Mon, Apr

I Mentioned SOLA and a Freakout Ensued

PARKS’ PLACE-Last week, no sooner did I say, "do not freak out at SOLA," did a freak-out ensue over SOLA. 

I feel like copying and pasting last week’s letter just to prove my point that has been so misconstrued by the media and some members of the public alike. Here it is again: 

At the Tuesday, April 21 meeting, Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on my amendment to a prior motion (authored by former Councilwoman Jan Perry) which seeks to add "SOLA" as an appropriate acronym to refer to South Los Angeles. The same motion was previously used to dissuade use of the negative "South Central" label.  

No, this motion is not meant to shove "SOLA" down people’s throats and no, it’s not the first horse of the gentrification apocalypse. People have expressed to me that they want name identity and distinction when people refer to their communities. "SOLA" will not be replacing the term of "South Los Angeles", it will just be another option for people to refer to themselves. Community boundaries won’t be changing and individual community designations like Hyde Park, Vermont Knolls, etc. will not be lost. 

Other communities are doing this already. For instance, some refer to Downtown L.A. as "DTLA." Just like in South L.A., some who live there will specify the neighborhood they live in, like the Arts District, Fashion District, South Park, etc., some will say they live in "Downtown" and others say "DTLA." 

I never knew an acronym could cause such a fuss. I’ll chalk it up to a slow news week. Based on the deluge of media inquiries I received, you would’ve thought I wanted to change South LA to Bernard Parks Land. 

Don’t call it a comeback and definitely don’t call it "re-branding" which was the buzzword used in nearly every article and story about this really simple motion. All it took was one story in the Los Angeles Times, which misrepresented the motion's intent, to get a few people to manufacture a negative response and become riled up and defensive. 

The 2003 motion which changed the "South Central Los Angeles" moniker to "South Los Angeles" was intended to rebrand the community and shed the negative connotation some people associated with the "South Central" label. It went to committee. You can read the motion and the comment cards here. People were supportive of the change. 

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Some people thought that because the city took action on renaming "South Los Angeles", that the same procedures must take place for simply including this acronym. Tell me, did you take part in a focus group before people started using ‘DTLA’? Did you take a survey to determine if ‘WeHo’ or 'NoHo' embodied the spirit of the communities? 

Plain and simple: changing the name of "South Los Angeles" was never the intent of the motion. People can refer to South LA as they currently do by many monikers e.g. the Hood , the Shaw, etc. 

Well not to fret, Mr. Wesson of Council District 10 has come to the rescue. He stated, in Council and in front of the Channel 35 audience, that this issue will be assigned and heard in committee and returned to council in a short time, specifically before July 1, 2015. He also requested that he be "trusted" on his promise. Well, we can all wait with bated breath and anticipation for an in-depth analysis, debate, and significant community input to determine the fate of an "acronym." 


(Bernard Parks is Los Angeles Councilman for the 8th Council District. He is also  former Los Angeles Police Chief. He can be reached at councilmember.parks@lacity.org





Vol 13 Issue 35

Pub: Apr 28, 2015