The controversy over West Hollywood’s plans to redevelop Plummer Park and demolish the park’s historic Great Hall / Long Hall erupted again at tonight’s meeting of the West Hollywood City Council.
Several supporters of the demolition appeared to say that Protect Plummer Park, the citizens group that organized to oppose the demolition, does not speak for them.
“I don’t accept other people speaking on my behalf,” said resident Raul Cobain.
“Protect Plummer Park has taken the eastside into a war,” said Mike Dolan, who identified himself as a 28-year resident of West Hollywood.
Cathy Blaivas, one of the people who helped organize the Protect Plummer Park group in 2011, took issue with the use of the word “war.”
“We have a difference of opinion,” Blaivas said. “It’s not a war.”
Eight people spoke during the council’s public comment period to protest the demolition, while four spoke in favor of it. The four speaking in favor were called on to speak during the mandated 20-minute public comment period at the beginning of the council meeting. Only two of those opposed to the demolition were allowed to speak during that period; the others were not allowed to speak until the end of the three-hour council session. Several other opponents of the proposed demolition said they had planned to speak but left before the council meeting ended.
Several opponents of the demolition complained that the council had chosen speakers out of order instead of going by the time each speaker filed the required slip requesting a two-minute slot to address the council.
“I don’t believe there is a silent majority,” said resident Lauren Meister. “There is a majority you’re trying to silence.”
Councilmember John Duran chastised the protesters for accusing Mayor Abbe Land of shuffling the speakers, saying she announced the speakers in the order in which their requests to speak were projected on a computer screen.
“You owe her an apology,” Duran said.
Duran also complained that opponents of the renovation of Plummer Park and the destruction of Great Hall / Long Hall, designated a landmark on the national Historic Register, were vilifying people who support the demolition.
He said the council was well aware of Protect Plummer Park’s position. “We’ve been hearing from the Plummer Park people every two weeks for two years,” he said.
The $41 million makeover of the park was put on hold in 2012 because of opposition from Plummer Park and further jeopardized by a state decision to eliminate so-called local redevelopment authorities from with the City of West Hollywood had hoped to receive funding for the project.
At its last meeting, on Dec. 2, the council responded to a proposal by Councilmember John D’Amico to repair Great Hall / Long Hall and use it for cultural events by voting three to two to demolish it. Only D’Amico and Councilmember Jeffrey Prang opposed that decision.
In other matters, the Council postponed any discussion of a report it had requested in March from Councilmembers Jeffrey Prang and John Heilman on campaign finance reform and campaign ethics because Prang was not present. The report, which the Prang and Heilman submitted two months late, did not address Heilman’s proposal in March to ban managers of council members election campaigns from lobbying the council nor did it address any other issues raised by critics of the council’s campaign finance practices, which include accepting money from city vendors.
The council also agreed to extend on a month to month basis the PickUp Line, a trolley service that provides free transportation on Friday and Saturday nights along Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax to Robertson.
John Duran, Land and Heilman continue to ignore the residents who are opposed to bulldozing Great Hall/ Long hall. 2 years later it seems like councilman Duran has got his ego mixed up in his leadership. With a long public record of ignoring and a dismissive approach to the residents. Is his ego at stake? Will he try waste tax payer money bulldozing a building that is used daily by the community all because of his ego?
If Mr. Duran has been hearing the folks who would like to preserve Plummer Park every two weeks for two years – what does this say about “the voice of the people”. Is he saying that every two weeks for two years he turned off his “listening ears” (as Judy would say) and ignored the reasoning, passion and concern about the Park. He shoots himself in his own damn foot. I would be happy to sit and discuss my own thoughts about the park one on one with ANY of the Council members who would like to hear them. In… Read more »
That was quite a meeting. I watched from home but wish I could’ve been there. Part of the program was scrambled and we couldn’t see all of it.
If the people showed disrespect to Mayor Land maybe they were taking their cues on how to behave at a public meeting from then Mayor John Duran’s now famous angry shouting “Bull S_ _ _” “Bull S_ _ _”, Torie, outburst. I wonder if he ever apologized to her Ms. Osborn? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/john-duran-torie-osborn_n_1234635.html
I suspect those who wish to Protect and Preserve Plummer Park are not about to disappear either. We would like to have discussion on D’Amico’s item which was never heard properly and have a chance to see if it has merit. The CP say it’s been around 20 years and keeps on be cherished and enjoyed It appears to be making lots of residents bery happy. and doing quite well (I should add except for the city’s own violation of city upkeep codes. ) Why not give the stakeholders in PP a few more months to work it out yo… Read more »