Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice, California is a garden-style apartment complex of 900+ units built in the early 50’s. Generations have lived there, and the rents were at least reasonable. (Well, reasonable by LA standards, a 1 bdr in Venice is probably $1200 a month now, nearby Santa Monica would be more.)
Since about 1985, the owners have wanted to demolish Lincoln Place and build condos, etc. A determined tenants association headed by the tireless Sheila Bernard has consistently blocked this from happening, and more than once when I thought they were doomed, they pulled the rabbit out of the hat yet again, and blocked the development.
The tangled tale of lawsuits, owners, and protests is too long and convoluted to tell here now. Suffice it to say that last Tuesday, 52 tenants were locked out by sheriffs acting on behalf of the owner, AIMCO, the largest apartment rental management company in the nation.
The tenants association probably can’t block these evictions from happening at this time. However they may well be able to block the demolition. Rabbits breed fast.
A little tent city has sprung up in support of Lincoln Place. Activists are welcome to drop by and show solidarity. At root, the problem is an economic system that values property rights above human rights, that allows owners many rights but gives renters few or none. Venice needs affordable housing, not more expensive mega-condos.
And yeah, this is personal. I lived in Lincoln Place for ten years, from 1991-2001. Sue and I own a home now, which just makes me even more aware of how few rights renters have.
Tuesday morning, Sheriff’s officers, acting on behalf of Apartment Investment and Management Company (AIMCO), which owns Lincoln Place, an apartment complex in Venice, locked 52 residents out of their apartments.
The lock-out was the latest turn in the long-running struggle between the residents and AIMCO.