The development process and approval of the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan was characterized by an incredible amount of back-room politics. If the major property owners in Hollywood had only worked with the city Planning Department in an effective and constructive way over the years, Hollywood could now be a show place. Many good plans were prepared, sabotaged and abandoned. The larger property owners consistently demanded an unreasonable amount of zoning density and ignored their responsibilities for balanced development. They also "sat on their hands" and essentially did nothing except complain. They had every opportunity to transform Hollywood since they owned the property. They could have improved Hollywood without resorting to public redevelopment.
Contrary to quotes of Bill Welsh (the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president), the chamber did dominate the CRA-established Citizens Committee. In my opinion, they dominated and aggressively manipulated for their own purposes the decision process. In most areas of planning concern, in my opinion, they were only interested in maximizing their own profit, not in doing a comprehensive, balanced plan for the improvement and long-term benefit of all the people in Hollywood.
Four effective previous plans went down the drain because the chamber's members dominated the political decision process. I personally believe that Welsh needs to be very careful about whom he accuses of "lying."
CALVIN S. HAMILTON
Former Director of Planning
City of Los Angeles