Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants

Recent DowntownLA Neighborhood Council Board Meeting, Questions

April 11th

At the April 1st 2003 Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) meeting, (during public discussion) I asked three related questions of Ms. Perry and Chief Bratton. They have not been answered to my satisfaction.

Both Councilwoman Jan Perry and Chief William Bratton continue to express concern for community input and cooperation, working with the community as a team to solve crime and quality of life problems for all the communities they serve. They both continue to meet with various constituencies.

I believe in their good faith efforts, but the questions remain:

1. If your administrations are so community-oriented, why was there not more, or any, community input about the decision to put the New Parker Center Plus at First and Alameda Streets? As soon as we learned of the plans, many friends, residents, property and business-owners began to try to get these plans changed. There still has been no effort to hear the views of the community on this project.

With the present concerns about terrorist activity, it seems particularly short-sighted to place a security and communication center in a place where maintaining the safety of its' personnel would close major thoroughfares and perhaps the Eastside Light rail. Emergency egress would certainly be delayed by having train tracks on two sides of the property.

The future plans for the old Parker Center site are also not publicly discussed. This area seems ideal for the larger, new center. The security of City Hall and Parker Center can be maintained together, with street closures similar to the ones used presently- and at a minimum of interference with local activity.

2. Why can we not get the Homeless encampment, Brattonburg, removed from under the 4th Street Bridge? Our community is suffering from a dramatic increase in criminal activity. We had, at one time, fenced the area under the bridge. This was done as suggested by LAPD after community discussions. Film crews damaged the fencing and LAPD had the "dangerous" leftovers removed. The community expressed its' desires and paid for the security and safety. There were no hearings to remove our fence- or to allow film crews into the area in the first place.

Meetings with CPAB and SLOs have only produced more meetings. The 4 arrests (for narcotics) are feeble effort when 200+ people are committing crimes. Graffiti and garbage are not cleaned up. Prostitution, drug sales, auto burglaries, and thefts continue. The health and hygiene issues have not been solved by moving people from the sidewalks into the dirt under a bridge. Any claims of improved conditions are specious at best.

3. Why is there no administrative control of or community input into the activities of film crews in our community? Where are the avenues for redress of grievances? Where do we take our complaints? Where is the enforcement of normal laws to protect the health, safety, and rights of the community? Where are public hearings before we are subjected to noise of explosions and gunfire, arbitrary street closure, and dangerous artificial smokes or fogs?

The other questions were addressed, if not answered, by police officers in discussion outside the meeting. There was no excuse offered for the continued unnecessary and inconvenient intrusion of location film crews into our community.

All three questions (and the unsatisfactory attempts to answer them) seem to indicate a very loose relationship between words and actions. It may be that in time we will see the closing of this gap. I sincerely hope that an effort is made to act on rather than just speak to these problems. I hope that you are really listening to the input from our neighborhood and not some interests that will not have to live with your decisions.

Thank you again for your attention.

Thomas A. Guiton
Downtown LA