Help solve the mystery. The date was June 19, last Tuesday in the City Council. What passes for City Council debate on the Hollywood Community Plan began with everyone in the room knowing the vote as usual would be unanimous. It was 3 minutes, 10 seconds into Richard Alarcon’s raising the issue of the City Attorney’s office having suggested environmental protections in the HCP should be stronger. At that moment, the Council camera captures Paul Krekorian getting up out of his seat at the far end of the horseshoe and making a beeline to the dais. “How far behind are we on our community plans?” asked Alarcon. Planning Director Michael LoGrande gave him a long-winded response that never came close to answering the question. There is intense conversation between Krekorian and Assistant City Attorney Dion Connell. A visibly concerned Connell confers with other city officials over a few minutes while another city official whispers in Alarcon’s ear. A lip reader could have fun and maybe learn a lot studying the video of the conversations caught while Alarcon was hesitantly raising a curious question about the City Attorney wanting greater environmental protections. Watch the two realities: The feigned stupidity of city planners that was broadcast and the background mystery.
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.
Hollywood Patch: City Council Approves Hollywood Community Plan Update