LOW RIDER CAR SHOW - On Thursday May 18th, 2023, local Highland Park residents, business owners and consumers started noticing Los Angeles Red and White no stopping signs posted on York Blvd. The signs stated tow away, no stopping on Saturday only from 11am to midnight.
There were no explanations made for the posted signs. Telephone inquiries were made by Highland Park residents, local business owners and consumers to Los Angeles City Council member Kevin Deleon’s office and the LAPD Northeast Division.
According to residents, CD 14 Deleon's office gave out mixed responses depending on who they were talking with. One, they had no knowledge why the no stopping signs were being posted, or who had posted them, and had no knowledge of any pending event taking place on York Blvd, nor did their office issue any city permits. However, we do know that their office was aware of the event.
Unanswered question: Were the No Stopping signs posted with the intent to derail the Low Rider Car Show Event ?
Telephone calls made to the LAPD Northeast Division were referred to the LA City Department of Transportation or the LA City Department of Street Services. No one at the Northeast Division could give any information on the May 20th car event.
Here are the facts about what took place both before and after the Low Rider Car Show.
A Radio shop business located on York Blvd organized and advertised the May 20th Low Rider Car show event via social media. The organizers did not hand out flyers to local residents who reside on the North and South side of York Blvd nor did they secure a permit for the event.
LAPD Northeast Division became aware of the event and then then preceded with a severe Knee Jerk Reaction.
As per LAPD Captain 111 Muniz (LAPD News and Social Media Unit), it was Los Angeles Police officers who posted No Stopping signs on York Blvd. This is highly unusual although it has previously taken place during emergency situations.
According to local television networks the LAPD stated that the organizers failed to obtain a permit for the event. Now the question is Why did they need to obtain a permit? If the drivers of the cars were simply driving up and down York Blvd. and obeying all the rules of the road by stopping for posted stop signs and red lights, then they did not need a permit.
Per one community resident who communicated with Sergeant Rivas, who is currently in charge of LAPD Northeast Community Relations unit, the large presence of LAPD officers was in response to the last Low Rider Car Show where members of a violent motorcycle gang drove up and down York Blvd displaying their gang colors. Note that there were no problems at the last car show event. Also, Rivas stated that because of the large amount of vehicle traffic, first responders would have difficulty responding to emergency calls for services. Sgt. Rivas could not explain then why did multiple LAPD marked vehicles block the medium area of the roadway thus themselves causing an obstruction for emergency first responders.
In the photo, you can see the LAPD marked vehicles blocking the medium area of York Blvd with 8-12 uniformed police officers ( most assigned to a special unit assigned to Northeast Division ( not your Senior Lead officers assigned to Northeast Division who should have been out there) all standing around together most playing with their cell phones.
After the death of George Floyd, law enforcement agencies across our nation have heard the outcry to defund all police agencies. Currently we have two recently elected members to our Los Angeles City Council who want to abolish LAPD altogether. They both voted to defund LAPD. I might add that they both represent areas located in the LAPD Northeast Division.
LAPD Command staff have called for an increase in Community Policing after the death of George Floyd.
Saturday’s event would have been the perfect opportunity for LAPD to enhance their positive interactions with both the residents of the Northeast community, visitors who attended the Low Rider Car Show, and show support for all of the businesses located on York Blvd.
But just the opposite took place.
After the major riots, mass destruction and thefts of businesses which took place in the West Los Angeles area of Los Angeles during the George Floyd protests there was much criticisms as to why LAPD allowed many marked police vehicles to all be parked in a long row unattended which were all set on fire.
You can see for yourself that not much has changed.
These officers should have all been walking two at a time up and down York Blvd interacting and communicating with all those present for this special event.
The fallout has been ugly. Many Latino residents who reside in Highland Park have stated that it was sparked by the new imported gentrification movement who wanted to derail the Low Rider Car Show. Even though the Low Rider Car shows are part of their Latino Culture and have been around for many years in Highland Park.
First the gentrification taking place within our Highland Park community had nothing to do with this attempt to derail the Low Rider Car Show.
Also these Low Rider Car Shows are not new to our Highland Park Community and local community store owners and other business look forward to the Car Show events because the consumers and spectators frequent their businesses. Many are just now trying to get back on their feet after the Covid Pandemic.
Because of the posted No Stopping signs consumers and store owners had a hard time finding a parking spot in which to legally park their own vehicles.
The individuals who own these Low Rider Vehicles are mostly hard working individuals who have full time gainful employment and families. Having a Low Rider vehicle is their hobby.
For years Los Angeles Police Department Central Bureau Traffic held a Car show in which owners of Low Riders were invited. The car show raised money for cancer-stricken children, patients at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Plus, I know many members of police agencies who own Low Rider vehicles.
Recently there was a Low Rider Car show in Monterey Park where various law enforcement agencies were doing recruitment for their police agencies.
What took place this past Saturday by the LAPD Northeast Division should never have occurred the way it did. LAPD’s reaction to the car show event placed Community Policing back 20 years.
If the Northeast Division was so concerned that some type of violence would take place, then where was the Northeast Division Command Staff? Where was Captain Waters or Sergeant Rivas?
Most Highland Park Residents look forward to the next Low Rider Car Show. Many community residents have now requested meetings with both the Command staff of LAPD Northeast Division and CD 14 Deleon’s office. At last count, the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, the Highland Park Neighborhood Council, and a number of prominent local citizens have all called for such a meeting.
As a final note, here’s the link to NBC’s video regarding the event.
Last evening from 6-7pm there was a community meeting which took place at a business located on York Blvd.
The meeting was called to discuss the events surrounding the Low Rider Car show which took place on Saturday May 20th, 2023 on York Blvd.
The meeting was very well attended by more than a dozen business owners, LAPD Northeast Division Lt. R. Parks and LAPD Senior Lead officer Lloyd Chang and three employees from CD 14, Kevin Deleon's office.
Staff members from Kevin Deleon's office acknowledged that they had received many telephone calls asking why No Stopping Signs were posted on York Blvd which would interfere with their business.
The staff members stated that they were informed on Thursday that LAPD Northeast Division police officers had requested that No Stopping signs be posted on York Blvd and the LA City Department of Transportation posted them. Deleon's office staff acknowledged that they made no attempts to have the signs removed.
Lt. Parks was asked by the Commanding officer of Northeast Division Capt. 111, Chris Waters, to attend this very important meeting.
Earlier this same date a community member had received a telephone call from Capt. Waters where their conversation was over the negative police interactions and other major concerns over the Low Rider Car show event. This community member is a current 30 year LAUSD educator, LAPD Northeast Division Community Police Advisory Board member, former Highland Park Chamber Board member and former Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Board member.
Capt. Waters stated that she wanted to set up a town hall meeting with both business owners and community residents.
What was of major concern is that Lt. Parks stated that he was not aware of the event which had taken place on Saturday nor was he aware of any community concerns by either business owners or community residents. Now why would Capt. Waters at the very least not inform Lt. Parks what to expect to hear from those individuals in attendance at this meeting.
If indeed Lt. Parks remarks were accurate this is a perfect example of poor leadership by the LAPD NORTHEAST DIVISION COMMAND STAFF.
As for Senior Lead officer Chang’s remarks that the Low Rider Car show organizers failed to obtain a permit from the city of Los Angeles, Chang was unable to state what kind of a permit was required, if any at all.
As previously noted one does not need a permit to travel up and down the street when obeying all of the traffic rules of the road.
(Caroline Aguirre is a retired 24-year State of California law enforcement officer, LAPD family member, community activist and Neighborhood Watch captain. Aguirre is a CityWatch contributor. The opinions expressed by Caroline Aguirre do not reflect those of CityWatch.)