Just like that with a snap of the fingers, good old boy Tom LaBonge got approval for the residents of Solar Drive high in the Hollywood Hills to install gates on their public street to keep out the riffraff, effectively turning the cul-de-sac neighborhood with the best viewing point for the Hollywood sign into a private gated community.
which is an aspect of the inalienable right to Liberty.” (SolarDriveLawsuit.pdf)
Here’s how LaBonge justified the private gate in his motion:
as a result of the traffic and the constant presence of visitors, the
are facing security issues such as loitering, littering, drinking and smoking
in a Very High Fire
That’s all, just another favor for the rich without even an examination of alternative solutions to the viewpoint’s popularity, not a police investigation to determine whether the legal requirement of “serious continual criminal activity” is met to justify a street closure is
Even the LA TImes had trouble with this one, saying in an editorial:
“As long as
people have built homes in Los Angeles near canyon parks or along the seashore,
they have had to cope with the fact that their coveted private real estate
abuts prized public land. The price for living near a magnificent view is having
to share it with the public … Residents near the Hollywood sign should resign
themselves to this reality — and stop putting up their own churlish signs
warning tourists to stay away. With the exception of gates to deter violent
crime in neighborhoods at risk for it, we do not support closing off public
Citing the Vehicle Code, the lawsuit notes closures are allowed only when the “local authority finds and determines that there is serious and continual criminal activity based upon the recommendation of the police department.”
“Nowhere does the motion indicate any
serious criminal activity; it does not use the word crime. Thus,
the motion is unconstitutional on its face,: wrote MacNaughton.
He also points out it is a futile exercise since pedestrians still would have access to Solar Drive, moving the parking problem to Astral Drive and still allowing visitors to “engage in the loitering, littering and smoking while enjoying this ‘very popular overlook area with great City views.’ “
The Hollywood Sign is the city’s most popular tourist attraction and tourism is the justification for the downtown football stadium, rebuilding the Convention Center and mammoth tax breaks for luxury hotels but that question never came up.
It was just another day of a scofflaw City Hall.