Dec 09

Hmmmm…something smells

On Dec. 8th, I saw a listing on craigslist for a 3bd. home in Pasadena for $1050 a month. Sounds great, right? So, I emailed the listing asking when we can see the house. My husband, unbeknownst to me had made a phone call to the 626 number on the ad to ask the same thing. That was on Tuesday. That night, we decided since it was close by to drive by and look.  There’s a sign outside, but it was obvious someone is living there, you know…since we could see them walking around inside the house. Today, I got this email:

Thanks for your response regarding your interest in having my house for rent.The house is much available for now and it a 3 bedroom home..I want you to know that i am the owner of this building situated at [redacted].But i am now presently in West Africa for my Hospitals Project prayer crusade with my wife and we have the keys right here with us.I will like to inform you that it was due to my transfer that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own..So for now,We are here in West Africa,NIGERIA our new house and also with the keys of the house,we are trying to look for an agent that we can give this document before we left but could not see and we are as well as don’t want our house to be used any how in our absent that is why we took it along with us here..We are only willing to give the house out to a lovely and caring family only, so if you know you cannot give the house the neatness it deserves please don’t contact me.But if you promise to always take good care of the house,get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting a home.Hope you are okay with the monthly price of $1050 with hydro,heat laundry facilities,air-condition Etc.I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP,Our house number is[foreign phone number] OR
[foreign phone number], below is the application form for you to fill and discuss on how to get the house for rent..
Kindly confirm your interest by filling the form below:
FIRST NAME: __________________
MIDDLE NAME: __________________
LAST NAME: __________________
PROFESSION: ________________
PHONE (____) __________ (CELL)
PHONE (____) __________ (WORK)
PHONE (____) __________ (HOME)
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
Home ADDRESS: ___________________________
CITY: _______________
STATE: ______________
ZIP CODE: ____________
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING? _______________________________________________________________________
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt for you and contacting  you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on t r ust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that,we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this.

Yeah…i think we’ll pass.

Oct 07

Elephant Hill

Since moving to El Sereno, I’m learning a lot more about this part of Los Angeles and gleefully rejoice in the fact that celebrities, overpriced stores, hipsters and flakes are not subjects. There’s a place over here called Elephant Hill. It’s 110 acres of untouched land in the middle of the city. Apparently, it’s been a big deal over here for a long time. Many people want the hill to stay untouched. It serves as home to many flora and fauna that have been driven out of other developed areas. Apparently, El Sereno is used to being ignored and abused by the so-called civics leaders of LA. City Beat reports:

For years, those residents say, their neighborhood was the backwater of the backwater, an overlooked corner of overlooked East L.A. “Maybe it’s because we’re at the northernmost and easternmost edge of the city,” speculates Hugo Garcia, president of the local neighborhood council. Garcia’s family moved to El Sereno in the early 1960s, and over the past 40-plus years he’s watched a jumble of boxy apartment buildings and escalating cut-thru traffic clutter up his neighborhood. “In El Sereno, we’ve been neglected and taken for granted and run roughshod over. When it comes to business development plans, or resource allocation, or a plan to preserve open space, we don’t get it.”

I’ve lived here for 9 months and can see that. Actually, I noticed it before we bought our house, but hadn’t quite realized the boundaries of other cities were so close to El Sereno. When we need anything that’s not Latino food, we must go to Alhambra, South Pasadena or Pasadena for it. I mean anything, books, office supplies, clothings, imported beer. Our councilman, Jose Huizar is MIA for the most part. At least on this side of the hill. Apparently, in Eagle Rock they just adore him as he bends over backwards to fulfill their every wish. This side of town, not so much.

We moved from Hollywood. From our house, there were 4 parks within walking distance (10 – 20 min) with even more just a 5 – 20 min. drive away. Still, we’re told that open space in LA is relatively low. In El Sereno, it’s drastically lower at almost 2 acres for every 1000 people. That’s concrete jungle right there.

But Elephant Hill is privately owned and they want to build luxury McMansions up there. The owners did not get the proper environmental report and despite 200 people showing up at the council meeting to protest the development, the city still approved it. To give Huizar some credit, he has taken on this case and is listening to his constituents on this issue, though it’s not like he’s promising to never have development up there. He just wants the Planning board to go over the details, make sure everything’s legit and at least listen to the constituents.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I understand the need for housing, but at this time, the last thing LA needs is more overpriced, poorly constructed dicks on slab. We need affordable housing in this city, but more importantly, we need preserve what open spaces we have left.

Also check out The Battle for Elephant Hill by Mindy Farrabee.