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Lawmaker wants reparations for families displaced by Dodger Stadium

Nearly 65 years after being forced from their homes, a California lawmaker is calling for 1,800 families to be compensated.
Exterior of Dodgers Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, in Los Angeles.
Posted at 11:49 AM, Mar 27, 2024

Prior to becoming the home to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chavez Ravine was a largely Hispanic community home to thousands of working-class Los Angeles residents. Many of the homes were small and meager, but it gave these residents an opportunity to have affordable housing. 

Then in the late 1950s, those residents were evicted so that a baseball stadium could be built. Despite residents' objections, they were swiftly moved out by city officials. 

More than 60 years later, a California lawmaker wants to "rectify" their displacement. California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo introducedAssembly Bill 1950,which in part would provide some compensation to the ravine's previous landowners and their descendants. If approved, original landowners would be offered city-owned real estate at a comparable market value, or similar compensation. 

It would also require officials to conduct a report on the events leading to the displacement of residents. The legislation would require the construction of a memorial on or near the ravine to honor the residents displaced by the stadium's construction. 

“The Chavez Ravine Accountability Act aims to correct an injustice that displaced families and has lingered in the shadows of Los Angeles Eastside history for far too long. Amid the 1950s, the vibrant community of Chavez Ravine, home to mostly Mexican-American families, as well as Italian-American and Chinese-American, saw an upheaval as families were uprooted and displaced in the name of progress. Families were promised a return to better housing, but instead, they were left destitute,” said Carrillo. 

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According to the Library of Congress,the Los Angeles City Council voted in 1957 in favor of building a stadium on the site. The community then led a referendum to put the measure to a citywide vote. 

In June 1958, more than 62% of voters supported the construction of a stadium., the LOC said. 

After a year of legal proceedings, residents were evicted from the Chavez Ravine in May 1959. 

Photos obtained by UCLA show residents being forcibly removed from their homes by police. 

Three years after residents were evicted, the Los Angeles Dodgers opened their brand new stadium. 

Carrillo noted that the bill does not involve the Dodgers or the current status of Dodger Stadium. She said the bill will be heard in the Assembly's Judicial Committee.