Following years of political and economic disinvestment, the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic ravaged South LA. Unemployment soared and crack cocaine found fertile ground. A new “underground economy” developed and many people became addicted. The official response to the epidemic was repressive police measures; massive sweeps that led to the incarceration of thousands of African American and Latino males that did little to address the root causes of addiction, crime and violence.
Neglected by developers and city officials, South LA became dominated by nuisance businesses such as liquor stores and hourly motels. At one point before the 1992 civil unrest, South LA had 728 alcohol outlets—more than the total number in 13 states. These nuisance businesses facilitate drug trafficking, prostitution, and a host of other crimes and nuisance activities that lead to unhealthy and dangerous neighborhood conditions.
Approximately 200 of the more than 700 liquor stores in South LA were destroyed during the 1992 civil unrest. The City’s response was to facilitate the rebuilding of nuisance businesses against the will and without the input of the community. Community Coalition launched a campaign to “Rebuild South LA Without Liquor Stores” and thousands of residents like Bruce Patton prevented the rebuilding of 150 liquor outlets and helped convert of 44 former liquor stores to more productive businesses that addressed the community’s needs.
Since then, Community Coalition has continued working to create safer and healthier communities by targeting nuisance businesses. Over the years, we have shut down, cleaned up or prevented dozens of nuisance businesses from flourishing throughout South LA. We worked with City Councilwoman Jan Perry to develop a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance that was approved by the LA City Council in 2008. The ordinance gives the City the power to enforce conditions and orders placed on nuisance sites and hold businesses owners accountable. Currently, Community Coalition is working with residents living in the 39th and Western community to help make their neighborhood safer by targeting nuisance businesses in the area. Learn more about our current work here.
Join neighbors and residents to Be the Change today!
You can read more about our current work in the news:
- Controversy over South LA Liquor Store, KCET Webstories, April 16, 2009
- Community Coalition Protests Century Liquor Store, Our Weekly, April 9, 2009
- CoCo Protest to Revoke Liquor Store's License, ABC 7 News, March 26, 2009
- Los Angeles protesters seek Villaraigosa's aid in fighting liquor store, LA Times, March 27, 2009