Did Mitch O’Farrell just smear Stop the Millennium Hollywood?

Oferrall and company

L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, center, savoring Millennium Hollywood’s approval with its development company executives on the steps of City Hall, moments after City Council’s 13-0 vote. To the right, Millennium Projects co-founder Philip E. Aarons.

By George Abrahams

In Councilman O’Farrell’s November 07, 2014 blog he said, “Once again, news of the release of the official Alquist-Priolo (A-P) Earthquake Fault Zone Map for the Hollywood area was all over television reports and the Internet, and some of the loudest voices came from one opposing neighborhood group that is looking to prevent progress in Hollywood.”

Of course, in typical cowardly fashion he doesn’t have the guts to name the group. Since we are a “loud voiced neighborhood group” that “was all over television reports and the Internet”, and a Google search revealed no other opposing group that was all over television reports and the Internet since the release of the State’s final A-P map three days ago, he was most likely referring to us.

Councilman O’Farrell sets up a straw-man argument. If you oppose his vision of the future then you are “looking to prevent progress in Hollywood.” Of course, that is just plain silly. There are multiple paths to the future. Some are better than others. We recognize that old buildings wear out and old purposes become obsolete. New buildings and uses are progress and we welcome them. Progress can be achieved while preserving low density businesses and housing.

Councilman O’Farrell said “The State does not verify their fault lines by subsurface explorations.” This is a lie. The State does use subsurface exploration and every other source of data available for its A-P maps. The State Geologist is a man of science who bases his conclusions solely on evidence. “We have a rule around here,” said California State Geologist Dr. John Parrish, as quoted by Reuters on November 6, 2014. “We don’t allow geologists to practice law and we don’t allow lawyers to practice geology.” The same should apply to politicians.

Councilman O’Farrell then incorrectly says, “Recent trenching at the proposed Millennium site shows there is no active fault …” However, no data has been submitted for the site west of Vine Street by Millennium’s consultant Group Delta, to either the LA Dept. of Bldg. & Safety or the State. In its November 6, 2014 report accompanying the final map, the State wrote about Millennium’s lack of cooperation: “Regarding the statement that additional data will be submitted for this project [by the developer], CGS has receive no additional data for the site west of Vine Street at the time of this supplemental report, and only limited data for the site east of Vine Street.”

For the site east of Vine, the Millennium data was either scientifically unsound or suppressed. The State noted at p. 26 of its report: The Group Delta trench on the east site “did not extend far enough south to fully explore these possible faults and their potential connection to the scarp at Carlos Avenue. Data from a boring log transect on [Group Delta] Site 1, that might cross the fault, have not been released.”

Despite these glaring omissions, Councilman O’Farrell spins fabrications to the community and does Millennium’s bidding. What gives? If Millennium had exculpatory data, it would be plastered on every billboard in Hollywood. But instead, all data that has been provided, both past and present, shows the fault cuts through the heart of the Millennium site.

Dr. Parrish was firm in his support for the A-P map and its conclusion, based on all data, that the active fault runs where indicated. As quoted in the November 8, 2014 Los Angeles Times: “Our conclusion from the data is that there is an active fault,” he said, referring to an eastern section of the Millennium site. “We feel that we can take any challenge to it with the data there. There are very hard points on where that fault is.”

Councilman O’Farrell has a recurring problem with the truth. Last August he said “the State Mining and Geology Board concluded that the fault is not where it was indicated on the proposed zoning map … These results provide certainty for the subject sites.” That was also a lie. SMGB Vice-chair Gavric actually said, “Mr. Chairman, in light of the information provided to the State Mining and Geology Board to date, I move that the board forward comment and recommendation as summarized in the executive officer’s report herein to the State Geologist for consideration prior to the finalization of the Alquist-Prolo earthquake fault zoning map for the Hollywood Quadrangle.” She only made the boilerplate motion that the SMGB makes for nearly every submission to the State Geologist. “Forward comment and recommendation” is not “concluded that the fault is not where it was indicated on the proposed zoning map.”

Councilman O’Farrell is establishing quite a record of misstating facts, repeating falsehoods and mischaracterizing his opponents. He should take Will Rogers’ advice — when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.


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