Guinida: Clear the Lane

An Anaheim barrio near Disneyland is targeted for revitalization—again

On a recent overcast November morning, a dozen people trekked from Anaheim's Anna Drive to Guinida Lane in the name of barrio healing. With sage wands burning, an elder sang a song near an apartment complex nicknamed by residents "The Sandbox."

"No more bloodshed/No more bloodshed in the barrios of Aztlán!" he sang in a ritual cadence, ending with "tlazocamati" ("thank you" in Nahuatl). And then, the runners were off.

If there's an area of the city needing TLC, it's this one—but who will do the healing and how is a matter of contention. Nowadays, everything here is politicized. The neighborhood is tucked under Interstate 5, with the entrance to Disneyland on one side, while a Howard Johnson resort hotel casts a shadow over Guinida's palm-lined streets. The placas of the Anaheim Vatos Locos gang that claims the neighborhood dot the area, alongside "For Rent" signs. Residents are overwhelmingly working-class Latinos, mostly Mexican immigrants and Chicanos who live in row after row of drab, uniform duplexes or larger complexes. At least eight young men have been killed here in the past decade, including 21-year-old Joel Acevedo, who died on the second night of back-to-back officer-involved shootings that sparked angst and riots.

"The living conditions here aren't that great," says Sandbox resident Zia Back. Before moving earlier this year into her $1,100-per-month, one-bedroom apartment, she was evicted from the complex near where Acevedo was killed. She noticed other evictions and an increase in police patrols—as well as a team of investors touring the property.

"Code enforcement took a huge interest in our building all of a sudden," Back says. She believes this was the first step in Anaheim's plan to change up Guinida Lane via a joint proposal submitted by the Irvine-based Jamboree Housing Corporation and Irvine Housing Opportunities Inc. (IHO).

The strategy? Destroy the neighborhood in order to save it.

The proposal details a two-part process that involves buying vacant lots to build new apartments, as well as "rehabbing" the Sandbox and a large complex next to it. Jamboree and IHO claim that a market survey ensures that all residents in the first phase will qualify to remain and that permanent relocation won't be required. "We believe that [it] will assist in furthering the city of Anaheim's goal of achieving quality, livable places that are free of crime and blight," reads a July cover letter signed by the companies' CEOs.

Though the proposal to "revitalize" Guinida was submitted in July 2013, its roots stretch back further. In October 2012, a brainstorming session between Anaheim's then-Deputy Chief Craig Hunter and other department heads was called to "generate ideas to support a council initiative to eliminate blight in residential neighborhoods within three to five years," according to notes obtained by the Weekly. Coming just a few months after the aforementioned riots, Planning Director Sheri Vander Dussen reviewed outlined goals shared by an unnamed council member that included focusing "efforts on specific neighborhoods to maximize impact."

"Revitalization" efforts were already under way in other problem neighborhoods, according to the meeting, and new projects would require subsidies. Those in attendance wanted to next target Guinida, not just because of the national spotlight shined there after the Acevedo killing, but also because the city already had a "foothold" in the form of vacant lots. Attendees looked at Jamboree Housing for an exploratory follow-up as they "created associations comprised of multiple property owners" to ready the area for change.

If an effort to revitalize a Disneyland-adjacent barrio seems all too familiar in Anaheim's history, it's because it has already happened. Early last decade, city officials targeted Jeffrey-Lynne, which sits across from Disneyland to the west. The redevelopment project got off to a rocky start after a contentious meeting between residents and then-redevelopment chief Elisa Stipkovich (see Nick Schou's "Inside Revolutionary Anaheim"), but the plans eventually smoothed out as apartment buildings were razed and replaced. By 2002, Jeffrey-Lynne was rechristened Hermosa Village; eight years later, the Orange County district attorney's office imposed a gang injunction on the area, completing the city's plans.

Unsurprisingly, part of the IHO developer team is Stipkovich.

A longtime activist who was involved in the fight over Jeffrey-Lynne as part of the United Neighbors organization, Duane Roberts remembers Stipkovich's name well. "As I recall, the city was leaving the residents out of the process," he says. "They, of course, talked with the property owners and the developer."

Back set up a meeting with Roberts, who later pulled public records that revealed the Guinida proposal. Though the interested developer has been in negotiations with landlords, residents say no one from the city has alerted them to the plans. "No one knows anything," says Back of her fellow neighbors. Back faces eviction again in December.

"Guinida Lane is being targeted for gentrification—in other words to push the lowest income residents out of the neighborhood that the city thinks pose a problem to [not just] the local community, but, more specifically, the Anaheim Resort Area," Roberts says. "The reality is there will be a reduction of people living in that community through occupancy restrictions."

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20 comments
ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Guess I must have missed the alternatives to the so called "Gentrification," put forth by the social do gooders commenting herein.  If you have three generations crammed into this area who appear to want things left as they are, then Anaheim has a "Little Tijuana" environment  and mentality.  So the City brings in a couple of well known non-profit organizations who develop moderate and low income housing for people and they are criticized for it.  Am not an Anaheim tax payer but if I were, I would want the gangs and violence cleaned up, the illegals sent home and redevelopment completed as soon as possible.  

frescostyles
frescostyles

Anaheim city guilty of gentrification plans to Guinida Lane. Damn. To every They r trying to renovate and uplift G lane causing higher rates and cost of living and forcing lower income families to move out of Guinida. Gentrification is the oldest trick in the book. This is not a fix with intentions of promoting social equality or higher living standards for the community. This is a new money making scheme that is implicitly racists, its agenda is to push out low income Mexican families out of the area. This will only create displacement in other communities or other neighboring cities. Please wake up people, this is the same type of thinking that creates future debt for future generations in our economy today. This highly invasive and perverted form of politics is the true cause of our countries gradual decline. I am reaching out to all right wing left wing groups or voting and non voting people. Wake up.

cynthia.curran8
cynthia.curran8

Hidalgo County has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation . . . which has led almost 40 percent of residents to enroll in the food-stamp program . . . which means a widespread reliance on cheap, processed foods . . . which results in rates of diabetes and obesity that double the national average . . . which fuels the country’s highest per-capita spending on health care.

This is what El Futuro looks like in the Rio Grande Valley: The country’s hungriest region is also its most overweight, with 38.5 percent of the people obese. For one of the first times anywhere in the United States, children in South Texas have a projected life span that is a few years shorter than that of their parents.

It is a crisis at the heart of the Washington debate over food stamps, which now help support nearly 1 in 7 Americans. Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one? Is it enough for the government to help people buy food, or should it go further by also telling them what to eat?

You think Anaheim is bad, well try Hidalgo County Texas. This is one reason why Mexican and Central American immigrants head further from the border to Houston and Dallas where your job opportunities are better.

cynthia.curran8
cynthia.curran8

La has gotten rid of some its poor people. Actually, having a mixed is better but its hard to find somewhere else to rent.

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Why not condemn/emminent domain one of those empty lots, put down an APD or PCS substation and try to police the area in ernest? Why don't they listen to the people in the area? If the APD or OCS were held accountable they may earn the trust of the poor, but shooting unarmed kids in the back is not a good way to do that.

thanksforallthefish
thanksforallthefish

Bravo to the city for finally doing something... though they should've done it years ago.

This is not about getting rid of poor people, it is about getting rid of people who wage wars on our city streets. They think they own the neighborhood as evidenced by their tagging. Meanwhile, they do nothing for the community besides spread fear and hatred.

If some others get pushed out as well, so be it... Maybe next time they won't sit and watch the gang bangers take over their neighborhood. Do something! Praying to aztlan won't do shit.

Mr_KEYboardwarrior
Mr_KEYboardwarrior

the poor lower income family cant even watch theirs kids running around and gunning, i say good, destroy the neighbor in order to save it

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

"Revitalize" is code for "let's get rid of those pesky poor people". I think the only things that are truly "blighted" in this case are the minds of myopic city officials and greedy developers...

frescostyles
frescostyles

Take a sociology class please. Educate yourself.gentrification is not a permanent fix to any city . Its creates disparity and displacement which will later affect other communities in that city or others.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@thanksforallthefish Say what you want about the barrio runners, but there's no question that they at least engaged residents--with a message of neighborhood peace and nonviolence, something Reggie readers whine and complain Mexis never do! Oh and yeah, poor people will be pushed out. Hell, they already are.

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle :  How many of these are illegals?  One reason for the lack of affordable housing is the influx of illegals the past 10-20 years.  It's the old supply and demand issue that the left likes to forget about in their government planned/managed economies.

frescostyles
frescostyles

This is absurd! Please provide the empirical data supporting this ! U are so disconnected from reality and oblivious to pertinent social issues that are at the root of many of our cities problems. I will gladly debate this with you, and I am qualified.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@gregbpc @FishWithoutBicycle 

I don't give a damn about "illegal" or "illegal"...I take issue with government officials and rich fat cats pushing the poor around like they were pawns on a chessboard instead of human beings. Besides, the only people who have a real right to complain about "illegal immigrants" are the Native Americans...

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@frescostyles  

Exactly. Unfortunately many people would rather find a scapegoat to point the finger at than ponder the complexities of our economic/social problems...

frescostyles
frescostyles

Totally agree. The Latino threat is nothing more than a socially instilled fear through media that is pushed by a far right wing agenda. So many factors contribute to the sociological conditions for communities like this. Many of which are directly attributed to government itself.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@gregbpc @FishWithoutBicycle  

So any place that is a "crime infested squalor" must be full of illegals, right? Please. There are plenty of folks who were born in this country who act like trash and commit crimes. And how is displacing the folks who are not illegal nor criminals but simply POOR going to make anything better, either?

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle @gregbpc   that's the problem.  Your ilk does not care about legal/illegal.  I suppose it's better to live in crime infested squalor instead of making things better.  

 
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