In his column (July 31), Sam Hall Kaplan missed the essence of the conflict over the proposed Franklin/La Brea housing project. The conflict is not over whether the MOCA-sponsored designs are worthwhile, but whether Councilman Michael Woo is representing the interests and wishes of his constituents.
When the community found out Woo's plans for the Franklin/La Brea site, it did not just boo and grumble. Numerous attempts were made to engage Woo's office in a dialogue that might result in an outcome where both sides could be satisfied. The Outpost Homeowners Assn. and the Franklin/Hollywood Blvd. West Homeowners Assn. sent letters to Woo's office protesting the site selection.
Representatives of Franklin/Hollywood Blvd. West met with Woo and his staff and offered to investigate alternative sites on city-owned land in his district and sites in the 1,100-square acre tract controlled by the CRA which abuts the Franklin/La Brea site. Woo was handed a petition signed by nearly 1,100 residents who requested a park at the site. Woo's office was engaged in situating the MOCA project at Franklin/La Brea for a year and a half prior to the March public meeting, when most of the public in the neighborhood first became aware of the project. Early on in the conflict, his office attempted to discredit the voices who questioned the site selection, labeling their opposition as based upon "socio-economic biases." An internal memo generated from within Woo's staff was mistakenly leaked to the public and it detailed this labeling tactic as a means of putting the opposition on the defensive.