July 22, 2016
with Feb 3, 2018 Update – The Return of Renee Weitzer
Zwartz Talk & Councilmember Ryu
Zwartz Talk has been critical of Councilmember David Ryu who replaced former Councilmember Tom La Bonge at Council District #4. Zwartz Talk’s views are based upon actions, and recently, Councilmember Ryu’s conduct merits a re-evaluation.
In some instances, Zwartz Talk knows the insider story of who is influencing whom and how, but with Ryu, Zwartz Talk does not have personal knowledge. While Zwartz Talk has heard people say various things, they are the essence of “Hear Say.” That’s the legal doctrine that when someone Says something they Heard, it is unreliable. For that reason, the courts do not let people take the stand and blab about what they heard Aunt Mary say about her neighbor’s drinking. Thus, Zwartz Talk is presently writing based on what it is seeing from the outside.
Ryu and Runyon Canyon — a Turning Point?
Ryu has apparently changed his position on the commercialization of Runyon Canyon Park, and by extension, Zwartz Talk hopes that Ryu opposes the commercialization of Griffith Park and all of Los Angeles’ parks. As some Angelenos know, Ryu supported the construction of a professional quality basketball court in one of CD #4’s wilderness parks, Runyon Canyon. The sportswear company Blue Dolphin would pay for the basketball court and then emblazon its logo on the facility. There were many objectionable features to this deal. Perhaps the most angering was that it was done in secret and Ryu had attempted to conceal the construction from the public by closing this portion of Runyon Canyon on the pretext that the repairing of the water mains and pipes required the entire park to be closed to the public for months.
Ryu was caught, a public furor arose, and Ryu tried to pretend he did not know — which was a pretty stupid defense. Claiming total ignorance of a major project in your own district after you’ve been caught trying to over it up is the type behavior that can initiate a Recall. Soon thereafter, long time CD 3 staffer Rene Weitzer retired and Ryu changed his position on commercializing wilderness parks.
Ryu Favors Residents over Developer —
a Unique Approach for a Councilmember
Ryu also inherited an unreasonably large development in Cahuenga Pass which Ryu significantly cut back. That seems like a first — a councilmember took the side of the residents and the environmentists in opposition to another one of Garcetti’s projects. To Zwartz Talk, that was significant. There may be a behind the scenes story to which we are not privy.
Ryu’s Unorthodox Opposition to Spot Zoning
which would have Destroyed Single Family Homes
Ryu’s council district is ungainly; it runs from Sherman Oaks through Cahuenga Pass includes the Hills north of Hollywood and then snakes down to Hancock Park and Mid-Wilshire. As a result, he has been excluded almost completely from the Flats in Hollywood. The exclusion of first La Bonge and now Ryu from the Flats of Hollywood may be one of the best things that has happened to Ryu. His district is now dominated by homeowners — homeowners in ritzy areas who have the funds, if they are so inclined, to take back Los Angeles from the greedy developers and the Garcetti Machine. More about that later.
In Sherman Oaks, the developers are on the move. One developer wanted to change the zoning so that it could demolish five (5) single family homes and then construct a large apartment complex which would loom over the remaining homes. Rather than having private backyards, homeowners along the adjacent properties would have the mega project’s occupants look down on them, their sun bathing, and into their bedroom windows. While Council District #4’s Renee Weitzer supported the developer and ridiculed the homeowners who sought her help to protect their properties, Ryu stepped up to the defense of the homeowners and officially opposed the zone change.
Ryu Compares Favorably to Councilmember Krekorian —
Ryu Acts to Save History, while Korekorian Actively Destroyed it
More recently, Ryu was put to an interesting test. In 2015, Councilmember Krekorian [CD #2 which is in the Valley] had Marilyn Monroe’s home in Valley Village needlessly torn down rather than allowing it to be moved to another location. As others have reported, the way the City connived to destroy Marilyn’s home was despicable. http://bit.ly/2am2MxT July 21, 2016, CityWatch, L.A. Planning’s Secret Destruction Policy: First Marilyn Monroe, Now Walt Disney On July 20, 2016 a parallel situation arose in Ryu’s district. People attempted to demolish the 1914 craftsman home where Walt Disney had first lived. Like Marilyn, Walt had lived in this home before he was famous — both Marilyn’s Valley Village home and Walt’s Los Feliz home served as the launching pads for their careers.
Unlike Councilmember Krekorian whose office staff conspired with City Planning to destroy Marilyn’s home two (2) days before the Cultural Heritage Commission hearing, Ryu instantaneously sprung into action and got the new Director of Planning Vincent P. Bertoni to write immediately to the owners of Walt’s home warning them not to do anything to harm the 1914 Craftsman home. July 20, 2016 Dir. Bertoni letter
Ryu Steps Up to Protect Hollywood’s Poorer Residents
Ryu has also sided with his constituents over the destruction of the rent controlled units at the Villa Carlotta on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. As we all know, Garcetti has been on a rampage to destroy all of Los Angeles rent controlled properties. Those which cannot be torn down outright are slated to become boutique hotels, like happened to the residents of the Cherokee Apartments in Hollywood. http://lat.ms/2973ZGL June 29, 2016, LA Times, Tenant Activists Lose Fight Against Hollywood Building’s Conversion into a Hotel, by Emily Alpert Reyes Ryu’s siding with his poorer constituents in order to protect their homes and Hollywood’s legacy is not smart politics in Garcetti’s Los Angeles. Garcetti’s goal is to destroy rent controlled properties by demolition or conversion into fancy boutique hotels.
However, All is Not Peaceful in CD #4
Ryu has smoldering embers on his western flank up Beachwood Canyon. There are rumors, innuendoes, charges counter-charges and a lot of second guessing about what’s going up up in the Hills. There are the hordes of tourists who seem to have made it their life’s mission to reach out and touch the Hollywood Sign — while smoking a cigarette.
This week a fire broke out requiring 200 firefighters to rush up the narrow winding roads. The only thing hotter than the fire was the ire of the residents who had been trying for months to force Ryu to take the danger seriously. And then, the hillsides were ablaze! A run-away fire will consume Ryu’s career as well as the homes in HollywoodLand. Yet. Ryu has reportedly been reluctant to reach out to the angry homeowners.
Who caused the fire? Was it one of the cigarette smoking tourists or one of the homeless whom Garcetti has pushed up into the hills away from Hollywood Boulevard? Even if GOd himself started the fire, these wealthy homeowners know how to launch a recall. Don’t think it will not resonant with the other homeowners throughout CD #4.
Will Ryu oppose Garcetti’s desire to turn the Hills into a tourist attraction so close to Garcetti’s beloved Hollywood Highland? That’s getting a little dicey — it is CD #13 business interests who seem to think it is good for them to have the world trampling up and down the nearby canyons in CD #4. Let’s remember that Garcetti is still the real councilmember for CD #13 with Mitch being a little less than a figure head. The CD #4 homeowners see things differently; they don’t think turning the Hills into tourist attractions or expanded living areas for the homeless are wise policies. This residential area was one of the major voting blocks which got Ryu into office, and they can probably get him out . . . . or support him to move on up.
Is Garcetti Attacking Ryu?
The Franklin-Western Nightmare
It appears that Ryu is under counter attack by the Garcetti administration which is curious since Ryu’s Chief of Staff, Sara Dusseault, was a Garcetti person. Many thought she had been placed in Ryu’s office as an over-seer to make certain Ryu toed the party line. Here, Zwartz Talk admits that it is handicapped by its lacking insider info about who’s battling with whom and why.
Ryu is far from out of danger of constituent revolt. He voted for the much hated Palladium Project in Hollywood. The fact that the City Council operates according to an illegal vote trading deal where no councilmember will vote against a project in another council district does not favorably impress many of the activists in Hollywood. Corruption is corruption and Garcettism is destroying Los Angeles. The sole, only and single reason Zwartz Talk can imagine that Ryu voted Yes on the absurd Palladium Project is the unlawful vote trading deal —in which councilmembers have no choice but to participate. The District Attorney turns a blind eye, the US Attorney turns a blind eye, the State Attorney General turns a blind eye. While Penal Code 86 has criminalized vote trading, the courts seems to feel vote trading is okay if they call it “deferring.” Let’s see how well that works next time a thief holds up a 7/11 store and he claims that he did not steal the money. “Hey man, the clerk just deferred to me and my gun.”
So who is going to protect Ryu from the Garcetti’s retaliation if Ryu breaks with the criminal vote trading pact to protect Los Feliz, The Oaks, and the Hollywood Grove HPOZ?
With Whom will Ryu Side?
With His Constituents or Garcetti’s Massive Mixed Use Project?
The storm clouds have gathered. Garcetti has launched his attack on Los Feliz with the mega mixed project at Franklin and Western Avenue. Los Felizians thought that they had a hush-hush, behind the scenes deal that if they let the City run amuck along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, no mixed use projects would be thrust into Los Feliz. If you make a deal with the devil, don’t be surprised when you’re stabbed in the back. http://bit.ly/2aiR9VT June 7, 2016, UrbanizeLA, Mixed-Use Building to Replace Los Feliz Gas Station, by Steven Sharp
This project is located in 90027 — which is Los Feliz, but the portion of CD #4 which used to extend down to Hollywood Boulevard had to be added to Garcetti’s CD 13. The US census showed that Garcetti’s construction mania had driven so many people out of Garcetti’s CD 13 since he took office in 2001, that it no longer had enough people to constitute a legal council district. Thus, portions of CD #4 were transferred to add population to CD #13.
Thus, a major problem looms over Ryu. Los Feliz, The Oaks, The Hollywood Grove HPOZ all expect Ryu to protect them from this intrusion. As we all know, Garcetti is willing to construct gargantuan towers which straddle the earthquake fault LINE with the Millennium Project. There is no doubt, he will not let the eastern end of the fault line be any deterrent to violating state law and letting the mixed-use project be constructed. Garcetti’s Franklin-Western Project is within the Fault Zone. From the most recent testing, it looks like the fault LINE is about 25 feet north of this project or actually runs beneath it. Naturally, no one in the city has bothered to mention the location of the eastern end of the Hollywood Earthquake Fault Line.
While Garcetti’s war on cars in Los Angeles includes getting rid of gas stations, this is the only station for many blocks. The advent of the electric car is rapidly approaching, but we will need gas stations for several more years. This station serves thousands of residents in Los Feliz and the Hollywood Hills. There is a significant shortage of gas stations in Hollywood and it is similar to the gas shortage days of the 1970’s getting gas at many times of the day. One of the closest stations is the Sunset and Wilton Shell station which often has lines with people waiting to gas up.
Ryu Cannot Sit This One Out —
Ryu has to Choose Between CD # and Garcetti
The battles lines are being drawn — what will Ryu do? Will he back down and sell out his constituents or will he lead a revolt? A lot of councilmembers are more than a little dissatisfied with the Garcetti Tyranny. While they all love being lord of their fiefdoms, too often Garcetti has been meddling in their districts. Besides, Garcetti is eyeing a run at being Governor. The March 2017 election may be an excellent time to knock him off. If he senses a bloody mayoral race a few months before he runs for Governor, he may chose not to seek re-election as mayor. Right now, there is no viable candidate to replace Garcetti.
Right now, the people with their hats in the mayoral ring are: Mitchell Schwartz (A former Democrat consultant), YJ Draiman (a developer who is proud of his gentrification), and Steven Barr (a one issue candidate about schools). In brief, there is no viable candidate to oppose Garcetti . . . yet
Ryu for Mayor or Ryu for the Dustbin?
It’s an interesting situation for Ryu. Unless Ryu places his CD # constituents’ demands to be protected from fires in the Hills and mixed-use Projects in the Flats ahead of Garcetti’s destructive Manhattanization agenda, the CD #4 homeowners from Los Feliz over to Beachwood Canyon may join forces with the homeowners in Sherman Oaks, Hancock Park, and mid-Wilshire in order to recall Ryu.
On the other hand, they could form the wealth and power base of support to oust Garcetti and install David Ryu as LA’s new mayor.
The Return of Renee Weitzer
On February 3, 2018, Zwartz Talk learned that Julia Duncan was leaving CD 4 and the dreaded anti-homeowner Renee Weitzer was returning to CD #4 as Planning Director. Under Julia Duncan, CD #4 had become more responsive to residents, and to a considerable extent some credit her for the reduction in the constituent ire which had fueled the Recall Ryu Movement. Weitzer’s demeaning and dismissive attitude towards homeowners and her fawning after developers did not serve Ryu well who had been elected by anti-developer sentiment. Since State Senator Scott Wiener is currently pushing his absurd SB 827 to destroy what is remaining of Los Angeles’ wonderful residential neighbors, Weitzer’s return is likely to revitalize the Recall Ryu Movement.