By Bill Hendrickson
Ramona Sierra, 90, and Suzanna Bermudez, 65 and disabled, are on the verge of being evicted from their rent-controlled bungalow homes at 4524 Eagle Rock Boulevard in Eagle Rock. Ramona has lived in her bungalow for 40 years; Suzanna for seven. Neither wants to move, much less out of Eagle Rock. But the owner, Randy Stevenson of Allegro Capital Partners, LLC, plans to renovate and sell their homes and the other three bungalows on the property.
On Wednesday, Sierra and Bermudez were at City Hall to attend a hearing in the City Planning Department about the owner’s application. Sierra took the bus to City Hall, where she met Bermudez, who had taken the Metro rail.
When it was their turn to speak, Sierra asked the hearing examiner, Courtney Shum, for help. “I am 90 years old,” said Sierra. “Thank you very much. I hope you can help me.”
Shum told the women that there was nothing the City could do to prevent their eviction. She said the City’s hands were tied by the Ellis Act, a state law that allows evictions to occur if an owner/developer meets certain requirements.
One glimmer of hope: At the hearing, Mark Jones, the planning deputy for Eagle Rock’s City Councilmember José Huizar, asked Shum for a 45-day period to study the case. The request was granted.
I was at the hearing. After it was over, I suggested to Sierra and Bermudez that we drop in to José Huizar’s City Hall office to personally ask him for help. Huizar was not in his office because he was attending the City Council’s regular Wednesday meeting, but Martin Schlageter, Huizar’s policy director, met with the women, was empathetic and clear that Council District 14 would do what it could to help them.