Sawtelle Japantown recognized by L.A.

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council recognized the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Sawtelle as “Sawtelle Japantown” at its Feb. 25 meeting. All council members — save for Jose Huizar, who was not present — voted 14-0 for the naming.

Jay Handal, chair of the West L.A. Neighborhood Council, told the city council the designation is important, saying his organization has petitioned to rename itself as the West L.A.-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council “to fully incorporate the historic meaning of our district and to help identify” where West L.A. is.

Randy Sakamoto told the city council members the neighborhood was the result of racist real estate laws that concentrated the Japanese Americans in the small one-square-mile area.

“Our request for the sign is in recognition of the people that lived there, the people that got educated there, the people who had jobs there,” he said.

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