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Des Moines Iowa... Los Angeles
Just watch the HBO special on the Brooklyn Dodgers.. and it touch'd me.. as a life long fan of the Dodgers and as i was born in L.A. on Sept. 29 1958.. the first year and last home game in LA.. i have allways been a fan.. and as i got older, started to review the Brooklyn Dodger Fans love for their team, and how we all seem'd to have stolen their Joy of the Dodgers...Seeing how City officials in(Moses) Brooklyn made it impossible for the Dodgers to stay in Brooklyn.. This site has shown that LA.. had the same type of Greed over the needs of the people as the motivation for this move...I had allways heard about the last House in Chavez Ravine... Where a man refused to leave and tried to hold his home from his Shotgun... I thought his name was Chavez and thats how it got it's name.... I love the Dodgers, but i feel for the people that have suffer'd in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.... in those days of Men with power, uprooting homes and Souls.. for a Baseball team...... When you go to a Dodger game.. remember, many people got uprooted and back in Brooklyn.. they had their souls ripped out... Good to remember, and then.. Root on the Dodgers for both Cities.... All we can do now.
Questions that plague me are?
1. Did the residents hold deeds and title to the properties they were forced to vacate?
2. If so..how was it possible to take their deeded private property without any form of
3. OR were the residents basically "squatters" and as such devoid of any legal defense or
claim for compensation?
4. Were there municipal services supplied?...i.e. water, sewage, refuse collection? Did
the US Postal service provide residential mail service. I saw businesses represented by
stores and taverns... were they deeded and licensed and tax paying?
It was mentioned that the city was receiving no taxes from the community... who DID own
the land? Were there schools, parks or municipal improvements... OR was this a slum or
ghetto providing low cost non-participatory (taxes etc) municipal responsibility.
The answers to these questions would serve to better validate the cause of EITHER side...
Squatters have no rights or claim to land owned by others.... LAND OWNERS and TAX PAYERS
have every right to recourse for an unconscionable act...even 50 years after the fact.
Whats the truth about who really owned these properties?
My grandfather Louis Longoria and his wife and children were one of the last families to
leave Palos Verdes. My father Tony Longoria has wonderful memories of Palos Verdes. He has
a book published that is set in Palo Verdes and his love for the old neighborhood comes
through. My Uncle Luis Enriques had a love hate relationship with the Dodgers because they
stole his home and he said his house used to be where third base was. My father went to
the school that used to be where the parking lot is. That the Government would allow this
tragedy to happen is amazing. These are the kinds of happenings that we should be fighting
against. Big business taking from poor people and making themselves richer, Is that what
the American dream is all about?
I have read over the years about the people that were taken from there homes you give
credit to the women and her family. But i was there i was seven to eight years old. i
remember that day we were at my grandfathers house around the corner on gabriel . we were
watching tv and saw the cameras so we went to the fire road up the backyard to where all
the camotion was . i saw the police officers kill the dogs chickens and small goats. and
other animals that were theirs. i saw them beat the men and boys to remove them from there
home i saw grandma being lifted with her in the chair and removed from the home then with
big smiles like they did something so good they had a bull dozier go through the home and
told them to leave. yea that really bothers me even now. both my parents grew up there my
dad was born there. my grandfather saw that and knew he had to go his house and my fathers
old house were the only ones left on that street gabriel. all that was there were the
porches and steps . his name was Contreras Ramon and my grandma was maria they had 2 boys
5 girls they all grew up there and they really miss that place they all say there was no
place like palo verde.
I have been involved with Civil Liberties matters in Chicago for a number of years and
helped set up interviews with Frank Wilkinson at WBEZ Public Radio in Chicago and also at
De Paul University Law school in 1999. Mr. Wilkinson never pleaded "the 5th" in refusing
to submit to the illegal activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He said
that it was not the business of Congress to ask what his political affiliations were under
his rights of free speech and free association under the 1st Amendment. He eventually won
his case after many years of fighting and settled with the United States
Government--receiving enough pages of FBI files to go over his head at over 6 feet. I
challenge anyone to explain what is "Un-American" about signing petitions for various
causes and associating with members of the Communist Party who were fighting for fair
housing, better race relations, better wages, better and working conditions in the United
In any event, Mr. Wilkinson may have been mistaken in pushing public housing projects,
given the later neglect that those projects recieved from government in later years. But,
public housing has worked in Western Europe and was certainly better than mass
homelessness that one could project for people at the time that Frank Wilkinson was
working for the Chavez Ravine project in Los Angeles. Diplacing housing and businesses in
favor of baseball owners has been done not only in Los Angeles, but in Chicago as well
(where blocks of buildings were demolished after the White Sox' Jerry Reinsdorg threatened
to move the team to Florida in the 1980s if the State did not help finance a new
ballpark). Having known Frank Wilkinson to the extent that I did, I know he was honest and
sincere and someone that any American would be proud to be associated with. I am certainly
glad to have known him.
Eugene Geno Ortiz
Just a variety of memories and facts: My mother, Consuelo Apodaca Ortiz, and my father,
Frank "Kito" "Cherisco" Ortiz were raised across the street from each other on Bishop Rd.
in Palo Verde. They met in the wonderful neighborhood when they were young children. I am
now 57 years old, and the youngest of 4 boys. My older brothers: Frank, Steve, and Fred
were some of the last children to play and sleep in Palo Verde before the "takeover". Our
family of 6 moved into a one room house in Norwalk after the forced eviction. When I was
born in 1949, Palo Verde was already a memory. All of my parents life long friends, after
the eviction, became scattered throughout Southern California, and some never to be seen
again. There was about 30 of our family members forced out, including: uncles, aunts,
cousins, and our grandpa Tony Apodaca. Before my parents passed away, some forty years
after the "takeover", I drove them to Palo Verde (I will always call it Palo Verde, not
Dodger Stadium). I remember my mother holding onto, and looking thru a chain link fence to
an area where her house was. Tears flowed down her cheeks. I said nothing, her tears said
it all. When I was a young boy, my parents would take us to the Palo Verde ghost town. We
would walk on their Palo Verde land, and stand on the foundations where their houses once
stood. I could not understand why we didn't live THERE and why the houses were torn down.
I wanted to live in Palo Verde. The Dodgers do have an incredible following. I wonder how
many Dodger players and fans actually know what happened there?
Denman Island BC, Canada
You may already know this but a 1952 movie, Without Warning, a film noir of sorts made by
Arnold Laven was filmed partially in Chavez Ravine. I only recently acquired the film and
that, coupled with last nights PBS showing of Chavez Ravine, was, if nothing else,
serendipitous for me. I had no previous knowledge of the Ravine, or the politics.
I do tend to like documentaries that capture the passing of small communities, that harken
back to a simpler time. Living on a small Island as I now do, it helps to reaffirm for me
the need, futile perhaps, to restrain growth and development as best as one can.
Thanks for your film.
I really enjoyed this film. I believe Don Normark took some extraordinary photographs that
really told the story of Chavez Ravine. Jordan Mechner shows us that being connected with
one another is what brings happiness.
I wonder if the housing project had managed to move forward, how that might have changed
public housing as we know it today.
Chavez Ravine reminds me of so many other times when the majority in this country simply
stripped Latinos of their land for no other reason than "they could". This happened in San
Diego where a barrio was eliminated to build the Coronado Bridge. All that is left of that
is Chicano Park.
In Tucson, an entire barrio was destroyed to make room for the current downtown area. The
barrio was vibrant and full of life. the current downtown has no soul, is practically dead
and the city fathers still cannot revive it.
Still the spirit of the Latino community will never die!
Los Angeles California
Soy mexicano and proud of it.
I was talking to a longtime friend over the weekend. We started talking about the Chavez
Ravine. This prompted me to hit the net. I was absolutely sick to my stomach when I stared
reading the story behind Dodger's Stadium. With the recent movement over immigration, I
would only wonder what we could accomplish if we banded together and stopped supporting
Dodger games. Do you think "us mexicans" could make a difference. Como no!
Great job on the web site and looking forward to to watching the film.
Alice Rios Ronnie
My sister Norma, told me about this web site that had pictures of my father,uncle and aunt
when they were small children. Munoz is name. They are my fmily.
If whites or blacks had been forced to move from a shanty town in the United States would
anyone be making a film?
El Monte, CA
I wanted to give my deepest regards to all the families and friends of Chavez Ravine. I
appreciate the knowledge that has come from such a unique and fantastic place that once
was. I am young Latino that has come to learn the many stories of Los Angeles and hope
that I can help educate my son (and others) about hispanic/latino/chicano culture and how
important it is to never lose sight of it because it flows through ours veins and into our
hearts. Muchos Gracias
So many memories. I am a 7 generation Angeleno. I was a little kid when they stole Chavez
Ravine. I remember the night when one sole resident was left refusing to vacate, he had a
22 and was attempting to hold off the entire L.A.P.D. and the bulldozers if not the
national guard. We could do nothing, my grandparents home was bulldozed on Fisher st. to
make way for the freeeway! my great grand father had a newspaper in downtown L.A. his
partner was Enrique Flores Magon. They made history there. Thye both died in prison. its a
sad story, but I still speak out and have learned so much. you know what they say you can
take the girl out of ELA but you can't take ELA out of the girl. Que Viva!
My Mother-in-law is the Daughter of Manuel and Abrana Arechiga. They were the last ones
you see in the pictures being carried out of their home. Forceably draged out of their own
home...nowhere to go ...all they owned was there....no compensation....I am outraged that
this happened in our "GREAT" Country...It's all about $ for the Fat Gov...at all
We must do somthing....you can contact me......I will do what ever I can to help....These
people need some satisfaction....They have been Raped by the Gov...
By the way ...people learn what they are taught by example...now this Arechiga womans
very own Son has stolen her Property. He has lied and cowerst them into Quick Deeding
their house over to him so he can take some $ out of the Equity to improve thier home
...nothing would change... the Parents would still own the home...He would just use the
son's credit to get the $....in the begining there was a $65,000 Mortage....with-in the
last 5 yrs. He has taken out at present...$409,000 on this home and is tring to evect
everyone...Here again these People are going to be throne out of their home...They are in
their 80's...They have no $...What are they to do? How can this go on....An ATT: wants
$30,000 to fight this. Who has that kind of $. Thanks for listening...I am so upset...
Absolute great! What a wonderful, but sad piece of history it is.
I have Ry Cooders record "Chavez Ravine" too.
Than you very much!
I spent Saturday afternoon visiting with Don Normark. His most recent work documents the
public gardens used by Hispanic citizens of L.A.
For twelve years these gardens have been used to grow plants, fruits and vegetables for
Now these gardens, too, are threatened with extinction as was Chavez Ravine when Don
photographed the neighborhood 55 years ago.
Maybe the city of L.A. should trade these fourteen acres for those lost years ago.
When will this country learn to value the people who built and fortified it? As a
Chicago-born Mexican-American I am not surprised that this trajedy occurred, what
surprises me is that I just learned of it. What about a class-action lawsuit? The
descendents of the original inhabitants of Chavez Ravine should unite and sue the City of
Los Angeles, the State of California and the Dodgers. There are substantial assets in all
three coffers. Get on with it. File suit and make them pay where it hurts.
I am currently serving our great country in Iraq. I was able to pick up the Chavez Ravine
CD by Ry Cooder, not knowing what it was about. I feel like I was some how part of all
this. I guess it's in "la sangre". It definetly poked my side and decided to look all this
up. Very intersting, I feel like I've gained a part of history that was missing in my
life. Definetly something I am to share with family and friends. To those out there who
had family there, you are a part of something. I think about where I grew up, and it's
true it could happen to anyone, but of course the weaker are always prime, the Govt. knows
Los Angeles, CA
As Executive Producer of the Official Website of Walter O’Malley at
walteromalley.com, I feel several facts need to be addressed that are not mentioned in the
information provided on this site:
*Beginning in 1945, Walter O’Malley wanted to privately finance, build and maintain
a stadium for the Dodgers in Brooklyn to replace aging Ebbets Field. However, he was
unable to gain the necessary assistance in assembling land in Brooklyn from New York civic
officials. In the mid-1950s, Los Angeles leaders contacted O’Malley about their
desire to see Major League Baseball in their city and help bring L.A. “big league
*It was seven years before the Dodgers arrived in Los Angeles that the failure of the
Federal Public Housing Project occurred. The Dodgers had not even known about the Chavez
Ravine land in the early and mid-1950s. At that time, the city still had not addressed a
few remaining residents in Chavez Ravine who were living there illegally and were not
paying property taxes. The land lay dormant for more than seven years, while elected
officials tried to decide what to do with it.
*In October 1957, under the terms of the city’s approved contract with the Dodgers,
O’Malley had to build and privately finance a 50,000-seat stadium; develop a youth
recreation center on the land at $500,000 initially plus annual payments of $60,000 for 20
years; and pay property taxes of $345,000 beginning in 1962. Prior to that, the land had
not been on the tax rolls for a number of years. In addition, Wrigley Field, which he had
purchased in February 1957, then valued at $2.2 million, was transferred to the city. The
city had not even begun negotiations with O’Malley at that time and had not made any
promises to him regarding land in Chavez Ravine.
*The approved contract between the Dodgers and the city was subject to a city-wide
referendum known as “Proposition B” on June 3, 1958. Voters, however, passed
the referendum, which was legally challenged. Subsequently, both the California State
Supreme Court (which voted unanimously 7-0) and the U.S. Supreme Court (which refused to
hear the case) supported the city’s position that it maintained the full authority
to execute the previously approved contract.
*The public acceptance of Dodger Stadium is reflected in attendance of more than 120
million since it opened on April 10, 1962. The Los Angeles Business Journal on May 23,
2005 ranked Dodger Stadium as number six in its “Turning Points” article
featuring the “Ten Transactions that played a role in L.A.’s rise to
For more detailed information, check the link on this site to www.walteromalley.com.
What happened to the people who lived in Chavez Ravine is just a continuation of what
happened to the Native Americans. Just imagine A government official telling you that "We
are going to take your home and destroy your neighborhood. And we are giving you $10,000
for your land. No negotiation! And if your poor, ignorant and your legal representative
tells you that you can't do anything about it! It's just like today except now you pay
nearly $3.00 for gas, your children are being killed in Iraq and there children(the ones
who survive). Will be paying the 81 billion+ for this war. Except those children will be
living in Reservations while the Bastards in Government will be giving themselves pay
raises, lifetime health insurance, and retirement benefits. And there you are ignorant of
the future that your children and grand children's life will be like. Because YOU are
actively being DUMB DOWN! Remember no children of politicians went to fight in Vietnam
(Draft excemption!) unless they volunteered or enlisted. The world is getting flat and
your children are being DUMB DOWN! "Weapons of mass distruction" Hell we (USA) are the
leaders of mass distruction! Covering every way possible (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical,
Media, Educational) and the directed towards US! Maybe that's why labor, industry, is
farmed out of the USA or allowed in to work for lower wages. DUMB DOWN! DUMB DOWN! DUMB
I think the people who were ousted and or their descendant(s) need to be compensated by
the city for their loss, and property given to them at the tax rate that they would have
had otherwise. Mayor Jim Hahn, I wonder if he's into baseball? I don't think the Dodger's
need to be boycotted, but I do think the city has to publicly acknowledge what was done.
The city of Los Angeles needs to publicly apologize to the families that suffered and to
all Angelinos for misleading them. Shame. A village in L.A.? How nice it would have been
to still have the communities of Chavez Ravine and no congested traffic before, during,
and after a boring baseball game. The stadium is rickety and the seats suck. I guess I'm a
"Baseball Hater." I would have been one of the citizens that voted "NO." Shame on those
sheeps who voted "Yes." U know who you are. I hope they take your houses, too! Eminent
Domain? How UN-AMERICAN. Shame on the Supreme Court for their ruling, too. Makes me sick.
There better be an appeal.
That Los Angeles did not have a major league team in the 1950's is incorrect. The football
LA Rams had been around since the late 40's and won an NFL Championship in 1951.
Los Angeles California
I want to thank you for the education you have given me thru the truth of what happened at
"Chavez Ravine". I do believe that this was a tragedy for the people. Its the intangible
creations of a true community, family, frienship, trust, love, that were lost and replaced
with real estate. We need to teach our children the difference between doing whats right
and doing whats profitable. An ideal that our youth is truly lacking. I as a father of a
beautiful baby boy will teach the lessons of "Chavez Ravine" to him. The sense of
community and love found in those people will live in my family.
I came to Los Angeles in 1961 from New Zealand although I am from England originally. I
first went to the Dodgers Stadium in 1962 and have been there a few times since.
Not until I watched the programme on PBS about the displacement of the Latino Families in
Chavez Ravine had I any notion of what had taken place. It upset me deeply and I feel like
I can never go and watch another baseball game knowing how families were lied to and their
homes stolen from under them. The photos that were taken are fabulous. I feel so for them
Now today I hear that The Supreme Court has just passed a ruling that none of us are safe
in our homes that we have saved to own. They can do the same to any of us like they did to
these poor families in Chavez Ravine.
It happened years and years ago to the poor Native Americans as well.
This story is not unlike the countless stories that are little secrets that make up (our)
American History.. This type of information is so, so important and needs to be apart of
learning within our schools so history can never repeat itself..
Good program about Chavez Ravine. Now do a film about the deal the Texas Rangers made
while George W. Bush was their commander and chief. Public property was taken for private
ownership. Thank you, and may God bless Corporate America and Saudi Arabia.
Suzette Espinoza Cruz
I am so thankful to have this story told. I am the granddaughter of a resident of Palo
Verde, Lorenzo Espinoza. My grandfather grew up there with his mother, father and four
sisters. According to our family stories he left the area for Kern County, California just
over the mountains to work. He met my grandmother there and they settled in Bakersfield,
the rest they say is history. I also grew up watching the Dodgers and would often make the
two hour drive from Bakersfield to the Stadium to catch a ballgame. In our family we a
little saying that we tell our children. We tell them, Great grandpa slept and dreamed big
dreams over home plate.
The story of the Chavez Ravine families is sad one and there was much greed similar to
what continues to many low income communities of color today. Gentrification and
displacement of communities is as much of an American legacy as is Baseball.
My grandfather has passed away now, but for me and my family who are Dogers fans there is
still a connection to the personal. Every time a Dodger hits a ringer and slides into home
plate I think to myself, That is where grandpa lived, played, and dreamed big
M. Suzette Espinoza-Cruz
In reference to Dodgers involvement to this disaster; I feel a lot of information was
ignored in the film that ties O’malleys involvement to the take over of Chavez
Ravine. First of All O’Malley could of just build the stadium in another location
since LA was not so developed in those days. O’Malley could have fought for those
people instead of joining the classic white man rips off land from the Indians syndrome.
To understand the whole chain of events you have to understand Baseball territories. One
thing that Los Angeles had before the Dodgers immigrated to LA was an established baseball
fan base. From the late 1800’s Los Angeles and the rest of the Pacific Coast had its
own independent league from the east coast baseball leagues. Los Angeles had a team called
the Los Angeles Angels from 1892-1902 9(California league) Los Angeles Angels 1903-1957
(pacific coast league). Pacific Coast league players were paid more money than then the
east coast American and National League. Since Los Angeles has sunny all year round
weather; most players preferred to play in Pacific Coast when possible.
The documentary Chavez Ravine stated that Los Angeles did not have Major league Baseball
until the Dodger arrived in Los Angeles; that was a wrong statement since the Dodgers came
from a stadium where they only could fit about 13,0000 people in Brooklyn. Meanwhile The
Los Angeles Angels played to a crowd of over 20,000 people in South Central LA Wrigley
Field a duplicate stadium of Chicago’s Wrigley field. The Los Angeles Angels
1903-1957 had over 12 championships and ruled the west coast for over 54 years until they
were shipped out of LA through lies.
Chavez Ravine failed to point out that the Dodgers (O’Malley) had purchased the Los
Angeles Angels in 1957 and promised the other Pacific Coast teams owners that he would
keep the Angels in Los Angeles. He did not do that; he shipped out the beloved Angels to
Spokane Washington for the purpose of taking over the Angel’s fans and territory.
Therefore the Angels last season ended in 1957 just months before the Dodgers arrived in
Sine the early 1950’s the Pacific Coast league had been trying to work out a
contract with the Major League Baseball in an effort to become an official third league on
the Major league Baseball company; however MLB never actually offered a partnership to
Pacific Coast League; why not? Because somebody was making plans to take over the west
Coast territory the whole time. Who was that, you say? Walter O’Malley the Dodgers
owner was the person who organized the move to West Coast killing the existing baseball
history in Los Angels and the rest of the West coast.
Dodger owner O’Malley was a dishonest business man who had a team in New York who
realized he could make more money in the West Coast. He had to get rid of the existing
successful team The Angels out the picture so he would not have any competition in the LA
market. Coincidence the Pacific Coast League is being lied too about possible joining the
MLB; at the same time the people from Chavez ravine are being misled about the future
plans of the Ravine. The whole 1950’s were a chain of lies for both the Chavez
Ravine and to the local Pacific Coast League. The result was no offer to the Pacific Coast
league and no housing projects for the Ravine. However the Dodgers got what they wanted a
new stadium looking over Downtown Los Angeles and the whole LA Baseball Territory to
themselves. Keep in mind that the Dodgers in New York had to share the New York territory
with the New York Yankees, New York Mets, New York, and Giants. No wonder they had to get
out of Brooklyn.
By December 1960 Gene Autry was awarded the Los Angels territory for a new American
League baseball team. Gene Autry could have named the new team any name he wanted however
he wanted to give the people back what was taken away from them. Since O’Malley was
the last owner of the Pacific Coast Angels and owned the name Los Angeles Angels; Gene
paid O’Malley over 3,000,000 for the name Los Angeles Angels. In the spring of 1961
the new American League Los Angeles Angels played its fist game in the same Wrigley Field
in South Central, with some of the old (pcl) Angels, same fans, as the Pacific Coast Los
Now in our time the Dodgers are upset that the Angels changed their name back to Los
Angeles Angels instead of the temporary Anaheim name. If only people were bilingual and
realized that Los Angeles and The Angels are the same name. Furthermore you have a new
Dodger owner who is spending money to try to stop the Angels from using their own name in
Spanish. Go figure; history repeats itself.
I’m glad somebody took the time to tell the story of the Ravine; however the other
half of the story which ties these two events together has not been told. Maybe their
could be a second part someday.
I never seen so many greedy people in the united states it is a proven fact that money
talks in the u.s. it is sad what a dollar bill does to people how it changes them you are
not nobody if you have no money.
Rosemary Galvan Reyes
Being hispanic I cherish were my parents grew up . It's not Hollywood or New york in upper
neiborhoods but in a small ranch. Which gives me much pride to tell my children were I use
to play enjoy my friends breath in fresh air. These little things that don't mean much to
others but meant the world to me. These families from Chavez Ravine should be given
something for leaving there memories and homes. They could of built a staduim somewhere
else. But money talks and people that have more money win.
Quartz Hill, CA
Too bad you allow the Frank Wilkinson issue to sidetrack your story. Back in the 1950's
the FBI had infiltrated the Communist Party USA and knew who was and who was not a member.
Back then when you worked for government (any level) you signed a loyalty oath to the
effect you were not and had never been a member of a subversive group. The FBI leaked info
on Wilkinson and he was fired. Then he becomes a martyr and refuses to answer questions
from HUAC. He spends 10 mos in jail for contempt of Congress. Taking the Fifth was the
right to avoid self incrimination. For what? Party membership was not a crime. He knew
what he was doing. Now he is honored by the ACLU--what a joke. Has he left the party? Why
can't he be a little more forthcoming and admit he erred? Most party members had the good
sense to get out--as the Party represented another form of the same repressiveness they so
strongly opposed. You decide.
Santa Monica, Ca.
Why is there so much hatred for the Dodgers? According to this program, the citizens were
evicted to make way for a public housing project. O'Malley just took advantage when the
project got derailed; he had nothing to do with the ouster.
It was good intentions, I'll grant that, but it looks like the same
"good intentions" that built the Cabrini homes in Chicago, that turned that part of
Chicago into a war zone.
The ravine should have been left alone from the start. It would be the wrong experiment
with socialism. The idea of building "low cost housing"with "better building" would in
itself uproot the neighborhood,because it would make the neighborhood unfamiliar. I could
go on but I won't.
San Antonio, Texas
I used to joke that I lived at Dodger Stadium before I was born. My Mother and Father
relocated to Sun Valley California in the early 50's.
What was our home there on Tuxford street is now an acre of squashed cars ten feet high.
Perhaps one day to be recycled into someone else's American Dream. California was good to
us. Now, San Antonio is better
We have to enjoy today for we know not when it will be taken away. The fact that we ever
had it is the blessing. Wherever I am is Home.
Today is the gift... That's why it's called The Present.