Interview Transcription

I would like to learn more about the gentrification of different areas of Los Angeles over the past 50 years or so. I would like to know specifically about the respondent’s upbringing, what the demographic in her neighborhood was like, as well as the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood. I would like to know what her experience in the public school education system was like, and the demographic of her classmates. As the respondent has moved around Los Angeles since her upbringing, I would like to know if or how her perspective of her childhood neighborhood, now that she lives in a new location.

Interview Questions:

  • From your understanding, what were the racial and socioeconomics of your childhood neighborhood?
  • What was it like going through the public school education system, and were you aware of the different groups with which you were interacting at school?
  • What changes have you noticed over time, especially in terms of gentrification/the movement of different groups throughout the city?
  • What were the differences between your children’s experience in the public school education system and your own experience?

Interview Summary:

The interview took place over the phone, so I was missing visual information during the interview. However, the respondent did seem nervous, mainly in her ability to properly answer the questions. When arranging the interview with her, I explained that I wanted to learn more about gentrification in Los Angeles, and she told me she was unsure of how helpful she would be on the topic. However, I believe that just by talking about her childhood and schooling experience, she was able to give me a good sense of how the city has changed throughout her lifetime. Hearing her discuss her children’s education gave a good representation of the intricacies of the Los Angeles public school system.

Transcription:

I: Yeah so, I, I mean, I have like a few basic questions but we can basically just have a conversation. Um, I mean, you’re one of the few people I know that’s lived in West Los Angeles their whole life, um….

R: Uh huh.

I: So I, I mean I guess if you could talk, um, a little bit about, um, your upbringing, like specifically what neighborhood you grew up in?

R: Okay, yeah, I grew up in in Mar Vista.

I: Okay.

R: Near the Santa Monica Airport.

I: Right.

R: And I went to the school that your mom does Community Circle at.

I: At Mar Vista Elementary?

R: Yep.

I: Okay, and then what was the middle–or junior high for that? Webster?

R: That was Webster, Daniel Webster Junior High School.

I: Okay, and then Venice High School.

R: Right.

I: Got it. So did you live in Mar Vista, like more

R: The same house the whole time.

I: Wow! Okay, um

R: And actually we call it Mar Vista but I don’t know if the area we lived in–I, I think really the real, actual name is “Westdale,” W-E-S-T-D-A-L-E.

I: Okay.

R: But no one really said that so, you know, it’s close enough to Mar Vista that it’s sort of….

I: Right, okay. That’s interesting. Great. And then, um, and you lived in that house with your…parents, and your…

R: My parents and my sister.

I: Oh okay. Um, and when you were young, what was that area like…in terms of

R: You mean like, the demographic?

I: Yeah.

R: Uh it was, uh, mostly Caucasian.

I: Okay.

R: Definitely had, uh, aside from Caucasian, then at school I’d say the next would be, um, Japanese.

I: Oh, okay.

R: Yeah, and then, like when I was in, um, when I was in elementary school, they had a bus system I believe, or, I think they had bussing, I don’t know, but, you know there were a few African American kids, who were either in my class or in other classes, there were a few in our grade, I’d say maybe like, maybe like, I don’t know I want to say only a handful, maybe like three to five. Um, and I really don’t think that they, like they, their, they may not have, I–I don’t know, like, I think sometimes they um like there were two girls that I think they were sort of friendly themselves but they were also friendly with the other kids. I don’t remember them necessarily coming to the birthday parties but I don’t think there was any deliberate exclusion or bullying or anything like that.

I: Oh okay. But there was still, like, very few African American students?

R: Yeah, very few, very few. And I think, they may have been bussed in, I–I think there was bussing, so, you know it was probably sort of a long haul for them.

I: Right. And–and do you know about, like, the socioeconomic, um, sort of range of that area?

R: Uh…I don’t, I don’t really know, most people were, most of the parents were professionals.

I: Okay.

R: Some were, you know, like doctors and such…

I: Right.

R: Um, but you had a lot who were professionals but not necessarily in the high-paying profession.

I: And were all the houses, like, the same, like the same style of house, you know, like, there weren’t any, like, big houses or small houses on that street?

R: Oh, on our street there were, I mean, I’d say two-story houses were way rarer than single stories.

I: Oh okay. And was the size of the house, do you think, necessarily related to the wealth of the family that lived in the house?
 R: Um, you know what, of the people I know of, cause I don’t there were very many two-story houses, and the couple that I can think of, I think they, I think one had three kids, one had four kids, um, there weren’t that many two story houses but I think the ones that, that they, it was more that I think because people wanted the room than it was to show….

I: Sure, yeah, okay. Um, and, okay, so you went through the public school education system and it was….

R: Yeah and Venice High, Webster Junior High and Venice High were very integrated.

I: Uh huh. Okay that’s interesting.

R: Very. Yeah.

I: Okay, and, and like, what, I’m wondering like, what, obviously not a percentage but like, was it mostly Caucasian students? Or was it…cause now it certainly isn’t.

R: I think, I’d say that, Venice I don’t think it was mostly Caucasian, now, in the honors classes, those were mostly, those were mostly Caucasian and Asian.

I: Okay.

R: Uh huh.

I: Okay. Interesting. And you–

R: Not entirely, but more, but I’d put it at Venice and at Webster you definitely had, you know, different kinds of Asian, you had, you know, some Koreans, some Japanese, some Asian, you had Filipino, Hispanic, African American. African American I believe they got bussed into Webster, but at Venice it was a naturally integrated school.

I: Oh okay. Huh. Because I don’t necessarily of…the areas around Venice being…like, I don’t know I think people of color maybe living there but not necessarily African American people.

R: Yeah, and I don’t know, maybe there weren’t that many. There may not have been that many.

I: Right. Were you–

R: But we definitely had Hispanics.

I: Yeah. Were you aware of the fact that, like, cause you were in an honors program is that correct?

R: Uh huh. Yeah.

I: Were you aware that maybe you, the program you were in had a different racial demographic than, like, other programs or the school, you know?

R: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

I: Okay. Huh.

R: Because then when you’re in, you know when you’re taking, like, the elective classes or you’re in PE, you’re with everybody.

I: Okay. Alright. Um, okay, let’s see…um…um…yeah, and so was that, like did anyone have anything to say about the fact that the school was so diverse, like did your parents make…like notice that?

R: I’m sure they noticed and they probably liked it, and I remember having an English teacher and he said, “You know, Venice is so naturally integrated,” he said, “if they were ever to bus here, I would quit my job. Because here it happens naturally.”

I: Right. That’s interesting.

R: And you know what, like, in junior high at Webster, we were, like, homeroom, that was, everyone was together, and, you know, I was totally aware there were, and you know there was one girl that was African American, and you know, like we’d say hi to each other, we’d sit next to each other, it was really like, people tended to stick with their own groups. It just sort of happened that way except there was a lot of mixing between the Asian and Caucasian, and the other ones stayed a little more separate, but um, but it didn’t, but, but people were still, like, you know you still talked to people who were of different races than you’d still, you know, be friendly with them in a casual way.

I: That’s nice, that’s a good thing to hear.

R: Yeah, but I do remember, like for example there was one person from my homeroom and she said something like about her mom throwing a telephone at her, and so of course, you know like only years later, my background is so different, I thought like, “Well, you know whatever, she, at least she probably did the one that she knew that it was on a cord, because landlines were different, they were attached to the cord, so she knew that it would never reach her. Like that’s what automatically went through my head at the time, but then later, years later I thought, “Oh my god maybe in some way she was abused,” but, um, yeah.

I: Huh. Okay, that’s interesting.

R: Yeah. And there were some African Americans in some of the honors classes, you know like, you know we signed each other’s yearbooks and stuff like that. Uh huh.

I: Huh. Um, interesting. Wow. Okay, and so now, obviously you live in a very different part of the city, um, so has your perspective of where the area that you grew up, has that changed as all, because obviously, it’s, the area I’m sure, the demographic there is different um, and obviously it looks very different, even like, you know I’m sure the, the school system has changed as well.

R: The school system has changed and I will say, like, you know it’s like Webster Junior High almost, it’s known not to be very good, it may not even be that safe. People don’t send their kids there, but there are people I went to school with who are now sending their kids to Venice High School. Because they’ve got a language magnet….And I think really it all boils down to, where are the good teachers, where are the teachers who care, and I think there were some teachers at Venice saying thing that were better than what was going on at Beverly, to tell you the truth.

I: Yeah. Sure.

R: Not in every department, but in some.

I: Right. I also think it’s interesting too because I think it has a lot to do with like, the magnet program, and people know that there are magnet programs at certain schools, with, like, Venice and Hamilton. And I’m sure that that’s attractive to parents as well.

R: Yeah, and it think it’s also where the parent’s involvement, like with Mar Vista Elementary, that is, like people wanna move in to the district to get their kids to go there, and….

I: Right.

R: And someone was telling me, even if you live there, you may not even be able to get your kid in, it’s become, you know, so coveted.

I: Oh wow. Right.

R: Yeah, and I think it’s, uh huh….

I: Yeah that does happen, and I think that can also be reflected in the, you know, the housing market and who’s buying houses in that area.

R: Yeah. And I will say just the contrast, I mean, I had to live here and we sent our kids because we really believe in public school so, anyways, that’s part of the reason that we came to Beverly Hills because we did want a public school system that was good, police, fire, and that was the main reason for coming here, but I will say that I do wish that there was, that it was, that there, that when my kids were going through school, that it was less homogeneous, and I do think you can learn a lot from different people, and some of that comes from different cultures. And um, so part of me wishes that they had been in a place that was a little more heterogeneous.

I: Right. Right, yeah, no, that–that makes sense.

R: And if you look at, um, there’s a great book it’s called Nurture Shock, I believe, it may be my Malcolm Gladwell, I’m not sure. And it says that, you know, that there’s things that are contrary to what you would imagine or what people try to do, and for example when they desegregated schools and made them integrated, the kids self-segregated. You tend to want to be with who is the most similar to you.

I: Right.

R: So um, so like a lot of that would go on. Um, but um, but yeah I would say that people, it was more um, it was less about color and more, and especially in high school, it was more just about, um, who’s in your same, like, intellectual level of like, who you’re gonna be in class with. And it didn’t matter what race you were, if you were smart and you excelled, you were respected.

I: Huh, okay that’s uh, that’s really interesting. Um, but is that I–I mean I don’t know if you would know first-hand but obviously, like, you chose the school that your kids were gonna go to, that’s something that you put thought into, um especially because it’s all based off of location, um, but do you think that that value was different or not present at Beverly High School?

R: Which value?

I: I mean, like, in terms of respect, um….

R: Ohh, I don’t really know, and at Beverly it’s sort of a different story. You have a heavy Persian community, but it’s not even as much, I think, like, if you succeeded you were probably respected but you didn’t have as much diversity. Now my daughter has a very good friend who she’s still friends with an he’s, you know, half African-American, and she met him at Beverly. Um, um, so I think with my kids it wouldn’t have really mattered much, um, I do think that you know, it could have, like, with um sometimes what happens is if the kids come from farther away, then it may be harder to get together and things like that. I do know that Venice was also like, there were clubs, like with the Girl’s League, it wasn’t about, you know, what grades you had or anything, it was just if you wanted to be in it, so that was one thing that brought people together from a bunch of different backgrounds.

I: Hmm. Okay. And I guess the last thing that I’m interesting in knowing about would be um, so, you’ve lived in the same city for your whole life which amazing, um, and its, it’s changed….I don’t know, how have you noticed the change, um.

R: I’d say just more, more development, so like, that’s probably one of the bigger changes, I think. Another huge, huge change was when Proposition 13 came about, and that took money away from schools, away from the libraries, and because it took money away from the schools, some of the public schools went downhill.

I: Right.

R: So then people who had a lot of money, they could go to private school. People who didn’t were stuck at the schools that were now even, you know like, on par with they had been. So then you had an even huger disparity between the kids who had to go to school that weren’t even as good when it was public schools pre-Prop 13 and you compare that to the kids who were now at private schools so it was a bigger divide, um. They just weren’t having as much of a neighborhood base in the school, and with parents who lived nearby in the school, and it also affected, you know, once you’re at private school, kids are from a much larger radius then if they’re just at their local school.

I: Right. Yeah, that’s interesting. And it’s interesting to think about, like, now, what are elementary schools especially, what are the schools that have remained so community-oriented, and I guess, like, for me I think about Mar Vista, I think about Westwood Charter, and like, you know, some of the Beverly Hills schools as well that like, people try really hard to get into, move to that location just so they can send their kids to that public school because it has, like, that–

R: Even in Beverly Hills, the area I live in is like, the least affluent, so, you have more people who move in here for the school. The other areas that are further north, you have people who live in those houses cause they want those big houses in those addresses, and a lot of those people may send their kids to private school, anyways. But more the people who live in the less affluent areas, they’re gonna be more likely to send their kids to the public school.

I: Right. And were you, were you happy with your kid’s progression through the Beverly Hills public school system?

R: Not as much, I–I don’t, I think there were, it wasn’t good as I thought–as I hoped it was going to be.

I: Well they ended up pretty good, I have to say, so….

R: Thank you, thank you. I think they could have learned a little bit more along the way. I think like, I know your school, Windward had an excellent, you know the lab was so neat, you know, for doing science. I don’t think they may have made it as exciting as it could have been. Um, it’s also a factor when you have more kids in the class, and then you’re gonna have a subset of kids who don’t even care, so…..

I: Yeah, yeah.

R: And teachers here, they get tenure after two years, so some of them try and some of them don’t.

I: Yeah. Yeah. Um, great, I mean, that’s all I have, um for you, if there’s anything else you would like to add…I don’t really know how I’m gonna frame this story yet, um, but….

R: And in terms of gentrification, there was an interesting book, we read it for bookgroup a long time ago, it was called, um, uh, The Madonnas of Echo Park. And it’s about the whole area of Echo Park, you know, by Dodger Stadium, that it became more and more gentrified and how it affected the Latino population there.

I: Right. Yeah that’s so interesting.

R: Yeah but it is, and now there’s, there’s, you know it’s very hard too because Sawtelle Boulevard, that whole area was very Japanese, and now developers are coming in and, and what I don’t like is taking away, I think things are becoming less, sort of individual, like when you say how things are changing, like so maybe like less of the independent character and more of the homogeneous kind of feel. Like building things up instead of having that community character. I will say, like, near the Mar Vista area it is nice, I feel like it happens more there than here. But if you’re just walking along on the street, people tend to just say “Hello,” and it’s normal to do that.

I: But, that area also, like, it’s become so affluent, even moreso, so I’m sure that, you know, that has a lot to do with it. And those houses that they’re building there are massive, um.

R: Yeah. But I think that the people, I think that if anything, that may make it, that may make it, like, less that way, because I feel like in Beverly Hills people are less likely, you know, it’s more, it’s not as, I don’t know maybe because there’s no stores around right near there. I don’t know but it just feels like if you’re just walking, people just tend to say hi. I don’t know. And the other thing that changed too, but I’m sure it’s for all over, was that if you asked things that have changed over the years, it’s also just that kids used to play outside more, like in the front yard, and they used to have more free time. So play would happen more organically, and neighbors would get together and play and even if they were of different ages they would, you would see kids of different ages playing together.

I: Yeah that’s an interesting thing, that I don’t see anymore, I really don’t.

R: Yeah, so, that’s, or maybe there was more free time and a little more boredom, so, if there was a carnival at the park kids tended to go. There were more, you know….

I: Right, more community-oriented things.

R: Yeah, yeah, just riding their bikes around the neighborhood just to have fun and ride bikes, that kind of thing.

I: Yeah. Hopefully that’ll come back, you never know.

R: Yep. That would be nice.

I: Yeah, it would. Great well, that’s pretty much it, um, I really, really appreciate all of your um, all of what you had to say. It was really great, it really was.

R: Yeah, no, not at all and if there’s anything you left out of course you can, feel free to call. I am available.

I: Yeah so, I, I mean, I have like a few basic questions but we can basically just have a conversation. Um, I mean, you’re one of the few people I know that’s lived in West Los Angeles their whole life, um

R: Uh huh

I: So I, I mean I guess if you could talk, um, a little bit about, um, your upbringing, like specifically what neighborhood you grew up in?

R: Okay, yeah, I grew up in in Mar Vista

I: Okay

R: Near the Santa Monica Airport

I: Right

R: And I went to the school that your mom does Community Circle at.

I: At Mar Vista Elementary?

R: Yep.

I: Okay, and then what was the middle–or junior high for that? Webster?

R: That was Webster, Daniel Webster Junior High School.

I: Okay, and then Venice High School.

R: Right.

I: Got it. So did you live in Mar Vista, like more

R: The same house the whole time.

I: Wow! Okay, um

R: And actually we call it Mar Vista but I don’t know if the area we lived in–I, I think really the real, actual name is “Westdale,” W-E-S-T-D-A-L-E.

I: Okay.

R: But no one really said that so, you know, it’s close enough to Mar Vista that it’s sort of….

I: Right, okay. That’s interesting. Great. And then, um, and you lived in that house with your…parents, and your…

R: My parents and my sister.

I: Oh okay. Um, and when you were young, what was that area like…in terms of

R: You mean like, the demographic?

I: Yeah.

R: Uh it was, uh, mostly Caucasian.

I: Okay.

R: Definitely had, uh, aside from Caucasian, then at school I’d say the next would be, um, Japanese.

I: Oh, okay.

R: Yeah, and then, like when I was in, um, when I was in elementary school, they had a bus system I believe, or, I think they had bussing, I don’t know, but, you know there were a few African American kids, who were either in my class or in other classes, there were a few in our grade, I’d say maybe like, maybe like, I don’t know I want to say only a handful, maybe like three to five. Um, and I really don’t think that they, like they, their, they may not have, I–I don’t know, like, I think sometimes they um like there were two girls that I think they were sort of friendly themselves but they were also friendly with the other kids. I don’t remember them necessarily coming to the birthday parties but I don’t think there was any deliberate exclusion or bullying or anything like that.

I: Oh okay. But there was still, like, very few African American students?

R: Yeah, very few, very few. And I think, they may have been bussed in, I–I think there was bussing, so, you know it was probably sort of a long haul for them.

I: Right. And–and do you know about, like, the socioeconomic, um, sort of range of that area?

R: Uh…I don’t, I don’t really know, most people were, most of the parents were professionals.

I: Okay.

R: Some were, you know, like doctors and such…

I: Right.

R: Um, but you had a lot who were professionals but not necessarily in the high-paying profession.

I: And were all the houses, like, the same, like the same style of house, you know, like, there weren’t any, like, big houses or small houses on that street?

R: Oh, on our street there were, I mean, I’d say two-story houses were way rarer than single stories.

I: Oh okay. And was the size of the house, do you think, necessarily related to the wealth of the family that lived in the house?
 R: Um, you know what, of the people I know of, cause I don’t there were very many two-story houses, and the couple that I can think of, I think they, I think one had three kids, one had four kids, um, there weren’t that many two story houses but I think the ones that, that they, it was more that I think because people wanted the room than it was to show….

I: Sure, yeah, okay. Um, and, okay, so you went through the public school education system and it was….

R: Yeah and Venice High, Webster Junior High and Venice High were very integrated.

I: Uh huh. Okay that’s interesting.

R: Very. Yeah.

I: Okay, and, and like, what, I’m wondering like, what, obviously not a percentage but like, was it mostly Caucasian students? Or was it…cause now it certainly isn’t.

R: I think, I’d say that, Venice I don’t think it was mostly Caucasian, now, in the honors classes, those were mostly, those were mostly Caucasian and Asian.

I: Okay.

R: Uh huh.

I: Okay. Interesting. And you–

R: Not entirely, but more, but I’d put it at Venice and at Webster you definitely had, you know, different kinds of Asian, you had, you know, some Koreans, some Japanese, some Asian, you had Filipino, Hispanic, African American. African American I believe they got bussed into Webster, but at Venice it was a naturally integrated school.

I: Oh okay. Huh. Because I don’t necessarily of…the areas around Venice being…like, I don’t know I think people of color maybe living there but not necessarily African American people.

R: Yeah, and I don’t know, maybe there weren’t that many. There may not have been that many.

I: Right. Were you–

R: But we definitely had Hispanics.

I: Yeah. Were you aware of the fact that, like, cause you were in an honors program is that correct?

R: Uh huh. Yeah.

I: Were you aware that maybe you, the program you were in had a different racial demographic than, like, other programs or the school, you know?

R: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

I: Okay. Huh.

R: Because then when you’re in, you know when you’re taking, like, the elective classes or you’re in PE, you’re with everybody.

I: Okay. Alright. Um, okay, let’s see…um…um…yeah, and so was that, like did anyone have anything to say about the fact that the school was so diverse, like did your parents make…like notice that?

R: I’m sure they noticed and they probably liked it, and I remember having an English teacher and he said, “You know, Venice is so naturally integrated,” he said, “if they were ever to bus here, I would quit my job. Because here it happens naturally.”

I: Right. That’s interesting.

R: And you know what, like, in junior high at Webster, we were, like, homeroom, that was, everyone was together, and, you know, I was totally aware there were, and you know there was one girl that was African American, and you know, like we’d say hi to each other, we’d sit next to each other, it was really like, people tended to stick with their own groups. It just sort of happened that way except there was a lot of mixing between the Asian and Caucasian, and the other ones stayed a little more separate, but um, but it didn’t, but, but people were still, like, you know you still talked to people who were of different races than you’d still, you know, be friendly with them in a casual way.

I: That’s nice, that’s a good thing to hear.

R: Yeah, but I do remember, like for example there was one person from my homeroom and she said something like about her mom throwing a telephone at her, and so of course, you know like only years later, my background is so different, I thought like, “Well, you know whatever, she, at least she probably did the one that she knew that it was on a cord, because landlines were different, they were attached to the cord, so she knew that it would never reach her. Like that’s what automatically went through my head at the time, but then later, years later I thought, “Oh my god maybe in some way she was abused,” but, um, yeah.

I: Huh. Okay, that’s interesting.

R: Yeah. And there were some African Americans in some of the honors classes, you know like, you know we signed each other’s yearbooks and stuff like that. Uh huh.

I: Huh. Um, interesting. Wow. Okay, and so now, obviously you live in a very different part of the city, um, so has your perspective of where the area that you grew up, has that changed as all, because obviously, it’s, the area I’m sure, the demographic there is different um, and obviously it looks very different, even like, you know I’m sure the, the school system has changed as well.

R: The school system has changed and I will say, like, you know it’s like Webster Junior High almost, it’s known not to be very good, it may not even be that safe. People don’t send their kids there, but there are people I went to school with who are now sending their kids to Venice High School. Because they’ve got a language magnet….And I think really it all boils down to, where are the good teachers, where are the teachers who care, and I think there were some teachers at Venice saying thing that were better than what was going on at Beverly, to tell you the truth.

I: Yeah. Sure.

R: Not in every department, but in some.

I: Right. I also think it’s interesting too because I think it has a lot to do with like, the magnet program, and people know that there are magnet programs at certain schools, with, like, Venice and Hamilton. And I’m sure that that’s attractive to parents as well.

R: Yeah, and it think it’s also where the parent’s involvement, like with Mar Vista Elementary, that is, like people wanna move in to the district to get their kids to go there, and….

I: Right.

R: And someone was telling me, even if you live there, you may not even be able to get your kid in, it’s become, you know, so coveted.

I: Oh wow. Right.

R: Yeah, and I think it’s, uh huh….

I: Yeah that does happen, and I think that can also be reflected in the, you know, the housing market and who’s buying houses in that area.

R: Yeah. And I will say just the contrast, I mean, I had to live here and we sent our kids because we really believe in public school so, anyways, that’s part of the reason that we came to Beverly Hills because we did want a public school system that was good, police, fire, and that was the main reason for coming here, but I will say that I do wish that there was, that it was, that there, that when my kids were going through school, that it was less homogeneous, and I do think you can learn a lot from different people, and some of that comes from different cultures. And um, so part of me wishes that they had been in a place that was a little more heterogeneous.

I: Right. Right, yeah, no, that–that makes sense.

R: And if you look at, um, there’s a great book it’s called Nurture Shock, I believe, it may be my Malcolm Gladwell, I’m not sure. And it says that, you know, that there’s things that are contrary to what you would imagine or what people try to do, and for example when they desegregated schools and made them integrated, the kids self-segregated. You tend to want to be with who is the most similar to you.

I: Right.

R: So um, so like a lot of that would go on. Um, but um, but yeah I would say that people, it was more um, it was less about color and more, and especially in high school, it was more just about, um, who’s in your same, like, intellectual level of like, who you’re gonna be in class with. And it didn’t matter what race you were, if you were smart and you excelled, you were respected.

I: Huh, okay that’s uh, that’s really interesting. Um, but is that I–I mean I don’t know if you would know first-hand but obviously, like, you chose the school that your kids were gonna go to, that’s something that you put thought into, um especially because it’s all based off of location, um, but do you think that that value was different or not present at Beverly High School?

R: Which value?

I: I mean, like, in terms of respect, um….

R: Ohh, I don’t really know, and at Beverly it’s sort of a different story. You have a heavy Persian community, but it’s not even as much, I think, like, if you succeeded you were probably respected but you didn’t have as much diversity. Now my daughter has a very good friend who she’s still friends with an he’s, you know, half African-American, and she met him at Beverly. Um, um, so I think with my kids it wouldn’t have really mattered much, um, I do think that you know, it could have, like, with um sometimes what happens is if the kids come from farther away, then it may be harder to get together and things like that. I do know that Venice was also like, there were clubs, like with the Girl’s League, it wasn’t about, you know, what grades you had or anything, it was just if you wanted to be in it, so that was one thing that brought people together from a bunch of different backgrounds.

I: Hmm. Okay. And I guess the last thing that I’m interesting in knowing about would be um, so, you’ve lived in the same city for your whole life which amazing, um, and its, it’s changed….I don’t know, how have you noticed the change, um.

R: I’d say just more, more development, so like, that’s probably one of the bigger changes, I think. Another huge, huge change was when Proposition 13 came about, and that took money away from schools, away from the libraries, and because it took money away from the schools, some of the public schools went downhill.

I: Right.

R: So then people who had a lot of money, they could go to private school. People who didn’t were stuck at the schools that were now even, you know like, on par with they had been. So then you had an even huger disparity between the kids who had to go to school that weren’t even as good when it was public schools pre-Prop 13 and you compare that to the kids who were now at private schools so it was a bigger divide, um. They just weren’t having as much of a neighborhood base in the school, and with parents who lived nearby in the school, and it also affected, you know, once you’re at private school, kids are from a much larger radius then if they’re just at their local school.

I: Right. Yeah, that’s interesting. And it’s interesting to think about, like, now, what are elementary schools especially, what are the schools that have remained so community-oriented, and I guess, like, for me I think about Mar Vista, I think about Westwood Charter, and like, you know, some of the Beverly Hills schools as well that like, people try really hard to get into, move to that location just so they can send their kids to that public school because it has, like, that–

R: Even in Beverly Hills, the area I live in is like, the least affluent, so, you have more people who move in here for the school. The other areas that are further north, you have people who live in those houses cause they want those big houses in those addresses, and a lot of those people may send their kids to private school, anyways. But more the people who live in the less affluent areas, they’re gonna be more likely to send their kids to the public school.

I: Right. And were you, were you happy with your kid’s progression through the Beverly Hills public school system?

R: Not as much, I–I don’t, I think there were, it wasn’t good as I thought–as I hoped it was going to be.

I: Well they ended up pretty good, I have to say, so….

R: Thank you, thank you. I think they could have learned a little bit more along the way. I think like, I know your school, Windward had an excellent, you know the lab was so neat, you know, for doing science. I don’t think they may have made it as exciting as it could have been. Um, it’s also a factor when you have more kids in the class, and then you’re gonna have a subset of kids who don’t even care, so…..

I: Yeah, yeah.

R: And teachers here, they get tenure after two years, so some of them try and some of them don’t.

I: Yeah. Yeah. Um, great, I mean, that’s all I have, um for you, if there’s anything else you would like to add…I don’t really know how I’m gonna frame this story yet, um, but….

R: And in terms of gentrification, there was an interesting book, we read it for bookgroup a long time ago, it was called, um, uh, The Madonnas of Echo Park. And it’s about the whole area of Echo Park, you know, by Dodger Stadium, that it became more and more gentrified and how it affected the Latino population there.

I: Right. Yeah that’s so interesting.

R: Yeah but it is, and now there’s, there’s, you know it’s very hard too because Sawtelle Boulevard, that whole area was very Japanese, and now developers are coming in and, and what I don’t like is taking away, I think things are becoming less, sort of individual, like when you say how things are changing, like so maybe like less of the independent character and more of the homogeneous kind of feel. Like building things up instead of having that community character. I will say, like, near the Mar Vista area it is nice, I feel like it happens more there than here. But if you’re just walking along on the street, people tend to just say “Hello,” and it’s normal to do that.

I: But, that area also, like, it’s become so affluent, even moreso, so I’m sure that, you know, that has a lot to do with it. And those houses that they’re building there are massive, um.

R: Yeah. But I think that the people, I think that if anything, that may make it, that may make it, like, less that way, because I feel like in Beverly Hills people are less likely, you know, it’s more, it’s not as, I don’t know maybe because there’s no stores around right near there. I don’t know but it just feels like if you’re just walking, people just tend to say hi. I don’t know. And the other thing that changed too, but I’m sure it’s for all over, was that if you asked things that have changed over the years, it’s also just that kids used to play outside more, like in the front yard, and they used to have more free time. So play would happen more organically, and neighbors would get together and play and even if they were of different ages they would, you would see kids of different ages playing together.

I: Yeah that’s an interesting thing, that I don’t see anymore, I really don’t.

R: Yeah, so, that’s, or maybe there was more free time and a little more boredom, so, if there was a carnival at the park kids tended to go. There were more, you know….

I: Right, more community-oriented things.

R: Yeah, yeah, just riding their bikes around the neighborhood just to have fun and ride bikes, that kind of thing.

I: Yeah. Hopefully that’ll come back, you never know.

R: Yep. That would be nice.

I: Yeah, it would. Great well, that’s pretty much it, um, I really, really appreciate all of your um, all of what you had to say. It was really great, it really was.

R: Yeah, no, not at all and if there’s anything you left out of course you can, feel free to call. I am available.

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