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Hollywood, intended and unintended



Not crowded enough?

Ron Kaye yields some weekend real estate to Dick Platkin, who gets an 18 pt. byline to lambaste the "intended consequences" of a Hollywood Community Plan and adjunct Draft EIR.

Platkin is not much of a scribbler. His theme is hard to spot, his bullet points are unsorted. But here's the nub:
...the Draft Environmental Impact Report does not present a credible planning rationale for the proposed Community Plan update.
In common speech, that means that the data in support of the Draft EIR is garbage, so expect the outcome to be garbage too.

And it is. It is another grand public ruse, coming at the locals' expense.

Aside from his penchant for splitting infinitives and using a semi-colon where most schoolmarms would insert a colon, Platkin does at one point state in a refreshingly straightforward manner that "this is a plan that will dramatically reduce the quality of life in Hollywood."

And of course it will; because the planners aren't thinking of residents at all, they're thinking of imaginary people who don't live here now--and may never live here in the future.

There's really no need to densify Hollywood any further; it already is hopelessly congested by density-driving fiascoes at Hollywood and Highland. Hollywood can, and should, be modified a little; there should be a retail space moratorium, for instance, as the place already has approximately ten times the retail square footage of comparable destination-oriented neighborhoods in Europe. And between the City's two Cultural Heritage organs--the commission at Cultural Affairs and the Office of Historic Resources in the Planning Department--it should be able find a way to preserve rather than decimate and densify some of the statelier fourpacks and sixpacks north of Franklin.

But the acquiescing planning dolts who serve at the pleasures of Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge are only to eager to follow Garcetti's broad hope to solve everything with increasingly archaic solutions to urban living, solutions that Clinton-Bush era urban planners thought were the future: "smart growth," "elegant density," "transit hub development." All of these were dependent on the three false pinnacles of increase--immigration, copulation, relocation--cited like a mantra by badly educated, developer-friendly urbanist-stooges of another time as evidence of the need to densify. And all of these are built into the Draft EIR of the Hollywood Community Plan--at a time of population surcease, not increase.

And everyone who looks at it for more than two minutes knows: LA is not growing. Yet it is becoming more congested anyway. That is the real consequence of the Clinton-Bush era development fetishists, and that certainly will be the consequence of this Plan.

[I too have written about that phenomenon before.]

For what it's worth, I have no idea what "intended consequences" precisely means, but I can live with that. My guess is it means increasing congestion to the point where people have to use mass transit. Which is kind of like inducing a heart attack so that the patient can later benefit from the exercise program.

But a small non-grammatical bone I'm going to pick with Platkin is that in choosing a construction like "intended consequences," he probably should also make a case regarding unintended consequences, which are the real worry when the City revisits any broadbrush planning fiat. In fact, we're watching the congestion-dribbling path of unintended consequences unfold in Sunland Tujunga even as we speak, and Platkin's name has come up in conjunction with this debacle as well.

But Platkin is correct on Hollywood--grandiloquent, verbose, but correct--that nearly everything going on in Hollywood at the planning level is working against rather than for quality of life for the people who actually live there presently. This is especially the Riordan/Villaraigosa/Garcetti legacy for the place, as it has been for so much of the west side. The fact that the City has barely grown at all in the past decade, and figures not to grow at all in the next one--and figures not to grow at all in the next one--makes the urban planning policies of the Riordan/Villaraigosa/Garcetti axis all the more ridiculous.