by Scott Zwartz
Friday, March 25, 2016
Where is Councilmember David Ryu? That is what many of his constituents want to know.
The voters in Council District #4 elected David Ryu over Carolyn Ramsay, who was a very nice lady but unfortunately as La Bonge’s former Chief of Staff, she carried the burden of supporting the Manhattanization of Hollywood. Also Mayor Garcetti’s endorsement made her persona non grata for most of the CD 4 voters.
David Ryu, however, offered the hope that he would not be part of the City Hall machine which had devastated so much of Hollywood with hideously overblown development projects. While the Manhattanization took place a couple blocks south of CD #4 in Garcetti’s old Council District #13, the harm of the excessive increase in density degraded the quality of life for CD #4 residents.
People had identified the cause of Hollywood’s deterioration. In 2006, Gail Goldberg who was the Director of Planning warned Eric Garcetti that his allowing developers to write and re-write the zoning laws was leading to disaster.
see http://bit.ly/cRH37r 2-27-08 How Density Hawks Changing LA, Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly]
By 2010, CD #13 had driven out so many residents, particularly lower middle class Mexican families which had long been a stabilizing element in Hollywood, that CD #13 ceased to qualify as a legal council district. In the wake of their departure, Garcetti had constructed endless Infill projects adding a significant transient element to Hollywood which naturally resulted in mega-jumps in violence and property crimes. More renters with no commitment to the quality of life and long term health of Hollywood, which most homeowners do have, resulted in significant leap in crime. (Violent crime is up 20% and property crimes are up almost 11% between 2014 and 2015) The increased property crimes targeted the more expensive residential neighborhood in Ryu’s CD 4, e.g. Los Feliz, Beachwood Canyon, The Oaks.
Since his election, Councilmember Ryu has yet to speak out against allowing developers either to ignore or to re-write Los Angeles’s zoning laws. Due to the ethical vacuum which Councilmember Ryu created, Hollywoodians took matters into their own hands as the primary sponsors of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative [NII].
The NII focused on the same corrupt City Hall practice which Director Goldberg had predicted was bringing Hollywood and the rest of Los Angeles to disaster, i.e. allowing developers to ignore the law and/or re-write the zoning laws to fit their projects. People should not gloss over the fact that major support for the NII came from Ryu’s Council District. Although Ryu’s election had been an express repudiation of Garcetti’s practice of letting developers run roughshod over the citizenry, Ryu was doing nothing to protect his constituents in CD 4.
The most egregious example of allowing a developer to break the law and to then re-write the law in order to suit its own pleasure is the Target Store at Western and Sunset in Hollywood.
see http://bit.ly/1oa9w3g March 24, 2016, CityWatch, The Target Store Shell Still Haunts the Corner of Sunset and Western … Here’s Why, by Richard Lee Abrams
When Target bought the commercial property at the corner of Western and Sunset, the new Specific Plan [SNAP] covering this parcel prohibited any commercial structure taller than 35 feet. The Target, however, did not want to spend an extra $5 Million to place its parking beneath the ground in order to adhere to the law. Thus, Target constructed a 74 foot 4 inch building — more than double the maximum height which the law allowed. This building was as illegal as walking into Wells Fargo with a gun and emptying the tellers’ cash drawers — it was forbidden by law and Target’s motive was money.
In the height of arrogance, the Target started to build the store knowing that Judge Fruin would find it illegal. Target tried to strong arm Judge Fruin into allowing the 75 foot high store by claiming it would cost too much money to go back and follow the law and construct a 35 foot building, but Judge Fruin was not about to be pushed around by a law breaker. Judge Fruin ordered construction to stop.
To Eric Garcetti and Target, Judge Fruin’s order was an outrage. Laws are not written for Eric Garcetti, his friends and campaign contributors to follow. Just who did Judge Fruin think he was? Some type of GOD who could sit in judgment of Target?
So Garcetti and The Target hustled off to the appeals court to complain about Judge Fruin and his breaking the un-written rule in Los Angeles, that is, developers may do anything they want. The Appeals Court had a strange idea; it thought that wealthy people and politicians should follow the law! The Appeals Court agreed with Judge Fruin and refused to okay the resumption of construction.
Next, an irate Garcetti and Target ran screaming to the Supreme Court. They wailed about the injustice of Judge Fruin’s requiring the Target to follow the law. To paraphrase their position, “that is not how Los Angeles works. The developers write and interpret the law. If Target interpret a 35 foot height limit to mean that it can build to 75 feet, then 35 means 75, and the courts should mind their own business.”
The Supreme Court was not favorably impressed by Garceti and Target, and it too supported Judge Fruin.
Generally, people voluntarily follow what the courts say. Otherwise, society becomes lawless and we are ruled by the whim of greedy men. Attorney David Bell, who is Citizen Coalition Los Angeles [CCLA] attorney, has explained the need for the rule of law many times to the City Council, but his words have fallen on deaf ears.
see http://bit.ly/1LMW1SB March 25, 2016, HNN-TV, Is Target on Sunset Targeting More Litigation? Hollywood Neighborhood News – HNN-TV videoed the PLUM Hearing in March 23, 2016 so that people can hear for themselves how none of the councilmembers had a word of support for the citizens
Where was Councilmember Ryu who was elected to oppose developer’s trouncing the law in their greed? Did he appear at the March 23, 2016 hearing to speak for his constituents? No. Councilmember Ruy was again missing action.
Let’s remember, the reason CD #4 voters elected Councilman Ryu rather than Carolyn Ramsay was to oppose the developers’ ruling and ruining Hollywood. So why the total silence when he was elected to give voice to the citizens’ concerns?
What Zwartz Talk has discovered is that Councilmember Ruy support’s Garcetti over 99.98% of the time and he supports developers 100% of the time. Between the time he took office in July 2015 and March 17, 2016, Councilmember voted No only 7 times in City Council and he never voted No on a development project.
When a candidate is elected to represent voters who are opposed to the corrupt system where developers write the law, it should come as a shock to those voters that Councilmember Ryu supports the developers 100% of the time.
Councilmember Ryu had a duty to appear at the March 23rd PLUM hearing and strenuously oppose the Target’s re-writing SNAP exactly as the Target wants. [http://bit.ly/1oa9w3g explains how Target is again re-writing SNAp afetr Target decided that it did not like its prior re-write of the ordinance.]
Councilmember Ruy, however, is part of the illegal vote trading agreement which runs the Los Angeles City Council where no councilmember may vote No on a construction Project in another council district. Because the Target site is a couple blocks south of CD #4’s south border, Councimember Ryu has abdicated his duty to speak on behalf of constituents. Councilmember Ruy has left CD #4 with no representation on development projects in 14 out of 15 council districts. That means that 93% of the time, Councilmember Ryu is refusing to represent the interest of CD #4 voters.
The construction projects in the other 93% of the city steal hundreds of millions of tax dollars from the City and are the prime reason that we Angelenos have not had enough money to keep our infrastructure in repair. That is why the DWP raised everyone’s water and power rates. Because the City had let over $2 Billion tax dollars go to the developers since year 2000, we have not had the money to repair infrastructure like water mains. The City Council and Councilmember Ryu did not tell anyone that the City will skim 18% from the DWP rate hike and that money will be available to give to the real estate developers. All the developers have to do in order to get our money is write a council agenda item which gives them our money and the City Council will unanimously pass it.
Every single voter in the City of Los Angeles has a huge stake in stopping the corrupt practice where developers write Los Angeles law. Councilmember Ruy and all other city councilmembers should have been at the PLUM hearing in order to denounce Target’s re-writing our laws to satisfy its whims. The voters did not elect the Target Corporation to the City Council, nor did they elect CIM Group to the City Council, nor did they elect Garcetti’s campaign fund raiser and federal felon and real estate developer Juri Ripinsky to the City Council. Yet, these are the people who rule over us Angelenos.
Where is David Ryu and why is he silent?