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Residents Vent to LaBonge About Hollywood Sign Concerns

At a community meeting Tuesday, neighbors discuss fire hazards and traffic worries related to an uptick in tourists viewing the landmark.

On Tuesday more than 100 people filled the community room at Hollywood City Hall, a location that provides views outside its door of the landmark that was the crux of the meeting: the Hollywood Sign.

“It’s an iconic symbol and everyone wants to try to get to that symbol, but with GPS it’s elevated,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents a portion of Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills. “The elevation of activity in the hillside area has been a problem.”

LaBonge and City Council President Eric Garcetti, who sent representatives from his office, called Tuesday’s community meeting to discuss the impact of tourism on people who live near the Hollywood Sign.

LaBonge said he hopes to work with the neighborhood groups to find a consensus as well as meet with tour operators and involve the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Hollywood Sign Trust. He suggested the possibility of assigning a city worker to observe the Lake Hollywood area on Saturdays.

Residents voiced their concerns about the influx of tourists wishing to view the Hollywood Sign up close.

A concern echoed by several residents during the meeting was fire safety and the presence of cigarette butts left behind by tourists at prime viewing sites.

“This is a safety issue for residents and tourists,” said Sarajane Schwartz, president of the Hollywoodland Homeowners Association. “That’s why everyone is so emotional. We attract people 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We are totally defenseless.”

Her association wants the city to establish an “official viewing site away from Hollywoodland,” she said.

During the often heated meeting, some residents complained that signs in the area pointing people to viewing sites have increased traffic.

Fran Reichenbach, president of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association, agreed.

“I want to say the brushfire in Hollywoodland is a real, valid fear,” Reichenbach said. “Public safety is an issue. I agree the sites should be located outside of our neighborhood. Where we part ways is since the GPS genie is out of the bottle, we must continue to deal with tourists.”

Eda Hallinan, who has lived on Beachwood Drive for more than 55 years, was among a few neighbors who said not all tourists should be viewed as bad.

“There is a constant stream of tourists,” she said. “In 35 years, there’s been only one bad altercation with a tourist that was rude. Tourists are going to continue to come.”

Some people wanted to know whether tourists are cited for smoking in the area, which is illegal. LAPD Senior Lead Officer Maggie Dillard, who is based in Hollywood, said she has given tickets for smoking and doled out warnings, but many tourists ignore them.

“Tourists don’t care about citations because they will go back to their countries,” she said.

She also warned residents not to get into altercations with tour bus drivers.

Melrose Larry Green, who works for Hollywood E-Tours, said he represented an industry that is often unfairly viewed by residents. He said neighbors complain about the buses and some drivers flipping them off when they confront them.

“The tour business has hardworking people who don’t have a lot of money, and we’re just trying to make a living,” Green said. “As a representative of the tourist industry, there are some rotten apples in every industry.”

stephen ward September 23, 2011 at 06:58 PM
good grief!! some people have nothing else to do but find something to fight about because if fuels their passion. While I do not know the lady the made a comment; I have a feeling she is right...there has only been one altercation with a tourist. The other comment: bus drivers flipping off the residents, hmmm...could be because those that are getting flipped off are the ones causing more ruckus than anyone else. The Hollywood SIgn has always been a tourist draw, what is wrong with that? Imagine if the Eiffel Tower was there!!?!? What did you expect when you decided to move there? Did you make that decision based on the fact that the Hollywood Sign was there? Could be!!Geesh...the people that live in Hollywood/Beachwood Canyon: grow up!
resident90068 November 06, 2011 at 04:52 PM
RECALL LABONGE. Truth and Reality in Actions. About a month a half now later and what has this ineffective Clown done on this issue? Anyone know? I think he agreed to a study. However, he did find time to dedicate a Park Bench and celebrate the Satue of Liberty. Keep this in mind when you pay the first half of your Tax bill. Are we getting the services that we need and the representation that we deserve? Maybe if we all go sit on the Bench.
ruth November 07, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Tourist attractions in residential areas happen.but a City Council Member ENCOURAGING TOUR BUSES to go up narrow streets? Causing possible danger, fires, parking in homeowners driveways? LAPD ADMITTING... NO they DONT bother to issue tickets. They are SUPPOSED TO. NOTHING IS ENFORCED HERE. NO regard,consideration for taxpayers here.Time to RECALL ALL OF THEM! Wait until the New Hollywood Plan goes into effect.. QUALITY OF LIFE? They are creating environment for developers to build what they want ..no restrictions to try to get around.. no concern for traffic problems here. Mary Richardson in City Planning Office..'developers will mitigate traffic problems where they build' pass the buck why dont you?! Higher density, based on inaccurate population estimates but NO solutions in the PLAN, for admitted increases in traffic ..how to pay for the admitted need for increased LAPD and Fire Dept.?'State and Government Funding will pay for it'..IN WHAT CENTURY? La Bonge admitting to homeowners that he has been funded by Starline Bus Tours . is JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG... L.A. Ethics Commission website has information about who is funding most of our city council and villagraigosa...Millennium Partners and their Law Firm, Shepperd Mullin.. skyscraper developers..once Villaraigosa/ Lo Grande's New Hollywood Plan is finalized they, and other big developers can build their blight on this city, unfettered..A Pay to Play city..it is disgusting!
resident90068 November 08, 2011 at 07:22 PM
RECALL LABONGE. LaBonge is in China, he will have to get back to you on local issues. (I wasn't aware that the Starline Bus went to China.) While he's gone someone from his Staff will be in charge of doing nothing for local residents.
Gary Simon August 15, 2013 at 03:05 PM
We have lived between Beachwood and Canyon Dr. for 15 years now. There are so many other Important issues for our neighborhood than tourist trying to see the Hollywood sign. Traffic on Franklin trying to get onto the 101 backs up and blocks the intersection of and access to Beachwood every evening, and everyone drives up Canyon Dr. to get over Hollyridge to Beachwood, Creating a huge volume of unnecessary traffic on my street. Helicopter noise. Scientology Center noise. Our streets have not been repaved since 1929. We are charged for street cleaning, but the streets are rarely cleaned. Neighbors paint there red curbs with grey paint, and the city does nothing about it, nor enforces parking against the ones that are red. Stop signs are ignored by most of the people driving up and down Canyon Dr. Walking the dog in mid afternoon, I come across people having sex in their cars on Canyon Dr. Yes an official Viewing area with adequate parking should be created, but as close to the Hollywood sign as possible. Putting it away from the area, will not stop anyone from trying to get as close as they can for that coveted picture with the world famous sign. The most logical place would be at the entrance to Sunset Stables. Beachwood is wide all the way up to the stables, if the area across from the now dirt parking area, which is also much too small now, were to be paved, and closed off at sunset with an attractive fence and gate. Like the Mulholland lookout above the Hollywood Bowl. Then everyone would get something they want. To those who live closest to the Hollywood sign and are amongst the loudest protesters against the tourist, and want to create restrictions that would also effect the rest of your neighbors who use the park and the roads leading to it, I would point out, You live next to a world famous tourist destination If you didn't want to deal with tourist, you should not have bought a house anywhere near any tourist destination to begin with. That is no different than buying a house next to a fire station, and complaining that about the noise of the fire trucks.

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