There is something about L.A. that’s worse than how business un-friendly it is — and that’s how people un-friendly it is.
City Hall’s long-time war against good jobs and the middle class has escalated in the name of the unending budget crisis into a war against community life itself.
Dozens of events that brought people together across the city have been canceled because of the mayor and City Council’s decision to make people pay the full cost of everything the city provides — costs that already were paid for in the past with tax dollars.
Sunday’s Israel Independence celebration in Woodley Park, an event that draws tens of thousands of people, was canceled because the city demanded $44,000 for police and fire protection, and traffic diversion — charges that could not be met on top of the $174,000 cost of staging the festival.
Then, there’s the case of the city’s most popular farmers’ market, the one in Hollywood at Selma and Ivar that has been on life support for months.
Its latest extension of permits to operate expires today and still nothing has been resolved about its future which has been imperiled by city policies and the uncivil attitudes of the L.A. Film School.
Back on Dec. 14, you might remember, Council President Eric Garcetti promised a Council Chamber full of “Save the Hollywood Market” protesters that the Sunday event that draws thousands of shoppers, vendors and farmers would be preserved and the issues resolved.
On Monday, Pompea Smith, CEO of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), the non-profit which operates Hollywood and other markets, wrote Garcetti and Public Works Board Vice President Andrea Alarcon (the indicted Councilman’s daughter and anointed successor) that their efforts to find solutions have failed (HollywoodFarmersMkt.pdf).
In an exercise at diplomatic politeness, Smith unequivocally stated in her four-page letter that SEE-LA cannot and will not pay the huge costs of relocating the market or reconfiguring its existing location north onto Hollywood Boulevard, which would have to be partly closed.
“Most of the issues, challenges and costs associated with such a relocation are related to City Departments’ requirements, laws, ordinances and procedures, and we would respectfully request that the City assume the cost of street closure, including the cost of traffic control or security officers, the cost and time needed for a traffic study for such a major street, the Fire Department requirements, the MTA rerouting of
busses, petition and notification requirements, and the impact on the community and other businesses,” she wrote.
“Please also note that all of these issues either are not factors, or are addressed at far lower cost to both HFM and the City at the existing location and configuration.”
She notes SEE-LA with its own funds and money from the Community Redevelopement Agency has studied numerous options and has found them all inadequate because of ”economic and safety considerations “
Not so with regard to the LA Film School’s commitment to consider solutions so that its parking facilities can be fully used by its students on Sundays when the market operates — the supposed source of the “private for-profit” company’s objections to the market.
The Film School “given equivalent opportunities to utilize City-support, made a similar commitment to study potential options to solve its internal circulation issues by potentially connecting its parking structures; however, in the end, they abandoned their public commitments and did not undertake their promised study,” Smith wrote.
She closes the letter by asking for a permanent permit to operate in its current location and offering to provide ”a more detailed proposed market design analysis, including the specific impact on each building, parking ingress and egress, circulation patterns, etc” to minimize impact on the Film School and others in the area.
So it’s back in the hands of the powerful and ambitious Garcetti to choose between his commitment to business interests and community interests, and fulfill the promise he made on Dec. 14, 2010: