City Declares Echo Park, Silver Lake Are Officially on the "Eastside"

The Los Angeles City Council voted to declare that Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz are officially communities of the municipality's Eastside.

The move means that the areas will be designated as "Eastside" on all city maps and documents. The measure is an attempt to put to rest a long-simmering debate about what, exactly, constitutes the Eastside in this town.

A new generation of residents and transplants has taken to calling Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz "Eastside" despite the decades-long existence of an Eastside in places like Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights — east of downtown.

Los Angeles' mayor said actor Leonardo DiCaprio was right when, citing his childhood in East Hollywood, Echo Park and Los Feliz, he claimed to be from East L.A. 

"It's time we stand with Leonardo DiCaprio and all the fresh, young newcomers in our city who know that when they're anywhere east of the Westside they are, in fact, on the Eastside," the mayor said during a press conference after yesterday's vote.

Actress Zooey Deschanel joined the mayor on the steps outside City Hall. She once declared that she is from the "east side," although her publicist later clarified that Deschanel was referring to Studio City more specifically.

"The true Eastside is inside each and every one of us and, like a smartphone, it travels with us wherever we go," the quirky celebrity said.

Yesterday's vote was not without contention.

Cuauhtémoc del Castillo-Lopez Smith IV of the We Were Here First Coalition (WWHFC) uttered a string of Spanglish and jailhouse epithets following the vote. We couldn't print them all here, but we can relay that he said, while scratching his naturally blond goatee, "Pinche yuppie hipsters in their buster-ass white Ray-Bans have no right to move the Eastside west."

Castillo-Lopez Smith IV and supporters who claim to be "true Eastsiders" have argued for decades that the Eastside is east of downtown or east of the L.A. River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement that it would begin feasibility studies on moving the Los Angeles River just west of Echo Park.

The Los Angeles Police Department said it would start reclassifying west-of-downtown gangs in Echo Park and elsewhere, which have used "W.S." in their graffiti for decades, as "E.S." sets.

The captain of the department's Gang Enforcement Detail said any W.S. graffiti found in Echo Park would promptly be painted over by police. Leonardo DiCaprio movie posters would be put in its place.

The vote was 13-1, with the (former) Eastside councilman opposing the motion.

"The Eastside is on the f—-ing Eastside!" he claimed, stabbing the right side of a city map quixotically with his index finger. "This is gerrymandering. This ordinance is for fools. Chale, vatos."

Next week the council was expected to take up a proposal by the L.A. White Girls Assn. (LAWGA) that seeks to designate city neighborhoods east of the L.A. River as "OMG, Tacos!"

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