The price certainly won’t be cheap but the brand is pure gold — Beverly Hills 90210.
Feeling a lot like the woebegone residents of Los Angeles whose leaders have sold out the city and its people, the community is fighting what they believe is a critical battle against high-rise development that will set the course for the city for years to come.
At issue is a project adjacent to the Beverly Hills for a massive high-rise development at one of the nation’s busiest and most famous intersections — where Wilshire and Santa Monica meet.
It is the dreamchild of tough guy developer, the one-time schlock computer maker Beny Alagem and the hardball lobbyists and consultants he has hired to sell voters on the virtues of Beverly Hills tallest building and two other high-rises that will provide expensive condominiums and a Waldorf Astoria Hotel adjacent to the Beverly Hilton.
Residents see it as the start of something big, way too big -- a domino effect that would turn Beverly Hills into Century City and Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, creating massive traffic congestion, changing the skyline, polluting the air during five or more years of construction.
For many like Terre Thomas, daughter of the late entertainer Danny Thomas and sister of actress Marlo Thomas, community activism had meant her involvement in St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital which had been her father’s favorite charity.
know this isn’t the ’50s anymore,” says Terre Thomas, daughter of the late entertainer Danny Thomas and sister of actress Marlo Thomas,
whose community activism had meant her involvement in St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital, her father’s favorite charity.
“But some things have got
to stay the same. Many people are very upset at Beverly Hills becoming
a high-rise city and that this will unleash a whole lot of other
high-rise projects. We don’t want to see Beverly Hills ruined.”
Thomas has helped produce a video that tells the story of why so many oppose what Alagem, who has parlayed his wealth from the knockoff computer maker Packard Bell nearly two decades ago into a real estate fortune.
The Planning Commission rejected his proposal after months of review 5-0 but the City Council approved it 3-2, forcing residents to get a petition drive going and get it on next Tuesday’s ballot as Proposition H.
They want people to vote “No” and reject the project, forcing Alagem to come back with a more appropriate sized project.
If it’s any consolation to residents of L.A. who are fighting battles like this all over town, the issue isn’t demographics — Beverly Hills is 85 percent white. BH has an annual household income nearly twice L.A.’s. BH has a tenth the population of L.A. and BH has hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank versus L.A. facing a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars.
So why did the Beverly Hills City Council ignore the interests of the community and sell out the city’s future? Listen to what the No on H campaign has to say and what the yes on H campaign has to say about this project: