2PreserveLA: Embattled Palladium Gets Historic Status

In News by AHF

LOS ANGELES (September 30, 2016) The Hollywood Palladium, where everyone from Frank Sinatra to Megadeth has performed, was named a historic-cultural monument by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, September 28. It was a major victory for Angelenos and history lovers. A cherished, legendary part of Hollywood history is safe — at least for now.

Built in 1940 at 6215 Sunset Boulevard, the Palladium was a sleek, graceful ballroom that opened with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, featuring vocalist Frank Sinatra. Rock and Roll hall-of-famers Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder, MC5, Jay-Z, Megadeth, Bad Religion and numerous others also performed there.

The Coalition to Preserve L.A., the burgeoning movement that is fighting to reform L.A.’s broken and rigged development and planning system through its reform measure on the March 2017 ballot — the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative — applauds all efforts citywide to save L.A.’s unique, world-class, historic character.

Jill Stewart, the Coalition to Preserve LA’s campaign director, said, “We appreciate the City Council’s approval of historic status for the Palladium, but it was due solely to tremendous public outcry. The City Council is in a catastrophic rush to green light demolitions that destroy irreplaceable historic treasures across L.A., while nearby cities such as Culver City create sustainable and livable communities by honoring their history.”

She added, “Hollywood is the poster child for historic destruction West of the Mississippi. Historic communities like Boyle Heights, West Adams and Echo Park are being eyed by developers next.”

Hollywood should have been one of the most carefully preserved and globally revered collections of famed historic buildings and famed historic locales in the United States. Instead, “Hollywood is being systematically destroyed by our sadly foolhardy Los Angeles City Council,” Stewart added.

The reason: The City Council’s obsession with approving massive — and increasingly vacant — luxury housing projects and glass-box skyscrapers, whose developers pour money into the campaigns of City Hall elected leaders, and then are granted by those same politicians special exemptions from the zoning rules. They are paving over L.A.’s rich past.

Miami billionaire Sonny Kahn and his cousins, who have riddled and ruined the Florida coastline with skyscrapers, control the Miami firm Crescent Heights. The incredibly rich Kahn family insists it must build two 30-story residential luxury skyscrapers — but the historic Palladium stands in their way.

The City Council routinely approved Sonny Kahn’s mega-project in March. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest non-profit caring for HIV and AIDS patients, with 604,000 patients across the globe in 37 nations, which has its world headquarters next door to the Palladium, sued the city and the developer for ignoring the zoning to force the twin skyscraper project through. (Another eerily similar and illegal proposed twin skyscraper, Millennium, planned to rest atop the active Hollywood Earthquake Fault, is currently delayed.)

AHF is the key sponsor of the Coalition to Preserve LA and the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, and AHF alleges that the city of L.A. followed an illegal and rigged process to green-light the project — as the City Council is doing citywide.

The pending lawsuit against the Miami skyscraper developer asserts that the Mayor, City Attorney, City Planning Department, City Planning Commission, and City Council defied the Los Angeles City Charter, which is L.A.’s constitution, to hand developers exemptions from the city General Plan. Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president, said in a statement this year, “We seek to hold these public officials accountable” by overturning City Hall’s approval of the Palladium Project.

City Hall has received major push-back from communities who fear these politicians will soon wipe out the pockets of surviving history in Hollywood, create far more surface street gridlock, and displace thousands of additional working-class and middle class residents.

The City Council has played a direct and indefensible role in driving more than 13,000 mostly Latino working-class residents out of Hollywood already, and in allowing widespread destruction of affordable housing, Stewart said.

What was once unfolding only in Hollywood is spreading citywide — with demolition and overdevelopment coming to Venice, Westlake, Koreatown, Woodland Hills, South L.A., Silver Lake, Del Rey, Studio City, West Los Angeles and dozens more neighborhoods.

There’s no surprise why Sonny Kahn’s Miami skyscraper firm, Crescent Heights, is the top donor to a campaign trying to defeat the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the city ballot in March: developers game the system for massive profits, and they badly want to maintain the status quo.

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