The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 10, 2014

Low on income but living in Beverly Hills

LOS ANGELES — From the balcony of her Crescent Drive apartment, Shari Able takes in the luxurious view — a picture-postcard panorama of the homes of Beverly Hills. Her home sits above a Whole Foods stocked with organic kabocha squash and Dungeness crabs. Rodeo Drive’s boutiques are a brisk walk away.

But the 74-year-old is quick to warn elderly suitors who think her 90210 ZIP code means a cushy bank account. Her federally subsidized apartment costs her roughly $200 a month, she said.

“I told one guy from Long Beach, ‘I live in Beverly Hills, but it’s the only HUD building in Beverly Hills,’ ” Able recalled one morning over coffee and madeleines. “He said thanks — and hung up!”

In the American imagination, “Beverly Hills” is shorthand for the good life — movie stars, mansions, Maseratis. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the average household income in Beverly Hills is nearly $193,000 annually, well more than double the national average. But those rarefied statistics mask a more complicated reality. While the richest fifth of Beverly Hills households make an average of nearly $661,000, the poorest bring in less than $14,500.

That means the wealthiest fifth make more than 45 times as much as the poorest fifth, the biggest gap between rich and poor among California cities of similar size or larger, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of Census Bureau estimates spanning 2010 to 2012. Roughly one out of nine households in Beverly Hills, population 35,000, are categorized as “extremely low income,” city documents show, with single people earning less than $17,950 and two-person households bringing in less than $20,050.

“These issues of concern do exist in Beverly Hills,” said Rochelle Ginsburg, chairwoman of the city’s human relations commission. “It’s not just Rodeo Drive.”

And nowhere is that more obvious than at the apartments above the Whole Foods. The building is indeed the only housing in Beverly Hills subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, city officials say. Its elderly residents include longtime Beverly Hills denizens who suffered catastrophic health problems or failed to save adequately for retirement, along with poor Angelenos who had previously lived elsewhere.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Lake Huron fishery recovers, but anglers skeptical TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — More than a decade after its prized chinook salmon crashed, Lake Huron is fertile fishing territory once more, with fast-growing populations of native species such as walleye and lake trout, biologists say. Now the challen

    July 26, 2014

  • Minnesota prosecutor convicted of sex misconduct DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A jury on Friday convicted a northern Minnesota county attorney of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old girl after the prosecution argued the man was in a position of authority over the teenager. The jury found Cook County

    July 26, 2014

  • Some in 'torture' report denied chance to read it ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban

    July 26, 2014

  • Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three siblings and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking vic

    July 26, 2014

  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo