Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants

LAPD should exercise responsibility for film permits

June 10th

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Tuesday June 10th I heard Mr. Guiton speak in the Public Comment period at the Police Commission and suggested he might wish to offer his thoughts here. He also sent along some additional information.

This is the content of my statement to Police Commission 6/10/03:

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Tom Guiton. I live in the Art District. I have two simple requests:

1. I am here once again to request that you use your offices to exercise your responsibility for the policies and practices under which film permits are issued by the Special Events section (of LAPD). LAPD has the responsibility for issuing and enforcing these permits- and for establishing reasonable procedures that provide public input as well as protection of our health, safety, and rights. At the very least, LAPD should have official representation at any contract re-negotiations or oversight discussions with the EIDC (Entertainment Industry Development Corporation) or any other agency involving their permits. It only makes sense!

2. Also I request that you use your influence and office to stop the headlong rush to build a New Parker Center in a developing residential area, in contradiction to existing City Plans (I think it's Central City North Planning Area, as approved by the City Council), against the already expressed desires of the adjacent communities in public meetings, and without input or advisement from the local neighborhood council. It only makes sense.

Thank you."

(for your information and background)

Yesterday, I also spoke to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) about the "New Belmont Jail". I spoke also in support of a measure already approved by DLANC's Housing Committee asking for representation in any group that negotiates with EIDC about film permitting. This was tabled for reconsideration by the Board of DLANC because of a lack of Brown Act public notice. (I don't think it's necessary for a matter of sending a letter and it is within the province of the committee. But what do I know?) HCNC will also be asking for involvement in location filming policies, practices, procedure, enforcement, etc.

Today, I got a letter from KPMG, the accounting firm.

On-Location Filming - community meetings

There are a series of hearings about "how filming impacts the lives of you and your neighbors". KPMG will make representations to the City of Los Angeles for the future after this series of public forums. Unfortunately, KPMG did not list the Hearing in our neighborhood (at SCI-Arc June 17, 2003 6:30 pm). We have already invited the City Attorney's office to send someone for legal expertise, two City Council members, EIDC representatives, and two neighborhood councils. Nearly all will attend. County representatives will also be invited, including the prosecutors and Supervisors. I called KPMG about the omission. They have not responded.

Today, I got my first e-mail film notification from EIDC. The conditions and description of the planned and permitted activities violate Special Conditions for the community and policies of the City as well as civil, administrative, parking, and other legal niceties.

At this point, I consider such notifications to be threats to my civil rights, property rights, and health and safety. To tell me in advance that they will stop me from the usual, normal use of a public thoroughfare (while allowing others to use that thoroughfare) is a threat to my right to use a public service or institution and denies me equal treatment under the law. This is part of a continuing pattern and practice of denial of due process and equal treatment. These procedures are unfair, unjust, and illegal.

I am not only angry, I am afraid. I live very near a chemical storage facility. When will some film crew set it ablaze? How many people will have to die before someone in a position of authority realizes there is a problem? Let me restate that: How many innocent, civilians have to die for our representatives to have the guts to start asking some questions about how much blood is on their campaign funds?

Thanks for listening.

Thomas A. Guiton
Downtown LA