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Molina's Office Picketed Over Plan to Evict Clinic

August 22, 1993|MARY ANNE PEREZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Officials of the East Los Angeles Health Task Force and its clients demonstrated at the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina last week to protest a move by the county to evict it from office space at Centro Maravilla, where it has served mostly senior citizens for 17 years.

Attorney Antonio Rodriguez, who represents the task force, said the county agreed to allow the clinic to remain in its offices at Centro Maravilla, 4716 E. Brooklyn Ave., but reneged when employees of the clinic filed claims against the county for damages in connection with a March incident in which county officials evicted staff members and changed the locks.

Lynn Bayer, assistant director of the county Department of Community and Senior Citizens Services, said the county is asking the 14 employees to drop their claims in order for the clinic to remain until next July.

"It doesn't make for a good relationship for an organization to be suing the county while it is holding a contract with the county," Bayer said. "If they come in tomorrow with the waivers, then it all goes away."

Both parties were scheduled to attend a hearing in East Los Angeles Municipal Court Friday on the claims. Rodriguez said he believes the county must show cause for removing the clinic and also give at least 30 days' notice before it evicts.

"It's our position that this is retaliatory eviction based on the claims. It's no longer a question of anything except that they want the claims dropped," Rodriguez said. "In my opinion, that's extortion."

The county has tried without success to get the clinic to share some of its 3,100-square-foot space with three other organizations--the Asthma Control and Treatment for Children program, the Los Angeles Youth Conservation Corps and a job-training program.

In March, the county tried to force employees of the clinic out of the space to make way for the other organizations, but the clinic received a temporary restraining order.

Since then, the Board of Supervisors has recommended that the two sides meet and negotiate a settlement.

Representatives of the county and the clinic have met several times, Bayer said, and had come to an agreement allowing the clinic to remain in the space until next summer. But the county has decided instead to pursue an eviction unless the employees drop their claims against it, she said.

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