Hyde Park, Angeles Mesa, and View Heights are all a part of the Park Mesa Heights Neighborhood Council.
By Amir Medina
South Los Angeles residents are familiar with the well known neighborhoods in the area. Most will easily recognize Baldwin Hills, View Park, Leimert Park, and Windsor Hills. But many locals have not heard of Park Mesa Heights. That is even true for people who live in that community.
Recently, a photograph of Grilled Fraiche’s sign was posted on the L.A. Standard Newspaper’s Facebook page, calling the restaurant’s location on Slauson Ave. and West Blvd. “Park Mesa Heights.” Many people who commented on the photograph said that they had never heard the area called by that name. Most locals would more than likely know the area as Hyde Park.
“What is Park Mesa Heights?? I'm born and raised in L.A. and we never called it that,” commented one person.
“It’s Hyde Park, they love to make up names these days,” another person replied.
Wesley Smith, realtor at Smith Moore Estates on Crenshaw Blvd. and 54th St., is a long-time resident of the greater Crenshaw area of South Los Angeles. He said that he knew certain names of some neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, but was unaware that certain areas had name changes.
Chandra Mosley, president of the View Heights block club, said that the group has been given awards for its dedication and commitment to their community. While the awards acknowledge them as View Heights, some community members were unaware that the identifying name for their community was Park Mesa Heights.
Los Angeles neighborhoods can be defined by zip codes, police precincts, city planning records, or census tract records. In 1999, the city passed a citywide system of independent neighborhood councils, whose names are chosen by its residents. This was done to increase community engagement with city government.
“An organization called HOPE (Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment), which represents Hyde Park, got together when the neighborhood councils were being formed, and thought that it would be beneficial if the communities of Hyde Park, Angeles Mesa, and View Heights got together instead of being their own separate neighborhood councils,” said Kahllid Al-Alim, Park Mesa Heights Neighborhood Council president. “Instead of just having a Hyde Park neighborhood council and somebody doing a View Heights one and an Angeles Mesa one, we decided to just collaborate with all three communities.”
Hyde Park, Angeles Mesa, and View Heights are still their own neighborhoods, and Park Mesa Heights is the neighborhood council that presides over those areas. The neighborhoods are so close to each other that an issue that affects one of them typically affects all of them. The confusion of the community names may be because many people are not as involved in community politics as others.
“I think that where people really get confused is that they are not really familiar with the neighborhood council system as a whole,” Al-Alim said. “They are not familiar with Park Mesa Heights as a community council.”
Al-Alim is working to get more community involvement with the neighborhood council, which would give people more of an understanding about what Park Mesa Heights is. The challenge that he has is to bridge the communication gap between older and younger people.
“Some folks use technology and some folks don’t,” he said. “Some people take emails and some don’t. Some people use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Some people still read the community newspapers, but a lot of people don’t. We have to be conscious of that generational gap.”
Looking to start a small business? Contact Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation.