An Open Letter to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck

I am writing today, with random unnecessary commas, to voice my concern and outrage over the increasing rich people that go jogging at 6am that the city is faced with. I’ve been living in the neighborhood between Koreatown and Hollywood of Los Angeles for the entirety of my life because it was affordable for my family before gentrification and now our place is rent-controlled, and without a doubt it is the worst it has ever been because it is the nicest it has ever been. There’s Ubers everywhere and CrossFit studios are cropping up and even worse, people that go to CrossFit are migrating here like crazy and they try to talk to me when I walk my dog. It’s awful. Every day, on my way to and from an entry-level job that doesn’t pay enough to let me live in this city by myself, I see people carrying yoga mats, vaping, wearing Lululemon, talking about startups and screenplays and this really cool music project that they’re working on right now, and the faces of addiction to their iPhones and juice cleanses. It makes me sick. I need to drive super carefully because they just glide into the street on their hoverboards and Priuses. The city is becoming a fancy town… Worst of all, it is a pain in the ass to the poor ugly people like me.

This holiday weekend, I was out with my parents which is rare because they’re usually forced to work weekends so that our family can make ends meet. Unfortunately, there were three separate incidents and countless times (even though I just said that there were three) that we were approached for existing and harassed by people wearing expensive organic face lotion.

The first incident involved a wealthy drunken man in the morning coming up to my mom’s pre-owned 1997 Toyota 4Runner and leaning up against it while we were parked across the street from an upscale bar. My father got frustrated with the drunken man because the drunken man threw a ten dollar bill at him and told him to drive him home to Brentwood, and they got into a heated altercation in which my father insisted that just because he has thick eyebrows and an accent it doesn’t mean that he’s an Uber driver.

The second incident occurred as we were leaving a Ross Dress for Less. A distraught and high person with an ironic beard and a shirt with just Quentin Tarantino’s face on it was standing in the middle of the street, yelling, screaming, yelling (I’m sorry, I forgot my thesaurus) about medical marijuana and how he was lost and couldn’t find In-N-Out, and even attempted to pull his pants down and show his genitals. He succeeded and it was tiny. I was distressed. The police drove up and did nothing to him, but they did stop to arrest some street vendors selling fruit.

Finally, on Valentine’s, I was at Universal CityWalk inside watching a movie that I successfully snuck into. Really, those high schoolers working at the cinema do not care at all and it’s super easy to sneak in. You should try it. Garcetti, you’re hot, come with me. Anyway, about two hours into the film, a man stumbled in the front door. He proceeded to walk into the theater, down the aisle to the front, wobbled toward the emergency door, opened it, and then took his Burberry shirt off and laid down. He took out his phone and took at least seventeen selfies with flash. Then he pointed the phone at the audience and shouted “I’M GROWING MY BRAND ON SNAPCHAT” and muttered under his breath how he was pissed that it was not like the nice theater in Westwood with the sofas. He then came back into the theater shielding his eyes from the running projector and saying that the theater he used to go to in San Francisco smelled nothing like this. My boyfriend was terrified that the workers would come in and ask everyone for their tickets and myself and many people used this opportunity to sneak into Deadpool instead.

What are you going to do to address this problem? The residents of this amazing city no longer feel safe with all these Vine-famous people running around and filming us. It’s not just them that are annoying; I can’t even walk through a grocery store without someone assuming I work there and asking me where the kale is anymore. I don’t even know what kale is. I know people are frustrated with this increasingly hipster hellhole. The hard working people who have busted their asses working for scraps have built this neighborhood into what it is over decades and now that is being taken over left and right by people who made one video about DIY buttplugs or an app for finding the right IPA beer or whatever and are now flushed with cash, and they’re roaming around here in Koreatown and Hollywood. Businesses that have been here for years like all the Vietnamese and Guatemalan restaurants are being replaced by vegan cupcake shops and clothing boutiques with stupid names like DISKOVÉR that only ever have girls with ombre hair inside and like three plain shirts on the rack. These wealthy people went out, got an education that daddy paid for and which I also got through the miracle of scholarships but it barely makes a difference anyway since Latina women make 56 cents to the white man’s dollar, work as hard as my family does but get ten times more credit for it, and look down on those who have not had it as easy in life because they are poor or minorities or came from other countries or are mentally ill and homeless or have addictions or are traumatized war veterans or left home when young because they’re LGBTQ or life just fucked them over. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted and having my right to exist while poor and brown be questioned by these privileged assholes, nor should anyone else, including the homeless, who are an incredibly vulnerable population. I also shouldn’t have to worry about them jogging around at all times of the day and having perfect messy buns or those goddamn curly mustaches with the suspenders and steampunk wristwatches! I shouldn’t have to hear the wealthy complain about the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless and poor people that they see every day when they are the ones that chose to come in and invade our neighborhoods and harass us with their farmers markets and not shut the fuck up about Kombucha and lead to long lines at our favorite taco trucks. Also I miss when taco trucks in Los Angeles were nameless and owned by guys with face tattoos, not this nonsense where food trucks have puns for names and their own Instagram pages. I want my parents when they go out to have a great experience, and enjoy this special place, and not worry that we’re going to get looks just for existing in the same places that these privileged hipsters have chosen to overtake.

I am telling you, there is going to be a revolution. You can tell, because I bolded it. People on both sides are frustrated, and you can sense the anger. The privileged are frustrated because they have to look at us, and we the poor are frustrated because the rich are driving up the price of living in what was a poor neighborhood for us just less than ten years ago so it’s a struggle to afford to live here anymore. It’s tough for both sides, you guys. I don’t have a magic solution, and if I did no one would listen to me anyway. It is a very difficult and complex situation, but somehow during Super Bowl (I linked it just in case you don’t know what Super Bowl is), all the privileged people were inside watching it and it felt like we had our old neighborhood back because you know we don’t give a shit about football, right? I’m willing to bet that was not a coincidence. The ability to chronicle a Beyonce performance in real time on social media can make change. So it is time to start making progress, and make Beyonce perform all the time on TV along with major sporting events so that all the white people stay the hell inside to watch it.

Democracy is not the last stop in politics. In fact, I actually don’t know because I never really paid attention to politics outside of immigration issues for my family since I don’t have time to just sit around and consume information. I do remember from college, though, that the order of biological taxonomy is Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, so I guess all that crushing debt wasn’t for nothing. Soccer-Tees, a soccer shop that my parents used to own before it was taken over by a pressed juicery, argued that soccer is better than American Football. But what if football is the thing that saves us?

“No thanks, I’m just looking. But I know you suspect me so now I will buy this four dollar Fiji water bottle out of shame. Yeah. That’ll show ‘em.” — me when walking through DISKOVÉR

Sincerely,

Ellie Guzman

P.S. Justin Keller can go fuck himself.

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