Tom Bergin’s historic status up in the air — stay tuned

| May 30, 2019 | 2 Comments
HUDDLE in the Council Chamber re Tom Bergin’s nomination.

In a clever parliamentary maneuver, the land-use lawyer for the current owners of Tom Bergin’s, the restaurant and tavern located at 840 S. Fairfax Ave. since 1949, threw a monkey wrench into the process to declare the property a city Historic-Cultural Monument.

Following a unanimous recommendation made in March by the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC), the designation must be reviewed and approved by the City Council.

Approximately 50 supporters of the nomination had taken time off from work on May 21 and made their ways downtown to City Hall for a hearing before the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee of the City Council. They and the applicants, Miracle Mile Residential Association and the Los Angeles Conservancy, were greeted with a big surprise — so unexpected that most in the Council Chambers did not even realize what had just happened. And it also was a complete surprise to Councilman David Ryu and his staff.

Apparently having worked out a deal in advance of the meeting with one or more PLUM committee members, Bergin’s lawyer Benjamin Reznik of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell sought to have the matter postponed until after the Council’s deadline to ratify the action of the CHC — and thereby derail the designation.

When word of what was happening in the PLUM meeting made its way upstairs to Councilmember Ryu, he and his chief of staff, Nicholas Greif, immediately made their ways to the Council Chamber to confer with City staff. Ryu, who says that he supports the unanimous recommendation from the CHC and that he will advocate for City Council ratification, worked out a compromise that the matter would return to PLUM the following week, May 28, where it would then be continued an additional 15 days at the request of the applicant. As of the printing deadline for the Larchmont Chronicle, the timing for, and the ultimate fate of, the Tom Bergin’s nomination remain procedural mysteries.

Category: News

Comments (2)

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  1. Dorothy says:

    Payoffs, corruption, intimidation — it seems like the City Council is up to its old tricks. The lawyer for Tom Bergin’s is a high-powered, well-experienced, anti-preservation, pro-developer lobbyist who works for major companies, so he knows what he’s doing and how to play this and pull strings. The owner of Tom Bergin’s doesn’t care about the place and its history; he just sees land that can be exploited for his enrichment. The woe is me loss of inheritance story was always utter b.s. He can clearly afford a thousand-dollar-an-hour attorney.

  2. Olivia says:

    The Planning and Land Use Committee does not want to go on the record either supporting or rejecting this bid. They don’t want to incur the wrath of the Abundant Housing activists, nor the Miracle Mile preservation activists. So by delaying the vote and missing the deadline it’s mission accomplished and they don’t have to get their hands dirtied.

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