Letters to the Editor

| April 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

HISTORIC PRESERVATION ROUNDTABLE at Los Angeles City Council Chamber on Feb. 22, 2024.

Build on the boulevards

Thank you for the Brian Curran column, “YIMBYs vs. Preservationists: Roundtable suggests uneasy détente” [April, 2024].

I can’t know if the YIMBYs are being correctly portrayed in the article. They come off as unreasonable and irritable. One obvious omission is the counter-term, which preceded YIMBY by decades: NIMBY.

It shows that the Chronicle has picked a side. No doubt your readers mostly hew to that perspective and would take offense if you named them as such.

That said, I have had conversations with other housing advocates / YIMBYs, and I have had to get them to walk back their perspectives as well. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the portrayal was based in fact.

I think preservationists should drive YIMBYs toward fixing up California’s boulevards with 5-over-1s [mid-rise residential structures built with a wood frame over a concrete platform – Ed.]. Many of our boulevards in Los Angeles look terrible, with vacant shops and very few pedestrians. I am enjoying seeing the new apartment buildings go up on Pico, and I think Miracle Mile will be very vibrant once all the metro / museum construction has finished next year.

There are so many boulevards here that are only slightly better than highways as far as living conditions go. Crenshaw Boulevard has some giant, vacant lots near Olympic that would be transformative with new residential buildings. Third Street, west of Fairfax. Fairfax between Venice and Melrose. Western between Wilshire and Santa Monica. Most of Venice Boulevard, etc. etc. We should try to get the businesses that get displaced to return once the commercial first floors are finished — and cut a lot of the red tape that bogs construction in LA down to multi-year, multi-billion-dollar behemoths.

I say the same thing to YIMBYs: quit fighting for NIMBY neighborhoods and fight for places that would make the value of NIMBY homes rise.

Barcelona has been creating superblocks, which eliminate through-traffic and encourage community and pedestrians. They seem to be working well there. The slow-streets initiatives with speed humps here in LA, as well as the gated communities, speak to the same sensibility here.

I think fixing up the boulevards with apartment buildings and retail spaces would give residents between the boulevards nice places to walk to. There would be more pedestrian traffic to the businesses from the residents above them, which should make them more profitable. Additionally, preserving the manicured gardens of preservationists between the boulevards gives the apartment-dwellers green spaces to jog and bike and walk their dogs and — ideally — take their kids to school in safely.

I hope you’ll work to help us all find common ground.

Chris McKee
Park La Brea

Biased review At the Movies?
The review of the movie “Wicked Little Letters” by “At The Movies with Tony Medley” [April 2024] once again reveals Mr. Medley with his political bias injected into his movie reviews. Mr. Medley seems to be easily offended by Jennifer Lawrence, who was not featured in the film, but he includes a photo of her in a Patton costume, presumably to make his point.

Referring to casting, he complains about “offensive woke presentism used in the casting of a character.” Yes, the cast includes some BAME actors, which would not be historically accurate. However, while the film’s narrative might not appeal to all viewers, many seeking a good laugh and enjoying the strides women have taken toward equality might find much to appreciate in this film.

My issue with the review is the focus on Mr. Medley’s “woke” and agitprop complaints, referring to the movie as “feminist because virtually all the male characters are presented in a negative light.” The injection of his personal bias in any review takes away from a movie that tries to balance humor with a wonderful cast. (Perhaps he should stick to reviewing Tom Cruise movies?)

I submit that the movie review and companion photo were misguided and distasteful. Disappointing to say the least.

Margaret R. Wood
Hancock Park
[The Larchmont Chronicle editorial cartoon of General George S. Patton — with the face of Jennifer Lawrence — was not Mr. Medley’s idea. He first saw it when every other reader did. — Ed.]

More on movies
I saw your editorial [“What’s at the movies?”— April 2024] and then looked for the article.

It would have been one thing had Tony Medley commented that he simply found the “nontraditional casting” jarring, but he frames his response as a screed against “offensive woke presentism.”

I haven’t read Medley much through the years; he’s more of a movie opinion writer than a film critic (think Justin Chang, formerly of the Los Angeles Times). Ego drips from his “reviews,” qualifying him for membership in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which always was full of self-important hacks who hung on the fringe of the film industry.

Rather than apologize for him in an editorial, I hope that you will replace Mr. Medley with someone more qualified.

I’ve read the Larchmont Chronicle almost since its founding, but if Medley continues to appear in your publication, the paper will go direct to the recycling bin when it arrives. It’s your prerogative to weigh in on the culture wars, but know that you will lose devoted readers if you do.

Alan Warhaftig
Miracle Mile North

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Category: Entertainment

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