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BLOG: Hollywood Development Isn't Going Away, But It Shouldn't Be 'Runaway'

A history researcher weighs in on on the state of development in Hollywood.

Hello fellow Patchers!

I'd like to introduce myself:  Philip (or Felix, for that matter) is the name, and history is my game.  I am the creator and owner of The Felix In Hollywood Tour Company and we give a 90 minute (ish) historical walking tour of the entertainment industry of Old Hollywood.

I have lived in many places and have traveled all around the world.  After seeing all that this great world has to offer, I chose Hollywood to be my home.  And home it has been for over 25 years.

Being a long time resident and loving the place as I do, it gives me the right to do a little griping.  Don't worry, it's going to be very little.  Actually only one little thing....

The respect for history in this town is - let me be kind here - somewhat lacking. 

There are many places in this country and certainly all over Europe where there exists an unwritten understanding of responsibility and good stewardship involved in the buying and owning of historic properties.  That, sadly, seems to be the very rare exception here.  I know that, in the grand scheme of things, we are a very young place, but we'll never develop a sense of our historical contributions if we keep knocking stuff down!  Never have I seen a city (and really I'm talking all of the greater LA area) with more of an unyielding hunger to systematically destroy structures of beauty, structures of architectural importance, and structures where amazing events and projects have taken place.  All in order for developers to spin the wheel and hit a bigger jackpot.  Somewhere along the way, making a lot of money has translated into not making enough money. 

Before you get the wrong idea here, I am not anti-progress and I'm not anti-business.  In fact the balance of new and old architecture allows one to appreciate both even more!  The idea of preservation and restoration of older sites to accomodate new businesses can be a very workable one.  Yes it is the more expensive way to do things, but the increase in community awareness and pride is an invaluable payoff.  

I do sense a shift in conciousness on this issue and I've recently heard more of a public voice being sounded than ever before in my time here.  Keep it up folks!  Our voices and desires need not be bulldozed into rubble and neither do the buildings.

Now, if your not sure of what history we have here in Hollywood - then come see us on the tour..... 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scott Zwartz May 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Years ago The Mayor declared his intention to end R-1 housing and councilman Garcetti has been with Tony V all the way. Garcetti yearns to turn Hollywood into a combination of Times Square and Las Vegas. When Garcetti was starting to destroy old Hollywood, many people pointed out Southern California's famous car culture, but Tony V and Garcetti declared that they would force Angelenos out of their cars to live in mixed-used projects over the new subways. We've seen the results. Each project a financial disaster with tax payer dollars. People kept their cars and abandoned Hollywood. When the US 2010 Census revealed the massive failure of Garcetti and how he was driving people out of Hollywood, he covered up truth that his district lost more ppl than any other district in LA by lies, saying the population was increasing. The City Atty has weighed in and advised the City in closed session that due to the fraudulent data in the Hollywood Community Plan , the City will be sued and will lose. Hollywood is still in great danger, but Hollywoodians have shown that they can fight back and win.
Scott Zwartz May 16, 2012 at 03:59 PM
One thing that most Angelenos do not know is that none of these huge CRA projects in Bunker Hill and Hollywood pay no incremental property tax dollars. By the time the CRA/LA was killed, it left L.A. with an $11 BILLION burden -- that's why the City is broke. Another thing people do not realize is that each once of these massive CRA projects received tax payer bailouts similar to what the Feds gave to the banks after they crashed the economy in 2008. Here's how the CRA bailouts work. They plan a project which no private lender will finance as it is clearly economic lunacy. Thus, the CRA provided billions of tax payer dollars at the beginning rather than providing the bailout at the end. Whether tax dollars are stuffed into the developers' pockets in the start before the public realizes that it is a bailout or afterwards, it amounts to the same thing. Private developers shifting the cost of their incompetence to the tax payer. Example: The city gave the Hollywood-Higland project $100 M, the CRA dumped in additional millions for the $625 M project which was then sold to CIM Group for only $201 M and then Garcetti actually gave his buddies at CIM an extra $30 M bailout. Whether Garcetti gives away public money in the beginning or at the end or at both the beginning and the end, such gifts oftax dollars are still bailouts.
Philip Mershon May 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Scott - I really appreciate you comments and the info you bring here. We are certainly well rid of the CRA. And as far as Hollywood and Highland goes, and I'm not being snarky here - I'm actually just curious, do residents in the community (Hollywood or the surrounding areas) actually go there for their local shopping mall? I'm asking because it would never dawn on me to attempt what looks like a whole lot more hassle than it's worth. I mean, who wants to try and wade through 25 Jack Sparrow's to go shopping?
Lindsey Baguio (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Philip, That is a great question. Worth exploring in a future blog post, perhaps?
ruth May 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Thank you Philip.Your voice is very important..
Shaune Steele May 16, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Philip, I couldn't agree more with you, and it is nice to read your words. As for Hollywood and Highland, I have to say, was that the best Hollywood could do? And why on earth DO we have 15 or so Jack Sparrows (undoubtedly wearing dirty clothes and needing their hair washed) wandering around with Superman, etc. I doubt any other city in any other state would put up with that crap. Not to mention the lovely decor with the mirrors from Cost Less suspended in the middle of the esalators -- or whatever it is. Wow. That has been sad from the get go. HOLLYWOOD DESERVES MUCH BETTER. My concern is that more and more people who reside here in Hollywood have no interest in or knowledge of what Hollywood is and what our wonderful history is. Hope to read your blog on a regular basis. Thank you.
george abrahams May 17, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Some of the Jack Sparrows are probably not even in costume. They're just street bums wandering around panhandling.
Rudolf Martin May 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
thank you for this thoughtful piece. i do agree that we may be in the early stages of a shift in attitudes toward better historic preservation. i think that the controversy about the planned destruction of historic assets in Plummer Park as well as the (belated) outcry about demolition at The Lot have spawned a growing popular movement toward better stewardship of our historic resources. As you point out progress and new business can go hand in hand with historic preservation and ultimately gain from it.

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