Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mid-Century Modern Timelines and Litigatious Enui

Back in July at the last City Council meeting, I presented the Mayor in a meeting prior to the General Meeting a timeline of events outlining specifically to the Edward H. Fickett, FAIA designed West Hollywood Park Library in relation to the Master Plan which calls for the City to redevelop the West Hollywood Park and Library facilities.  Hence, we are awaiting the doors to be open of the new Library knowing as soon as they do, the doors to the Fickett library will not only be closed, but demolished.

Now, I find it on the Agenda of the next Council meeting's Closed Session Item 3.

This is the timeline given to the Mayor and City Attorney:

Hence, Mike Jenkins, the City Attorney was given the above timeline and then responded on Monday, August 8, 2011.

My Response to the Letter sent by City Attorney Michael Jenkins through Ms. Morgan:
August 8, 2011 via email

Ms. Morgan-

Thank you for passing along the response from Mr. Jenkins in reference to the Fickett-designed Library in West Hollywood Park.  As I spoke with Supervisor Yaroslavsky's office last week, the County now has a hold of the Errata Sheet as well as me enclosing a copy for your own records, since Mr. Jenkins did not acknowledge this in his response.  This email is now being delivered to all concerned parties within the City and County.

As the Land Transfer Agreement between the County of Los Angeles and the City of West Hollywood was based on Resolution 03-2837 and the the 2004 Master Plan, it is clear the City is violation of the Land Agreement on several counts, the County is now being notified of these points as they create serious conflict within the Agreement between the parties.  The Phasing of construction is getting creative and the demolition of the Fickett Library is finally coming up for the FIRST TIME through the city's Capital Project Phase 1B (which technically is the Master Plan Phase IV, which you know requires the city to perform a NEW EIR prior to starting Phase IV). 

It is being recommended to all County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and West Hollywood Council to take a closer look at things before major litigation will take place due to a bad deal between the County and City, CEQA violations, and more mistrust by the community with government officials trying to bully their way into a Master Plan where the community is constantly being asked, "Where were you during Public Comment?"  We were all at home thinking the Library was off the table.  The question I have to all officials is, "Where were you?"  The State agency CEQA isn't too pleased at the moment with West Hollywood and their Master Plan.  There were some serious mis-representations within some of the findings and have now been brought to their attention. 

The MND's conclusion brought about through services provided by Myra Frank and Associates as well as Tom Dodson & Associates who both acknowledge the Library is not to be demolished as part of the City's current plans, were then responded to through an Errata Sheet pulling the Library out of the project ENTIRELY.  Perhaps you do some more revisiting with folks as I have and then you may come to the conclusions you base here on myth.  The Resolutions and documents all provide support keeping the Fickett Library. Again, both agencies have been contacted and confirmation has been received from them the Library was never to be demolished.  Both parties seemed to express their equal concern when told the City is going ahead in plans for demolition.

You may want to prepare yourselves for the County Board of Supervisors to start inquiring as to the legality of the Land Transfer Agreement as the time tables are getting ready to shift the property over to the City.  It seems here you are in violation of the agreement as you are now changing what was given to them back in 2003 when you started the Plan.  Any mention of destruction of the Library was taken out of the project through the Errata Sheet, Mr. Jenkins does not bother to mention in his response back to me.  Again, the Errata is left out of the picture like it has throughout the City's bullying to the community to have this Library destroyed for 5,000sf of grass.  Meanwhile an important Historic Monument is razed so the city can water the grass?

The changing of the agreement and having the Library demolished would also threaten your grant funding as what was submitted to the State is not what you are acting off of.  Clearly, the City should try to avoid future litigation as this is a simple issue to put at rest.  The City needs to keep the Fickett designed Library and re-use the Library for other uses the city deems appropriate, such as a Reception Hall, Tourist Center, Historical Landmark Center...

Further, the creative nature in the changing of the City's phasing of the Master Plan is piquing my interest.  The only way around having the old Library demolished was by incorporating it into the Capital Project Plan through Phase 1B.   Plans to incorporate the demolition of the Library as part of your Capital Plan Phase 1B is just a joke.  This was only adopted back in May of 2011.  This would be THE first time the Library was mentioned for demolition.  As the Master Plan laid out the Phases early on, why was the Fickett Library not mentioned in any of the language that was adopted by the city?  Maybe because it was never to be torn down?  Here's how I see the Phases of the Master Plan working through the Plans at hand.

  • Phase 1 - Library and Single Level Parking Structure.  "The construction of the library and parking structure will be completed without disturbing other facilities including the existing library."

  • Phase 2 - Aquatic Center and 2nd level of the Parking Structure.  "Upon completion of the aquatic center, the existing pool will be removed for the next phase of park expansion."

  • Phase 3 - Recreation Center and 3rd level of the Parking Structure.

  • Phase 4 - Expanded Park (Long Term Proposals) "Removal of existing facilities along San Vicente Blvd will allow for build out of the expanded park.  San Vicente Blvd's right of way will be narrowed and shifted easterly." (This is what the City calls Capital Plan Phase 1B.)

Please review the Phases of the Master Plan and the Capital Project one more time to read the language correctly.  If you need the documents, I am more than happy to forward them to you.  I seem to have a file cabinet full of the issue at hand.  ;-)

In the meantime, I hope you have a good afternoon.  I look forward to seeing everyone Monday evening as I will present to the public and Council the findings at hand. 

Too many times I have been asked why now?  Why did I not do anything earlier?  Perhaps no one thought the Library was in jeopardy as Resolution 03-2837 PULLED IT OUT OF THE ENTIRE PROJECT.  Again, this was the basis of the final 2004 Master Plan.  My question is, "Where have YOU been throughout this process?  Where have you been to direct the City to get back on course and drive the ship properly?  Where was the closely guarded eye as this project spans almost a decade making it more important to follow every step of the way?

Truly yours,

Steve Ward
Los Angeles Modern Action Council ( LAMAC), Chair

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