FOURTH COUNCIL DISTRICT UPDATE
Read Councilmember LaBonge's most recent Newsletter, including back issues of the CD4 newsletter: http://www.lacity.org/council/cd4
Past issues of interest:
COUNCILMEMBER LaBONGE: SAVE THE DERBY
Thank you for your interest in development issues in the 4th Council
District and in particular the future of The Derby.
As you may know, I am opposed to the current developers' proposal to
consolidate five separate parcels into one large mixed use condominium
and retail project bordered by Los Feliz Boulevard to the north,
Hillhurst Avenue to the west and Avocado Street to the south.
First and foremost, I am a preservationist and have a long track record
of supporting the historic and architecturally significant buildings in
our city. We have an opportunity here to fight to save the last in this
distinctive chain and we should wage this fight to save The Derby.
Secondly, I am concerned about the density that the developers have
proposed, especially as their project envisions street-level retail
along Hillhurst including a grocery or equivalent-sized store. In
neighborhoods where traffic congestion is already a factor and
accessibility to public transportation poses a serious challenge, my
preference is to limit density. To preserve the residential flavor of
Los Feliz, Silver Lake and other neighborhoods with a lot of
single-family dwellings, we need to be mindful of their relationship to
adjoining blocks of multiple unit buildings and also commercial/retail
Finally, on the matter of a grocery operation, whether it is Whole
Foods or another chain that would draw multiple daily car trips to an
already busy intersection such as Los Feliz and Hillhurst, I cannot
think of a more problematic situation. I do not support a market at this
corner. The traffic would go from bad to worse and would present an
overnight nightmare situation for drivers and residents.
As your councilmember, be assured that I will continue to press for
preservation of The Derby and encourage your continued participation in
this important process.
Thank you for your interest in your community.
Councilmember, 4th District
Thank you for your interest in the draft Griffith Park Master Plan.
Like you, I love Griffith Park and my longtime priority is to see its
beautiful open spaces preserved, its attractions enhanced and is
boundaries expanded to the west with the acquisition of Cahuenga Peak.
The draft, which will be modified, has created a tremendous amount of
public discussion. In order to provide a forum for individuals to
provide input, I, along with Recreation and Parks Department General
Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, have created a citizen advisory group called the
Griffith Park Master Plan Working Group. The suggested changes put
forward by this group, along with those submitted independently by
others, will be forwarded to the Recreation and Parks Commission for
consideration prior to its adoption of the document.
The following lists my position on a number of proposals put forward in
Preserve interior of park
Preserve wildlife habitats
Expand park boundaries
Purchase Cahuenga Peak for open space
Expand public transit access to park
Improve park management
Expand educational opportunities for youth
Reforest Toyon Canyon and Toyon Vista
Develop passive recreation and picnic space at Toyon Canyon
Preserve Dante's View, Captain's Roost, Amir's Garden
Revitalize Bird Sanctuary and Fern Dell
Maintain Martinez Arena for public equestrian use
Audubon certification for all 5 golf courses
Connect Griffith Park to Los Angeles River and Los Angeles River
Preserve and enhance equestrian trails
Develop additional children's play areas
Complete modernization of park water system
Improve and expand youth sport activities (more sports fields)
I do not support:
Commercialization of Griffith Park
Off-road mountain biking
Pleasure Pier over Los Angeles River
Destination Restaurant at Griffith Observatory
Tram to Toyon Canyon
Overhead Power Lines.
As we move along in the process of analyzing the draft of the Master
Plan, I hope that you will continue to provide feedback to the
Department of Recreation and Parks which is managing the process. You
are welcome to attend the twice-monthly meetings of the Griffith Park
Master Plan Working Group or submit comments online by visiting
Thank you for your interest in your community. Please feel free to
contact me if you have additional questions or concerns.
Councilmember, 4th District
LaBonge Statement - Master Plan
Griffith Park is one of the greatest public spaces in the world. My
love for the park is second only to the love I have for my family.
When elected in 2001, one of my primary goals was to direct the
Department of Recreation and Parks to update the 1978 Griffith Park
Master Plan. Several years later, we have from Melendrez Partners the
draft Master Plan -- a working document for all of us to review and
revise. It is a work in progress.
This process began in 2002 and has had it starts and stops along the
way. The draft plan was released earlier this year with the expectation
that the document would be reviewed and refined before going to the
Recreation and Parks Commission.
With this in mind, I requested the department to form a Griffith Park
Master Plan Working Group to analyze the draft in its current form and
make recommendations that would be considered for inclusion in the next
version. We have been successful in getting a very engaged working group
that is comprised of representatives of the Los Feliz Improvement
Association, Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council, Hollywood
United Neighborhood Council, Atwater Village Neighborhood Council, Los
Feliz Oaks Homeowners Association, Franklin Hills Residents Association,
Sierra Club, the equestrian community and youth and adult sports
Melendrez Partners certainly thought outside the box in composing the
draft Master Plan. By proposing such previously unthought-of ideas as a
tramway to the Griffith Observatory from the Greek Theatre and
"Pleasure Pier" over the Los Angeles River allows people to think
in different ways about experiencing park attractions. We may never
realize any of these recommendations, but it has been a springboard for
discussion about which park features are worthy of developing, others
worthy of enhancing and others that might be left alone or eliminated.
For example, I think it is critical that we identify a suitable
location to replace the baseball fields that were lost when the Golden
State Freeway was constructed. Additionally, we should enhance and
upgrade many of the park's facilities that are showing their age.
However, much of the area defined in the master plan as the California
Heritage Zone remains one of our region's last unspoiled acreage. To
this end, as identified in the included map, this area must be
maintained in its natural state and be free from any future development.
As the process moves along, I hope you will continue to express your
opinions about the evolving draft Master Plan document. You are welcome
to attend the bi-monthly meetings of the working group or submit
comments online by visiting www.laparks.org.
Let us follow the wish of Griffith Jenkins Griffith that "Griffith
Park should be a park for the masses!" And together, let's continue
to love and enjoy the great City of Los Angeles!
Renovation of the Griffith Observatory is entering its final year with
a re-opening tentatively scheduled for the late spring or early summer
of 2006. This will be a very exciting and highly anticipated event, a
highlight in the observatory's and the park's history. What has
traditionally been Los Angeles' No. 1 "vista point" for both
natives and visitors alike, will be even more so when we unveil the
facility after a $90 million upgrade and enhancement.
There is little doubt that when this great day arrives and the City
Engineer delivers the completed observatory and the Department of
Building and Safety issues its certificate of occupancy, this burnished
civic and cultural attraction will be second to none for a Los Angeles
landmark. We will have many people and entities to thank and celebrate.
They include some very generous private donors as well as various
government officials who help us secure federal, state, county and city
funds. I know it will be a very happy day for Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, the
Observatory's director, and his staff, Friends of the Observatory, and
others who have worked so long and hard to see this dream become a
The City must be prepared for this day and be able to manage the
impacts of an instant hit attraction, for lack of a better term. For
more than a year from its re-opening, we have been developing a
comprehensive access plan to mitigate the traffic and parking challenges
at the Observatory and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Recreation and
Parks, along with my office, has employed a technical advisory group
comprised of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Los Angeles
Police and Fire Departments, the Getty Museum, the Greek Theatre and
Hollywood Bowl and other private consultants, to identify various
mitigations to address demands we expect the facility will impose. We
are also working closely with the Los Feliz Improvement Association, the
Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council and the park's neighbors to
craft a strategy that will produce a successful re-opening.
I want to thank you for your patience as we await the historic day in
the City of Los Angeles.
- Preserve interior of park
- Preserve wildlife habitats
- Expand park boundaries
- Public transit access to park
- Improved park management
- Educational opportunities for youth
- reforest Toyon Canyon and Toyon Vista
- Passive recreation and picnic space at Toyon Canyon
- Preserve Dante's View, Captain's Roost, Amir's Garden
- Revitilization of Bird Sanctuary and Fern Dell
- Maintain Martinez Arena for public equestrian use
- Audubon certification for all five golf courses
- Connect Griffith Park to Los Angeles River and River Bikeway
- Preserve and enhance equestrian trails
- Additional children's play arenas
- Complete modernization of park water system
DO NOT SUPPORT
- Commercialization of Griffith Park
- Off-road mountain biking
- Pleasure Pier over Los Angeles River
- Destination restaurant at Griffith Observatory
- Culinary School
- New roads
- Tram to Toyon Canyon
- Overhead power lines