zero results. Search for Pellissier Road instead - it’s in the neighborhood.) 

Must everything disappear? Must working-class Latinos give up their homes, their community, and possibly even their animals because the county might want to upzone and redevelop land that isn’t the county’s to take? And how much wider does either freeway really need to be?

Something stinks, and it’s not the manure.

If anyone out there knows something I don’t know, please reach out.

*Four generations of my family have lived in Santa Monica (including myself; I’m an “dual citizen” from the Valley), and I take absolutely no joy in saying this. 

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