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Apartment Razing Plan Draws Protest

December 25, 1987|PHILIPP GOLLNER | Times Staff Writer

On a night when their frail health normally would keep many of them at home, about 75 elderly tenants threatened with eviction braved the chilly night air on Tuesday and gathered outside the home of a Westside developer, where they sang songs of fight and protest to the tune of traditional Christmas carols.

Songs such as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" got new lyrics to tell developer Richard W. Selby that the tenants will fight plans to demolish their Westdale Manor apartments in Mar Vista. Selby plans to build 285 luxury apartment units at the property on Sawtelle Boulevard south of National Boulevard.

As curious bystanders and neighbors watched outside Selby's posh Brentwood home, the protesters walked in a circle and chanted the "Jingle Bells" tune to lyrics that reflected not the Christmas spirit but expedience and greed:

Real estate, real estate

Money's all that counts .

Some folks would sell your grandmother for

Fifty cents an ounce.

"What a wonderful thing it would be if Mr. Selby gave us back our apartments for Christmas," said protester R. C. Treadwell, 84.

About three-quarters of Westdale Manor's 160 tenants are older than 62, according to Barbara Spark, communications director for the Westdale Manor Tenants Assn. Twenty-one percent are older than 80, she said.

Many of the elderly tenants who participated in the protest shouted with enthusiasm, convinced that only active opposition and participation could stop the demolition.

Selby refused to comment on the demonstration.

The tenants' protests have already begun paying off. The city Department of Building and Safety on Dec. 2 ordered an environmental impact report on the proposed demolition.

The order will delay demolition by at least one year and could result in a lengthier delay if officials determine that the eviction would be a significant hardship to tenants, said Cindy Miscikowski, City Councilman Marvin Braude's chief deputy.

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