CRENSHAW — The Los Angeles City Council’s decision to revoke a local liquor store’s permit to sell alcohol has produced residents satisfied with the action on one hand and accusations of gentrification on the other hand.
The council voted Dec. 12 to revoke the liquor license of The Liquor Bank, located at 3600 W. Stocker St., citing numerous complaints from residents about the illegal sale of alcohol to minors, illegal sales on the property, attempted robbery, drug use, and much more.
“For nearly a decade, the Liquor Bank served as a hot spot of crime, drugs, and violence,” said City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the neighborhood where the liquor store is located. “Today we said enough is enough. Our community deserves better.”
The Liquor Bank, which could be considered a Crenshaw District landmark after being featured in movies and music videos, has been in business for more than 20 years and has served as the community’s local neighborhood market to obtain wine and spirits, snacks and other necessities.
While Harris-Dawson was happy his council colleagues went along with his request to revoke the liquor license, not everyone in the neighborhood agreed.
Narkie Opong of Baldwin Village said she “think it’s unfair that they’re taking away the liquor store for the purposes of the new community that is moving in.”
“I think this should’ve been done years ago, not when whites are moving in and the blacks are moving out,” she said.
She says that the store was a landmark in the neighborhood while acknowledging “we do need more healthy places in our community.”
Corine Bula, who used to live in Baldwin Village but moved to Inglewood recently, was appalled by the news.
“It’s just weird,” she said. “I don’t think it’s an important thing to completely remove everything because they’re building this new community.”
Christian McClure of Leimert Park was irritated by the news. “It’s a landmark that’s been around for decades, and they’re only doing it for gentrification purposes.”
The reasons for revoking The Liquor Bank’s license date back to a hearing in 2009, when store owners were given 28 “corrective” conditions to meet to maintain their license and conditional use permit to stay open. They included bonded security guards, security lights and placard signs for operation.
In 2015, the case was revisited based on nuisance conditions and complaints from residents and the Los Angeles Police Department. Earlier this year, another hearing was held which found the Liquor Bank in violation of 22 of the 28 conditions placed in 2009. There also have been three violent crimes committed on the property as well as several calls for law enforcement since the hearing earlier this year.
Detective Dana Harris, the officer in charge of the support and vice division nuisance abatement at the Southwest Division of LAPD, said “in my tenure working in the Southwest Division one of the constants has been the Liquor Bank.”
Keith Renty, president of the Baldwin Hills Homeowners Association, said “we as a community have not felt safe going down to the Liquor Bank for many, many years. With all the violations and opportunity to correct the nuisances there [and nothing changing], we support the revocation.”
The Liquor Bank’s owner has filed for bankruptcy, asking a judge to grant a restraining order against the city accusing the city of failing to protect the safety of its residents. A temporary restraining order was granted, but that was overruled Dec. 11.