Updated below with added link
Before leaving town for Nevada, President Obama is scheduled to speak this morning at a private fundraising breakfast in View Park, the community perched on the northern side of the Baldwin Hills with the awesome views of Downtown and the Hollywood Hills. The fundraiser is at the home of developer Charles Quarles and his wife, JoAnn, on Kenway Avenue. After the event &mdash's Obama's call time is about 10:30 — the presidential motorcade returns to LAX for a pre-noon departure. So expect some late-morning traffic shutdowns. Slauson, Florence, Manchester or even Century would all be logical routes for the motorcade to use.
On NPR yesterday, LA journalist Karen Grisgsby Bates did a story introducing the nation to View Park, which through the years has sometimes been called the "black Beverly Hills," but looks a little more like the upscale areas of Granada Hills or another suburb. The neighborhood is just up the hill from Leimert Park in the island of unincorporated county turf that includes Windsor Hills.
In a state ravaged by the recession, one of the president's stops will be in View Park, a comfortable neighborhood of large homes nestled in the Baldwin Hills. At various times, it's been home to singers Ray Charles and Nancy Wilson, and former mayor Tom Bradley....
View Park is considered fairly well-off in terms of black earning power, but it is a pocket of relative affluence surrounded by need.
* And before that!: Marketplace reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji did the View Park storya couple of days earlier. Hers was deeper and spent more time in the community. Sample:
View Park is an upper middle class majority-black community nestled in the hills southwest of downtown L.A. People familiar with the neighborhood often refer to it as the "Black Beverly Hills."
View Park real estate agent, Jo Ramsey, a 40-year resident, thinks her neighborhood is just as fabulous as Beverly Hills and Bel Air. She takes me on a tour up and down a hilltop lined with custom homes, many built in the late '30s. We stop to admire sprawling lots with maid's quarters, pools, and million-dollar views of downtown.
"This is where Debbie Allen lived, that was her house right there, but she sold it," says Ramsey. Allen, the dancer, choreographer and actor best known for her role in the TV Series "Fame" isn't the only celebrity who has called View Park home. Ike and Tina Turner lived in View Park and so did Ray Charles....
Angela James, a sociologist who teaches at Loyola Marymount University, says the View Park of today was created after whites "hit the road" in the mid-'60s. "The story of these wealthy, beautiful black communities," says James, "they're born out of white flight and redlining and mortgage discrimination and all kinds of difficulties." Sixty years ago, housing covenants prohibited African-Americans from buying property and living in View Park, unless they were servants. But, after the 1965 Watts Riots, upper middle class whites fled South L.A. and African-American doctors, lawyers, and entertainers moved in.
Today, View Park is more than 80 percent African-American, and the median income is $85,000 a year. Nearly half of its residents have a bachelor's degree or more. And that, says James, is rare. "'Majority African-American' is usually synonymous with poverty, not wealth," she says. "View Park, where the president will appear," James adds, "is less than two miles from the area in Los Angeles colloquially known as 'the Jungle.'"
LA Observed photos: Bottom: The view from Angeles Vista Boulevard