Does Anybody Know What All The Ex-Soviets Are Doing In L.A.?
Print Friendly and PDF

From the WSJ:

Mall Owners Woo Hispanic Shoppers


PANORAMA CITY, Calif.—On a recent Sunday, Spanish-speaking families swarmed the Panorama Mall here in the outskirts of Los Angeles for an afternoon of Latino entertainment.

"We come for the mariachi, then we eat something and go shopping," said Gloria Mesina, visiting the mall with her daughter, Viviana, and her granddaughter, Brisa.

That is music to the ears of José Legaspi, a real-estate broker who joined forces with the mall's owner, Macerich Co., MAC -2.17% to revitalize the shopping center by targeting Hispanics.

The partners are among an emerging crop of commercial-property investors responding to the same demographic reality that has rocked the political landscape: the rise of Hispanics.

Hispanics accounted for more than half the population growth between 2000 and 2011; Latinas have more children than non-Hispanics; Hispanic households that earn $50,000 or more are rising at a faster clip than total U.S. households. Their households outspend other groups on beauty products *, food and apparel, according to Nielsen Co.

* Not getting much for their money, apparently.

This Panorama City mall in the WSJ article has been a largely Mexican dump for decades.

But the weather is nice in Panorama City in the middle of the San Fernando Valley (last couple of weeks, the August highs have been mostly in the 80s with low humidity), so my guess is that in the very long run, Panorama City won't stay Mexican.

Filipinos (who work in huge numbers at the Kaiser Permanente medical center in Panorama City, where my late father was a patient), Armenians in Valley Village to the South (who put up those amazingly hostile security fences topped by lethal finials), and other ex-Soviets are likely to push Mexicans out of the middle of the San Fernando Valley.

Nobody talks much about ex-Soviet Bloc immigrants, but they aren't scared of Mexicans.

Nobody even seems to know what the ex-Soviet newcomers are doing in the San Fernando Valley. A dumpy 2-bedroom apartment in Valley Village costs about $1700 per month rent, so they must be making money somehow, but the L.A. Times doesn't cover the question and the ex-Sovs aren't the kind to volunteer information.

My nephew from small town Illinois was staying with us for a few months. He played soccer once a week with a Mexican team and twice a week with a Russian team. The Mexicans were friendly (they called him "Hollywood" because he's the kind of blonde, squared-jawed lad that used to be common in Los Angeles back when Robert Redford and Don Drysdale were baseball teammates at Van Nuys H.S. just down Van Nuys Blvd. from Panorama City.)

The Russians, in contrast, were foreboding and stand-offish. They called him "Red Pants" because he wore red gym shorts, and that's about as far as their concern for any non-Russian went. I kept asking him what all these Russians do for a living, but they never gave him a clue. Overall, I think that was for the best. I told him if the Russians ever suddenly turned friendly and asked him to give them a ride while they ran into the bank ("Keep motor running, Red Pants!"), don't do it.

I've theorized that a lot of these ex-Sovs are the boyfriends / "managers" of pretty Eastern European girls who are trying to be actress / model / whatevers in Hollywood. But that's pure speculation on my part. The Russians are not talking and nobody is asking. I suspect we don't want to know.

Where the Los Angeles Mexicans will go is an unanswered question (a neighborhood near you, probably). But I suspect in the long run LA won't look like it does in Elysium. There are too many peoples in this world more formidable than Mexicans to let Mexicans have this superb climate. If Americans don't want California enough to keep it, lots of others folks will.

Print Friendly and PDF