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The Hollywood Community Plan Update – From Bad to Worse

EDITOR’S NOTE: Former LA City Planner Dick Platkin has been closely watching the evolution of the Hollywood Community Plan (2012-2-24 CPC Determination Letter – Hollywood CPU) as it moves toward approval by the City Council and becomes the model for future development throughout LA. Teacher, writer and consultant to community groups on LA planning issues, Platkin’s in-depth analysis of the revised Hollywood Plan goes straight to the heart of the matter:  Will it provide the basis for “a revival of the quality of life in Los Angeles, or even to an authentic, sustainable urban expansion” as city officials claim or will it “boomerang and accelerate the deterioration of an already stagnant city.”  The information and insights he provides and the conclusions he reaches need to be taken seriously both inside and outside City Hall. He can be reached at

By Dick Platkin

LA’s Vanished History of Population and Economic Expansion:  In lieu of updating the General Plan Framework Element, the legally adopted citywide plan for the entire city of Los Angeles, based on the latest 2010 census data, the Department of City Planning is slowly updating 35 local community plans on a scattershot basis, based on old census data.  While this a methodologically shoddy approach to planning Los Angeles in an era of economic hard times, budget cutbacks, certain natural disasters, peak oil, and climate change, this choice does not result from politicians who snuck out of workshops on municipal governance or planners who skipped a critical lecture on urban general plans.  In both cases, sloppy planning should not be confused with lack of knowledge.

The real reason for this piecemeal approach to planning Los Angeles for the early 21st Century is that the old data still depicts Los Angeles as a young, growing metropolis.  These data portray a city that has decades of expanding population and employment ahead of it.  The only limitation to this vision is LA’s finite land and the reluctance of residential neighborhoods to be further bulldozed or hidden by nearby mega-projects and McMansions.  Therefore, recent citywide plans, in particular the General Plan Framework Element, called for new commercial and residential real estate projects to be concentrated in commercial centers and on the major mass transit corridors connecting these centers.  This vision, which attempted to please all parties, is the essence of the original General Plan Centers Concept plan of the 1970’s and its reincarnation in the General Plan Framework Element of the 1990’s.

Annual Monitoring Program:  The General Plan Framework Element, however, ratcheted up the Centers concept by focusing on all categories of infrastructure, not just transit, to serve an ever-growing city.  Furthermore, the Framework insisted that the city’s population, housing, and employment trends, as well as all major infrastructure categories, must be carefully monitored on an annual basis to ensure that the Framework’s citywide policies and programs performed as anticipated.  If the annual monitoring report indicated that the General Plan was not unfolding as intended — such as population growth that was higher or lower than expected or infrastructure user demand and capacity that was unforeseen -– then the Planning Department was to revise to the Framework’s policies and programs in response to these changes.

While this approach is admirable, it is important to examine what has remained the same and what has changed since the Los Angeles City Council adopted the Framework in 1996.  One thing that has remained the same is the rhetoric of the old plans, that Los Angeles needs to accommodate future population and employment growth -– should it occur — through large scale commercial development in centers and major transit corridor.  This approach, in fact, is part of the political and press campaign to heavily promote the proposed Update of the Hollywood Community Plan, despite massive opposition from Hollywood’s residents and their many civic organizations.  For example, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a special press event on the roof a Hollywood apartment building on Monday, December 19, 2011, to promote the proposed Update of the Hollywood Community Plan based on this exact premise.

While the rhetoric of the General Plan has not changed, its underlying basis is now much different.  Unlike the post-WWII era, Los Angeles is no longer a growing a city.  According to William Foster, author of The Reluctant Metropolis, Los Angeles is now an older city, similar to those in the east coast or mid-west, and it gave up its boomtown status at least a decade ago.  In recent decades, in fact, Los Angeles has lost much of its industrial and financial base.  It no longer hosts the headquarters of any Fortune 500 companies.  Entertainment production has migrated to many other cities, such as Vancouver, British Columbia.   Major employers of well paid, unionized, blue-collar workers, such as auto, metals, and even aerospace, have largely vanished.  Even low wage industries, like the garment industry, have seen flat to declining employment.   Overall, LA City and LA County have had no employment gain in the past two decades, the 1990 base year for the General Plan Framework, which was supposed to be replaced or updated when the new 2010 census data became available.

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15 Responses to The Hollywood Community Plan Update – From Bad to Worse

  1. Teddy says:

    Thank you, Ron, and Mr. Platkin for summarizing the shenanigans going on now in Hollywood “again” as well as consideration of a major population center of 4 MILLION people!!!! The idea of managing that many people who are in a 400 + SQUARE Mile area with a group of non-compos-mentis imdividuals who have nothing to guide them but lusts for power and cold hard briberies known as CASH.

    To those who have the courage to move (like my son who is finding a whole new
    experience in Colorado for his family and himself), good for you. For me, I have been
    here since August, 1966, my home is old but paid for and I will stay here as long as I
    last. (I am not Methuselah). For the rest of us, the answer is not redistricting, it is secession. Smallish large towns who manage themselves. That is my advice.

  2. Wayne from Encino says:

    Re: Teddy—good to see the kids fleeing the Liberal Hellhole well before they lose the gusto to do so! Be sure to put your home in one of those living trusts so when the unfortunate day comes—the kids WON’T OWE ANY PROBATE FEES to the bastards. I was hoping for rain today to soak the rot and filth that we call “Hollywood” at their annual crap show. I guess even Mother Nature has given up raining on the Liberal Bastards’ parade!

  3. Teddy says:

    Wayne from Encino – Ah, you feel better! Good.

    Right now, I feel lost. Will we ever be able to make
    the BIG CHANGES we need – how can people stay detached
    and unconcerned? What do you think?

  4. Dick Platkin says:

    There is nothing in my article which states that LA is governed on a liberal model, which means a high level of regulation and a high level of amenities. My argument is that the philosophy guiding LA’s City Hall is deregulated markets, with little concern about monitoring, enforcement, public infrastructure, and public services. The technical name for this approach to governance is neo-liberalism. In the U.S. it began with Ronald Reagan and has gradually been adopted by most big city politicians, including LA’s.

  5. Teddy says:

    I know I am not an ultra liberal nor am I an ultra conservativwe.

    No one has all the answers. It is only discussing pro and con
    the issues. But here in LA (city and county) votes are too often
    unanimous and I do not believe that they take any opinions from
    anyone in the public. Lousy job.

  6. M. Starr says:

    I for one am greatly alarmed by the symbolism of what Eric Garcetti, Tom LaBonge, and Antonio Villaraigosa are willing to do: sell the future of this City in exchange for a few campaign contributions to sustain their own unbridled personal ambition. Mr. Platkin has articulated the pathetic distopia that lies ahead in the Hollywood Community Plan update based upon the 2000 census when the 2010 numbers are available to our decision makers.

    Antonio Villaraigosa will be remembered for driving businesses and middle class people out of Los Angeles. Even some of the employees in City Hall see the handwriting on the wall. Some are plotting their own move out of Los Angeles.

    We know that smaller cities work better. The corrupt real estate machine wants just one mayor and 15 councilmembers to bribe (legally) with campaign contributions. This system of campaign contributions is strangling and drowning all community voices at City Hall except those who make contributions. The result is a toxic despair among the City’s residents. The scandal currently unfolding at the County Assessor’s office is just one example of the wealthy one to ten percenters being given illegal multi-million dollar tax breaks in exchange for a handful of campaign contributions to fuel a compliant elected official’s future ambitions. Those without that kind of money to grease the corruption political machine, are expected to quietly pay more taxes, pay more DWP rate hikes, and watch their own quality of life spiral downward. The concept of elected officials working in the public interest has become quaint and old fashioned. Corruption rises and more of the City’s tax base will move away.

    Secession appears to be the only alternative for a disrespected and marginalized group of neighborhoods. The elected officials come and go, but the same corrupt process ensures that Los Angeles will continue to devolve into chaos as a result of a deregulated real estate speculation market substituted for Real Planning.

  7. Teddy says:

    I agree with you. We must not let up the fight
    against the corruption we live with everyday. The “gang”
    think they have us running scared.
    Every time we get a message from Ron Kaye and others
    who do not believe we are helpless, we must use the new technologies
    to share the information with everyone we know. We are in the majority.

    Let us help ourselves now that we realize we are “used”.

  8. Scott Zwartz says:

    One good thing has occurred. The Aboliton of the CRA!

    When the HCP was issued in July 2010, the arrogant ones who preside over city hall never dreamed that lowly peons could ever assault this bastion of Crony Capitalism. As Gregory Paul Williams showed in his 2005 book, “The Story of Hollywood,” the CRA hastened Hollywood’s decline — just as Mr. Platkin notes.

    As the CRA and Garcetti took over Hollywood, the deterioration revved up and the 1.4% population decline from 1990 to 2000 accelerated by 400% to 6%. They wanted us to believe that Hollywood had 224,000 people in 2010, when they knew it had 198,000. That made the HCP’s population project of about 250,000 residents in 2030 off by at least 60,000 people. The morea ccurate 2030 popluation is 190,000 or less.

    Simply put, the HCP was a fraud to justify more CRA crony capitalism and to further loot the tax payers. We do not have a case of innocent miscalculation. Back into 2006, the new Director of Planning had told the City’s and Garcetti’s approach to zoning (whatever a developer wants) was a “disaster.” Supervisor Yaroslavsky called it a “Fraud.”

    Dick Platkin is revealing some of the merchanisms by which this Fraud visits Disaster on to us Hollywoodians.

    We killed the Crony Capitalists favor tool, the CRA, and we can force the City to write a Hollywood Community Plan that is based on Facts and not on Lies and Myths.

  9. Howard says:

    OK, the activists on this list should send this idea to the leaders of the City’s Neighborhood Councils in Hollywood and each homeowner or resident’s group. Each of the Hollywood NCs and each homeowner group should contribute to a parking study. One of the ways the LA City Council is doing planning with lies and mythology is to make the baseless claim that because public transit (rail or bus line) runs down a street, the occupants of these skyscraper projects will be filled with people who magically give up their private autos and exclusively ride rail and bus. Oh, not so, but the community has not rallied to pool its funds to pay for a study of how many people living in the W, or Sunset apartments have really given up cars and therefore a reduction from the code required parking should be allowed. If you want to fight back against the fraud of Garcetti and others, you need to arm yourself with some objective and professional data instead of complaining on this blog.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      You are completely correct. The City has the money to conduct the traffic study which would include how many use the subway and busses, by the city refuses to do the study until AFTER the plan has been adopted. That’s LA; shoot first, ask questions later.

      Actually, we know the answers. People who live in TOD’s need cars. The has had the 2001 San jose Traffic study since er wel 2001 and not once haev I ever seen the city acknowledge its existence. Why? becuyse it rebuts the lies that Garcetti and the others use to promote more density so they can gvie more loot to their cronies.

      Even if they used the subway, then that would increase their need for off-street parking. If one is away all day because they took the subway to work downtown, they can’t come home at 12:00 to change to the other side of street for street cleaning. we have deficient parking because developers do not want to pay to construct off street parking.

      When off stret parking is really necessary, then the city gives a billionaire $52 Million to build a garage next to his art museum.

      City Hall is stuffed to the gills with crony capitalism stealing us blind. Garcetti is their cheer leader and Wesson is the drum majorette.

  10. Wayne from Encino says:

    Re: M. Starr’s comments—too accurate to dispute–that’s the sad truth of L.A.
    Re: Platkin—ULTRA-LIBERALS are THE PROBLEM fool! And we produce too damn many Bolsheviks here in California, more in fact than all the Stawberries and Oranges COMBINED IN A BUMPER CROP YEAR! Reagan was a crony-capitalist before the term was coined, true—but he made sure YOU GREW THE ECONOMY DOMESTICALLY AND HAD JOBS, LOW GAS PRICES, AND LOW INTEREST RATES ALONG with the crony crap. GARSLUTTI and the other rats don’t tend to the economy, thus the rest of the taxpayers either wind up having to live outside L.A. and drive in to work, or have to flee altogether, or have to join the Machine and feed it campaign donations. Reagan could easily identify a COMMUNIST and would ANNOUNCE IT EVERYTIME HE DID! If Romney, GingSlut, Ron I-wish-I-was-a-registered-Democarat Paul, or SLUTORUM would do the same, we’d easily see the Obama-Fool out in November! But all the Republicans are just Democrats with pretend-Reagan ideology—they stand for ZERO. That’s why the election will tilt on 1% of the undecided electorate and why gas prices will decide this election cycle. People can only vote with their gas tank levels.

  11. Dick Platkin says:

    Anyone who likes Ronald Reagan’s free market anti-communism should have no issues with the elected officials at LA City’s Hall. They have the same approach of sweet heart deals for cronies, rejecting regulation and enforcement, while ordering 1400 LAPD officers in riot gear to use rough tactics to forcibly evict (and then prosecute ) Occupy Los Angeles from the grounds of City Hall in the dead of night.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is no accountability or punishment for producing plans based on incorrect data even when protested by the community. Must be sweet to be a city employee. Garbage in–garbage out.

  13. Joey says:

    Hey anonymous:

    Platkin was a part of the garbage at City Hill, couldn’t get promoted, now he has an ax to grind. Look at his responses anyone who disagrees with him, always has to have the last word. Pathetic.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Joey, at least, you are honest about admitting to being part of the garbage at the Planning Department. Now, show a little more honesty in admitting that what Mr. Platkin writes about are facts. If that is too much for you, wish you good luck in yet another promotion in your butt-kissing ways.

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