By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Ironically, the so-called Silver Lake scene, which had been so celebrated only a few years ago, seems to be waning, and even Bradshaw admits that Spaceland is no longer the big draw it once was. ”We get the dregs now, the people just getting here from Detroit,“ she said. ”And so many drive these 1970s beasts that can‘t fit into parking spots and which require an hour to warm up.“
Jorge Ledezma has lived 28 of his 30 years in the Spaceland neighborhood, and has worked at the club as a bartender for nearly 10; before him, his father worked there for 14 years. He remembers a time when the neighborhood was actually a far rougher-edged place and when the Spaceland site served as a Top 40 club -- and gang magnet. ”In those days,“ Ledezma said, ”it wasn’t a matter of if a fight would break out in the club, but when.“ His appeal for a dialogue between his boss and the public was met with either stony silence or heckling. ”They didn‘t see me as a member of the community,“ Ledezma told the Weekly, ”but as a member of the evil empire, shouting at me as I was leaving.“
Los Angeles has seen a proliferation of neighborhoods covered by restricted parking. On the one hand, it’s difficult not to sympathize with someone whose driveway is occasionally blocked, or with a street‘s longtime residents who wake up one morning following the latest club opening, only to find haystacks of syringe needles on their lawns or their cars tagged by graffiti vandals. On the other hand, there is the nagging feeling that such parking restrictions, which, for the most part, are confined to middle- and upper-middle-class communities, are undemocratic and contribute to the social and ethnic isolation of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. What‘s next -- restricted rights of way? Living in a city has always entailed a certain acceptance of noise and unpleasantness -- Silver Lake isn’t Canyon Country, after all.
When asked about such concerns, the pro-permit forces deny similarities between their situation and those of people who buy homes above the boisterous Sunset Strip and then complain about noise and parking; nor, they claim, do they want to balkanize Silver Lake.
”These people bought their homes years ago,“ Shelter said of the pro-permitters, ”when [the Spaceland location] was a quiet neighborhood pub. You can discuss elitism, or young Silver Lake vs. old Silver Lake, but let‘s get real -- this is about standard-of-life issues. The bottom line is that we came here first.“
Club owner Wolfram conceded that ”I should have done something“ about the parking, and said that he’s getting estimates to pave over a nearby dirt lot he owns, which he says would provide room for 40 to 50 cars. But he added: ”I have my own rights too -- to remain in business. These people have the audacity to say they‘re going to close me down.“
Ledezma, the Spaceland bartender, is not so sure that parking is the end-all of the matter. ”They have a problem with the club,“ he said of the petitioners, ”but their solution is very shortsighted. They want to turn it into another West Hollywood or Brentwood, but people don’t want that -- Silver Lake‘s always been a welcoming neighborhood.“