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Where’s The Tree Rudy?

January 29, 2011

Rudy Martinez' Marty's Bar soon after opening in 2007. Note the street tree.

Martnez' Marty's Bar in 2008. Tree removed and sidewalk planter cemented over.

Rudy Martinez's Bar on York Blvd and the cemented over sidewalk planter where a tree once stood. Yes Rudy, the choice IS clear.

You can tell a lot about a candidate by how they treat the community. In this case, how they treat community property. Namely, a city tree.

It is election season in Highland Park once again; this time the seat for Los Angeles City Council District 14 is being contested by a number of candidates, most prominently, Northeast Los Angeles entrepreneur, Rudy Martinez.

Mr. Martinez opened his bar, Marty’s at 5137 York Boulevard in 2007. When he opened there was one of the many York Blvd Bottle Brush street trees out in front of his place. Not much of a tree really. Trimmed as small as possible, but healthy. It was a place where a pedestrian could get some shade on a typical hot Highland Park day. Soon after the photo above was taken, the tree was surreptitiously removed, and the city’s sidewalk planter space was cemented over to prevent the replanting of any other trees in front of Mr. Martinez’ business.

Flash forward to 2011, Mr. Martinez now wants to be the head of our community in the roll of Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 14th District. A district that serves the diverseness of Highland Park, Mount Washington, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, Downtown Broadway and smaller neighborhoods between. Among the challengers to incumbent, Jose Huizar, Mr. Martinez has the largest war chest, making him the front-runner and only true threat to unseat Councilmember Huizar. The bulk of his campaign funding has come from his house flipping, mortgage, and restaurant businesses, as well as contributions from members of the real estate industry. According to the LA Weekly, his largest in kind contribution has come from an attorney for an Australian developer that is at odds with Downtown Broadway historic preservation.

Apparently, Mr. Martinez decided to run against his former friend when the city required him to remove an over-sized smoking patio behind Marty’s. So now we have this candidate with a vendetta, who according to reports, has a misdemeanor conviction for battery, and doesn’t seem to care about community property or preservation, while being in the hip pocket of developers.

It would be nice to give Mr. Martinez a chance to tout his qualifications as a community leader, or civic experiences if there are any. But the only news that comes from Mr. Martinez are accusations being made against his opponent. Look at his Twitter stream. It is mostly mud being slung at Councilmember Huizar. My question is, what has he done for Council District 14? How has he personally improved our community beyond his businesses here?

Mr. Martinez’ campaign reeks of someone who just wants to get back at somebody and gain a powerful position with one of the highest-paid elected positions in the country. Rather than represent and fight for all the people of the 14th, his victory would be likely be victory for those that would want to demolish our heritage and flip out stucco boxes for maximum profit. His election would likely mean more laissez-faire capitalism, and less protection for people who live here, the people who walk the avenues, the people who seek shade on a hot summer day.

So where’s the tree Rudy?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2011 8:52 am

    thanks for the heads up on this guy. After reading this I’m going to head over to Huizar’s office and pick up a sign for my front yard.

    Developers hsssssss
    house flippers hsssss

  2. January 29, 2011 10:42 am

    Sterile. Hot. Ugly. Developers and houseflippers = pontificating gentrifyers. Yuck.

  3. Claudia permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:24 am

    Agree 100%. Martinez has done nothing in his many years for CD 14. All he’s done has been for his monetary benefit. It’s great that he has done so well for himself, but it doesn’t show me that he really cares about the community. Councilman Huizar has the experience and has been a civil servant for decades.

  4. February 7, 2011 2:19 pm

    Isn’t Rudy the guy who makes passes at college-age women and gets mean when they say they aren’t interested? I hear his bar is sleazy.

    • Mhmm permalink
      February 8, 2011 11:48 pm

      I too heard that Martinez harasses female employees at MIA from former employ, and close friend of mine. Disgusting.

  5. February 8, 2011 11:18 pm

    Just came back from the Huizar / Martinez debate in Eagle Rock where Martinez admitted to removing the tree “Because it was tearing up the sidewalk.” –The photo says otherwise. Martinez also went on to say he would make it easier for people to remove city trees. -No surprise there.

  6. Collis90032 permalink
    February 15, 2011 8:45 am

    Met Rudy sometime back when he disrespected a female friend of mine, we exchanged words. I never realized who this guy was until I saw his face again in the papers,I never forget a face of someone that I might get into a altercation with, this fella is a bully.

  7. Earl3d permalink
    February 17, 2011 2:38 pm

    I’ve lived in Highland Park, near York Blvd. and Marty’s, for 10 of the 20 years I’ve been in L.A. When I moved here, York Blvd. was a dumpy, ugly street with little to offer. Case in point: my friends and I almost got gay bashed at The Dragon Chinese restaurant that used to be where The York is now. Boy have things changed.

    These days, York Blvd, and Highland Park in general, are thriving. There are lots of nice, inviting restaurants and bars in the area, and Marty’s and Mia are among them. What has Rudy done for Highland Park? He has created successful, well-liked establishments that have helped transform the area for the better. And his places have survived when it is more common to see businesses fail.

    The City of L.A. is one of the most difficult, anti-business municipalities around. If Rudy is running on a platform of reducing the amount of red tape and BS that honest businesspeople have to endure from City Hall, I am all for it. If you think this will somehow lead to laissez-faire in our lifetimes, you’re dreaming.

    So what if he did cut down that puny little tree? It’s not like it was all that great of a tree. Be honest. Rudy and the other successful entrepreneurs of 90042 should be thanked for improving the area, creating jobs and making things nicer for all of us. Successful businesses give a lot to the community as it is. Without them, you couldn’t get a coffee, or conveniently shop for groceries, or have a nice meal out, or meet up with your friends for a drink on the weekend. If someone is successful enough to make a profit, especially in today’s economy, he deserves his reward. He has earned it.

    All this bashing of successful, risk-taking business people has got to stop, along with this constant demand that they ‘give back’. By their very success, they, Rudy Martinez included, have done a lot more for ‘the community’, than either the bureaucrats downtown with their arbitrary rules, or the whiners who just sit around complaining.

    • February 24, 2011 5:01 pm

      Thanks Earl3d for the comment.

      It is interesting how Martinez and his supporters try to spin the gentrification of York Blvd., Eagle Rock Blvd., and Colorado Blvd. in recent years as something Martinez is responsible for. I keep hearing the touting of Martinez owning TWO businesses as if they were pinnacles of inspiration, central to new businesses coming to the area. As Martinez would paint it, you might think Marty’s began the York Boulevard Renaissance.

      Let’s be honest, the growth of new business on York really has less to do with one bar than it has to do with generational renewal, new entrepreneurs finding lower rents here, and efforts by Yolanda Noriega and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. Besides, Marty’s is rarely seen open, let alone, considered “Popular.” (Actually, I’m anticipating the bar to be put up for sale in the coming months to cover his campaign expenses and help him move back to Glendale after he loses the election.)

      What is important here is that we realize this is everyone’s community. Operating a business is a two-way street. Without customers, there is no business. Businesses are there to serve the community they are in, they exist with the permission of the community they serve. If the community doesn’t want them, or if a business tries to take advantage and exploit their community, then it is up to the city to protect us. If businesses want our dollars they MUST respect us, and not try make us their slaves in the name of some sense of divine entitlement.

      Rudy Martinez has a demonstrated history of not playing by the rules. Mr. Martinez has complained rules inhibit ability to make money. They frustrate him. Causing him to lash-out, getting mud on his opponent, and all over our community.

      • Monica permalink
        May 6, 2012 9:54 am

        I have to agree with Earld as I also grew up in HP and have lived here since 1972 so I have seen it go progressively DOWNHILL! The only REAL improvements being the few businesses opening up on the WEST SIDE of York Blvd. I’m nit necessarily backing Mr. Martinez but I will agree that THE MAJORITY of trees on the commercial streets in HP, in general, are HIDEOUS! Bottle grush trees are not all that attractive, and if not pruned in a nice shape, end up looking like scraggly ans spindley bushes. The OVERGROWN trees on Figueroa bloack the business signs and windows of the Apartments over the 1st story businesses. Over all HP has a loooooong way to go before we can truly say that we live in HP without being embarrassed of the area, and if the removal of a few trees helps it out, cosmetically, then so be it!

  8. February 17, 2011 7:48 pm

    So what? that “puny” tree is a city owned tree. Mr Martinez is not above the law. And he knew that. Rudygate

    I’ve been in Highland Park since 1996. York blvd has changed largely due to the spike in real estate. It brought in the artist’ and other creative types, because they discovered it was the most affordable of the Northeast communities. When artist start show up, development follows. Old story.

    Red tape and BS? keep it coming if it protects our community from those who would exploit it to line their pockets.

    • Mademoiselle Gramophone permalink
      March 7, 2011 9:03 am

      The guy hates trees!

  9. March 9, 2011 1:14 pm

    Can’t you hear that? It is the street trees of Los Angeles City Council District 14 collectively sighing their relief at Rudy Martinez losing to Jose Huizar, 35.78% to 64.22%.

  10. February 25, 2012 5:08 pm

    He’s a good flipper. I’d like to see more of his flipping homes in los angeles on A&E Tv.

  11. dot lung permalink
    May 31, 2012 5:27 pm

    Benefit to the community or not, there is no denying the fact the the man is a grade-A tool. He’s on his third restaurant at the Marty’s site and still no tree. The stories of him hitting on his customers and employees are almost certainly true. I’ve seen it happen numerous times.

  12. Ms.HLP90042 permalink
    October 24, 2013 11:54 am

    He also did drugs with the NELA police officers when Marty’s was there. They are all sleezeballs! You would think being a smart business man he would attempt to protect his reputation if considering running for any public service position. That dude is a mess.


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