OPINION: WeHo Council’s Plummer Park Decision — ‘Truly a Machiavellian Moment’

Nicolo Machiavelli
Nicolo Machiavelli
Truly a Machiavellian moment. Nicolo himself would have nodded and murmured ragion di stato – “I did it for reasons of states” and he would not have cared what anyone said or thought about his actions. Pro bono public, a phrase co-opted by the legal profession in an attempt to make holy the actions for which they do not charge, was often used to not explain but simply imply that reasons for certain actions were for the good of the state – not the public, but the state. Thus, we have an action by our City Council that completely ignores the public’s wishes yet claims to provide for the betterment of the city – as though the residents were a separate entity.

Pity that we have a City Council majority whose senior members’ fevered fantasies would allow it to absolutely disregard the wishes of the citizens they are sworn to serve. A travesty of the democratic process and a damned shame, for we deserve better than this. And, to hell with Machiavelli.

Pity that the majority of the West Hollywood City Council displays a lack of a sense of history, which is quite surprising to me. West Hollywood reverberates with history, and to remove two buildings essential to the history of the area is to be deaf to the entreaties of the residents and blind to the value of good design and for the better uses for the Great Hall and Long Hall.

Of course, over the past several years the sound of gnashing teeth, an indication of extreme frustration from at least one of the senior council members, has provided a background song for their interpretation of “what the city needs.” We are supposed to understand that the city is some amorphous entity devoid of citizens, which requires the absolute guidance of an imperious design in the imagination if our council. We have a General Plan, which is often altered to accommodate a changing world.

West Hollywood Plummer Park
A proposed modern canopy adjacent to Fiesta Hall. (Photo courtesy of City of West Hollywood)
“What the city needs” is not always what the residents want. The “city needs” at Plummer Park will give us, in exchange for two historical buildings and a pleasant park, a few acres of grass – for which we must care with water and fertilizer and constant mowing – atop an underground garage which will appease commercial interests. More cars on our crowded streets. In order to construct the garage, many of the shade and flowering trees are to be removed – for the remaining soil depth cannot allow them to prosper and survive. Small trees in boxes will be their replacements, and a sterile landscape, flat and uninviting will be the legacy of the council’s decision.

As for Councilmember John Duran’s desire for active sports on the proposed lawn – which? Soccer? Volleyball? Perhaps simply a free range for the burgeoning number of children in West Hollywood? Ideas regarding recreation in parks certainly differ, and mine were formed as a boy knowing the Boston Common and Gardens and the “green necklace” — the parkland surrounding Boston that was designed by Frederick Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. A park is a place of ease and repose where the paths wind a bit between flowers and shrubs and shady trees, where there are benches and nooks with tables for picnics, with vistas that do not overwhelm and, of course, a respite from automobile, truck and bus exhaust and noise.

Many who still use the existing park recall the sounds of birds when the Audubon sanctuary was there – as well as the Los Angeles Audubon Society offices and bookstore. That the Halls are redolent of acrid odors, drenched in stale urine, according to one remark, is the fault of the authorities at City Hall in failing to maintain, let alone rehabilitate, these structures.

Whatever happens the residents will somehow adapt. But will they feel anything akin to our late General George Patton’s experience, as he stood on the field at Thermopylae, “history rippling through the air and tugging at my feet”? Or will they hear only the screeching of car tires in the garage below?

Once again I say ‘to hell with Machiavelli!

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

23 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago

Mike Dolan – do you use PP? Live near it? Are you aware that it is in a residential neighborhood? Think 3500 square feet constitute a “great lawn”. WeHo Park is grandiose and promises to become even mores – be happy with it. And leave PP to the people who consider it a front yard, a haven, a respite from the traffic, a place where kids can play and where seniors – especially the Russian Community – can relax in the sun unencumbered. You can indeed get the info directly from City Hall by requesting it and see exactly who… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

Oh, the stuff of Science Fiction. Where the narrative world differs from that of reality.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

Chris Bray, you underestimate the craftiness of the folks that orchestrated this action, they were quite careful not to violate the letter of the Brown Act but i certainly agree with your characterization. instead of calling the demolition of Great Hall / Long Hall what it is, they kept referring to it as “the creation of the great lawn”, a rather Orwellian twist.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

@Chris Bray: No Chris, The Weho City council did not direct staff to return with a report on demolition. This was done and approved long ago with Phase 1 of the Master Plan for upgrades to Plummer Park. Again, refer to the statement of ‘overriding consideration’ within the approved project. It was not cheap nor disrespectful to follow the community study survey results listing open green space as a priority for our city. I would suggest what is misleading is the title of the article, “Weho City Council Votes to Demolish Plummer Park’s Great Hall/Long Hall.” The council is finally… Read more »

Chris Bray
Chris Bray
8 years ago

Mike, the original story here on this decision was headlined, “WeHo City Council Votes to Demolish Plummer Park’s Great Hall / Long Hall.” If they only directed staff to return with a report on demolition, rather than actually approving the act of demolition, then I agree: this was probably not a Brown Act violation, but was merely a cheap, disrespectful, sleazy headfake on a community that a majority of the council actively disrespects.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

@Chris Bray: There is no Brown Act violation nor a crime and this would surely be a waste of time for the DA. I’m glad you read the agenda item 5a which would suggest repurposing of Great Hall/Long Hall for two years. The Council simply made a motion to bring forth a new agenda item and NOT support the agenda item 5a. The vote was in support of the ‘motion’ on action to take on item 5a. The majority of council members in voting YES for the motion were voting against agenda item5a. This is taking action against item 5a… Read more »

Chris Bray
Chris Bray
8 years ago

First, here’s the agenda item exactly as it appeared on the agenda, with no mention of the possibility of demolition or discussion of demolition: “5.A. ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY CONDITIONS, INTERIM 2-YEAR BUILDING USE AND REFURBISHMENT PLAN FOR GREAT HALL/LONG HALL AND DEVELOPMENT OF STAKEHOLDER PLAN TO EXPLORE FUTURE OPTIONS FOR PLUMMER PARK [J. D’AMICO,. M. REX]: The City Council will consider the assessment of existing building and facility conditions at Plummer Park, implement a 2-year interim utilization plan for Great Hall / Long Hall and the development and implementation of a stakeholder plan regarding future plans for the entirety of… Read more »

Chris Bray
Chris Bray
8 years ago

Surely this was a Brown Act violation, a crime, and might merit a complaint to the DA’s Public Integrity Division. I’ve read the agenda item, and it makes no mention at all of the possibility of demolition. They voted to take an action that didn’t appear on their agenda, and for which no notice as given. At the very least, the DA could make the city council take the vote over again, which would give the community time to organize the opposition. I don’t live in West Hollywood anymore, but this is pretty outrageous behavior. I’m not a lawyer, but… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

Isn’t this exactly what Protect Plummer Park has done over the last two years. Relax and stop being so grandiose. The motion put forth only talks of landscaping, Fiesta Hall, a new preschool and the creation of the Great Lawn. I’m sure the forth coming agenda item will be specific. When I speak for what is best for all of the residents, visitors and such its is based on facts as they have been presented to me. Please do not suggest that I should need to punch a time card or attendance sheet for your satisfaction. I voice my support… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

@Mike Dolan, all the information I quote is from the City of West Hollywood and the public records, send me your address and I will send you copies, OR go put in a request for the minutes from the architect’s meetings and you will discover what I did …the exhaust shaft IS routed up through the preschool. The plan HAS NOT been changed. The parking is still underground, and if it HAS been changed the city would most likely have to go through the EIR process again. Re : the funds…read AB 981. You keep carrying on, MD, about other… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

Stop being so smug to suggest West Hollywood residents or visitors to our City should go to Los Angeles Poinsettia Park.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

It escapes me that referencing a 15/16th century philosopher is rational nor applicable to the upgrade of Plummer Park and its long overdue removal of Great Hall/Long Hall. Yes, it is widely known that Machiavellianism is used to characterize politicians and their use of behavior deemed as evil and immoral. We live in a AAA rated city that been evolving for the better since its inception. Evil and immoral do not apply to any of our current council members, commissioners, managers nor staff. While this article does have a flare towards the melodramatic, it does not apply to the upgrade,… Read more »

23
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x