On Thanksgiving Day and being a Canadian away from home, I had lots of time to read the newspaper, particularly the article, "City Asked to Get Tough on Shabby Storefronts," run Nov. 28 in the Westside Section.
I feel the sense of frustration that the people of Los Angeles are suffering. A great historical area is going downhill. In Europe every country has preserved the architecture and mood of its heritage. In Canada, we have buildings in Quebec City that are 300 years old. In America, you are letting the most famous boulevard in the world--Hollywood Boulevard--go down the tubes.
Your article addressed the problem quite well. I visited the boulevard for the first time a couple of nights ago with some newly found friends who immediately felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave early.
The problem is real, but it isn't without a solution. The problem is, as stated by Hollywood leaders, absentee ownership and too many merchants and owners who are not desirable. The deterioration of the boulevard is a result of the free enterprise system: Too much individualism without collective agreement. Most American cities are facing a similar problem.
What must be done is make free enterprise, the greatest system in the world, work to solve the problem. Create an investment corporation to buy up property on Hollywood Boulevard. When enough property is bought, lease only to desirable merchants.
In that way, tourists could come to the boulevard and leave with fond memories, and the city would get more tax revenue from the various boutiques, cafes and specialty shops. That is the way we have done things in Canada--on Crescent Street in Montreal and Yorkville Avenue in Toronto.
As a person who has traveled to most American cities, I believe I speak for all Canadians in saying that we love your country and we would like our children to see America prosper.
Come on Hollywood. Jump on the bandwagon and recapture the spirit that your Forefathers used in building America. Go for it.
H. PAUL PETERSON