Dec 3, 2007

Charles Bukowski, Nazis, his house

The LA city commission recommended that a bungalow once lived in by novelist Charles Bukowski be designated a historic monument. The current owner says she will fight the designation because Bukowski was a Nazi sympathizer.
Co-owner Victoria Gureyeva refused to discuss the issue on her lawyer's advice, but previously said she would enlist local Jewish activists in her campaign against landmarking.

''This man loved Hitler,'' Gureyeva, who is Jewish, told the alternative newspaper LA Weekly. ''This is my house, not Bukowski's. I will never allow the city of Los Angeles to turn it into a monument for this man.''

I suspect the owner is using the Nazi sympathizer issue--which claims seem to be dubious at best--as cover for protesting against the city-sponsored taking of her property. Which is what the designation essentially amounts to.

Gureyeva had the property up for sale as a tear down when a literary tour guide came across the boarded up bungalow with a for sale sign posted on it. He took a photo and published it on his blog. A local busybody then petitioned for monument status and it took off from there. Demolition would be impossible under the designation.

A small plaque on the site of the bungalow would not be out of order, but it's a stretch to permanently enshrine a broken-down structure that the writer left 35 years ago. It was a rental. And Bukowski lived for another 24 years after leaving the house.

I sympathize with the owner, but the Nazi stuff just clouds the issue. Perhaps Gureyeva and her lawyer feel it's the only way she can retain her property rights. It shouldn't be.

Via John Baker.

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