World Stage planning community rally

Numerous Leimert Park businesses face eviction

Juliana Norwood | 10/23/2013, midnight

The World Stage Performance Gallery in Leimert Park—in light of being threatened with eviction—will hold a community rally, at the gallery, 4344 Degnan Blvd., on Saturday at 1 p.m. The rally was postponed after originally being scheduled for Oct. 19.

In what some community members are calling an attempt to gentrify the Crenshaw District’s Leimert Park neighborhood in preparation for the forthcoming Crenshaw light rail line station, long-time village businesses have recently been informed that their leases will not be renewed or have been served eviction-related notices, including The World Stage.

The World Stage’s board president Wiley Brown and community stakeholders organized a meeting with 10th District City Councilman Herb Wesson, who failed to show, but later his chief deputy Deron Williams arrived. According to World Stage board member Dwight Trible, who was at the meeting, Williams agreed to:

  1. Organize a meeting with the property owners who were seeking to evict the long-time African American tenants and those being forced out;
  2. Work through the city council to designate Leimert Park as a cultural landmark; and
  3. Work to help finance a “light and signage package” which would bring business-friendly neon-lights and attractive signage for Leimert Park businesses.

According to Trible, when the stakeholders tried to contact Wesson’s office to follow up on the meeting, initially, their phone calls were not returned and, ultimately, a Wesson staffer confessed that “they had hit a roadblock.”

Our Weekly newspaper has encountered similar results after calls to Wesson’s office have not been returned.

The World Stage is in the middle of an emergency capital-raising campaign. It is taking donations through its website (theworldstage.org) in an effort to raise $25,000 to keep the iconic cultural institution in Leimert Park.