Maria Freyre could not believe her eyes last week when she pulled onto the Lincoln Heights street where she has lived for 45 years.
A neighbor had erected a steel gate across Forest Park Drive, blocking 18 residents’ access to their homes.
A simmering neighborhood dispute had prompted Gardner Compton’s barricade. Forest Park Drive crosses private property, Compton said — his. He was willing to let his neighbors walk on foot along the narrow dirt road, but cars were no longer allowed.
Angry residents called Los Angeles authorities, who pledged that they would move quickly to resolve the dispute and have the gate removed from the street, which has been in use since 1924.
But the street remained blocked Wednesday morning when Freyre, 61, and her 30-year-old daughter, Norma Enriquez, squeezed past the gate to get to the car they had parked outside it overnight.
Residents say they are lugging groceries past the gate and using miner-style flashlights to hike back and forth at night to their cars.
“This is unbelievable,” said Freyre, who was worried what would happen later in the day when her son planned to bring his prematurely born child home from the hospital for the first time.
She glanced past the gate to the quarter-mile walk that David Freyre would face while carrying the infant and his breathing monitor and oxygen tank.
The street standoff, on an isolated hillside above Lincoln High School and the busy intersection of North Broadway and North Mission Road, was causing ripples Wednesday three miles away at Los Angeles City Hall.
“This is a unique situation. I’ve never seen this level of animosity,” said City Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents Lincoln Heights. “It’s a tough situation. We’re trying to maintain public safety for all residents. It’s a delicate issue between residents’ rights.”
Reyes’ staff was scurrying to find temporary housing for 5-month-old Aiden Freyre and his father and mother, Ruth Shafer.
“That’s a priority. We’re working for housing so an ambulance could get to them easily,” Reyes said.
Back on Forest Park Drive, Compton was pleased that the city was taking notice of the situation.
“This is a little test of property rights,” he said . “It’s got everyone’s attention.”
Those damn socialists are everywhere these days — today they want to share a road, and tomorrow they’ll want to sleep in your guest bedroom and eat the food in your fridge. Vote Republican to stop the socialists before they take over!