You correctly identified the theft of Tongva land as the starting point for this whole debacle; one could argue that with white supremacy’s ushering in of Manifest Destiny, the eventual fate of neighborhoods everywhere facing gentrification was sealed. You have astutely named the modern face of gentrification’s driving force as neoliberalism; it is what sustains wild wealth inequality, and is the clasp that holds this chain together.
A massive new house perched atop Stradella Road in the gilded heights of Bel Air is expected to enter the market in 2018 with a $500 million pricetag. There are only a handful of people in the world who can afford such a home. The acreage it commands could easily house multiple families of the plastic surgeons, stars, and investment bankers of less egregious means who populate the streets of Bel Air, but those people will have to look elsewhere. Just as Mark Zuckerberg famously bought four houses around him just to increase his personal privacy, sending would-be dwellers elsewhere, some hyper-wealthy mogul will bar the merely wealthy from becoming Bel Air residents.
These plastic surgeons, stars, and investment bankers will descend from the Bel Airs and Bird Streets atop the hills overlooking Los Angeles into the West Hollywoods, Manhattan Beaches, and Santa Monicas, forcing the pediatricians, attorneys, and dentists to migrate to the Culver Cities and Pasadenas of Los Angeles County, in turn driving the architects, engineers, professors, and small business owners to Boyle Heights, Chinatown, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Inglewood, and countless other neighborhoods. Gentrification moves in lockstep with these transitions, and it should come as no surprise that some of the fastest growing areas in Los Angeles are the homeless camps. And, of course, this problem is exacerbated by the very white people who move to the neighborhood and complain about the camps. And what happens to all the people in the camps when the Olympics comes to town, demanding the displacement of camp residents to further enrich the vultures whose greed pushed people out of homes and into camps in the first place?
This is trickle down economics. Literal economics professors descend down from the Hollywood Hills and into working class neighborhoods where they can afford to be renters, pushed out by moguls minted by policies shaped and justified by these very same professors’ erroneous ideas on economic liberalism. Their presence as interlopers disintegrates the fabric of those same neighborhoods, eroding them into a gentrified vanilla wasteland.
How long until a wall is built along the border of the Westside, and the only way in is to land at Santa Monica Airport?
The question in my mind is whether this process can be stopped in the white supremacist world that formulated it in the first place, or whether it can be slowed in a world of accelerating income inequality, where billionaires are allowed to exist, and homes with $500 million pricetags are a thing. There are choices we can make to slow the obliteration of these neighborhoods (don’t go to Starbucks; move to Nebraska or something), but it seems like an inevitability in a neoliberal world run by a small, sociopathic elite.