The following is being published by permission of the writer. Please read and send your own letters!
Dear Council members,
We are writing to express our great disappointment with the PLUM committee at the Millennium project hearing on Tuesday, Jun18.
The three PLUM committee members were blatantly indifferent—and disrespectful—to the majority opposition. They had the gall to limit the lawyer for the “Stop the Millennium Project” group to a 10 minute opening speech–when the Millennium developers have had years to present their side to the committee and the public. Concerned citizens who donated their hard-earned money to pay for this lawyer, and finance his research into the truly alarming environmental and safety issues of the Millennium project, were appalled at the PLUM committee’s dismissive treatment of him. After half-heartedly listening to the lawyer’s revelations regarding the developer’s cover-up of an earthquake fault running through the project’s property, and the project’s unsupportable burden on the city’s ambulance and police services, the PLUM committee literally cut off the lawyer mid-sentence. This disturbing apathy continued throughout the testimony of concerned citizens (who were each limited to only one minute). The Hollywood Heritage office had thoughtful and worthy recommendations for amending the project that they could not enumerate because of the draconian time constraint and the committee’s obvious disinterest. The committee was equally resistant to any mention of the recent Caltrans report blasting the project’s impact on the 101 Freeway (see MIchael Hiltzik’s article today on the Caltrans report in the L.A. Times, http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-hiltzik-20130619,0,1425817.column
It was clear that the PLUM committee is snugly in the pocket of the developers, and that serious, substantiated challenges to the project were not going to get even passing consideration at the hearing.
When the Millennium developer made a show of proposing to reduce the two towers’ heights from 55 stories to 35 and 39 stories respectively, the PLUM committee—and Mayor Garcetti’s office—hastily approved this revised (but still grotesquely monstrous) plan.
No one called for further environmental and safety studies that would hopefully lead to some protection for the vulnerable residential neighborhoods surrounding the project. No one demanded further study of the project’s possible seismic dangers. No one expressed concern for the objections raised by Caltrans about the project’s impact on the already congested 101 Freeway. Most disturbingly, neither the PLUM committee nor Mayor Garcetti’s office asked the developer to clarify that the reduction in the towers’ story height would represent a corresponding reduction in the project’s total square footage. (What good is reduced tower height, if it means the project will simply expand horizontally? That’s a ruse, not a compromise).
The speed with which the PLUM committee and Mayor Garcetti’s office approved the Millennium project after its developer offered this woefully insufficient story reduction led many of us to wonder whether a back-room agreement had already been made between all three parties.
The phalanx of lawyers for the Millennium project could hardly contain their glee when the PLUM committee approved their “revised” project. It was clear that the proposed 55 stories had just been leverage all along, to be used at this stage of the game to close the deal at a lower—but still gargantuan—scale.
The fight to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods and our fragile quality of life will continue, in the hope that there are council members who truly understand sensible, responsible development—and are tough enough to demand real, meaningful compromises from the Millennium group.
Patricia Peyser, Independent Art Advisor, Acervatim, Inc.
Please send letters and make calls: