Mariachi Tierra Mexicana Tres Generaciones at their Boyle Heights Musical & Cultural Center

By Javier Rodriguez Los Angeles 24 Aug 2015

Oscar Chavez, a dissident and former board member of OMULA-United Mariachi Organization of Los Angeles and director of Mariachi Tierra Mexicana Three Generations, has been the victim of a long campaign of harassment, focusing on suffocating him economically, combined with threats and the expulsion of the Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. His story is similar to the perpetual campaign against dissident mariachis and musicians from other musical genres so that few can retain control of the square. As in Mexico, Chavez claims that the attacks come from a triangle of mariachi bosses, police and the Department of Traffic Enforcement-DOT and their “ticketeros”.

On Sunday August 9, THE DOT imposed a parking violation on Lucha Villa St adjacent to Mariachi Plaza and steps away from his musical and cultural center named “Three generations”. Moments later, his work vehicle, a 2007 GMC SUV Suburban Lic. CA7BZE357, was seized and taken to “El Corralon” Viertel’s Towing. On Tuesday at 4:50 PM, Chavez and his family payed $ 2,220.00 to the city of Los Angeles to release his car. Inexplicably, 39 hours later, August 13, the Suburban was seized again by the same DOT, in the same place and for the same resolved violations. The ticketero saw them taking their musical instruments out of the vehicle and sympathetically told Chavez that he was sorry but someone “called us”. Seconds later, Chavez and his son Christian, a composer and mariachi Norteno singer, just steps away, observed one of their rivals mockingly talking on his cell phone.

On Friday August 15 we informed DOT offices on Mission Rd. the tickets had been paid and requested a Waiver of payment to recover the car, but the response was negative. We were referred to the downtown DOT offices where the drama was repeated. The place is depressive with only two employees and two paying windows where the poorest of the 99% of Los Angeles, pay exorbitant fees and ridiculous and unbelievable cases like the Chavez Family. With Here, even if you pay, no matter the times, days or weeks after you pay the “ticketeros” arrogantly lift your car. As always, Councilman Jose Huizar, never lifts a finger to defend the people against these abuses.

The Chavez’ had to pay another $ 320.00 to recover their car, for a total of $ 2,540.00. The drama is not over. They have three more tickets in their hands for a total of 20 this year alone. Without their main tool of mobility, this week the job losses totaled more than $ 5,000.00 for the 8 members of the Three Generations group.

That same afternoon, the patriarch of Chavez was having tacos at the historic Santa Cecilia Restaurant when the other Mariachi Plaza Boss abruptly entered and loudly announced, “The new law of La Plaza is here”.

Javier Rodriguez is a political and media advisor in Los Angeles.