Zwartz Talk

Los Angeles in Revolt!

Revolt #1

by Scott Zwartz

April 24, 2016

      Revolt?  Maybe 1/10 of 1/100th  of 1/3 of 1% of Angelenos are in revolt, but they have lawyers!  One person with one lawyer can change the city.  Hollywood has a new business second only to film making, Litigation!

   Why is Los Angeles Hollywood in Revolt?

       The city has persistently made (1) terrible decisions (2) using an illegal process.  When Hollywoodians Encouraging Logical Planning [HELP] started analyzing the new Hollywood Community Plan [HCP] in 2005, the phrase, “Garbage in, Garbage out” came to mind.  As time passed, the HCP threw in more garbage, inventing population data and drawing up a wish list from an Orwellian nightmare.

    As everyone who knows anything about Hollywood now knows, in January 2014, Judge Alan Goodman threw out the Hollywood Community Plan’s Update because it was based on “fatally flawed data” and “wishful thinking.”  In brief, Garbage in, Garbage out.  Nine years after the HCP Update began, the court said what everyone had known all along.  The Hollywood Community Plan was nonsense with no connection with reality.  While Garcetti claimed Hollywood’s population was rapidly increasing, the population was accelerating downward, and by 2010 it had substantially fewer people than it had in 1990. The population in Hollywood’s CD 13 alone dropped more than 15,000.  Ten years of Garcettism had resulted in 20 years of loss.

   The lawsuits started slowly, but they gained momentum.  But, by 2012, they were becoming significant.  There were three lawsuits against the Hollywood Community Plan, and two groups had sued the City over the illegal Target Store.  The minor litigation over 5929 Sunset Boulevard (temporarily) ended with an agreed upon court order by Judge James Chalfant that the developer would get a lot of concessions provided it preserved the facade of the Old Spaghetti Factory. February 12, 2012, History of Hollywood’s Spaghetti Factory, “R.I.P. Old Old Spaghetti Factory Building 1924-2012

     When Garcetti helped the developer CIM Group obtain a demolition permit for the facade late one Friday afternoon so that the facade was destroyed over night before anyone could object, Judge Chalfant was not pleased.  Foolishly, CIM Group continued to construct the building after violating the court order. October 3, 2013, CityWatch, Appeal Hearing Tuesday Revisits the Illegal Midnight Demolition of Hollywood’s Old Spaghetti Factory, by Ziggy Kruse

    The lawsuit continued and after Judge Chalfant invalidated the building permits including the occupancy permits, the City had a minor temper tantrum.  It stomped off to the appellate court, demanding that the appeals court should overrule Judge Chalfant.  The court refused and the City was forced to order the tenants to leave. September 16, 2015, ParkLaBreaNews, Sunset and Gordon Tenants Ordered to Vacate, Again, By Jessie Lingenfelter

     Target makes Itself a Target and Gets Shot Down

      The same pattern  repeated itself with the Target Store at Sunset and Western in Hollywood.  Garcetti had Target construct an illegal store which was 74’4″ tall when the code section said the maximum height was 35 feet.  Like CIM at 5929 Sunset, Garcetti had Target build the store during litigation, knowing that they would lose in court.  The theory was after the judge ruled against them, he would let the store stand as it would cost Target too much money to stop construction.

    Again Garcetti was wrong, and Judge Fruin ordered the construction to stop.  Garcetti and Target went to the appellate court who supported Judge Fruin, and then they  cried to the Supreme Court who also supported Judge Fruin.  Thus, the partially completed and decaying structure looms over Sunset and Western.

      The Earthquake Towers Fail

      To Win The Courts Approval

        When Garcetti wanted to build huge The Millennium Earthquake Towers behind the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, he and the developer ignored the law, but this time the developer was a little wiser.  He not only knew his Project was illegal, but he knew that if he started to build during litigation, the courts would stop him and they might make him tear it down.  That still could happen with 5929 Sunset and the Target Store.

       Once again, the City was before Judge Chalfant on the Millennium Litigation and he rejected the project explaining that the City has to follow the law whether or not it likes the law.  [The City improvidently used its own fatally flawed traffic analysis and ignore CalTrans.]

     We know the pattern.  The City dislikes the law — any law — the City Council wants to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it and it doesn’t care what any law says.   As Councilmember Mitch Englander once said about the City Attorney’s opinion that what Englander wanted to do was illegal, “Then, we’ll find another attorney who will give us a different opinion.”

       Litigation has spread beyond Hollywood.  When Councilmember Krekorian had one of Marilyn Monroe’s former homes in Valley Village demolished three days before the Cultural Heritage Commission hearing, a small group called SaveValleyVillge sued, and then SaveValleyVillage split their lawsuit into two  two lawsuits.  The first deals only with the destruction of Marilyn’s former home and the second attacks the unlawful Vote Trading Pact at City Hall.

(1) August 27, 2015, CityWatch, Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti, by Richard Lee Abrams

(2) February 21, 2016, Zwartz Talk, Tiny Valley Village Attacks Mutual Bribery at Los Angeles City Hall, by Scott Zwartz

This second lawsuit could end City Council as it know it today.

      When The City’s Attacks Venice, Venice Bites Fires

      When the City Council tried its hand at messing with Venice, it found itself sued once again over its violating the law. March 10, 2016, CityWarch, Venice Sues the City: ‘Their Fight Is Our Fight’ Says Director of Neighborhood Protection Plan“, by John Schwada

      Back to Hollywood and The Palladium Litigation

    Everyone is getting into the Litigation Biz.  And, why shouldn’t they?  We have three branches of government and when two are owned lock stock and barrel by developers, the courts are the only game in town.  This time, there’s a new entrant into the Biz, AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  Never one to speak lightly but always one to carry a big stick, Michael Weinstein has entered the fray by suing the Palladium Towers, a super-mega density high rise project at the corner of Argyle and Sunset.

     Weinstein and his foundation are not alone in objecting to this absurd project, based on the same fatally flawed data and wishful think which had Judge Goodman throw out the entire Hollywood Community Plan and Judge Chalfant reject The Millennium Earthquake Towers.  HELP and Citizen Coalition Los Angeles also had strong objections.  Read  HELP & CCLA Objections to Palladium Towers


      Litigation Spreads Beyond Illegal Construction

         Now the litigation has jumped from illegal construction to combating commercialism of the parks.  For years, groups have been fighting to keep commercialism out of the parks.  The City has longed to let McDonalds and other businesses advertise in the parks.  Under this approach, the businesses decide what features a park will have and then they get to slap their logos and other advertisements on whatever they want.

    This battle was fought, and presumably won, over Griffith Park while councilmember LaBonge was councilmember for Council District #4.  Without telling anyone, the new councilmember, David Ryu, secretly agreed to bring commercialism to the parks.  This time, it was Runyon Canyon and he had agreed to allow Pink Dolphin, a sportswear manufacturer, build a professional quality basketball court with business’ distinctive Pink Dolphin logo in Runyon Canyon.

    Runyon Canyon’s water pipes like the water mains through the rest of City are in need of repair.  When Councilmember Ryu said that the entire park would be closed for four months, people thought that was weird.  The water pipe(s) don’t take up that much space. Besides, water mains are repaired and replaced all the time without closing down entire neighborhoods for four months.  Ryu insisted that closing the park to everyone, except for a tiny yoga area at the top of Fuller Avenue, would allow the repairs to be made faster.

Ryu #3

   Now we all can see for ourselves.  With the entire Runyon Canyon closed to everyone for four months, there would be no hikers to see the commercial installation of Pink Dolphin basketball court. After Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council [HHWNC] caught him in the act, Ryu pretended that he did not know anyone would be upset?  Really!

    Then, Ryu tried to pretend he didn’t really know about the project since it started under Tom LaBonge.  Really!! Let’s call Councilmember Ryu’s own City Hall web page to the stand and inquire, “Who is Renee Weitizer?”

Renee Weitzer

      ANSWER:  Renee Weizter is Councilmember David Ryu’s Chief Planning and Land Use Director. According to the official CD #4 webpage, “she was director of planning for Councilmember Tom LaBonge since he was first elected in 2001 and for 12 prior years serving as chief of planning for his predecessor John Ferraro.”   Yes, that’s right, Ryu’s Chief of Planning has been at CD #4 since 1989 and Ryu pretends that he had no way of knowing what happened before he was elected councilmember.

    What was the community’s response? A lawsuit.  Tired of deceit and back stabbing as well as disingenuous denials, on April 16, 2016 Citizens Preserving Runyon sued the city.  [read 2016-4-16 PETITION RUNYON (conformed)

         Other Costly Litigation Malfeasance

         $1.3 Billion for Bad Sidewalks

     The illegal policies have garnered the City some other costly lawsuits.  In the Summer of 2015, the City had to settle a $1.3 BILLION lawsuit over its refusal to repair its broken sidewalks, making many of then unusable for the disabled.  For the 10 years prior to the lawsuit’s being filed, The City knew that it was financially and legally liable under the Americans for Disability Acts [ADA] due to the terrible conditions of its sidewalks.  Rather than repair the sidewalks, the City spent the tax revenue on favors for developers as related in the Ziggy Kruse CityWatch article about CIM Goup and 5929 Sunset (supra).

      The attorney fees for the ADA Sidewalk lawsuits are $15 Million to be paid from the sidewalk repair fund.  Like all the millions of dollars in attorney fees which the City has had to pay on the other litigation, all the attorney fees and other costs were avoidable if the City had followed the law.

      City Manufactures Homeless Crisis

      To Justify Giving More Money to Developers

     The ADA Sidewalk case was not an aberration when it comes to how shabbily the City treats the poor and disabled.  As we recently learned, the City has been caught scamming the public by creating a homeless crisis. April 20, 2016, Zwartz Talk, The Great L.A. Housing Scam, by Scot Zwartz  More likely than not, this scheme will soon result in more litigation.

      City Allegedly Helped Developers Get Federal Money

      For Disabled Improvement and then Pocketed the Money

       Scamming the poor seems like a tradition at the Los Angeles City Council.  They are now purportedly settling a case whereby the City helped developers get hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax dollars to make their Affordable Housing projects disabled accessible.  It seems, however, that the developers chose to pocket the extra money without adding the handicapped features,  Furthermore, it seems that the City went out of its way to cover up the misuse of federal funds.   See Independent Living Center of Southern California, et alia Independent Living Center of So Cal v City of LA


       Governance by Litigation is Bad

         To a considerable extent, litigation is governing the City of Los Angeles.  The groups who are bringing the lawsuits do not think that Governance by Litigation is the best public policy, but with a city council which ignores the law and the public, they have no other recourse.

   The crux of the problem is City Council’s unlawful voting pact where no councilmember may vote No on any development project in another council district.  Thus, if Councilmember Martinez thinks that commercialism of the parks is a very bad idea, she has to vote for Ryu’s plan to put the Pink Dolphin logo on a professional-level basket court in a wilderness park.  She knows that once Pink Dolphins are in Runyon Canyon, there is no way to keep Ronald McDonald away from the jungle gyms in her in district in the Valley.

     The Los Angeles City Council operates according to a vote trading pact which Penal Code 86 criminalized in 2006.  Zwartz Talk has previously explained this situation. February 21, 2016, Zwartz Talk, Tiny Valley Village Attacks Mutual Bribery at Los Angeles City Hall, by Scott Zwartz

     Los Angeles is in revolt and the rebellion is spreading.  The city is deteriorating but the city council continues to scam, scheme and cheat everyone in sight.  What else should one expect from a city council which governs itself according to a vote trading pact which was crimimalized a decade ago?   The battle has hardly begun and the outcome is far from certain.




4 comments on “Los Angeles in Revolt!

  1. Rangelino

    This article is spot on.
    Please investigate Dynamic Development and Weinstock Properties. Same thing is happening in Echo Park… No regard for neighborhood, applying for density bonuses- we know the low income housing units will be $1209-1500 when the regular units will be $2500-5000.
    They are building very minimal ADA capable apartments. It just smells of disrespect for community and developers taking advantage of a council that looks the other way.
    Stand up!!


    • scottzwartz

      Can you give us some council file numbers? They have a lot of projects and we cannot tell where to focus?


  2. flyR

    Simply AWESOME


  3. Bob Arranaga

    Litigation is the only way to move in the City of LA. Sad but true. Most items at City Hall are 15-0 or 14-1 votes with very little discussion prior to voting. Deals are now done behind close doors. Many of the Sacramento politicos now make their home in the LA City Council and their wheeling and dealing ways are part of the norm. it pays to Pay and Play.


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