ART AND POLITICS COLLIDE, PART II - (Ed note: For some back story on this report, see CityWatch column “Art and Politics Collide”. This report was provided by the Miracle Mile Residential Association) The revised agenda posted for the April 26 meeting of Metro’s Board of Directors reveals that Metro has disavowed its own recommendation for the Wilshire/Fairfax subway portal and has succumbed to the arm-twisting of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA].
In the Westside Subway Extension Final Environmental Impact Review [FEIR], Metro recommended that the portal be located beside the iconic Johnie’s Coffee Shop on the northwe st corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue – but LACMA wanted the portal located on the south side of Wilshire between South Orange Grove and Odgen Drive. LACMA’s intense behind the scenes campaign to achieve their goal succeeded in forcing Metro is to ignore its own FEIR, which had rejected the Orange Grove portal as being too distant from the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire.
LACMA owns property at Wilshire and Ogden that they would like to redevelop. LACMA and Sieroty Real Estate Company own over 60 percent of the parcels between Orange Grove and Ogden – it is their plan for Metro to use its authority and subway funding to take the entire block for as both a portal location and construction staging site and then partner with LACMA and Sieroty to create a high-density mixed-used project. Having a subway portal at this location would enhance the value of this new development.
LACMA failed in getting their Orange Grove portal endorsed by the Mid City West Community Council [MCWCC]. The MCWCC Board of Directors opposed the Orange Grove location and endorsed a portal in the historic May Co. – which LACMA had originally supported and which was also the near unanimous recommendation of Metro’s Station Area Advisory Group.
The Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] also endorsed the May Co. portal and opposed LACMA’s Orange Grove portal on grounds that its distance from major bus routes on Fairfax was a burden to the elderly and the disabled.
The Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) agreed with the MMRA and issued a letter to Metro on April 19th strongly urging Metro not to acquiesce to the special interests of LACMA and abandon the recommendation of its own FEIR. “To do so will demonstrate complete disregard for the needs of the seniors and people with disabilities who must rely on public transportation daily to live full and productive lives, and run afoul of state and federal antidiscrimination statutes,” wrote Michelle Uzeta, DRLC Legal Director.
“At times like this, I’m reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, ‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown’,” said MMRA board member Ken Hixon. “LACMA clearly won’t let Metro, the FEIR, Mid City West Community Council, the residents of the Miracle Mile, or the needs of the elderly and the disabled stand in their way of their real estate investment.”
James O’Sullivan, MMRA President, remarked: “With this move LACMA and the Metro board both join the hated 1% – it’s all about them and the people be damned!”
The MMRA is submitting public record requests to Metro regarding their decision to rescind their recommendation of the Johnie’s portal in favor of LACMA’s Orange Grove/Odgen portal.
On April 16, 2012, the MMRA released a White Paper on the selection of the Fairfax subway entrance and raised questions why the Orange Grove/Odgen block was selected by the Metro as a construction staging site. Demolition of this entire block of Museum Row will displace the A+D Museum, three neighboring galleries, as well as two adjacent 4-unit apartment buildings on South Orange Grove Avenue.
(This article was provided by the Miracle Mile Residential Association located in the Mid City West area. Miraclemilela.com) -cw
Tags: Metro, Subway station, Subway to the Sea, Wilshire Subway, LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Vol 10 Issue 34
Pub: Apr 27, 2012