Is Measure ‘S’ all about saving a view?

| January 26, 2017 | 6 Comments

IS THIS THE REAL ISSUE? Shown is the proposed Palladium Residences project that preserves the historic Hollywood Palladium and adds two residential towers behind, on empty parking lots, all within two blocks of the Hollywood and Vine Metro Red Line subway station. Shown at left is the existing 22-story Sunset Media Center building where Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has his headquarters office.

 

Guest writer articles advocating “yes” and “no” on Measure S can be found on the front page at: http://issuu.com/larchmontchronicle/docs/lc_02_2017.

 

Is the Measure S ballot initiative that would halt much construction for two years citywide, and that is going to the voters in March, really just about a powerful executive trying to protect the view from his office? The lobbyist for a neighboring project made that claim in a “Los Angeles Times” article in March of last year.

Is this expensive battle (close to $2 million on each side, so far) possibly just a fight between two neighbors?

One is a developer hoping to build a $324 million high-rise project between two existing high-rise towers on the north side of Sunset Blvd., just east of Vine St. and within two blocks of a Metro Red Line subway station.

The other is AIDS Healthcare Foundation executive Michael Weinstein, whose offices are on the 21st floor of the existing Sunset Media Center tower, one of the largest office buildings in Hollywood, 22 stories tall, with more than 320,000 square feet of space.

It seems so, according to endless comments on local social media (if those can be believed).

Recently, at a meeting held at the headquarters of the Coalition to Preserve LA, in an AIDS Healthcare Foundation media production facility on Sunset Blvd., leaders of the construction moratorium movement shared their tactics and plans for the March 7 election.

Campaign director for the measure, Jill Stewart, conducted the Dec. 28 meeting. Mr. Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, spoke and said: “We are taking the gloves off … and, we shall stand or fall on whether we can mobilize communities.”

Follow the money

There can be little doubt that this is a political campaign funded by moneyed interests, according to public filings at ethics.lacity.org.

The nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as of Dec. 31, has provided $1,901,386 in political contributions, which is 97 percent of the funds raised for the “yes” side.

Similarly, of the $1,716,422 raised by the “no” side as of Dec. 31, 60 percent has come from CH Palladium LLC, the developer of the proposed Palladium Residences project across Argyle Ave. from the existing AIDS Healthcare Foundation office on top floors of the Sunset Media Center tower.

Most of the other “no” contributions comprising the remaining 40 percent raised are fairly large as well, with seven gifts in the ranges of $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000, with those coming from other local property owners, architects and engineers, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and labor unions.

Is this entire construction moratorium really about a dispute over Mr. Weinstein’s view from his office … or maybe just a fight over who are the tougher guys, Mr. Weinstein … or the principals of the developers, Crescent Heights and CH Palladium LLC? Mr. Weinstein’s combative nature is recounted in a detailed profile story, including a photo of his office and view, in the April 4, 2016, issue of the “LA Weekly” at: tinyurl.com/h8cjuej.

According to the March 2016 “Los Angeles Times” article, Mr. Weinstein had stated: “We intend to exhaust every legal avenue, including filing suit, to stop the Palladium towers.” Is halting many other construction projects throughout Los Angeles just another route to that goal?

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