Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition Tackles Homelessness

Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition

Tackles Chronic Homelessness

[Click on image to enlarge]

Anyone out after midnight will notice the homeless people sleeping in doorways and on bus stop benches along Wilshire Boulevard – as well as in other nooks and crannies of the Miracle Mile. The 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count identified over 1,000 homeless individuals in the Midtown region of Los Angeles – most of them unsheltered [see map above].

A new group has formed to address chronic homelessness in the area: the Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition. Led by Scott Epstein, Chair of the Mid City West Community Council, the group includes representatives from government agencies, neighborhood and business groups, and social service providers. Its goal is to decrease the number of people living on the streets by assessing their needs and connecting them with existing housing resources.

The coalition is supporting the implementation of the county-wide Coordinated Entry System, which matches chronically homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing. Studies have shown that a Housing First approach is the most effective way to help people experiencing homelessness. It also saves taxpayers money through reduced law enforcement and emergency health costs.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, including direct outreach to our homeless neighbors and fundraising. To learn more or volunteer visit:

The Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition

Facebook page

For additional information:

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority: Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count

United Way of Greater Los Angeles: About the Coordinated Entry System

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Reforming the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance ~ A Conversation with Shelley Wagers

The MMRA Channel on YouTube:

[Click on image to view video]

Reforming the
Baseline Mansionization Ordinance

A Conversation with Shelley Wagers

The rapid spread of mansionization has overwhelmed neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The Baseline Mansionization Ordinance [BMO] enacted in 2008 was supposed to stop McMansions, but the loop-hole riddled legislation has proven to be completely ineffective.

The Miracle Mile is currently in the process of creating an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone [HPOZ]. The principle purpose of the HPOZ is to preserve the historic character and scale of our neighborhood, but the failure of the BMO to thwart super-sized homes also played a critical role in deciding to pursue the iron-clad protections afforded by an HPOZ: it the only guaranteed way of stopping mansionization in the Miracle Mile.

Although the MMRA believes that an HPOZ is the best solution for the Miracle Mile, we fully support reforming the BMO for the benefit of the City at large. One of the leaders spearheading the effort to to fix the BMO is Shelley Wagers, a long-time community activist and resident of the Beverly Grove – a neighborhood that was ground zero for mansionization.

In this interview Shelley provides a history of the original BMO; why it hasn’t worked; and what is being done now to repair the ordinance. She also talks about the long and bitter struggle to create the Beverly Grove Reduced Floor Area Overlay Zone. Shelley is a keenly intelligent and articulate person. She has a knack for making complex issues understandable – she is also very good company.

Click to view video…

For additional information:

City of Los Angeles: Baseline Mansionization Ordinance – 2008

City of Los Angeles: Koretz BMO Amendment Motion – 2014

CityWatchLA: A Fact Check on L.A. Mansionization

Sign the petition to stop mansionization at:

NoMoreMcMansionsInLosAngeles.org

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Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting

Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting
Near 8th Street and Sycamore Avenue

Edwin Folven; Park La Brea News/Beverly Press

LAPD Holds Community Meeting to Discuss Incident

Miracle Mile Residents Concerned by Increase in Crime

A man shot after a violent struggle with two Wilshire Division officers died July 1oth at Cedars Sinai Hospital. The unidentified man was fatally wounded the previous morning after LAPD officers responded to calls that a man was smashing storefront windows with his skateboard near the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea.

According to a LAPD press release: On July 9, 2015, around 8:40 a.m., Wilshire Area patrol officers responded to a “Vandalism” radio call in the area of 8th Street and La Brea Avenue. 

The officers responding to the radio call observed a man matching the description given in the details of the radio call who was reported to be breaking storefront windows with a skateboard. The suspect fled the scene on a skateboard. The officers caught up with the suspect at the 800 block of Sycamore Avenue, after the suspect jumped off or fell off his skateboard. 

The officers approached the suspect and gave him verbal commands to submit to the arrest, the suspect refused to comply.  A violent physical altercation ensued as the officers attempted to subdue the suspect using a variety of physical force. The officer used a Taser in direct contact mode in an effort to subdue the suspect but the Taser had no apparent effect. 

The violent struggle continued and the suspect at some point was able to gain control of the Taser and use it, injuring one of the officers in the leg. The tased officer alerted the partner officer who drew their weapon resulting in an officer involved shooting. 

The LAPD held a meeting at the Ebell Club on July 14th to brief the community on the shooting and to provide residents with an opportunity to address the incident – as well as any other public safety issue. Wilshire Division Captain Howard Leslie and West Bureau Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala took questions from the gathering of approximately 7o people, which included representatives from Sycamore Square, La Brea-Hancock, and the Miracle Mile.

Leslie and Girmala were prevented by department protocol from delving into the specific details of the incident pending the completion of the official investigations. They did go to great lengths to explain how the investigations are conducted and offered assurances that they would be comprehensive and objective.

LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and the Office of the Inspector General are conducting independent investigations into the incident. The results of these investigations will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and the Police Commission to determine compliance with the use-of-force policy.

Although a few people were frustrated by the lack of new details on the shooting, the overall tone of the meeting was civil and evidenced a mutual respect between the community and the police department.

Several questions were raised regarding the number of homeless individuals in the area, particularly those obviously suffering from mental illness. Deputy Chief Girmala said that the department was deploying teams consisting of an officer in civilian clothing and a mental health clinician to help the mentally ill access available services, including housing and treatment. She emphasized that homelessness is a complex problem that cannot be solved by law enforcement alone [see article below].

Five MMRA board members attended the meeting, including Vice President Alice Cassidy who raised concerns about the number car burglaries along Detroit Street. Tensions have been high in the eastern end of the Miracle Mile since a violent robbery occurred in the former Bank of America parking lot last April.

MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon also addressed the increase of crime along the La Brea corridor in his remarks. He said that Miracle Mile residents were pleased by the success of the restaurants and businesses that have revitalized the intersection of 8th Street and La Brea and that the safety of employees and patrons would be enhanced by a greater police presence.

Captain Leslie said that he had deployed foot patrols around the Grove and 3rd and La Brea and that he intends to expand these foot patrols south along La Brea – but he is somewhat constrained by budget and manpower issues.

For additional information:

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, 9 July 2015: Police Shoot Suspect During Altercation with Officers on Sycamore Avenue

Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2015: Man Shot by LAPD During Mid-Wilshire Altercation Dies

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Miracle Mile HPOZ Update ~ July 2015

HPOZ UPDATE ~ July 2015:
Historic Resources Survey
Fieldwork Completed

 

[Click on image to view video of survey team at work]

Katie Horak, Senior Associate with Architectural Resources Group [ARG], reports that the fieldwork part of the Historic Resources Survey has been completed. The survey documented every property within the boundaries of the Miracle Mile HPOZ [see map].

Horak explained to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee that ARG is now “cleaning up the data” and writing the Survey Report. A draft of the report will be submitted to the Committee for review by the end of July.

ARG is in the process of preparing individual DPR forms for each property and hopes to have the draft DPRs ready for the Committee’s inspection by mid-August.

“DPR” is an acronym for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A DPR form is a standardized state form for documenting historic resources. It includes basic information – address and a property description – and a photograph of every property within a historic district.

Horak said that ARG is on track to submit the final report to the Los Angeles City Office of Historic Resources by September.

The Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee has been holding a series of “block meetings” to educate residents about the process and benefits of HPOZ. The Committee’s goal is to visit every block within the HPOZ boundaries. The Committee is also planning a community-wide meeting in the Fall.

If you would like to host an informal meeting for your neighbors to discuss HPOZ please contact Mark Zecca, Chair of the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee: mark.zecca@MiracleMileLA.com.

For more information visit:

Miracle Mile HPOZ Website

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Q & A: An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez, members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

Q & A:

On the Front Lines of

Subway Construction in the Miracle Mile

An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez,

members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

After almost two years of advanced utility relocation (and a couple more to go at Wilshire and Fairfax), the main event will begin soon at La Brea and Wilshire as preparations are made for underground subway construction. The Purple Line extension from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard is a massive and complex endeavor. The multi-billion dollar, nine-year construction project through one of the most densely populated urban corridors in the country is fraught with potential impacts on nearby residents and businesses. It is the job of Mindy Lake [below right] and Michael Cortez [below left] to serve as a liaison between Metro and the community and help ensure that the mitigations implemented during the subway work go as well as possible.

 

Lake and Cortez talk about their jobs, the proper way to make a complaint about subway construction, and Metro’s Eat-Shop-Play program to support local business during the building process. They were interviewed June 8, 2015. The interview has been edited for length.

Q: What exactly are your jobs?

Lake: My official title is Senior Construction Relations Officer, Section One, West Segment. Which, in plain English, means I handle construction-related issues for the Purple Line Extension for the area west of Hauser Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard, which includes the Fairfax station and the La Cienega station.

Cortez: And I’m the Senior Construction Relations Office for the East Segment. I cover everything east of Hauser to Western, which includes the La Brea station, the Crenshaw staging yard, and the tie-in to the station at Wilshire and Western.

Q: Mindy, what are your qualifications for this job?

Lake: Over 25 years of community activity and activism stemming back to the mid-1980s in this neighborhood, particularly west of Fairfax: from organizing the first Neighborhood Watch to being a founding member of Mid City West Community Council. I was also the co-chair of the Wilshire Division’s Community-Police Advisory Board for four years. I was born in the neighborhood and went to schools here. I’m basically a dyed-in-the wool community person. I took this job because I thought I had the qualifications to understand the needs of this community – and I thought I could be helpful to Metro with this transformative construction project.

Q: Michael, what are your qualifications?

Cortez: I have over 11 years experience working in the public sector. I worked many years for the Community Redevelopment Agency in the Hollywood and Central region. Prior to that I worked for two elected officials. I was born and raised in Canoga Park. I was president of my neighborhood council and engaged in community activism in the Valley. I believe in the importance of community engagement in the planning process all the way through to the construction of a project.

Q: Now that that a principal contractor –a design-builder in Metro jargon – has been engaged, how do you two specifically fit into the construction process?

Lake: We liaison with all of the entities connected to subway construction. We work with Metro’s project management; we work with community relations; we work with the community; we work with the design-builder and the sub-contractors still working on utility relocations. Our job is to keep an eye on what’s going on so that we can deliver that information to the community – and be available when there are issues or complaints. We try to stay out in front of everything so that we can anticipate if something might create a problem for the community.

Q: It seems that one of the problems Metro sometimes had keeping the noise disturbances under control during nighttime utility relocation work was the large number of sub-contractors involved. Each contractor had to be educated on proper noise mitigation methods. Will it be easier for you to control this problem now that you are dealing with only one main contractor for the actual subway construction?

Lake: Absolutely. I think the challenge with the utility relocation sub-contractors was that what we asked of them was so much more than they were accustomed to providing. It required us to really stay on top it. We had a heightened degree of mitigation measures we were implementing. It was a learning curve for them and a trust issue for us. We had to work very closely with them to make sure the understood the community they were working in.

Q: Speaking of which, how do you find this community to work in?

Cortez: I would say I’ve been able to work well with the community. I’ve started to build relationships with various organizations. I go the community council meetings. I meet with folks individually. I want people to have a face they know during the construction process. Here in the La Brea area I’ve been introducing myself to all the businesses. I am available to them and try to keep them informed. Like Mindy, I respond to anyone who contacts me by phone or email in 24-hours or less.

Q: Let’s talk about complaints. If residents or businesses are having issues with dust, noise, construction traffic, or any other subway related problems, what is the proper way to get Metro’s attention?

Lake: We have are hotline phone number, 213-922-6934, which can translate into an immediate, real-time response if its an urgent construction related matter. Or we can be reached by email. [See below.]

Q: What determines urgency and prompts a real-time response?

Lake: My definition of urgent, for example, would be if you were experiencing an extraordinarily loud construction disturbance at night or your driveway was blocked by a truck during construction. You would call the project hotline; go through the menu options; indicate that it is urgent; a live operator will come on the line; you tell them where you are located and what the issue is; they would call or text me or Michael; and we would respond right then and there.

Q: And then you or Michael would contact someone at the construction site to find out what’s going on?

Lake: Yes. Or, in my case, I live in the Miracle Mile, right here in the construction zone, so, often I’ll just go to the site to investigate the problem.

Q: That was a big mistake, wasn’t it? Moving into the Miracle Mile when you took this assignment? You didn’t put much distance between yourself and your job.

Lake: (Laughing.) It speaks on some level to either my insanity or my commitment to this project. I think it’s the only fair way, that when I say to someone that I know what you’re going through, that I can be perfectly honest.

Cortez: When there is a complaint or problem, we sit down with the contractor and discuss the situation – and remind them to continue to implement our mitigation efforts.

Q: So, simply put, the best way to complain is to call the project hotline: 213-922-6934.

Lake: It’s been a very effective method. The response time is excellent. Michael and I are on top of it. We also cover for each other if one of us is indisposed.

Q: The Miracle Mile Residential Association has a keen interest in supporting small businesses and restaurants. Obviously, the enterprises located closest to the staging sites at La Brea and Fairfax are going to be economically impacted by subway construction. Metro has created a marketing program called Eat Shop Play to promote these businesses to help counteract any damage to their bottom line. What sort of response have you been getting from Miracle Mile business owners?

Lake: Once they wrap their heads around the idea of what we’re doing – and understand that this is something we’re providing to them at no cost – they are quite engaged. They have to grasp the potential construction impacts; right now they’re not really feeling it. So, we’re trying to be pro-active and educate them. Once we get through that process, they are very interested in participating. We’ve had very positive responses.

Q: Have you gotten many Miracle Mile businesses to participate in the program?

Cortez: Yes, so far almost 50 businesses in the La Brea, Fairfax, and La Cienega areas.

Q: I know you promote the Eat Shop Play program online, but will you promote it in other media outlets – like local newspapers?

Lake: Yes, we’ve also bought pole banners for Wilshire Boulevard. We’ll also advertise on billboards and bus shelters. Our official launch for the program is July 1st. That is why we want to reach out to all of our community partners. We want to get word out.


Metro Purple Line Extension
Construction Relations

24-hour telephone: 213-922-6934

Mindy Lake (west segment; Hauser Blvd. to La Cienega Blvd.):
LakeM@metro.net

Michael Cortez (east segment; Hauser Blvd. to Western Ave.):
cortezmic@metro.net

Metro Purple Line Extension links:

http://www.metro.net/projects/westside/
Twitter: @purplelineext
Facebook: facebook.com/purplelineext

 

“Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” Update:

The MMRA collected nearly 800 signatures in our petition campaign to stop nighttime subway construction in the Miracle Mile. Although we have not yet succeeded in stopping all nighttime work (which we continue to oppose) our well-publicized campaign did motivate Metro to limit or rearrange nighttime construction to minimize complaints.

Now that a prime subway contractor has been engaged – Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS) – officers of the MMRA are meeting regularly with representatives of Metro, STS, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles Police Commission (which issues permits for nighttime construction).

The MMRA is adamant that the community have a direct voice in how subway construction in general is conducted in the Miracle Mile, including: the selection of haul routes; sound mitigation at the staging yards; loss of public parking; and protecting our small business and restaurants.

The residents of the Miracle Mile welcome the Purple Line subway extension. The MMRA will work closely with all parties involved to help manage the impacts on our community – while continuing our efforts to stop the noise disturbances of nighttime work.

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Miracle Mile HPOZ Update ~ June 2015

Miracle Mile HPOZ Update

June 2015:

New Videos of Historical Survey Team at Work
+ HPOZ Progress Report from Katie Horak

 

Click on image to view video.

An Historic Resources Survey is the foundation of an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, it documents the history of every property within the boundaries of an HPOZ. The Miracle Mile Residential Association engaged the services of Architectural Resources Group [ARG] to perform the survey of the Miracle Mile HPOZ [see map].

Watch the video above to see the ARG survey team at work in the Miracle Mile. You will also learn what “contributing” and “non-contributing” properties are and how they are evaluated.

Click on image to view video.

For a progress report on the Miracle Mile HPOZ watch the interview [above] with Katie Horak, Senior Associate, Architectural Resources Group. Research of original building permits reveals that several renown architects designed homes in the Miracle Mile.

HPOZ Info Packet Mailed to Miracle Mile Property Owners

Earlier this month, the HPOZ Committee – as part of its ongoing outreach campaign – sent out a mailing to nearly 1600 property owners within the boundaries of the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. A letter from HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca was accompanied by an informative HPOZ pamphlet published by the City Department of Planning.

If you are a renter and would like to receive a copy of the letter and HPOZ pamphlet, email your name and address to: HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com.

Host an HPOZ Informational Meeting
on Your Block

Sierra Bonita resident Esther Diaz hands a $250 check to MMRA
Treasurer Joe Steins. Diaz’s personal donation – the first we have
received – will help the MMRA with the substantial costs of
establishing the Miracle Mile HPOZ. (Photo by Cari Lutz.)

On Saturday, June 6, an informal gathering of residents on South Sierra Bonita Avenue [see story below] had an opportunity to learn about HPOZ and have their questions answered by HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca and MMRA Treasurer Joseph Steins. If you and your neighbors would like to host a get-together to learn more about HPOZ please contact us and members of the HPOZ Committee will be happy to attend. You can email us at:

HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com

For additional information on the Miracle Mile HPOZ visit:

MiracleMileLA.com/HPOZ

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Miracle Mile Spotlight: Craft and Folk Art Museum

Miracle Mile Spotlight:
Craft and Folk Art Museum

In 1965 two cultural institutions arrived in the Miracle Mile, launching Museum Row: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and what in time would be known as the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM). LACMA made its debut with national media coverage and the cream of the city’s high society in attendance. But the real buzz was created by a new café and gallery a few blocks east on Wilshire called “The Egg and Eye.”

“Well, the original concept for The Egg and The Eye was to serve the omelets upstairs and while people waited they would go in the gallery. When they were in the gallery, they would encounter maybe a pot on a pedestal,” explained its founder Edith R. Wyle (1918-1999) in a 1993 interview. “The fact that it was a pot on a pedestal would lead people to understand that this must be art, and I think they got the message. This was a first. People did not display crafts or folk art in an artistic manner in a display setting.”

UCLA-educated, Wyle was an artist with a deep passion for folk art. Her enterprise was an immediate hit and in 1973 it evolved into a non-profit organization with a new name: the Craft and Folk Art Museum.

The inexhaustible Wyle initiated exhibits, workshops, educational programs, and created the Festival of Masks, a multicultural festival. In the process, CAFAM became a dynamic community center in the Miracle Mile – a place not only to see indigenous crafts and objects, but a place to learn weaving, jewelry making, and other skills. This tradition continues today under the guidance of Executive Director Suzanne Isken.

Isken [photo right], former Education Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art, came to the museum four years ago. Her bold and imaginative leadership has expanded scope of its exhibits and classes. Craft and folk art, in her perspective, are not relegated to the past – it is something that is being created today in dynamic new ways. The energy of the museum is obvious to even those passing by on Wilshire Boulevard. A façade project initiated by Isken serves as a very public canvas for Los Angeles-based artists, most notably when the front of the building was “yarn bombed” with knitted granny squares.

“When I first came here everyone kept telling me that the museum was a hidden gem and my reaction was: to hell with the hidden,” Isken says. “Our gift shop has always been very popular, but many people didn’t understand that there was a museum upstairs. That was part of our decision to bring the museum downstairs closer to the street.”

A native of Los Angeles and a mother of four, Isken exudes curiosity and enthusiasm. These qualities are evident in the wide range of craft exhibited at the museum – from the work of male quilt makers to an upcoming show featuring shoe designer Chris Francis.

“I came from a contemporary art museum. My vision, given my experience, was to look at more contemporary craft. We have an important place in L.A. at a time when craft is getting a lot of attention. People are really into making things and that is a natural audience for us: the makers.”

Isken views the Miracle Mile as a unique area with a great deal of vitality. “We see ourselves as a ‘hands on’ neighborhood museum. We keep our ticket prices as low as possible. We offer a craft night every Thursday night. We have free admission on Sundays. We try to stay connected to the community.”

Today the hot trend in automobiles, smart phones, and museums is to promote themselves as being “interactive.” But being truly interactive – a museum where you can get your hands dirty shaping a pot or prick your finger learning to embroider – has been a decades-old mission at CAFAM. It has always been a place that appeals to all of the senses, including a sense of community.

Craft and Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-937-4230

For additional information:

Craft and Folk Art Museum website: www.cafam.org

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution: Oral History Interview with Edith Wyle, March-September 1993

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Coming Soon to a Courtroom Near You: The Academy Museum

Coming Soon to a Courtroom Near You:

The Academy Museum

A message from James O’Sullivan, MMRA President

On May 6, the City’s Planning Department recommendations on the Academy Museum project were released.  As expected, the department declared that everything is fine with the project and you – the community groups and Neighborhood Council – have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The traffic created by the project is fine. The inadequate parking is fine. The digital sign district is fine… Everything is just fine!

Of course, it is the Planning Department that’s wrong and they’ve now guaranteed that one more case will join the courthouse queue, attempting to force the City to obey its own rules.

A few weeks ago, I felt a bit of hope – guarded, of course – after a meeting with members of the Academy Museum team, including Managing Director Bill Kramer and attorney Bill Delvac. I told them there was support in the community for the museum but not for the attached 1000-seat special event center [illustration below]. I made the argument that people have been waiting many years for a motion picture museum and it was within reach if they could abandon the event center. There would still be traffic and parking issues with the 5,000 visitors a day, but I believed we could find a solution and I made several suggestions to get the ball rolling.

Since its inception in 1983 the Miracle Mile Residential Association has been making good deals that work for the neighborhood and developer alike. We have always practiced the art of compromise. Kramer and Delvac said they would get back to me, but they never did. That’s too bad because there was a deal to be made by people of good faith. Now there is only the legal route.

I hope that everyone reading this who had concerns about the impacts of the Academy Museum on our communities understands that the City really doesn’t care what you think. Our elected officials loudly profess to value you at election time, but otherwise they do whatever they want – and then dare you to stop them.

There are good people who work at City Hall – but their reasonable voices are drowned out by the “go along to get along” mantra of the Wizards of Spring Street. When Los Angeles residents raise their voices to object to a project they are politely thanked for their comments and the project is routinely blessed with the magic words that sweeps all of our objections under the rug, “No significant impact.”

That is what the Academy purchased with the million dollars they spent lobbying City Hall: the City’s Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

The Planning Department’s recommendations are cause for celebration for all those supporting the Academy Museum and its special events center – but that feeling will be fleeting. Sooner or later they will be on the other side of the argument and they won’t know what hit them. Every neighborhood in this city is prey to overdevelopment, traffic intrusion, and infrastructure on the brink of collapse. The boosters of the Academy Museum will find themselves in our shoes one day, battling some gargantuan project that will dramatically impact their own neighborhoods.

They too will learn what “no significant impact” means. It is not a merely a technical phrase for grading a particular aspect of a project, it is also an apt description for the effect that the concerns of the residents have on City Hall.

The courtroom is now the only forum where the residents of Los Angeles are having a significant impact. The City has lost case after case: the 2012 Hollywood Community Plan Update was rescindedconstruction was halted on a Target Store at Sunset and Westernthe CIM Group high rise on Sunset had its occupancy certificate revoked and its tenants evicted; and recently a judge ordered a re-do of the Environmental Impact Report for the Millennium skyscrapers surrounding Capitol Records.

So, don’t be surprised when you see the Academy Museum project on that roster, too.

For additional information:

Los Angeles Department of City Planning: Academy Museum Recommendation Report

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, 4/16/15: Mid-City West Nixes Museum’s Sphere

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HPOZ Update: Historic Resources Survey Underway

Boundaries of the Miracle Mile HPOZ. Click on map to enlarge.

 HPOZ UPDATE:

Historic Resources Survey Underway

 MMRA VP Ken Hixon Speaks on the Miracle Mile HPOZ
at Chamber Commerce Economic Forum

The Historic Resources Survey of the 1600-plus parcels contained within the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) began two weeks ago. The Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) engaged the services of Architectural Resources Group (ARG) to perform the survey, which is a prerequisite for applying for HPOZ status.

Katie Horak, ARG executive in charge of the survey, reports that there are two teams doing the fieldwork and that each team is averaging about 30 properties per day. It is estimated that it will take approximately four more weeks to complete the survey.

The Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee is preparing a mass mailing to property owners explaining the many benefits of HPOZ. “Outreach is key to the success of the HPOZ,” says committee member Jeremy Matz. “We are planning a door-to-door campaign, house parties, and other meetings to capitalize on the groundswell of support that the community displayed at our January meeting and on our online survey.”

HPOZ Committee Chairperson and local realtor Mark Zecca says, “Many homeowners aren’t aware of how HPOZ enhances the value of their property. Buyers are attracted to stable and well-protected areas. It’s important that we spread this message.”

MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon was a speaker at the Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum on May 13. The Chamber endorsed the creation of the Miracle Mile HPOZ and Hixon was invited to address the topic at the assembly of business and civic leaders.

Hixon’s speech explained how an HPOZ would stop McMansions and the wholesale eradication of rent-stabilized rental units. He also spoke on how the history of our neighborhood is a tangible part of its appeal. “The history of this place is what provides us with our sense of place.” Hixon said. “This sense of place is what makes the Miracle Mile such a great community to live and do business in.”

For additional information:

Miracle Mile Residential Association website: HPOZ Information

Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum, 13 May 2015: Miracle Mile HPOZ speech by Ken Hixon

Office of Historic Resources: Historic Preservation Overlay Zones

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Subway Construction Update: Violent Robbery Complicates Effort to Keep Bank of America Parking Lot Open

 

Northwest corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. [Google Maps]

 Subway Construction Update:

Violent Robbery Complicates Effort to Keep
Bank of America Parking Lot Open

Work is underway at the northwest corner of Wilshire and La Brea to prepare a staging yard for the Purple Line Extension. The project contractor, Skanska Traylor Shea, is constructing a temporary alley between Carling Way and Detroit Street. The new alley will redirect traffic west to Detroit, closing the alley exit to La Brea permanently for the remainder of the project.

Later this month, the artwork on the exterior of the former Metro Customer Service Center will be removed and stored for future use at another Metro location. Demolition of the Service Center, the former Blockbuster store, and the former Lawrence of La Brea rug store will occur in late June – and sound wall construction will follow.

Another staging yard will be located on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard. Metro plans to take possession of the Bank of America property at the southwest corner of Wilshire and La Brea by the end of May. Mitigation of any interior environmental hazards will be completed before the bank building is demolished. Metro is in the process of acquiring the property to the west of the Bank of America, which houses Albertson’s Wedding Chapel and other businesses. Metro expects to complete this acquisition by Fall 2015.

Wilshire/La Brea subway construction staging sites. [Courtesy Metro]
Click on image to enlarge.

The staging site at the southwest corner of Wilshire and La Brea will be the most active of all the sites required for the construction of the subway extension. All of the dirt from the tunneling operation – from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard – will be conveyed underground to this location for removal. The site will also house a plant to manufacture the grout that will seal the concrete tunnel lining.

In April, officers of the Miracle Mile Residential Association met with representatives of Metro and the contractor, Skanska Traylor Shea, to discuss noise mitigation at the staging sites, haul routes, and work hours. The MMRA is closely monitoring all aspects of the subway construction and continues to staunchly oppose nighttime work.

The MMRA has requested that Metro make the Bank of America parking lot available to residents and nearby businesses for as long as possible. The east end of the Miracle Mile is experiencing a sharp decline in available parking created by Metro’s activities and the construction of large infill apartment projects on the surface parking lots behind the Desmond’s and Dominguez-Wilshire buildings.

Unfortunately, this request has been complicated by a violent robbery that occurred at this location on May 7. This crime prompted the Bank of America to close the parking lot. The MMRA will make every effort to work with Metro and the L.A.P.D. to enhance safety and security measures so that this parking lot can be re-opened until such time that Metro requires its fulltime use as a construction staging site.

Metro will hold its next Purple Line Extension community meeting on Thursday, May 21, 5:30 PM at the Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Boulevard.

For additional information:

Metro Purple Line Extension Newsletter – May 2015

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