Originally posted at City Watch LA.
By Richard MacNaughton.
If Cecil de Mille had written the script for Judge Allan Goodman’s December 10, 2013 opinion, throwing out the Hollywood Community Plan, His Honor would have spoken from midst of a whirlwind, declaring, “Thou shall not lie.”
Rather, Judge Goodman shunned theatrics and merely placed the rule of law above the whims of men, even when those men are billionaires.
The Hollywood Community Plan (HCP) was based on false data, especially about Hollywood’s population. Contrary to what the HCP told the public, Hollywood’s population was not increasing, thereby requiring us to construct thousands of apartments and condos in dense Transit Oriented Districts (TODs). To the contrary, the data from the US Census showed that Hollywood was losing population and the greatest loss was from the census tracts contiguous to the subway stations and the new mixed-use complexes.
Judge Goodman said that the law did not allow the city to conceal accurate data from the public. Full public participation requires full public disclosure. Unless the city provides truthful information, the public’s right to make meaningful comments is abrogated. As the SaveHollywood.Org motto says, “Garbage in, Garbage out.”
The Hollywood Community Plan was predicated on the falsehood that Hollywood had been revitalized and that the revitalization was resulting in a significant population increase. As a result the City chose to build to the absolute maximum in order to prepare for 250,000 ppl by the year 2030. The City asserted that the Southern California Association of Governments [SCAG] had pegged Hollywood’s 2005 population at 224,462 people. Thus, in the next 25 years, the City wanted to build for only an additional 25,000 ppl.
In 2011, SCAG had determined Hollywood’s 2005 population at only 200,564 people, that is 24,000 fewer people than the City was telling the public. All of the city’s analysis were based on Hollywood’s adding only 25,000 people in 25 years. The HCP was based on a prevarication.
The city’s false data was revealed by the US 2010 Census, which determined Hollywood’s 2010 population to be only 198,228 people. Thus, the city was not building for 25,000 more people in 25 years but for 52,000 more people in 20 years. That is a pretty large fraud on the public.
When Hollywood’s infrastructure could not handle 198,228 people, how could it possibly handle 250,000 people? The City had no answer.
In addition, based on the US Census, Hollywood was more likely to have only 190,000 or fewer people by the years 2030. That is another bit of information which the City concealed. Such an admission would lead people ask, “Why are we building for 60,000 more people than we expect to be here in 2030?” Thus, the data was concealed.
As Judge Goodman pointed out, The City had the opportunity to follow the law and tell the truth in 2011, but it chose not to do so.
Because honest judges frown upon dishonest politicians and billionaires, Judge Goodman did not allow the billionaires to hold on to all the entitlements which had been rushed through the City planning process. Rather, Judge Goodman enjoined all the new HCP permits and entitlements until the City provides an adequate Environment Impact Report including a reasonable range of alternatives which are consistent with the facts and not based on political hype.
In these hard economic times, when we constantly hear how billionaires have bought the government, that the crooks are Too Big To Fail, and that others are Too Powerful to Prosecute, Angelenos should be proud that once again California is leading the way with the simple maxim; Thou shall not lie.
We should all be very thankful that Truth, Justice and the American way has swept aside the politicos and the billionaires in favor of the rule of law.
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Richard MacNaughton is an attorney and represented one of the Petitioners in the Hollywood Community Plan cases. He can be reached at MacNaughtonEsq@gmail.com.