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The Battle for Hollywood: LA’s Moment of Truth

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Among the handful of ordinary people who made their way past security in time to get to the rooftop of the Hollywood Tower Monday morning for the mayor’s media event was Lucille Saunders, the La Brea-Willoughby Coaltion leader who has fought for years to make City Hall fulfill its legal obligations to report annually on the cumulative impact of development on the infrastructure.

She has gone to hundreds of meetings and events like Monday’s, marshaled the resources to sue the city and still fights on against the tyranny of elected officials like Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge who came together to show their undivided support of the controversial new Hollywood Community Plan Update (HCPU).  
In an email to a friend, Saunders reported what happened when she tried to ask the mayor a question:
“i made my way to the front and tony ignored my
hand, asking if there were “more press questions.”  i kept my hand
raised and he called on me.  i marched to the podium, moved the mike
from his mouth to mine — he could have fainted!!  i identified myself and
asked about the absence of infrastructure language in the hcpu.  he
handed the question to (Planning head Michael) logrande– who gave a non answer that the eir was
certified as having infrastructure in the plan…more b.s…that’s what was expected.  and what happened…i and others handed out media releases.” (HollywoodPlanOpposed.pdf)
AV-gg-tb.jpgThe mainstream media (rightly scorned as “MSM” stooges of the 1 percenters by the Occupy LA protesters) mostly ignored Saunders and the other protesters although Hollywood Patch used her quote “It is the Manhattanization of Hollywood,” and the NBC Los Angeles actually put her on camera in a report headlined “Hollywood — the Next Manhattan?” that actually comes to capturing what the controversy is all about.

“Hollywood Gazes into the Future and Sees Skrscrapers” echoed the LA Times but with a different slant entirely on the prospect of a denser, higher L.A. with a million more people on the broken roads and sidewalks, requiring more water from the diminishing supply flowing through leaky pipes and electricity from a polluting fossil fuel power supply.

“It’s part of a grand vision of concentrating
development around transit hubs — a doctrine Mayor
 Antonio Villaraigosalikes to call “elegant density.” The
principle can be seen in the pricey downtown condos built over the last decade,
and can be expected to be repeated in the future at current and future
transit-rich communities like Woodland Hills and the Crenshaw district,
officials say,” according to the Times.



“Ostensibly, Hollywood is a place where the payoff
for the region’s multibillion-dollar investment in a rail transit network
should be easy to recoup. After all, it has a pioneering past, and in recent
years it has seen a burst of new development that has revitalized its central
core.”

Hooray for Hollywood! 

All it takes is a bus stop or better yet a subway or train stop and the HCPU — intended to be a model for every other part of town especially those where developers and investors can profit handsomely — will provide a bonanza that allow for density bonuses allowing or 50 to 100 percent or even more in some cases. And it will be by right — no process for governmental approval or input from the public — and surely come with various tax breaks and redevelopment subsidies.

Virtually the only voice allowed to interrupt the cheerleading for over-development is that of urban affairs expert Joel Kotkin — dismissed as a “champion of traditional suburban developments” when he argues for healthy sustainable with a high quality of life — sort of like L.A. used to be before the politicians sold out to developers and trashed planning and zoning rules for their own benefit and the benefit of developers.

“This
is the endless Villaraigosa fantasy that you’ll get wealthy people to live near
bus stops,” Kotkin said, noting the total lack of evidence that the affluent are flocking to the city’s transit system.

Even Planning Commissioner Mike Woo, who lost his ultra-liberal idealism back when he lost the mayor’s race in 1993 Dick Riordan, one of the few outsiders to be elected to city office in more than a generation, could offer only this in support of the HCPU: 

“This is really what government is supposed
to be doing. We’re supposed to be guessing and dreaming
about the future. Who knows, in 2030, whether we’ll have been right.”

Say what? Guessing and dreaming — is that what planning is all about, is that what the government is supposed to do for you, guess and dream instead of protecting and serving and making sure things are getting better?

You can be sure developers will be generous to Garcetti and the rest of the political machine come election time just as the unions are grateful to City Hall for their sweetheart contracts and project labor agreements.

This is the moment of truth for Lucille Saunders and the other Hollywood residents who protested at the mayor’s dog-and-pony show and for all the rest of us love L.A. for the quality of our lives and who see the abuses of power and what they are doing to our town. 

We either get our act together for the 2013 city elections and put strong, courageous and independent people into office or we get of town before all our neighborhoods are a Skyscraper Hell — which is what the Westside will be most of all when the “subway to the sea” is built and Expo Line extended.

That’s what East Hollywood Neighborhood Councilmember Doug Haines meant when he questioned why a community that worked so hard to clean up crack dealers and prostitutes and slum conditions and now is having massive developments shoved down their throats.

“We feel like we’re being punished for sticking it
out,” he said.

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9 Responses to The Battle for Hollywood: LA’s Moment of Truth

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wealthy people living next to a bus stop ? In LA ???
    Ha-ha-ha
    I’m an upper middle-class upwardly mobile and I moved away from LA because of congestion and poor quAlity of life. You want me to take a bus just like all those 3rd world inhabitants. Sure maybe in Villar s and woos fantasies. Not going to happen. By the way you don’t see any of these special people like garcetti, Villar etc taking a bus. No. It’s just for the little people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    From the mouth of the crook – “I don’t have to tell you that land use can be an arcane policy area, but it goes right to the heart of what neighborhoods look and feel like, and has a major impact on the quality of life of the people who live in those neighborhoods,” Villaraigosa said at a news conference atop the Hollywood Tower apartment building”.
    Do those 95 Neighborhood Councils understand a word of what the Mayor said. Don’t wait till that skyscraper is built next to your house. You won’t even know about it. Community Plans are that important.

  3. Tell the Big Lie says:

    The bigger the Lie, the more people believe it.
    While Garcettization had created a significant exodus from Hollywood, he lies to the world and says that there’s a huge influx of people to live in high rise Hell.
    The exodus is much worse than the 12,566 people who fled. The SES status is now lower which strongly suggests that far more than 12,566 left Hollywood while some people with significantly lower socio-economic status moved in.
    Hollywoodians live under two Gang Injunctions — that’s a type of martial law for gangsters. That’s what Garcetti calls revitalizations! Ata the City Commission hearing, Leron Gulber Pres of the Chamber of Commerce denied there was crime in Hollywood. On December 9 the world saw the lunatic shooting spree at Sunset and Vine amidst the CRA buildings. That’s right no Crime — just dead people in the streets and subways.

  4. Anonymous says:

    History will Judge Villar, Garslicty, and LaBong as sellouts to the communities they were supposed to serve.

  5. Wayne from Encino says:

    1601 N. Vine St–WE SAW GARSLUTTI GUT AND TEAR OUT MOLLY’S BURGERS and an affordable parking lot and locksmith shack for his criminal buddy campaign donors. Since then, LEGALZOOM fled Hollywood and houses around the area have plummeted in asking prices! GARSLUTTI doesn’t even live in “the City” and instead lives in the MOUNTAINS (he’d make you believe he lives right on sunset and vine, but another make believe schmuck politico! His “wife” runs an “urban parks” scam to take parking lots and garbage dumps and plant lawns on them AND GET PAID FOR PLANTING SEEDS!!! Molly’s Burgers was the last of the truly urban CHEAP BREAKFAST AND LUNCH joints for the WORKING CLASS that loved the place. 90 years of history couldn’t stand up to a paid off political hack, despite Molly’s surviving 2 world wars, the Great Depression, Vietnam, Korea, and everything else! GARSLUTTI finally paid the owner of Molly’s about 1.2 MILLION just to fire all her workers, cut up HER LEASE (SHE DIDN’T EVEN OWN THE LAND!), AND TAKE A HIKE! All of you posting SHOULD GET A LARGE CASH SETTLEMENT TO LEAVE HOLLYWOOD! Ms. Molly did, so why not you nice guys and gals too?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Mayor is like the bubonic plague who has infected the innards of City Hall with his disease.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love Hollywood.
    The people, the real folks make Hollywood so very attactive. The real estate developers the rich who will profit bring in the coldness of only making money, this separates the people from the City, especially eric garcetti, he has been centered on a small or mini High-Rise without the infrastructure -Hollywood is nice but we don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many people. People look WEST not back downtown from Hollywood. So subway system is not conducive to large scale use like NYC

  8. Let the developers go bankrupt says:

    Gacetti forced thru so many outageous concessions for developers that he created a bubble in commercial real estate. Now his buddies are caught having oer paid for the properties and the CRA was abolished so it canot bail out the crooks. The CRA aleady owes $3 BILLION dollars and no one is loaning money
    Thus, we has this huge real estate scam that Hollywood’s population is growing towards 225,000, when in reality the US Census shows that it is sinking towads 175,000.
    But, don’t tell the $$ from the Mid East, Russia or Asian. They are the dupes in this real estate hype. They think “Hollywood” is real. Maybe Garcetti will steal from the Yakazu and our problems will be solved.

  9. Vic says:

    Prior to the Mayor’s press conference and the meeting of the City Planning Commission that approved the Update of the Hollywood Community Plan, the City Planning Department held two public hearings. For many hours, the public held forth. Nearly every speaker was informed and had detailed criticisms of the Hollywood plan.
    Nevertheless, the Mayor, Council, and the fawning press portrayed a parallel universe in which this plan has enormous local support and the public comments have been addressed.
    Unless stopped by the courts or massive opposition, the Mayor’s vision (actually the vision of his backers from the investment world) will be put to the test. Without supporting infrastructure or accurate demographics, the vision will prove a mirage, but by then all of the elected officials who supported this boondoggle will be out-of-office. The residents of Hollywood will be stuck with many bad projects, and tax payers will be asked to bail out the developers who believed their and the politician’s fantasies.

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