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|September, 2016 issue 9|
A Memory of Fire
By Alexa A. Williams
It is a memory I will never forget. In May of 1961, preparing to be evacuated, our mother had us three kids sleeping on the living room floor where she could grab us in an instant and move. We could hear the sounds of Dad’s footsteps crunching on the gravel of the roof as he spent the night hosing it down. Outside the clerestory windows were the flames – lots of them and the air was thick with smoke. We were surrounded on three sides by fire and no one was sure that our home and those of our neighbors were going to make it. The Hollywoodland fire of 1961 destroyed twenty-four homes and spread from Cahuenga Peak to the Observatory, from Beachwood at Ledgewood over to Forest Lawn. The stables drove the horses down the middle of Beachwood to safety. Today that is not only a memory of a little kid’s scary night, but also a scenario I rehearse over and over in my head. Because it is going to happen again. Our neighborhood has become a recreation zone overflowing with visitors who have no idea and no care of the flammable nature of its existence. It is understandable if you are living on Pelham Place or Flagmoor Drive that this does not seem to affect you. But is does, because we are a neighborhood and we are in it together. Of course, you will really notice how it affects you some windy evening when a tourist at the Deronda viewpoint casually throws his cigarette into the brush.
The Millennial Project
By Scott Freeburg
Andrew Davis is a YouTube personality who posts videos on our neighborhood and the problems we face. His channel, The Millennial Project, began as what some considered an exposé on how rich entitled people impede poor entitled millennials by blocking access to The Sign. As Andrew chatted with our residents and dug further, he began to change his narrative. Recently, he posted interviews with longtime residents Sarajane Schwarz, Tony Fisch, & Christine O’Brien, each of whom gives information and history about this legendary neighborhood we call home. It just goes to show, rich or poor, young or old, none of us is a two-dimensional character, and that goes for Andrew too!
The Phantom Rest Stop
For those of you who do not live on Beachwood Dr. and are not out wandering in the middle of the night, on September 5, the third fifty-three foot tractor-trailer came up Beachwood Dr. The drivers are all following guidance from their trusty Qualcomm GPS taking them to a rest stop. This one managed to not take out any cars, but it does take an hour plus to get them turned around at the top.
Commercial Party Houses vs. Residents
Noise violations by houses hosting loud, late night parties have been a continual problem in our neighborhood. One house in the 3100 block of Hollyridge has logged over 21 police dispatches. Due to our location in the canyon, sound can travel long distances from the source. Per Los Angeles Ordinance 144.331, Chapter XI 111-116 “it shall be unlawful for any person to willfully make or continue, or cause to be made or continued, any loud, unnecessary, and unusual noise which disturbs the peace or quiet of any neighborhood”. The penalty for a citation can range from $250 to a $1,000 for multiple occurrences.
Dealing with a party house requires a multi-pronged approach. First, initiate a friendly conversation or send a letter to the offender. If this proves ineffective, or if there are repeated violations, escalate to the local police while carefully documenting the date and time of the violation(s). The local numbers are 877-275-5273 for noise abatement or 213-972-2971 for the Wilcox LAPD station. Our local Police Chief, Officer Manny Sanchez, has been an extremely helpful resource in dealing with this party house. Several other local resources are also available. Reports can be filed at Los Angeles building and safety http://ladbs.org. Councilman Ryu is reportedly interested in further addressing the issue. If the offenders are renters, contact the owner of the house, as evidence of repeated violations provides legal grounds for eviction. Calls for service are public record and can be obtained from the LAPD discovery unit. As a last resort, the property owner can be sued in small claims court for either his / her actions or for the actions of his tenants. Let us stand together to end this disruptive behavior. If anyone has any further concerns or questions regarding noise disturbances, please contact the HHA.
How Do You Get To Hollywoodland?
The Friends of Griffith Park and the Griffith Park Advisory Board supported and approved this sign at the legal park entrance on Canyon Dr. Recreation & Parks fabricated and erected it. Note every hike is pushed into Hollywoodland except for hiking to the Observatory and the caves.
Impact on Real Estate
By Robert Louis
Every Hollywoodlander with a mailbox is kept up to date on area real estate sales through the weekly Realtor mailings featuring properties sold or listing all sales in the area for a given period. What we’re not being told are the homes don’t sell or sell for far less than their original asking price. These homes are almost exclusively located at the neighborhood flashpoints where even the most skilled sales person could not hide the impact from tourists. Thankfully these instances are few but when they are alternatively turned into rentals or party houses there is an impact on neighbors and therefore, property values.
There are many buyers who realize the advantages of our area and are still willing to take a chance and join us. Depending on the location, some of these people may not notice anything other than tourists standing in the middle of Beachwood Drive posing for photos while others may experience the full range of aggravation.
Hollywoodland residents looking to sell their home will have to keep potential buyers in mind when they sit down with their Realtor to complete the all-important seller disclosures. Sellers have an ethical responsibility to disclose material facts about their home and the neighborhood. Sellers, more consequently, have a legal obligation to disclose the same. These disclosures also protect the seller, since what you’ve told a buyer (in writing!) is now known by the buyer and therefore becomes their responsibility. People have different levels of annoyance with our situation and some, remarkably, aren’t bothered at all. Nonetheless, the situation is now public knowledge so anyone in Hollywoodland thinking of selling their home will have to at least disclose to buyers the increase in tourist traffic due to the sign and encourage buyers to investigate the impact of this development on the home in question and the neighborhood they will be living in and driving through.
Toyon Canyon Idea
By Jack Conrad
To divert Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park tourist traffic out of residential areas on the south side of GP let’s take a serious look at this proposal http://hollywoodland.org/an-idea-for-potential-development-of-griffith-park/ I met with Joe Salaices of GP and he said he liked the idea but warned it would be opposed by organizations including Friends of GP, Sierra Club and organized bikers who use the road to Toyon Landfill. He agreed that if I could get a coalition of homeowners interested, it would carry weight in pushing the plan forward. I reached out to several of the surrounding HOA’s and got some interest. The Oaks responded with a ‘not interested at this time. They support the as of yet unfunded development at the Ford Theater view site. That’s where the recent fire began. Whitley not interested…they don’t feel they’re involved, although the Ford program could change that perception.
Meeting with CD4
By Laura Davis
On August 15, members of the HHA board met downtown with Councilmember David Ryu, CD4 chief of staff Sarah Dusseault, senior field deputy Catherine Landers, our new neighborhood prosecutor Steve Houchin, Griffith Park manager Joe Salaices and two members of the LAPD motorcycle patrol. The board requested the meeting to talk about the safety measures, including an increased LAPD presence, being proposed by CD4 that many Hollywoodlanders perceive as well-meaning, but inadequate. We all agree that the police officers and cadets are doing their best, but made the point that the sheer number of hikers, selfie enthusiasts and motorists looking for a place to turn around or park is overwhelming the neighborhood and the officers.
Also discussed were the penalties meted out to the man who climbed the Hollywood sign last May including a $1,000 fine, an order to make restitution of several thousand dollars to the City agencies whose first responders were forced to waste time getting him down, probation and 30 days on a DOT clean-up crew. Perhaps worst of all for this self-described YouTube “star” is that CD4 did not issue a press release about the sanctions.
Going forward, we have requested monthly reports from CD4 with a breakdown of the number of citations issued for overweight vehicles, smoking in the park, moving violations that place other drivers and pedestrians at risk, and other offenses. We will publish the reports when we receive them.
We also requested that more be done to promote the eight official entrances into Griffith Park including nearby Bronson Canyon and the Mount Hollywood Trail. Councilmember Ryu responded that residents close to those entrances may complain, but that seems to us to be missing the point since anyone who moves into those areas is well aware of the proximity of a park entrance. By contrast, the Hollyridge trailhead was bulldozed into existence in the early aughts without benefit of environmental studies, permits or a poll of Hollywoodlanders. All but our newer residents moved here unaware that the neighborhood would, in effect, be turned into a park without the infrastructure and facilities available to visitors at the eight official entrances. You can find a pictorial of the calm environment and available parking at the Bronson entrance at http://hollywoodland.org/look-at-all-the-space-in-the-bronson-parking-lot/
What can you do? Please write to Councilmember Ryu and tell him that our safety and quality of life mustn’t be sacrificed because larger voting blocs and special interest groups outside of Hollywoodland demand it.
Chief of Staff: – email@example.com
Senior field deputy: – firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighborhood prosecutor: – email@example.com
General Manager of Rec & Parks: = firstname.lastname@example.org
Superintendent of Rec & Parks Operations: email@example.com
JOIN & SUPPORT THE HHA. Membership $35.00 September-January 2017 Go to www.hollywoodland.org
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