by Daniel Costa –
Here are my observations of the PLUM meeting that took place yesterday. It was predictably a grotesque display of backstage hand-shaking, shoulder-patting and self-praising by the Council Members with special interest and ties to the developers they’re so intimately in bed with. Business as usual when it comes to the development of Hollywood.
We first heard from the Hollywood Community Plan (HCP) Staff who was generously offered 45 minutes to gloat in a vague language and often-inaccurate statistics about the benefits their project would have on the community. Of course this was reciprocated and echoed repeatedly throughout the entire presentation by the Assembly Members like an impeccable performance by two stage actors (no doubt they’ve had a chance to hone their rehearsal skills in the past).
This was followed by a procession of the habitual interested parties in favor of the plan as well as other leaders who had been coerced into submission in exchange for gifts and special consideration. Much like the fans at a sporting event, the majority of those in favor sat in the front rows while the few against the plan congregated in the back in a stance of solidarity, each side cheering for their own team.
Then came the time for the public to speak, just a handful of us trying to represent the interest of our peers in the community. Mind you, we were given exactly one minute to get our point across, a true testament to the declining power that people possess in our current Democracy. Nevertheless, each of us stoically took turns conveying our objections to a panel we knew had already made up its mind on the outcome of this hearing. Some of us got cut off by an annoying game buzzer as if we were contestants on Jeopardy, while others managed to barely speed through their soliloquy.
But as I looked around the majestic room in City Hall, there was something, someone or rather a sound of crucial importance missing from this meeting… The voice of the residents and constituents who have the most at stake if this proposal is implemented. Why, one may ask out of logical curiosity? And the answer is because 99% (Doesn’t that figure sound familiar these days) of the people who live and work in our community have no clue that their city is about to get ransacked by a bunch of unscrupulous developers who have been given “Carte Blanche” to do as they please. Of course this is intentional by the powers that be for all the obvious reasons. An educated public is not in their best interest and would put a serious damper on their plans to fill their pockets.
Yet either the developers or our city officials are the ones who will have to deal with the aftermath and irreversible consequences this faulty plan will have on our community for years to come. They will not be the ones sitting in massive traffic, circling endlessly to find a place to park, or facing inadequate police and fire response time to name just a few of the perils we will be faced with. Nor will they be forced to watch architectural atrocities and blunders such as the hideous “project” on the corner of Hollywood & Western (Eric Garcetti’s claim to fame) and many others that have been hastily erected around the city. And furthermore, they will not be the ones to see their home and property values depreciating by the cheapening and commercialization of a historical city that deserves to be restored to its former glory and integrity. That’s because I guarantee you that the majority of these officials and their cronies will not be residing anywhere close to Hollywood when the crap hits the fan. But I do envision us cursing their names from the havoc they leave behind.
So please get involved right now before it’s too late. As mentioned in the post above, there is another meeting on April 17, 2012. This is your chance to get your 1-minute of fame. If enough of us overwhelm City Hall, create petitions, inform our neighbors and create a sizable movement, our voice will be heard! I also met with a few attorneys who will take legal action if the plan goes through, but they will need financial and active support from our community.
If like me, you love this neighborhood and would like it to be restored in a responsible and manageable way with the architectural/historical integrity and respect it deeply deserves, so that it may benefit its residents rather than the deep pockets of a few interested parties, I plea that you get involved ASAP!