On to Phase Two

George Abrahams — People for Livable Communities and the three other organized groups fighting the Hollywood Community Plan have understood from the beginning that the fight to get the City to respect State Law and even their own laws is a long-term effort. All of us have been working toward the goal of being able to establish the basis of a winning legal challenge to the proposed Plan. The principal focus is the Administrative Record. The Administrative Record is the legal foundation upon which all discussion before a court of law must be based. The period where facts and expert analysis can be introduced is the time from when the Plan is first presented to the public by the City Planning Department to when the City Council votes on the Plan. It is the only time when interested parties can introduce relevant material. All four groups opposing the Plan have been diligently building our case. In alerting the residents of Los Angeles to our effort and raising public awareness about the many faults in the proposed Hollywood Community Plan, we were making it clear to the City Council that their votes on that Plan will have consequences. In this regard we were successful. The PLUM Committee went into closed session to confer with the City Attorney on a matter where “there is significant exposure to litigation, based on ‘existing facts and circumstances’ and the advice of counsel” and ultimately sent the Plan to the City Council “without recommendation”. This was a major admission by the Committee that there were faults in the Plan and that they would face a significant risk of losing in court. When the Plan went to the full Council, it looked for a time that we would be able to make them see reason and send the Plan back to the City Planning Department for correction of the faulty data, a full recirculation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a study of the Downzoning Alternative. In the City Council meeting (June 19th), Councilman Alarcon had his doubts about the Plan and questioned the City Attorney and the Planning representatives about it. The Council chose to ignore the warning from the City Attorney and voted to approve the flawed Plan. This was Phase One. However, this does not mean that the fight for a fair and just Hollywood Community Plan is over.

The City has long had a “so sue us” strategy when facing challenges to their abuse of authority, hoping that the people opposed will acquiesce, give up and go away. But fat chance of that. The facts in the administrative record and the law are on our side. So, we go onto Phase Two — we sue them. The case will likely go through both trial court and appeals court before it is settled. The City has to pay all the attorney fees and court costs when it loses a suit. But, until the final decision of the Court is made, the plaintiffs in a case must be able to fund the suit.

We need your help again. Please help us win the case for a Hollywood Community Plan that will fairly serve the interests of both the residents and the businesses in Hollywood. This will also benefit all the residents in Los Angeles who will be affected by the outcome of the suit and harmed if the current Plan is not stopped. Please use the “Donate” button to save Hollywood from excessive density, over-development, skyscrapers and traffic grid-lock.

LA Weekly:  Hollywood Community Plan Passed by L.A. City Council: Welcome to Skyscraper Hell

Hollywood Patch:  City Council Approves Hollywood Community Plan Update

Heckler’s Veto? Please! Get it right! Is that too much to ask?

Read today’s article in the Los Angeles Times. Lawyer and Hollywood “neighbor”, David Ambroz attempts to reduce our valid concerns over the Hollywood Community Plan as a heckler’s veto. All we are asking for is a little courage and integrity to come forth from the City’s leaders. And now we’re asking that same intense involvement of our Hollywood neighbors, the ones who want to spare Hollywood’s streets the massive insult of more gridlock and density that will overwhelm our emergency response services and infrastructure. If that’s called the heckler’s veto, so be it. Hey, Hollywood neighbors: Please attend this Tuesday’s City Council meeting and let’s show them what a heckler’s veto really looks like. Call your council office Monday afternoon for parking at City Hall (don’t know their number? Call 3-1-1 and get patched in!)

Hollywood population density at issue in development fight by Bob Pool

Hollywood Community Plan at City Council THIS Tuesday, June 19th at 10 a.m.

The heat is on and the City Council has finally agreed to add it to their agenda this Tuesday. Please make a special point of being there. Bring your neighbors and friends. The City Council needs to see that there are more than just hillside residents concerned over this dangerously flawed plan. This Just In: Agenda for the Tuesday hearing.

Please take a look at this article – Hollywood Community Plan: Boon or Bust? by Aaron Blevins and published today in the Park Labrea News/Beverly Press

PLUM Gets an Education – People’s Voices Silenced

by Fran Reichenbach — In the meeting yesterday of the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), it appeared that PLUM was not prepared to actually see what the Hollywood Community Plan Update will mean for Hollywood. At the end of a mere 15 minutes of public comment in yesterday’s hearing on this matter, a poster illustrating the height of one of two Millennium Project towers was presented. (See graphic) After the speaker sat down, the committee asked to see that poster close up. They then proceeded to ask Kevin Keller (Planning Department) about what can and can’t be built on Vine now and in the future (if the Hollywood Community Plan is approved). They wanted to know how high a structure could be in the “Hollywood Core” and what the process for approval of such developments is and will be. The three councilmembers on the PLUM committee expressed some surprise at the responses that Kevin gave. Kevin confirmed that indeed a building that tall is planned to sit next to Capitol Records as part of the Millennium Project. He added that certain hearings would have to be conducted.

One could guess that this committee has been depending on the testimony of the Planning Department (Kevin Keller and Mary Richardson) for valuable details rather than dissecting the Hollywood Community Plan Update themselves. That may change as a result of this one revelation.

As refreshing as it was to finally have the truth laid out and understood by this committee, the people were not satisfied. And who could blame them? This hearing had a great number of people opposing the plan sitting in their seats patiently waiting for their turn to speak. The good news is that this plan will be back before PLUM in two weeks. Councilmember Reyes did allude to the possibility of taking public comment if need be at that time. Why not contact him at councilmember.reyes@lacity.org. Ask him to set aside a full hour or more for public comment when the Hollywood Community Plan (file 12-0303) comes before his PLUM committee in two weeks. In the interest of empowerment and the recognition of the importance of this issue, no voice should be silenced!

 

California Declares War on Suburbia

State and regional planners seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing millions into narrowly confined, densely packed urban corridors. Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house.  If the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condos and apartment complexes. It won’t save the planet but will make traffic even worse.

California Declares War on Suburbia by Wendell Cox – Wall Street Journal

April 9, 2012

City Planning Dept: Don’t Confuse Us With the Facts. We Have Our Minds Made Up

City planners, relying on Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) projections that there will be an additional demand for multi-unit housing have proposed upzoning for more density in Hollywood. However, the factual data proves that most people don’t want it.

The American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau found that only 11.8% preferred multi-unit housing while Los Angeles has an existing stock of 39.6%. The 2011 Community Preference Survey commissioned by the National Association of Realtors found that only 8% of the respondents favored a central city environment. There is a wide gap between the utopian vision of the SCAG projections and reality. The Hollywood Community Plan should be based on reality.

If Smart Growth is so Smart, How Come No One Wants to Live There? – by Ed Braddy for CityWatchLA.com 4/5/2012

More Americans Move to Detached Houses – by Wendell Cox for NewGeography.com

 

 

Lights – Camera – ACTION: Hollywood Community Plan: take one

The Hollywood Community Plan certainly has received a lot of attention the last couple of months. Articles were written time and time again, pointing out the good and more likely the WORST of the plan; discussing myths and fiction and more over addressing the really bad parts: Extreme Densification, No Parking, Outdated Infra-Structure, etc. (for more you can visit: www.savehollywood.org, http://fixlosangeles.com or simply GOOGLE “”Hollywood Community Plan”).

However, the Hollywood Community Plan reminds me somewhat of the movie “Good Will Hunting”, for which actors wrote the script themselves.

However, unlike “Good Will Hunting”, which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote and stared in and which ultimately won them an Academy Award for Best Original Screen Play, this production of the Hollywood Community Plan is heading straight toward the Razzies, an award saluting the Worst that Hollywood has to offer.

If this was a Broadway production we would get ready to raise the curtain for the show, but since this is Hollywood we are about to see a production we wish would go straight to DVD or into the vault instead of coming to a community near you.

By now most of you probably heard or read that on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 the Los Angeles’ City Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) listened to the City Planners present their proposed Hollywood Community Plan as well as many speakers who supported the plan and cheered the planners efforts.

It was like attending a live Film Shoot, where the script was written and the cast lined up. The set was ready, camera was rolling and the directors (aka: Huizar, Reyes and Englander) took over as the supporting cast waited in the background, ready to deliver their lines when called up.

This Hollywood Community Plan Love Fest, however, is NO ORDINARY production, in which the producers put up their money to get the movie done. – Heck, this is not even a movie, but it sure is Make Believe!

So why are so many people so excited about this plan? Some are happy, some are thrilled, and a lot of them are totally ecstatic, but even more are really upset, ticked off and utterly disgusted with it.

Well, if you break it down like this, you might get a better picture (no pun intended):

Location: Hollywood, CA (aka: Central / Los Angeles, CA)

Writers: City Planners Mary Richardson and Kevin Keller

Assistant Writers: Developers (Out of State and local)

Director: Mayor Antonio Villaraigos

Assisting Directors: Los Angeles City Council Members (current and former)

Starring Roles: City Planners, City Council Members, Various candidates for LA City election 2013, Various Developers and of course the list goes on and on …

Supporting Roles: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, Various Hollywood Neighborhood Councils and of course the list goes on and on …

Extras: Anybody who still gets on board to support this version of the Plan

Villains: Anybody who is against the plan (and since there seem to more of them than there are Extras this could make this Hollywood Production into a Horror Movie)

And of course there are those who remain behind the scenes, like Make Up, Wardrobe, Editors, etc. – Those “artists” will be needed now more than ever, especially since patching or covering things up might make this plan more desirable, and by editing the undesirables out in the end might make the plan more acceptable.

The only problem, however, is the fact that no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig or how much you dress it up with fancy facades and take pretty pictures the truth remains the same: a pig is still a pig.

Side Note: Please come and join the “cast”, when TAKE TWO takes place on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM in front of the City’s PLUM Committee, City Council Chambers (room 340), Los Angeles City Hall …

by Ziggy at HNN-TV.com

We Have Something to Fight For

by George Abrahams

East Hollywood Neighborhood Council Planning Entitlement Review Committee submits Hollywood Community Plan UPDATE – Alternative Vision

The Hollywood Community Plan needs to consider the reasonable alternative of down zoning from the 1988 standards in order to improve quality of life and improve infrastructure. On Tuesday, March 27, 2012, the LA City Council Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) held its first public hearing on the proposed Update of the Hollywood Community Plan.  This hearing confirmed what the Plan’s skeptics have maintained for years – this planning process is dedicated to real estate investment. Its only implementation program is dramatic increases in permitted heights and densities.

Down zoning Hollywood is the most realistic way to:

1) avoid the adverse impacts contemplated under the Planning Department’s plan to maximize the size of the population,

2)  upgrade the infrastructure, and

3) implement California Environmental Quality Act’s (CEQA’s) purpose “to provide a high-quality environment that at all times is healthful and pleasing to the senses and intellect of man.”

Link to this powerful alternative plan

 

 

Time to Take Action – A Hollywood Neighbor Speaks

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!

What’s Wrong with the Hollywood Plan?

In a Nutshell

Community plans must be based on facts, but the Hollywood Community Plan [HCP] is based on myths.

The Plan misrepresents that Hollywood is growing so fast that by 2030, we will have 250,000 residents. (249,092 rounded off to 250,000 source HCP DEIR p 4.2-5, 4.2-7)

The Plan says that we had 224,426 residents in 2005 (source HCP DEIR p 5-2) In reality in 2005, we were down to approximately 204,000 (source US 2010 Census). Rather than our population increasing to 237,000 people in 2010, our population had dropped to 198,228. (source US 2010 Census) A factual population projection for 2030 based is around 190,000 residents. (Source US 2000 and 2010 Census population and trend) That’s a 60,000 person discrepancy between US Census facts and The Plan’s myths.

In order to reach 250,000 residents by 2030, the downward trend of 6% over the prior decade would have to reverse itself and increase by 25.4%. No fact suggests our population will increase. We are in a 20 year decline from 213,883 in 1990, to 210,794 in 2000, to 204,000 in 2005, to 1998,228 in 2010. (Source US 2010 Census and HCP FEIR chart p 3.3)

What’s the Harm?

The entire Hollywood Community Plan is based on the myth of an increasing population– garbage in, garbage out. Thus, the Plan’s new commercial zoning standards bear no relation to reality, allowing developers to build anything they want without obtaining approvals. The Plan must be re-written and re-circulated so that we can plan based on facts and not on myths.

People are working very hard to have the City do the right thing and re-write the Plan based on actual population trend and population data. On Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. the City PLUM Committee is set to adopt myths as if they were true. People need to tell their councilmembers:

Community Plans must be based on facts; not on falsehoods