On Sept. 10 and Sept. 23, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee and the BHNC General Board, respectively, voted unanimously to reject Pacifica’s plans to convert Sakura Intermediate Care Facility (formerly Keiro ICF) to a general use, multi-family housing complex and a parking structure.
BHNC-sponsored public hearings had full community and political support. Speakers included Congresswoman Maxine Waters, former California State Assemblymember Warren Furutani, Rev. Mark Nakagawa, Dr. Karen Umemoto of UCLA, Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy members, family members of ICF residents, and concerned community members.
Statements made reflected the community’s strong opposition to displacing elderly and frail Japanese American residents who have no home to return to or a facility to transfer to should the ICF close. Concerns were also expressed about gentrification of the Boyle Heights community with more developments of expensive housing projects that are out of the financial reach of the community, and not honoring the long history of the Japanese presence in Boyle Heights.
Speakers also emphasized Pacifica’s violation of the sales condition imposed by the California aqttorney general to maintain the ICF for at least five years or until February 2021.
Pacifica’s proposal is solely financially motivated with no compassion or empathy toward Japanese American seniors in their 80s, 90s and over 100 years of age. We strongly object to their proposal, which was filed with the City of Los Angeles without any notice to the Japanese American community. Our seniors in their twilight years deserve to be in a safe and affordable facility, and not face a severe abandonment and breakup of a trusted family they have built with each other, and with bilingual staff, volunteers and doctors.
Over 50 years ago, Nikkei leaders purchased the ICF with a vision of serving the many generations of Japanese Americans to come. Pacifica’s proposal is a violation of the long honored tradition of the community and the covenant between the Japanese leaders and the elders for which this facility was created.
Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy Board
John Kanai, President
Keiko Ikeda, Ph.D., Vice President
Takeshi Matsumoto, M.D.
Ford Kuramoto, DSW