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Slow-Growth Forces Win in Hollywood Renewal Vote

November 19, 1987|MATHIS CHAZANOV | Times Staff Writer

Slow-growth advocates and their allies are expected to take control of the advisory committee for the $1-billion-plus Hollywood redevelopment plan after Monday's election for the Hollywood Project Area Committee.

Chamber of Commerce President Bill Welsh made no bones about his disappointment: "We're going to have to learn to work as a minority."

Welsh and his development-minded allies had controlled the committee since it was established in 1983.

Although the panel's authority is largely advisory, a majority opposed to rapid development could hire independent counsel, seek to amend the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan and intervene in lawsuits designed to slow the 30-year project.

Outpolled by Opponents

Welsh himself barely won reelection as the representative of the Chamber of Commerce, while two groups that campaigned against the chamber won more votes than he did in a race among 12 organizations for three areawide seats on the Project Area Committee (PAC).

Ten other seats were also up for grabs in separate balloting: Two for residential property owners, three for residential tenants, three for business owners or operators and two for the manufacturing, industrial and warehousing sector.

By one count, there could be as many as 10 votes for slower development when the new PAC holds its first meeting on Dec. 14, with eight votes for the chamber and its allies, six swing votes and two vacancies. The chamber previously had as many as 13 members on the PAC.

However, the membership of the board could change again if Councilman Michael Woo wins approval from the City Council for his proposal to appoint six more members to the Project Area Committee. He now appoints four of the 25 committee members.

Woo asked for the changes after critics charged that the dominant business interests on the current PAC have been working closely with redevelopment officials in order to profit from an expected increase in land values.

After Monday's hourlong election, slowed by a cumbersome process of checking identities and initialing rosters to rule out double-voting, Bennett S. Kayser of a group called Save Hollywood Our Town came in first in the areawide voting with 94 votes out of a total of 514.

Doubled Turnout

The total was about twice the turnout of last year's controversial election, which was marred by charges of improprieties.

"We are not seeking to stop Hollywood's revitalization," said Kayser, who is also the president of the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Assns., a group of 40 homeowner associations including 12 in the Hollywood Hills.

"We want to see redevelopment happen in a fair and orderly fashion, with the rights of those who might be displaced by eminent domain or eviction carefully guarded and with the town's historic characteristics preserved," Kayser said.

"We want problems like awful traffic and inadequate utilities solved and improved before giant developments are built that will make those conditions worse," he said.

Douglas Carlton, running for a organization called Keep Old Los Angeles, won 89 votes, while Welsh had 76.

'More of a Heart'

"I was surprised tonight," said Carlton, a lanky actor who had made a name for himself as long ago as 1976 as a defender of old buildings threatened with demolition.

"They (the PAC) will have more of a heart now," Carlton said. "They'll care more about the preservation and restoration of Hollywood. They'll care about tenants, they'll care about the homeless. They'll get the money signs out of their eyes."

"Developers can develop, but they have to be able to have a little heart," he said. "I've got my fingers crossed that way."

The announcement of the first- and second-place finishers in the voting for community organizations was greeted by cheers.

"It doesn't take much to set off this group," said Albert Markoff, an incumbent PAC member who was reelected to represent manufacturing interests. "Every time you use the words eminent domain you get five votes."

Loud Booing

But there were loud boos when Rusty Kostick of the League of Women Voters, which supervised the election, read the total for the Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm sure they (the new majority) are going to disagree with the plans that many of us believe in for the improvement of Hollywood, for their own good reasons," Welsh said.

"I hope that we can all put aside our animosities, because if we don't, we won't contribute anything to the improvement of the community and we'll be a laughingstock of the rest of the city," he said.

Kayser made a similar point, saying that the requirement to complete some plans by May, 1988, means that "we can't go back to Square One."

The league was called in to run the election because charges of ballot box-stuffing surfaced after last year's voting. That election was conducted by staffers of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which presides over redevelopment of the 1,100-acre project area.

No Serious Incidents

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