[Note: I wrote the email below to the Silver Lake neighborhood council, which is debating whether to support the gang injunction proposed for parts of Silver Lake and Echo Park.]
To whom it may concern:
I write to set out some experiences I’ve had in renovating an apartment complex on Silver Lake Blvd in hopes that they will be helpful to you in your deliberations regarding the proposed gang injunction for parts of Silver Lake and Echo Park.
My client purchased two badly-neglected buildings on Silver Lake south of Sunset early this year and hired me to oversee the renovations.
Since before my client purchased the property, a group of gang-members and affiliates has congregated in front of the building immediately to the north. How do I know they are gang members? Because I have spoken with the lead LAPD officer in charge of the area and these individuals are known to him.
Several months ago, in broad daylight, a car pulled up in front of the Silver Lake Blvd. building, right next to my contractor and a property manager who previously worked for us. A young man stuck his head out the window, threatened my associates, pulled a gun out and fired it into the air a few times. Then the car sped away.
The police were called, but did not arrive in time to catch anyone.
Who was the gunman and why did he threaten my associates? I don’t think the gentlemen who congregate next to the property are crazy enough to do something like this so close to their home / main hang-out.
Instead, based on reports from people I know who grew up in the neighborhood and who know the relevant (bad-)actors, I believe the gunman was a member of a rival gang. He simply mistook my contractor and property manager, both of whom have darker skin, for members of the gang that congregates next door, and mistakenly threatened and fired on / near them.
Since this incident, the construction workers employed by my contractor have been afraid each time they venture out of our structures into our parking lot. They are rightly concerned that someone may mistake them for members of the gang next door and kill them. These are hard-working (immigrant) men trying to provide for their families.
Do you think they should have to live and work in fear of being killed? How about my dark-skinned contractor? Or any tenants of color who may move into the building when it is completed? Or the neighbors, passers-by, or commuters who might be hit by stray gunfire?