MY TAKE - Fraud is too mild a word to describe the City Planning Commission’s 2-24-2012 Findings for the Hollywood Community Plan. As we saw four years ago with the fraudulent home mortgages, greedy SOB’s were robbing people blind while ignoring all danger signs as they reached for that one last dollar. Then the laws of economics intruded and the Crash of 2008 hit. Hollywood has its own real estate fraud which has been several years in the making.
Starting in mid 2000's residents were telling Garcetti and the Corrupt Redevelopment Agency (CRA) that Hollywood’s population was not increasing and the new mixed use projects were causing blight and economic disasters. The extra density was forcing families to leave and attracting Default Residents, i.e. people too poor to live some place better.
With the hubris for which the Los Angeles City Council is becoming renown, Garcetti, LaBonge and their gaggle of developer good old boys continued to loot the city treasury. As we all know and as the State remarked in abolishing the CRA’s, billionaire Eli Broad got $52 Million for a parking garage for his art museum next to the Disney Center. He pays $1 per year rent for his art museum site.
Garcetti and LaBonge said that a new fire station for Hollywood was too expensive so they down sized it from 2 acres to ½ acre. One would think that when the City is down sizing one of the main fire stations for the Hollywood Hills, that it wouldn’t be giving $52 Million to a billionaire. But, on the other hand, it also gave CIM-Group $30 Million to rehab the Kodak Theater. (How did that work out? Bye-bye Oscars.) Thus, for Garcetti, LaBonge and the CRA, there was always plenty of spare loot for their cronies, but not enough for roads, fire stations or parks.
Then, the US 2010 Census figures were released, verifying the fraud of the Garcetti-CRA-LaBonge cadre. Starting in 1990, Hollywood had been in a twenty (20) year decline. Between 1990 and 2000, the rate of decline was 1.4%, but with the advent of Garcetti and LaBonge, the exodus accelerated by 400%, and between 2000 and 2010, the population loss was 6% (5.95%).
Everyone saw the gaping hole in the Hollywood Plan’s Environmental Impact Report where the TRUTH was supposed to be. Neighborhood Councils and private parties from all over Hollywood brought the false data to the City’s attention. Based on the actual facts, Hollywood was more likely to have 190,000 or fewer residents in 2030 and not the 250,000 (249,096) people for whom Garcetti says we must prepare.
The Final EIR addressed the issue – with more fraud. The FEIR boldly declared”...“There are at least four census tracts in central Hollywood that exhibited a net population gain. These tracts include census tracts 1905.1, 1905.20, 1907, and 1910. All four of these census tracts are located within the Community Redevelopment Agency Project Area and are areas where the Hollywood Community Plan is proposing increased capacity.” FEIR p 3-2
Perhaps they thought no one would take the time to check, but we did and once again we find inexcusable fraud. Here is the truth; those four census tracks had a net loss of 641 persons. [1905.1 up 40; 1905.2 down 598; 1907 up 110; 1910 down 193 = minus 641]
Under the Garcetti approach to full disclosure, the City declares that “Down” means ‘Up.” A net loss of 641 people becomes a “net population gain.”
After the years of fraud had been uncovered from the gargantuan financial losses like the $454 Million debacle at Hollywood-Highland to the small $1.4 Million appraisal fraud for CRA 1601 N. Vine Project, one would think that when billions of dollars will rest on the accuracy of the Hollywood Community Plan, the city would come clean and tell the truth. Oh how naive we were.
Instead, City Planning Commission’s 2-24-2012 Findings are perhaps the most outlandish fraud yet. The Findings omit all data but rather rely on the SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments), which have been completely, absolutely, and thoroughly discredited as wrong. The Findings repetitively refer to “SCAG 2030 forecast” as the basis to build for 250,000 more residents. Never do the Findings reveal the truth – the SCAG Findings bear no relation to reality - they are bogus, fictitious, a lie, materially wrong, absurd, deceitful, . . . .
The Findings are silent that the SCAG 2030 forecast has no basis in reality. SCAG is basically a lobbyist for the mega-developers throughout Southern California. Like Lobbyists the world over, Truth is their arch-enemy.
And, guess where the Commissioners’ Findings say we need to build all this super-high density? Right were the cronies of city hall already own land, along the so-called transit corridors. Almost a century ago, men of this ilk were already threatening Los Angeles, but back then the City warned its citizens of the danger.
“Such a policy [concentrating density along transit lines] would be nothing less than a deliberate exploitation of civic resources for the benefit of the limited number of property owners enjoying abnormal incomes from rental privileges;” Los Angeles’ Study of Street Traffic Conditions 1915 p 30
The Hollywood Community Plan is a “deliberate exploitation of civic resources for the benefit of a limited number of property owners” to the harm of everyone else. As Steve Lopez pointed out in his February 26, 2012 article, “L.A. Catching up to Chicago in Sleaze,” Corruption has become Los Angeles’ hallmark. (link)
All Angelenos should remember that the councilmember Garcetti who has been most crucial in promoting the fraudulent exploitation of Hollywood is now running to become mayor. Steve Lopez has warned us about the city’s high sleaze level, and we have more proof of the sleaze right before us.
Do we once again say, “Ho Hum,” or do we do something? We abolished the CRA and we can stop this corruption.
(Richard Lee Abrams is an attorney in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com) –cw
Vol 10 Issue 18
Pub. Mar. 3, 2012