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Neighbors Are Left Holding the Bag

May 30, 1993

Food Bag, the "popular" market you have referred to in two articles (May 1, May 13) is not quite so popular with the neighborhood it inhabits.

Most of those signing Mr. Rodriguez's self-initiated petition do not live in the immediate area, but rather drive to and from the store and thus are not in a position to be affected by the store's tremendous expansion and impact. These are some of the same people, by the way, who are leaving their cars in illegal spaces, parking their shopping carts on our lawns, and dropping their trash along the way as they go. Though I do not believe Mr. Rodriguez's customers are entirely to blame for the current situation, I also do not believe they should be the ones to determine what should or should not exist in our neighborhood.

The people who do live in this immediate area are extremely upset about the havoc being created, and the concerns of the neighbors go far beyond that of parking and the blocking of a few driveways. We have had a new influx of petty crime, fires, loitering, trash, public drinking, threats on neighbors' lives and most recently a break-in of the house adjacent to Mr. Rodriguez's property. There is also just a general "seediness" to the area that simply did not exist before.

This is essentially an ethnically mixed, lower-middle-class area whose residents have worked hard to own what we have and at one time felt we had a lot. We simply feel we are entitled to maintain that quality of life and that Mr. Rodriguez is in a position--and has a duty--to remedy the problems impacting us as a result of his achievement of the American dream.

There is no confusion as to what Mr. Rodriguez is being asked to do, and his "willingness" to do such only emerged following the city's threatened closure of his business. I, too, would like to see this settled amicably and feel that it may well be. I would, however, appreciate a bit more sympathy for what we have been--and are--experiencing and a little more understanding that Mr. Rodriguez was initially trying only to secure more parking for his store and was prepared to do nothing about the rest of our concerns until we, the Zoning Administration and Councilman Wachs' office stepped in.

ANN ELLINGSON

North Hollywood

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