CRA/LA City Council "blink"

CRA/LA and LA City Council “blink”

After issuing a Resolution of Necessity on March 2, 2006, a precursor to taking of private property under the powers of “eminent domain,” the LA Community Redevelopment Agency “blinked.”

I attended today’s Press Conference held in front of Bernard Luggage which is just off the world renown intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti’s press release headline reads “Agreement Reached With the Blue Family Trust on Hollywood & Vine Project.”

The press release reads “this is a great day for Hollywood.” It goes on to say that “by bringing all the different parties together, we united behind our redevelopment goals of joining local businesses with transformative new energy, creating permanent living wage jobs and new housing at every income level.” Each of this morning’s speakers had the same message. They had several artist renditions of the project on display. Note: My photos to follow.

What is not said is the amount of time and effort put forth by Bob Blue, his office manager Ziggy Kruse, his attorney’s, the Castle Coalition of the Institute for Justice, along with numerous MORR and CURE volunteers who on two occasions protested in front of his store with signs reading “Hands off my Business.”

The Hollywood and Vine project is a joint effort by Legacy Partners and Gatehouse Capital Corp. It encompasses an entire city block from Argyle to Vine and Hollywood to Selma streets.
In addition to a W hotel this $500 million project will include condos and apartments including 75 affordable units.

Bernard Luggage was founded by Betty and Bernard Blue in 1946. They began by making custom cases for the Air Force. They moved to the present location in 1955 and have been a fixture at this location ever since. The original occupant of the building was the Bank of Hollywood which opened in 1928. We all know what happened in 1929.

In the Settlement Agreement Bernard Luggage will be retained and become part of the new development. Councilman Garcetti said that “Bob is part of the development project–he was standing up for his business–the building will be built around him.”

Plans are to break ground in the next two months starting with an underground parking garage which will be the platform for the new building.

In his remarks to the press Councilman Garcetti stated that “it took a lot of midnight oil to make this happen.” Having been involved with Bob and Ziggy for the past few months I can share with you that Bob Blue accomplished what many felt could not be done. He is the David that stood up to Goliath by simply repeating his business was “not for sale.” Apparently the CRA/LA finally got the message as evidenced by their remarks today.

Prior to the Press Conference Bob told me that he will continue to promote Prop 90, the Protect Our Homes Initiative. Note: Bob Blue is one of the three co-signers in support of that Ballot Measure. He told me that “Prop 90 protects the little guy.”

Since the Kelo decision June 2005-June 2006 there were 5,429 threatened condemnations. Source: Institute for Justice.

What outsiders cannot comprehend is the human toll that the victims endure through the process. Four years ago Bob had a clue that his business was not to be included in the Hollywood/Vine project. You cannot compensate victims and their families for their grief and the intimidation which many are exposed to when our government declares your home, business or farm “blighted” solely to transfer it to a private developer as was the case in Kelo v. New London.
Today’s unanimous decision by the Los Angeles city council should be precedent setting for future eminent domain activities.

Larry Gilbert, Orange County Co-Director, Californians United for Redevelopment Education (CURE)
I urge you to vote YES on Prop 90

About Larry Gilbert