Metro Delays Decision on Wilshire Closures for Cut-and-Cover Work

Metro Delays Decision on Wilshire Closures for Cut-and-Cover Work

Councilmember Ryu Backs Community Groups
Demanding Traffic and Noise Studies

Metro has agreed to do a full study on the traffic impact of their recent proposal to accelerate the completion of the cut-and-cover work on Wilshire Boulevard for the construction of the underground La Brea subway station. Originally, Metro planned to accomplish this task over 22 weekends, but last month they changed course and pushed a proposal to shut down Wilshire Boulevard from La Brea to Highland for seven full weeks to accelerate the portion of the work immediately east of the La Brea intersection to just east of Orange St. The accelerated seven week schedule would be in lieu of 16 weekends. The portion of the cut-and-cover work from Detroit through the actual intersection at La Brea would take place over six weekends regardless of the closure option chosen.

At its November meeting, the MMRA Board of Directors voted unanimously not to support the accelerated seven week closure until such time that Metro could produce a traffic study and traffic mitigation plan. “We cannot fly blind,” said MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon. “We need the facts to make an informed decision. It is crucial that we are able to fully weigh the two options and compare their pros and cons, whether it be noise levels or traffic congestion.”

Mid City West Community Council and Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council have tabled a decision on the closure options pending the delivery of Metro’s traffic and noise studies. La Brea/Hancock Home Owners and Sycamore Square rescinded their earlier support of the seven week closure and will reconsider the two options once their organizations have had an opportunity to review the studies, which are due in January 2016.

 Click on image to enlarge.

On 12 November 2015, Metro and Councilmember David Ryu conducted a community meeting on the closure proposals at John Burroughs Middle School. A video of the meeting has been posted on the MMRA Channel on YouTube [see link below]. At the meeting Metro and construction officials presented a PowerPoint presentation [see link below] that provides details on the two closure options. Councilmember David Ryu spoke at the meeting and emphasized that both he and the community must have all the facts before making a decision. Ryu also challenged Metro to improve their community outreach efforts.

The decking Wilshire is a very complex process – as is understanding the two closure options on the table. We encourage residents to watch the video of the meeting so that you can be better informed.

Click on image to view video.

For additional information:

Click on image to view the Metro PowerPoint presentation.

Larchmont Buzz, 13 Nov 2015: Metro Confirms Delay on Wilshire Boulevard Closure Decision and Clarifies Project Details

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, 11 Nov 2015: Metro Still Seeking Input on Impending Wilshire Closure

MMRA Newsletter, 14 Oct 2015: Metro Proposes 7 Week Closure of Wilshire for Subway Construction

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Metro Proposes 7-Week Closure of Wilshire for Cut-and-Cover Work

Illustration of cut-and-cover work depicting the installation of beams to support street decking.

Metro Proposes 7-Week Closure of Wilshire

for Cut-and-Cover Work

Share your opinion via our online poll…

Metro is seeking community support to close Wilshire Boulevard from La Brea Avenue to Highland Avenue for 7 weeks in early 2016 to install temporary street decking to speed up construction of the Wilshire/La Brea subway station. Originally, Metro had proposed doing the decking over 16 consecutive weekends.

The “cut-and-cover” process would begin in November 2015 and involves the installation of piles – vertical steel posts drilled into the ground – along both sides of Wilshire, followed by the removal of the pavement on Wilshire from Detroit to just east of Orange Drive. Once the pavement is removed, a trench 10-to-12 feet deep is excavated. Then horizontal beams are affixed atop the piles to support temporary concrete deck panels which will form a new street surface. The closures for street decking would begin next Spring. Once the temporary roadway is in place, the underground station will be constructed beneath the decking.

Click on image to enlarge.

As depicted in the illustration above, Metro’s proposed 7-week accelerated schedule would only apply to the section in green – immediately east of the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea to just east of Orange Drive.

The cut-and-cover construction from Detroit through the intersection of La Brea and Wilshire (shown in purple) is not part of the accelerated proposal. Because this is a major intersection the decking of this section will be done over a total of 6 weekends, which will require around-the-clock construction from 8 PM Friday evening to 6 AM Monday morning. During the first 3 weekends Metro crews will deck Wilshire from Detroit to just west of La Brea; the following 3 weekends the intersection of La Brea and Wilshire will receive its deck.

Metro’s accelerated 7-week proposal to close Wilshire from the intersection at La Brea to Highland will allow for a 7-days-a-week schedule with the noisier work conducted from 7 AM to 11 PM and quieter underground work beneath the concrete deck panels from 11 PM to 7 AM.

Although through traffic on Wilshire between La Brea and Highland would be detoured, local access to businesses and residences will be maintained. Eastbound Wilshire traffic will be detoured south on La Brea, east on Olympic, and north on Highland. Westbound Wilshire traffic will be detoured south on Highland, west on Olympic, and north on La Brea. Neither 6th St. or 8th St. would be utilized as detour routes. Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) traffic officers would be deployed throughout the area to direct traffic. These detour routes will be used whether or not the accelerated 7-week schedule or the original 16-weekend schedule is chosen.

The MMRA has not yet taken an official position on this accelerated 7-week proposal. MMRA officers have met with Metro to discuss the proposal and are now consulting with local residents, business owners, the Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce, La Brea/Hancock Homeowners Association, and other community organizations. Residents and local business owners can weigh in on this issue via our online poll below.

The advantages of the 7-week schedule for Metro are obvious – it is a far more efficient way of accomplishing this complicated task. The advantage for the nearby residents is that it greatly reduces noise disturbances between the hours of 11 PM and 7 AM. The time constraints of limiting this work to weekends would require that pavement demolition and excavation be conducted all night long over a 16 week time period.

The MMRA’s position opposing nighttime subway construction is well known. Our “Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” petition campaign generated strong support from the community. But the MMRA has always acknowledged that the weekend cut-and-cover work at major intersections required nighttime activity and our opposition to nighttime work purposely exempted this particular aspect of subway construction.

However, there are cons to this proposal.  A 7-week closure could magnify the economic impact on local businesses. The MMRA is particularly concerned for small businesses that are popular with our residents. Larger corporate owned entities have the financial resources to withstand a sustained 7-week interruption of through traffic on Wilshire Boulevard. The independently owned and operated stores and restaurants are much more vulnerable.

Traffic impacts on Highland Avenue might also be considerable. Highland narrows to one lane in each direction south of Wilshire and detour-related bottlenecks could push traffic onto all the feeder streets in the surrounding blocks, particularly 8th St.

Neighborhood schools may be hit the hardest. Children at Wilshire Crest (Sycamore and Olympic), Cathedral Chapel (8th and Cochran), Wilshire Private (Longwood and Wilshire), and John Burroughs Middle School (McCadden and Wilshire) will be exposed to the general crush of continual traffic. Burroughs students, in particular, may provoke the ire of already frustrated drivers, when they cross on foot at the intersection at Highland and Wilshire. The corner has the potential to become a perfect storm between pedestrian and automotive traffic.

In relative terms, the original plan of weekends-only closures would likely mean less traffic intrusion into our neighborhood. Weekday car trips – which include employees going to and from work in the Miracle Mile, parents ferrying school children, and such things as business deliveries – far out-number weekend journeys. Fewer cars equate to less cut-through traffic on residential streets and traffic jams at major intersections.

By November 12, 2015 Metro needs to determine whether to proceed with the accelerated 7-week schedule, or they’ll run out of time to seek approvals from various city agencies. The MMRA board of directors with make a formal decision on the proposal at its next board meeting on November 5, 2015.

The MMRA is a consensus based organization. We encourage residents and local business owners to share your opinions on this proposal. We use SurveyMonkey for our polls. It is a secure and simple way to gather your input. Poll participants are anonymous and your honesty is welcomed.

Wilshire Boulevard Closure Schedule Poll

[Poll Results]

For additional information:

Metro: Purple Line Extension Community Meeting Presentation, Sept. 17, 2015

Click on image to view an Animation of the Pile
Installation and Street Decking Process
Posted in News

Miracle Mile Spotlight: Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Services

From the August 2015 MMRA Newsletter:

Miracle Mile Spotlight:

Olympia Medical Center

Rehabilitation Services

The definition of rehabilitation is to restore to good health or useful life. But the definition is far simpler than its execution. A person recovering from a stroke, joint replacement, or other illnesses or surgeries may need a variety of therapies: inpatient, outpatient, physical, occupational, and speech.

It is Avi Amit’s job to see that people get the help they need to get back to the business of daily life. Avi manages the rehabilitation services for Olympia Medical Center at its newly remodeled location on the fourth floor at 5901 West Olympic Boulevard. This well-equipped facility, which offers dramatic views to the south, is where Avi and his team of therapists demonstrate their positive and compassionate attitudes for their work. It is obvious that they are deeply invested in achieving the best possible outcomes for their patients.

“It’s about an individualized plan for all our clients,” said Avi. “It all depends on the condition of the patient. We want to bring them back to as close to the same level as they were before. Making them as independent and mobile as possible is our goal. We need to get you back even if there are certain restrictions. We can’t ignore that you’ve had surgery or a serious injury, and different people need different amounts of time to recover.”

This is where the variety of services they provide comes into play. An orthopedic procedure calls for physical therapy to restore a sense of balance and range of motion; a stroke or neurological incident might require speech therapy; some patients need to relearn functional activities like bathing, dressing themselves, or preparing a meal; and others will need a combination of all of these tools. This comprehensive approach requires a highly skilled team. The open design of the clinic allows easy interface between all of the specialists, yet provides privacy when needed for speech or certain physical therapies.

Monica Becerra, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Avi Amit.

“We cater to older patients from here in the neighborhood,” Avi explains. “But we would like to promote our orthopedic and recreational sports injury program. That’s why we have this new facility and why we’ve added more exercise equipment. I’ll be honest with you, we have Cedars-Sinai nearby with all of their programs and there is a temptation to go to a bigger hospital because you assume they have better service – but once a patient comes here, they always come back to our clinic. And that’s what we want to be: the neighborhood outpatient rehabilitation clinic.”

Their location and free parking is very attractive to residents of the Miracle Mile. For patients living within a ten mile radius they provide free transportation to-and-from the clinic – a valuable service for patients with conditions that prevent them from driving.

“I go to events in the community,” Avi said. “I want everyone to know that we are here for the community. Whatever we can do, however we can help, we will do it.”

The philosophy of Avi Amit and the staff at the Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Center can also be easily defined: They really care.

Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Services
5901 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 407
Office: 323-932-5086

Avi Amit, manager: 323-932-5086


[The MMRA newsletter does not solicit or accept advertisements. Our support of local businesses and institutions is a matter of principle – for which we receive no financial compensation or consideration of any kind.]

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Inconvenient Truths at LACMA: Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious Design under the Red Carpet

Inconvenient Truths at LACMA:
Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious
Design under the Red Carpet

by Joseph Giovannini

 “…from the very beginning the ambitious project has been personality driven, based much more on Govan’s determination, enthusiasm, and charisma than on a compelling and original design or trustable financial facts.”
Joseph Giovannini

The third, and final, installment of Joseph Giovannini’s brilliant dismantling of the architectural follies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, reveals a publicly-owned institution gone fiscally amuck. LACMA, in Giovannini’s view, has become a private fief subsidized by hundreds of millions in taxpayer money – $425 million is the latest infusion – without a shred of accountability.

LACMA’s present campaign to build Peter Zumthor’s zig-zag museum, bridging Wilshire Boulevard, Giovannini explains, is not just poor aesthetics, it is an unforgivable squandering of the Museum’s only substantial endowment: its real estate holdings. Going forward with the Swiss architect’s estimated billion dollar building means that LACMA, which already gave away a building of equal size – the May Company, now being converted into the privately-held Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences museum – will also shed the two-acre lot it owns on Wilshire Boulevard, at Spaulding. The lot, used today for parking, was intended by LAMCA’s board to be commercially developed, thus ensuring a steady revenue stream for the cash-poor, but land-rich, Museum.

Giovannini concludes with a stark warning: LACMA director Michael Govan’s love affair with Zumthor’s “conceptually flawed” design could put the institution in a financial tailspin. “Think of the mastodons sipping at the tar pits. LACMA now risks the same fate,” he writes. Giovannini has been leading a lone crusade to alert the city to the perils of LACMA’s present ambitions. We should heed his sobering account. – Greg Goldin

Top photo: John Fladd

Joseph Giovannini biography

Joseph Giovannini essays on LACMA:
Los Angeles Review of Books, 19 July 2015: Inconvenient Truths at LACMA: Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious Design under the Red Carpet

Los Angeles Review of Books, 19 April 2015: Peter Zumthor at LACMA: A Preacher in the Wrong Church

Los Angeles Review of Books, 20 July 2014: A U-Turn on Wilshire: Why Frank Gehry Should Design LACMA

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The Billboard Wars ~ A Conversation with Dennis Hathaway

Now Playing on the MMRA Channel on YouTube:

Click on image to view video.

The Billboard Wars
A Conversation with Dennis Hathaway

Regulating billboards has been a perennial battle in Los Angeles. It is described as a “David and Goliath” struggle for good reason: the political and legal resources of the billboard industry often place the residents of L.A. on the losing side. Now that members of the City Council are touting a new plan to allow digital billboards all over town the stakes are higher than ever.

Dennis Hathaway, President of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, has been fighting the good fight for nearly a decade. In this two part video conversation, Hathaway candidly discusses the battleground and what it will take to achieve effective regulation of the billboards.

Hathaway is equal parts affable and persistent. He has employed his skills as a former Iowa newspaper reporter to dissect and illuminate the sweetheart relationship between City Hall and the billboard industry. Hathaway and his volunteer organization have been an invaluable ally and resource to neighborhood organizations fighting billboards and sign districts, including the MMRA.

For additional information:

Los Angeles Daily News, 28 June 2015: New Digital Billboard Laws Set for Consideration in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2008 [Steve Lopez profile of Dennis Hathaway]: Pushing Back on Billboard Blight

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Subway Construction Update ~ August 2015


Click on image to enlarge.

Subway Construction Update ~ August 2015:

•Metro proposes converting Cloverdale and Ridgeley to one-way
streets north of Wilshire to create additional on-street parking

•MMRA protests Metro buses using 8th Street

At the Purple Line Extension Community Meeting on July 16, Metro introduced a proposal to make Cloverdale and Ridgeley one-way streets between Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street in order to create additional parking. Metro is required to mitigate the loss of on-street parking spaces at the subway construction sites at Wilshire and La Brea. Converting Cloverdale and Ridgeley into northbound one-way streets would allow for diagonal parking that would add 15 new parking spaces on Cloverdale and 9 new parking spaces on Ridgeley. Both streets would remain two-way up to the parking lots of the commercial and retail establishments on the north side of Wilshire Boulevard – and both streets would retain their Preferential Parking District status [see graphics below].

Cloverdale Replacement Parking Plan.

Click on image to enlarge.

The eastern end of the Miracle Mile is enduring a severe parking shortage. Many of the historic apartment buildings north of Wilshire have very little or no off-street parking. Subway construction has shuttered the public parking lot on Detroit (north of Wilshire) and the former Bank of America parking lot. A large infill apartment complex is under construction on the former parking lot behind the Desmonds Building and a similar project is scheduled for the parking lot behind the Dominguez-Wilshire Building. The lack of parking – private and public – is having an impact on small businesses and restaurants, as well as residents.

The MMRA supports the proposed replacement parking plan. MMRA representatives Alice Cassidy, James O’Sullivan, and Ken Hixon met with Metro’s Construction Relations team on August 2 to review the plan. “Twenty-four new parking spaces won’t cure all of our parking problems,” said O’Sullivan, “but it will help the people living on those two streets.”

Ridgeley Replacement Parking Plan.

Click on image to enlarge. 

Metro’s plan must be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and garner the approval of two-thirds of the property owners before it could be implemented. Metro will conduct block meetings to brief residents once the plan has received the necessary approvals.

It irked Hixon that renters had no vote in the matter. “The MMRA represents property owners and renters – I don’t like it when renters are treated as second class citizens,” he said. “I would encourage the tenants on Ridgeley and Cloverdale to put pressure on their landlords to approve this plan.”

MMRA Protests Metro Buses Using 8th Street

On the evenings of July 29, July 30, and briefly on August 4, Metro allowed eastbound buses from Wilshire Boulevard to use 8th Street due to unexpected lane closures caused by advanced utility relocation work at Wilshire and Fairfax. This violated an understanding between the MMRA and Metro Purple Line Extension officials that 8th Street would not be utilized as a detour for subway construction in the Miracle Mile.

Eighth Street is a narrow collector street running through a densely populated area with single family homes bordering it on the south and multi-family buildings on the north. It creates a significant noise disturbance to have the 720 bus lumbering along 8th Street at 1 o’clock in the morning. The MMRA is adamant that if Wilshire Boulevard traffic must be diverted – for whatever cause – it must be detoured to either Olympic Boulevard and/or 6th Street. These routes are suitable for buses, 8th Street is not.

In a letter to Metro, MMRA President James O’Sullivan wrote: “… it has taken [Metro] a lot of time and energy to forge a productive working relationship with the MMRA, but this relationship will quickly unravel if Metro dispatch allows buses to detour onto 8th Street.”

In a reply from Metro received on August 12, Kasey Shuda, Purple Line Extension Construction Relations manager, reaffirmed Metro’s commitment to work with the MMRA and offered assurances that dispatchers have been instructed not to allow bus drivers to utilize 8th Street in the future.

If you see a Metro bus using 8th Street please make note of the date and time and immediately contact the MMRA via email:

For additional information:

Metro: Purple Line Extension, Section 1 Construction Community Meeting, July 16, 2015 – PowerPoint Presentation

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HPOZ Update • August 2015:

 HPOZ UPDATE ~ August 2015:

•Draft of Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey report
submitted for review

•New video: Miracle Mile HPOZ – Frequently Asked Questions

•Over $8,000 in contributions to HPOZ Fund to date

•HPOZ community meeting scheduled for Sept. 19th

Click on map to enlarge.

“The proposed Miracle Mile HPOZ is a highly intact residential district with distinct visual character.”

Architectural Resources Group [ARG] has submitted the preliminary draft of the Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey Report to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee for review. The final version of the report will be augmented with historic and current photos and other relevant information.

ARG is in the process of compiling individual DPR forms for each property. “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. These DPR forms will be included in the final report.

The draft report reveals that nearly 8o% of properties within the proposed HPOZ boundaries qualify as either contributors or altered contributors [see map above]. The report lists the status of every property by address within the survey area. “We are very pleased to have such a high percentage of contributing properties and to know that so much of our historic neighborhood is intact,” said Mark Zecca, Chairperson of the HPOZ committee. “It adds to our motivation to get our HPOZ adopted before McMansions or high-density apartment projects reduce our numbers.”

Click on map to enlarge.

“After the most intense period of the Miracle Mile HPOZ’s
development from 1922 to 1930, construction was slow but steady, 
seeing a drop during World War II and a postwar spike until eventually leveling off in the early 1950s.”

ARG did advise the committee that the contributing/non-contributing status of a few properties may change upon careful review of the DPR forms, but they anticipate only a slight change to the final tally. Detailed definitions of “contributor,” “altered contributor,” and “non-contributing” properties can be found in the draft report – along with a fascinating history of the Miracle Mile.

Since the draft report was issued two four-plexes at 716 and 720 South Orange Grove Avenue were identified as part of the properties assembled by Metro on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard between Odgen Drive and Orange Grove that will be demolished to make way for the construction of the Wilshire/Fairfax Purple Line subway station. These two properties will be removed from the HPOZ in the final report and maps.

ARG will submit the final report to the Los Angeles City Department of Planning’s Office of Historic Resources in September. ARG was retained by the MMRA to prepare all of the documentation required for HPOZ adoption and to serve as a consultant to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee.

For additional information:

Architectural Resources Group: Miracle Mile HPOZ Historic Resources Survey Report – DRAFT

Miracle Mile HPOZ Website

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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:

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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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