VOICES--For almost two years the looming skeleton structure (photo above) that was expected to be an operating TARGET store by the Holiday Season of 2014 might have to remain looming in place for a while longer.
The shadow it casts from the sun reaches the nearby residences, but the shadow is not the fault of the sun.
The sun, in fact, has nothing to do with it. The shadow, however, has everything to do with it.
The shadow over the Target on Sunset project was cast by Mayor Garcetti, who was the Council Member and City Council President when the project was approved in City Council several years back. A major project that could have been bringing in money to the Target Shareholders and the community.
However, none of the current LA City Council Members are blameless either. They were back then and still are now all in favor of the project to proceed as is. The current Council Member for CD 13, Mitchell O’Farrell, has made it abundantly clear that the project needs to move forward, so that it can bring in jobs and improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.
The only people who have a problem and, well yes, a legitimate concern about this Project are the so called “NIMBY’S” (Not In My Back Yard).
Their main concern is the fact that Target on Sunset is being built in Non-Compliance with the current laws, mainly: The SNAP Ordinance that governs, or rules, the area this Target store will be located in.
Guess what? The Court agreed with them when they sued the City and Target about the Height, amongst other things. Judge Fruin, in fact, had the construction of the project halted back in 2014.
So, why not blame the court then? – Simple: One cannot put blame on those who uphold the law.
Instead, one has to make changes to the Law! … And that is exactly what the City is now doing … without any regard to the community or its members or even the employees of Target, who apparently have lost out on a Child Care center, which SNAP requires.
When a community becomes the target of TARGET on Sunset, which apparently is backed by the back-room-deals of our City Leaders, then what’s left to do? Sue!?
Yes, in Hollywood it has become a standard practice as community members stand up to the seemingly corrupt system Los Angeles has turned in to.
Some, including City Leaders, call the opponents of projects NIMBY’S, but I think these fighters are the “guardians” of communities who are being taken for a downhill ride with developments that bring more traffic, less services and yes: more back-room-deals. When people feel that their back is against the wall and that their objections and concerns are not being heard or taken seriously, the only tool these people have left is to sue the City. That’s the last resort, but it seems to be the ONLY resort left in order to fight the machine we call City Hall.
Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option when thousands of written pages and countless spoken words can’t seem to reach anyone in the Council Offices or even the Mayor’s office. The efforts of trying to work with the city leaders and their representatives are being disregarded and wasted by the same people who they are supposed to reach.
In Hollywood one lawsuit after another is filed, with quite a number of them being won in court. Yet, nothing ever changes as far as the business as usual in Los Angeles is concerned. – Instead, City Council Members and the Mayor put their heads together to figure out a way to make development easier for developers.
Instead of upholding current laws, rules, and guidelines they (The City Leaders) change these laws, rules and guidelines as they please without any regard to what the consequences would be.
In the case of Target on Sunset: They are amending the Vermont / Western Station Neighborhood Area Plan (SNAP), which is accompanying Ordinance 173749 just so that Target can be built taller and does not have to provide any real services to the community and its employees. SNAP requires delivery service to the community and child care facility for employees.
In this instant, though, Target got away with not having to do any of the above.
The City’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) held a hearing on March 22, 2016 in order to give the people and appellants of the project an opportunity to address the members of the committee in regard to the Target on Sunset Project.
These “public hearings” are mandatory by law, but from the looks of it this hearing was nothing less of an unnecessary “courtesy” extended by the overwhelmingly tired looking and tired acting council members.
Council Member Felipe Fuentes set back in his chair, not to be heard one spoken word from, while Council Member Jose Huizar, who is the chairperson of the committee, had several yawning “attacks” and apparently had a hard time staying awake.
Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson just plainly closed his eyes for seconds at the time, if he was not wondering around to speak with someone at the sidelines of the meeting, and Council Member Gilbert Cedillo needed food to stay awake, which he so gallantly devoured during the statements given by Staff from Council District 13 and one last public speaker, George Abrahams.
Granted this has almost nothing to do with the Project, but it has everything to do with the fact that the Committee Members, who are also City Council Members, were all in agreement BEFORE the meeting even started.
On Wednesday, the LA City Council sent the issue of "Target on Sunset" back to Committee due to technical error, as the “Ordinance was not included”.
(Ziggy Kruse is an activist and reporter for www.HNN-TV.com, where this article was first published. She is also a former Board Member of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council. Ziggy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Kruse views are her own and do not reflect opinions of either the staff or management of CityWatch.)